If warm-water beaches, a secluded resort along the Sea of Cortez, world-class golf fit for the pros and margaritas o’plenty is your idea of a great getaway, then Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto is a bucket list worthy hotel resort not to miss. Tucked away along the sea of Baja California’s eastern coast in a little place called Loreto—a Mexican town you probably have never heard of—is a travel destination that dreamy vacations are made of.
This resort has it all. It’s easy to get to and it’s beautiful (palm trees galore!), plus there are tons of amenities, and activities to keep you as busy or as relaxed as you want to be. Just don’t miss the LED paddleboards for a killer night-ride along the sea’s edge!
About Loreto in Baja California, Mexico
The little Mexican town of Loreto is a don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it kind of place, so make sure to keep your eyes wide open! Just a one and a half hour flight from LAX will bring you to this petite city with a population of barely 20,000, yet don’t let the size fool you, the things to do in Loreto has something for everyone‘s bucket list.
If you’re a historical buff, there are museums and missions (including the first one of the Californias!). If leisurely exploring is more your thing, spend an afternoon shopping the artisan markets for colorful ceramics, walking the water-lined malecon and eating traditional Mexican food at the local cafes. Maybe you’re more into nature and adventure? Then it just can’t get better than hiking, kayaking in the Sea of Cortez, exploring the UNESCO protected islands of Loreto, bird watching, and even whale watching. No matter what you are looking for, you can find it in Loreto.
The Villa Del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto
This Villa Del Palmar is a nestled between the deep-blue waters of the Sea of Cortez and the scenic Sierra de la Giganta mountain range, on the outskirts of downtown Loreto. Being encompassed by sea and desert landscapes makes it a top place for secluded relaxation—and it is. The 4,447 acre grounds boasts many amenities and activities from a fully-quipped fitness center to five swimming pools to miles of hiking trails. As mentioned before, the town of Loreto has something for everyone, but so does this resort, and here’s just a taste:
There are five—yes, 5— outdoor pools that are creatively designed to look like a sea turtle. It’s up to you which one you will choose for the afternoon. Possibly it’ll be spent in the giant over-sized hot tub with a cocktail in hand or splashing around in the shallow children’s pool? It’s up to you!
Just know that there always seems to be something entertaining going on by the pool, whether it be a fun game of bingo, a friendly volleyball tournament or some water aerobics. So, join in or just watch from the comfort of your lounge chair.
The pools are pretty enough to make you never want to leave, but you must in order to spend time at the beach along the captivating Sea of Cortez. You can rent paddleboards or kayaks, sunbath on the lounge chairs or just have a few Mexican beers at the snack shack (aka: beach bar). For those that are just looking to feel your feet in the sand and toes in the water, it’s a nice stroll from one end of the beachfront to the other. And if you do decide to jump in for a swim, don’t worry the water is warm.
With over 39,000 square feet of pure relaxation, the Sabila Spa is truly a world-class experience. The spa’s traditional healing treatments combined with modern techniques offer an unparalleled experience. With over 40 different services available, like the Aromatic Sea of Cortez Mud Wrap and Chocolate Mint Body Scrub, you won’t leave disappointed. I had one of the best massages of my life there!
My advice is to give yourself plenty of time before your appointment to enjoy the amenities inside the spa, like the sauna and three different temperature pools. Plus, it has a relaxing sitting area with breathtaking views of the golf course.
The Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto has three different restaurants to choose from, plus The Clubhouse at TPC Danzante Bay golf course. The Market is a laidback buffet-style eatery that blends the flavors of Mediterranean, Mexican, and American. It’s perfect for a quick breakfast before hitting the golf course (don’t miss trying their traditional Mexican pastries!) or after a long day by the pool.
If you are looking for an order-at-the-table choice that’s still casual, Casa Mia is the Mexican restaurant by day and Italian themed restaurant by night. I can vouch for the nachos as I ate them almost every afternoon and the lasagna in the evenings is not only delicious, but big enough for two!
For a high-end dining experience, get all dolled up and head over to the low-lit Danzante restaurant where steak and fish is their focus. You won’t be disappointed with the amaranto and apple crusted seared tuna with sweet soy sauce appetizer or the creative fusion of lamb chop in mint and habanero pepper sauce entree. But, whatever you do don’t miss ordering the flaming Mexican coffee that is prepared table side and comes with a mesmerizing show. Have your camera’s ready!
To delve a little deeper into the onsite food scene, take a cooking class where a Villa del Palmar chef will teach you one of the specialities of the resort:
Suites & Penthouses
There are a variety of accommodations for lodging when staying at the Villa del Palmar, four different suites and three penthouse options (you can see them all here). Most of the options include a private terrace, jacuzzi tub and full kitchen, plus a washer & dryer—which is what we had. You would think that with all the resort amenities you wouldn’t need these little luxuries in your room, but that was not the case for us!
We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails on our terrace while overlooking the action at the pools. We did a late-night soak in the jacuzzi tub after spending a day of golf and riding ATVs. We used the kitchen making treats with the goods from the onsite convenience store when we were too lazy to leave the room. And we washed our clothes prior to check-out, so we could return home with a suitcase full of clean laundry. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Tip: it pays to get a room with a view of the pools, beach and mountains because you might just get to see the best sunset of your life:
Shows + Entertainment
If all the aforementioned has got you thinking that you may be bored at the Villa del Palmar Resort (how the heck??) there are many shows and additional activities available to keep you entertained. You may find yourself dancing in the sand at a late-night beach party or singing your karaoke rendition of Despacito, or even enjoying a night of dinner theater where a broadway hit like Cats will take the stage while your eating an international buffet. No matter if you’re an eater, a dancer, a dreamer, an artist, or a fitness junkie, there will be something offered that will interest you.
Tours & Activities Not to Miss
There’s definitely plenty to do without having to leaving the little radius from your room to the pool to the beach to the spa, but there’s so much more that you do not want to miss. And here were my favorites:
Play a Round of Golf at TPC Danzante Bay
This is mentioned as an activity not to miss at Villa del Palmar, but it deserves to have double exclamation points after it—yes, it’s that good. Danzante Bay TPC Golf Course is a challenging championship course, and it truly is exquisite. One of the most impressive aspects of this course is the variation in scenery—from cliff side views of the islands to gorgeous mountains in the distance to the desert landscape throughout. Every hole brings about another reason to stop in your tracks to look at your surroundings in awe. This is especially true of the signature hole #17 thats green juts out into the Sea of Cortez, it is a stunner from every angle.
Even if you’re not a golfer you need to book a round here just to take photos, and possibly spot a roadrunner darting across the green!
ATV on the Beach
Are you an adrenaline junkie? If yes, then the 2 1/2 hour ATV ride on the beach is perfect for you. You’ll be driving off the Villa del Palmar property, through the dusty desert and onto the beautiful beachfront. If you’d like your ride to have an extra thrill, just let your driver know. He’ll find a clear path where you can be a speedster, and even race your significant other, like I did!
Explore the Loreto Islands by Boat
There are five large islands off the coast of Loreto that are included in the Bay of Loreto National Park, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Which means, that you don’t want to miss exploring this diverse protected area—an area that Jacques Cousteau has called “the world’s aquarium”. What better way to do that than by a cool zodiac-style boat?
The 4-hour Loreto islands boat tour is a combination of island hopping, sightseeing and snorkeling (with an actual chance of seeing dolphins or whales!). It’s also a bird watcher’s haven, where you can see species like frigatebirds, double-crested cormorants and even blue-footed boobies.
LED Paddleboard at Night
This is one bucket list worthy activity that I have never seen offered in all my travels—there was no way I was going to miss it, and you shouldn’t either! Take to the smooth-as-glass waters of the Sea of Cortez after dark on an LED paddleboard (or kayak). The lights are placed underneath them to shine up the sea below within a few foot radius, so you can see what critters are swimming beneath you. We saw a stingray, sea cucumbers, starfish and even a cluster of lobsters.
Hike Through the Desert
It’s obvious that you don’t have to go far to be amongst nature at the Villa del Palmar, and one more option to immerse yourself in it is to hike the miles of trails nearby. If you walk to the end of the hotel resort’s beach, where it meets the golf course, there’s a path that leads up into the rocks. The network of trails will take you to different pretty places, but definitely follow the one that takes you to a unique vantage point of the Danzante Bay’s signature 17th hole.
PS: If you get tired along the way, make a relaxing pit stop at one of the blue Adirondack chairs along the way that are strategically placed for the best views!
Play a Game of Rooftop Pickleball
Have you ever played a game of pickleball? Me neither! Which is why it was top on my list of things to do at Villa del Palmar. The game uses a wiffle ball on a small-sized court and a wooden paddle. Think of it as a combination of tennis, ping pong and badminton. If you’ve never played before, make sure to check it off your bucket list here! Even if you’re not into playing a game, visit the court just to get a glimpse at the picturesque views from the rooftop!
If you want to play, but don’t know the rules, watch this Youtube video before you take to the court.
Visit the Town of Loreto
Resort life is great, but you will be charmed by a visit to the historic town of Loreto. It’s only a couple blocks long and wide, but has all the makings of the perfect afternoon-to-evening getaway: artisan shopping, traditional Mexican restaurants, historical attractions and a picturesque malecon to stroll along.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing trip to the beach, a golf retreat, a spa getaway or an adventure in Mexico, there is something at Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto for you. Not convinced that you should add Villa del Palmar to your bucket list? Watch this:
Getting There: Villa Del Palmar Resort & Spa is located about 35 minutes from the Loreto International Airport. There are direct flights, straight to the Loreto International Airport, from some major cities, including: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Dallas, and Calgary. You can also opt to drive from Cabo San Lucas, which takes about 5 hours. Get more information here.
You can easily check for the best airfare deals at Skyscanner, which also has the option to choose ‘cheapest month’ as the departure to find the lowest priced dates to fly to your destination.
Villa Del Palmar website: https://villadelpalmarloreto.com/
TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course website: http://tpcdanzantebay.com/
This post was provided in a partnership with Villa del Palmar Loreto. All opinions my own. This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through my links, I earn a commission that helps to keep this blog running—at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure here.
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