Sometimes it seems as if vacations have fallen out of fashion. There is educational travel to broaden the mind, adventure travel to challenge the body, philanthropic travel to benefit humanity and any number of other commendable excuses to get out of the office and onto an airplane. But sometimes the body, mind and spirit simply need to relax for a spell. And if it’s amid scenery of great beauty, with easy access to superb food and drink, so much the better.
One of the best (and most expensive) places in North America to have a proper vacation is along the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Because it functions as an island well-removed from “the mainland,” as locals call the rest of Mexico, this rugged stretch of coastal desert has remained relatively immune to the drug violence that consumes some other regions of the country. Supplies come mostly through the port of La Paz, rather than from Tijuana, which is some 20 hours northwest of the tourist center, Cabo San Lucas.
Paradoxically, a natural disaster is largely responsible for the present high quality of the resorts in the region. Hurricane Odile smashed into southern Baja in 2014, inflicting particularly heavy damage on waterfront hotels. Some properties, quite understandably, reopened as quickly as they could. But many others, including all the resorts I currently recommend, elected to remain closed long enough to complete a thorough renovation. As a result, even the classic luxury resorts feel quite fresh.