Our latest golf vacation had us heading off to Mexico to play the top ranked golf course of Diamante. Located in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Diamante is one of the top 50 golf courses in the world. Number #36 currently. So let start this trip planning/itinerary from the beginning.
The top courses in the Cabo area are Diamante, Cabo del Sol, Querencia and Quivera golf clubs. Querencia, a Fazio course, is private and I could not get an invite. And when I say top courses, those are the ones ranked by golf magazines. I’m sure there are additional private courses who don’t covet any recognition, but I don’t know about them.
Cabo del Sol Ocean course is a design by Jack Nicklaus. There is a second course as well, the desert course. Both courses are open to the public and can be played for $250-$350 per round.
To play at Quivera or Diamante, you need to stay at their resort or participate in a time share seminar. My husband and I are not interested in time shares so we opted to stay at the perspective hotels.
I booked the hotels almost 10 months prior to our trip. We like to go during the holidays so I try and book early to save money. I can tell you I checked prices a few months out and they never went up any higher or lower. So you might not need to book so far in advance. However, the top resorts were already sold out a year in advance (One and Only Palmilla, Resort At Pedregal). So keep that on mind if that’s a place of interest.
We flew on Delta to SJD airport, Los Cabos Airport. You need two customs forms given to you on the airplane before you depart. Make sure you fill out everything properly top and bottom or you have to leave the line to correct your mistakes.
Upon arrival, you exit the airplane via portable stairs at both ends of the plane and then bus over to the main terminal. Then you enter the main building. Get through that line with your customs form. The room is just people filling out their forms. Then you go downstairs and wait in a massively long customs line. While we were in line they randomly selected people from the end of the line to cut to the front and use the kiosks. How crappy. But it took about 45 minutes to get through customs. You then exit to pick up luggage. Then right before you exit with your luggage they stop you to press a button. You either get to go through or have your luggage searched. We luckily did not get selected. You then exit into a big room where there are representatives selling a variety of excursions in Cabo. You then exit the terminal to a slew of taxis and drivers holding signs. There is also a bar right where you exit the terminal just in case.
We booked Eliker transportation. Our first hotel offered us transportation for $250 from the airport to the hotel. Eliker quoted us $320 for the 5 transfers that we needed. This company was very close to the cab fare! Karen Rodríguez promptly responded to all emails and was very professional. I highly recommend this company for all your transfers. Eliker.
Our driver was waiting with our sign. He then grabbed our luggage and whisked us to our brand new Cadillac. The car was also stocked with beers and waters for the guests. That definitely beats a cab.
A 45 minute ride took us to our first hotel, Diamante. Make sure you check out my detailed review. Check in was 10 minutes. We quickly changed and grabbed the golf clubs and headed to the course. For time reference, our flight landed at noon, we were on the golf course by 3pm.
We had previously booked our golf for the second and third day but since I wasn’t sure what time we would arrive, we didn’t have anything booked on our arrival date. But the course was wide open and we immediately got on and started playing. Diamante Dunes Course. One of the top 50 golf courses in the world.
The course is spectacular. The condition, the course design, the views. All pristine. Not to mention the halfway houses every three holes that are included in your golf price. That’s 6 stops over 18 holes with food and drinks. So yummy and fun. One round of golf is $320. A rider was an additional $20.
El cardonal at Diamante. This is the first golf course designed by Tiger Woods. The course was not as dazzling as its sister course but it is still a great course. Nestled further inland than the Dunes course but you can still see the beach every hole, albeit at a distance. The course was immaculate and difficult.
The course is esthetically pleasing off the tee. Holes are out in front of you. Greens are undulating with a bowl like effect to assist your shots. Course is long so pick the right tees. Pristine condition. Staff is incredible with a great caddy, Omar (I told him I would mention him). One round of golf is $220, with a rider fee of $20.
Makes sense why this course is a top ranked course in the world considering the incredible layout. The name Dunes reminds me of some courses in Ireland with massive sand dunes separating the holes and makes you feel like you are on a traditional links course at times. We played in a very strong wind that drastically affected distances in both directions. The course changes directions quite a few times so you are not punished the entire round. Greens were at least 10.5 on the STIMP. As many others have noted, they are building the Hard Rock hotel which eliminated two ocean front holes on the back nine. Regardless it’s still a must play in Cabo. Just a great course overall.
After the round, we transferred over to our second hotel, the Pueblo Bonita Pacifica. An all inclusive adults only resort. Check out my separate review.
Day 4 Quivera
Holes 1-4 are only your ticket to traverse some of the most incredible golf we have ever experienced. That being said, the first four holes are comparable to any of the local courses. After the fourth green you take a golf cart ride up the mountain for 4 minutes when you run into the first comfort station that has views looking down on the clubhouse, beach and resort. Stunning.
The fifth and sixth holes are situated cliff side along the ocean. The fifth hole is a quirky par 4 but nothing your have ever experienced in this world. The 4th green makes you want to go for it as the green appears like you can grab it. The sensible play is a 210 yard shot down the left side of the fairway which causes your ball to take a dramatic left hand turn toward the green where your ball will get hung up in longer rough. This will leave you a twenty yard chip shot to the green.
The 6th hole is another cliffhanger. Short downhill par three. You’ll need a purely struck mid iron to clear the dramatic cliffside onto the green that is 30 feet below you on the side of the mountain. The wind direction can dramatically change your club direction,
From this point on you traverse around the mountain in different directions with a nice variety of par 4s and 5s. There’s another great cliff side shot on the back 9. If you have every played the Straights course in Kohler, then these par 3s will be familiar except they are 4 times higher!
A fun golf course that contains all the tricks. Worth playing a round here. Cost is $320 per round with a $50 rider fee. Beware, riders are usually not permitted during high season.
Day 5 Cabo Del Sol
Cabo del Sol took about a 25 minute drive from Pueblo Bonita Pacifica where we stayed. The main road is closed Sundays so that’s why it took a little longer.
The course was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened in 1994. Three of the holes were/are regarded as the finest finishing holes in golf. Stretched across the desert and Sea of Cortés, this course features a variety of holes.
Reminiscent of Scottsdale golf surrounded by beautiful homes surrounding the fairways. But there are several shots with just nature and beach views. Several holes are directly on the ocean and there are views throughout the course on most holes.
Shrimp tacos at halfway house were amazing. One of the highlights of the day. Unreal and maybe the best we have ever had. Here, there is just the one halfway house.
Day 6 Quivera
Gorgeous course. The driving range and practice facilities were some of the best we have seen. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Just stunning.
Halfway house on 5 tee, 9 tee, 16 tee. There was only food at the 9th tee. Sliders and tacos. There’s also cocktails on the driving range and well as a restaurant at the Clubhouse. It was really well done.
Day 7 depart. Back to Lax/Sfo. Airport was super quick and efficient. We were in the secure area in less than 20 minutes. The international terminal is small and not much to see but a few restaurants and shops.
Overall, it was a great six day trip of golf. Cabo has great weather in the winter, low 70’s during the day (shorts and swimsuits) and high 50’s at night (jeans and sweater). Very few rainy days with no humidity. I would add an additional course instead of playing Quivera twice but it’s still a great course worth playing. Other than that, it was a relaxing golf vacation that’s a third of the price of Hawaii!
Tipping is crazy in Cabo. Everyone is helping you and looking at you for a tip. At least 10 people touch your golf bag before you even start to play. I have no clue which people to tip or not. It’s quite out of hand.