The living may be easy in Los Cabos, Mexico, but the real estate options can be overwhelming. Here, we present a buyer’s guide on the top spots at the bottom of the Baja peninsula.
When Don Abelardo Rodriguez, the son of Mexico’s then-president, built this low-key beach resort with a private airstrip in 1956, it became an instant Hollywood hangout, drawing everyone from Lucille Ball to John Wayne. More than 60 years later, the development that started it all is still one of Cabo’s most impressive, comprising 1,000 acres with seven different neighborhoods, a Jack Nicklaus golf course, and two private clubs.
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Homeowners have it all at Palmilla: private chefs, butlers, housekeeping—even the purest drinking water in Cabo (it’s triple-filtered). This tight-knit and very private community is also one of Baja’s most reliable investments. Case in point: When Hurricane Odile hit in 2014, insurance through the prestigious Lloyd’s of London ensured all damaged homes were immediately repaired, with 100 percent of the claims met (and no premiums raised).
It’s all about location at Palmilla, which sits on one of Cabo’s most swimmable beaches, not far from the airport. Homeowners get around mostly by golf cart, easily zipping to the nearby Shoppes at Palmilla and dozens of on-property dining options. Still, with just one hotel—the exclusive One&Only Palmilla—and high-end real estate comprising the entire community, the development maintains a truly elevated status.
The top-tier Villas Del Mar neighborhood has released its last wave of residences with La Montaña, a mountaintop enclave of 49 homes and homesites priced from $3.5 million to $20 million. Elsewhere in Palmilla, homes range from $2 million to $30 million, with average prices at about $5.5 million. All residences are fully owned, but a handful—many of which come with private yachts and sheltered beachfronts—will be available for rent through Del Mar Destinations.
Costa Palmas is not in Los Cabos—and that’s exactly why it’s the region’s most significant new development in decades. The only retreat of its kind on Baja’s remote East Cape—about 40 minutes northeast of the Cabo airport—the multifaceted resort community is bolstered by some of the biggest names in luxury travel. First up is a Four Seasons resort, which opens this
November. The ultra-exclusive Aman brand will open the next resort at Costa Palmas, which will also include a Robert Trent Jones II signature 18-hole golf course and a 200-slip marina that will accommodate yachts as large as 250 feet.
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Costa Palmas is far removed from the well-trodden Golden Corridor, but that’s part of its appeal. This is not the place for spring-breakers and bachelorette parties, but if you’re in the market for a remote, entirely exclusive retreat that’s easy to get to from just about any major city in the U.S., look no further.
Costa Palmas’ first two resorts might just be the most luxurious duo Baja has ever seen. The Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas will sit on two miles of white-sand beach and feature 141 guest rooms and 45 residences. Amanvari, meanwhile,brings the cult-favorite Aman brand to Latin America for the first time, with its own residences in a suitably chic and modern design.
Currently in phase one, the 45 Four Seasons Residences start at $2.25 million. Amanvari’s 24 residences will range from 13,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet, with pricing for homesites from $5 million to $26 million. Buyers can work with Aman architect John Heath to design a custom home.
Quivira is the sum of many parts: The 1,850-acre development, which first debuted (under a different name) in 2003, is home to two resorts, six residential communities, and the Quivira Golf Club. But things are about to get even bigger and better as a number of new properties prepare to open, including the Quivira Beach Club, a new residential development called Mavila, and a St. Regis resort.
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All this development has Quivira primed for a true luxury upgrade. The community’s 2.5-mile beach and Jack Nicklaus golf course have already been enticing homebuyers, and interest is picking up with the hotly anticipated St. Regis on the horizon. The beachfront resort will add 74 residences to Quivira, plus 120 guest rooms, three restaurants, a wellness center, and multiple swimming pools.
Nearly every community in Cabo has a spectacular golf course, but this one is a favorite for its beachfront location and stunning views. Quivira’s developer, Ernesto Coppel, has also put sustainability front and center with green building practices that go above and beyond the local requirements.
In addition to the St. Regis–branded residences, there are six neighborhoods—Coronado, Copala, Novaispania, Mavila, Old Lighthouse Club, and Montecristo Estates—that offer everything from homesites (priced from $2 million) to condos (from $350,000) to townhomes (from $140,000).
Puerto Los Cabos
Though this 2,000-acre gated community just east of San José del Cabo first opened in 2005, it’s only now getting the buzz it deserves. That’s because this fall, Zadún, a new resort from Ritz-Carlton’s ultra-exclusive Reserve brand, will bring next-level luxury to the development. Launching at the same time as the 115-room resort will be a collection of residences called the Enclaves, which will no doubt be plucked up even faster than Puerto Los Cabos’ other well-received residences, the Fundadores (nearly sold out).
What to Know
Zadún is the fourth property in the Ritz-Carlton Reserve portfolio, and like its predecessors in Puerto Rico, Bali, and beyond, it’s guaranteed to be a luxury game changer. Already up and running are the resort’s two golf courses: an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus design and a nine-hole Greg Norman layout.
Puerto Los Cabos is getting additional upgrades, including a 220-slip marina (which will expand to 400 slips in the next few years), a beach club, a tennis center, a spa, and an additional nine holes of golf designed by Greg Norman. Four more hotels are also part of the master plan.
More than 325 lots have sold in Puerto Los Cabos, and upward of 225 residences have been built within its original developments. Zadún will add 30 condos and 27 single-family homes in its first phase, with pricing starting around $3 million for the former and going up to about $5.5 million for the latter. Within Puerto Los Cabos, prices ranges from $375,000 for a homesite to $6.85 million for a beachfront lot.
Twin Dolphin’s first heyday started back in the 1970s, when its 160 acres were home to a barefoot-chic 50-room hotel and one of the region’s most beautiful beaches. But it all came to an end in 2006, when the aging property shuttered its doors for good. Now, it’s back in action with three new developments: The Montage Los Cabos debuted in May 2018 with 122 modern guest rooms and 52 whole-ownership residences; next door, Maravilla Los Cabos, which also launched in 2018, has a wider range of residential offerings; and nearby, the Twin Dolphin Golf Club opened last November with a Fred Couples–designed golf course.
What to Know
The vibe here is Southern California cool, attracting everyone from Alessandra Ambrosio to Busy Philipps. It must have something to do with the beaches: Two of Los Cabos’ most swimmable—and private—stretches of sand are located on Twin Dolphin’s grounds.
Amenities are every-thing at Twin Dolphin. The 60,000-square-foot Club at Maravilla is a favorite homeowner hideout for its THX-certified theater, three-level infinity pool, fitness palapa, and 18-hole putting course. The development is also home to a 56-foot VanDutch day yacht, 10 miles of hiking and biking trails, and a 40,000-square-foot Montage Spa (the largest in Los Cabos).
The 52 Montage residences start at $2.25 million, while Maravilla properties start at $3 million for a homesite and $11.75 million for a custom home.
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection
Named for its location on Chileno Bay, halfway between Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, this new 1,200-acre development is prime Baja living, thanks to an Auberge resort and residences, a Tom Fazio–designed golf course, and a Discovery Land Company real estate community.
What to Know
Discovery Land Company has a reputation for building exclusive golf communities, and the brand’s latest Cabo development is no exception. On the golf course, Discovery’s signature “comfort stations” offer everything from tequila to tacos along the way. Off the course, members-only amenities include a chic beach club and a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment.
As one of Cabo’s newest developments, Chileno Bay has a modern design and a lively vibe. At the Auberge resort’s open-air restaurant, Comal, floating firepits and hanging chairs overlook the Sea of Cortez. At the resort’s spa, a pink-Himalayan-salt sauna makes for a holistic wellness experience.
There’s something for everyone here: Discovery offers a total of 310 residences ranging from custom homes and homesites to villas and
casitas. The 60 Auberge residences include condo-style homes with two- to six-bedroom layouts, some with ocean views and private pools. Prices start at $2.8 million. The final phase of residences will be completed in early 2020.
Privacy is everything at this residential community, which for the last 20 years has slowly rolled out just 240 homes over its 1,800 acres. Starting this November, the newest phase, comprising 20 ocean residences, will break ground near the new Querencia Beach Club, an indoor-outdoor members-only retreat set above the beach.
What to Know
There are many great greens in Cabo, but Querencia is the development for serious golfers. Its top-ranked 18-hole Tom Fazio course dances through deep arroyos and desert plateaus, making for an unforgettable challenge—especially on the back nine—while a 12-acre golfing facility offers dual practice tees, 11 target greens, and an expansive short-game practice area.
Non-golfers are well taken care of, too, with a 58,000-square-foot clubhouse featuring restaurants and fitness facilities, eight miles of trails, tennis courts, and a beach club offering watersports.
Expect everything from 2,800-square-foot villas to 30,000-square-foot custom estates. Prices start at $275,000 for a homesite and $1.6 million for a villa. Major sales have typically been made privately and have fetched as much as $15 million.
The Hottest Homes in Baja
Costa Palmas: $40 million
Designed by architect Todd-Avery Lenahan, this 10,000-square-foot, six-bedroom villa in the East Cape is one of the most distinct offerings in Baja. In the front yard is the swimmable Sea of Cortez; in the back, a 100-foot private dock comes with its own captain’s quarters. There are multiple outdoor living spaces—including several pools and a gourmet al fresco kitchen—but the amenity that will clinch this villa for its next buyer might just be the private yacht that comes along with it.
Direct Access: Michael Radovan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Casa Hidalgo: $37.9 million
When Prince Alfonso of Spain first arrived in Cabo in the 1950s, he fell in love with its beauty—so much so that he bought a beachfront parcel of land for himself and, soon after, convinced his American friend, serial entrepreneur Jerry Neilson, to buy the property next door. Years later, both homes were acquired and combined, and today the compound comprises 111,000 square feet that include 23 bedrooms, five kitchens, a fitness center, and a spa with a sauna. Outside there’s a tennis court, a tennis pavilion, parking for 20, five swimming pools, and a beach garage with toys for water activities.
Direct Access: Andy Lemke, email@example.com
La Montaña 8: $14.5 million
In his 20 years as the in-house architect for Villas Del Mar, Robert Jones has designed more than 220 homes within the enclave—but never one like this. Lot 8 at La Montaña features a transitional design, with fractured granite and rammed earth forming the walls, which intersect as a series of rectangular planes. While the indoors are a modern oasis with solar panels and the latest in technology for lighting, music, and temperature control, the outdoors emphasize the natural surroundings with expanses of water features and outdoor rooms. The six-bedroom home features 7,700 square feet of air-conditioned indoor space, with an additional 6,000 square feet of outdoor rooms with areas for lounging, cooking, and dining.
Direct Access: Michael Baldwin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Casa Oliver: $9.8 million
Designed to be a mini resort within the Puerto Los Cabos development, this 12,000-square-foot retreat with six bedrooms includes a home theater, an in-house spa treatment room, a fitness room, a yoga deck, indoor and outdoor lounging areas, and a beach garage for water toys. The home—which has been making good money as an exclusive-use rental—is a celebrity favorite for its privacy screens. Though it was constructed in 2009, the residence’s modern design remains current today.
Direct Access: Ian Gengos, email@example.com
Viceroy Penthouse: $5.68 million
With its sleek white architecture, the Viceroy Los Cabos feels like a dose of South Beach nestled into Baja. Still under construction and slated for completion next year, the property’s first five-bedroom penthouse is perhaps the ultimate turnkey, worry-free party pad, featuring a rooftop garden with a private pool and 6,600 square feet of entertainment space.
Direct Access: Wayne Metcalfe, firstname.lastname@example.org
Condos & Villas
For a can’t-go-wrong option in Cabo, consider a condo or villa at one of the region’s top hotels.
Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort
Opened: Hotel in 1997; residences in 2017
Units: 30, ranging from one to three bedrooms
Pricing: $2.7 million to $7 million
Esperanza, an Auberge Resort
Opened: Hotel in 2002; residence club in 2001; private residences in 2009
Units: 66 two- to four-bedroom fractional-ownership villas and 54 three- and four-bedroom full-ownership homes
Pricing: Fractional is about $290,000 for six weeks per year; whole-ownership averages $2.2 million
Waldorf Astoria, Los Cabos Pedregal
Total units: Eight three- and four-bedroom units
Pricing: From $350,000 for five weeks of fractional ownership per year