What to Expect: The Baja Peninsula is where the desert meets the ocean, where brilliant blue skies overlook the vibrant green of championship golf courses and expansive luxury resorts vie for attention with quirky boutique properties. Across the water, Mazatlan welcomes couples with golden sand and a colonial city brimming with arts and culture.
Wedding Bells: Perfectly private, one of a kind and just 90 miles from San Diego, the 8-suite Casa Natalie (hotelcasanatalie.com) in Ensenada lets you feel as if you’re getting married in your own private luxury estate. Modern and sleek, no detail is left undone—including unpacking your bags. The onsite wedding planner takes care of everything, leaving your clients and their party with time to relax and enjoy the spa and the pool overlooking the bay. Rates start at $285 per night.
Casa De Los Siete Patios is a premier Baja Mexico resort in Ensenada that boasts an exclusive seaside villa that is an idyllic setting for a destination wedding. Couples can chose from any one of the hotel’s seven stunning patios to celebrate their wedding and to guarantee a private event, they only book one wedding at a time. Couples are encouraged to stay longer to enjoy the many amenities.
The first five-star resort in laid-back La Paz, CostaBaja Resort & Spa (costabajaresort.com) is set on the shores of the Sea of Cortez overlooking a white-sand beach and a magnificent marina. Exclusive access to Mexico’s only Gary Player-designed golf course, an onsite spa and three pools ensure every member of the wedding party will enjoy their stay. A dedicated wedding staff helps couples take care of details. Tip: the sunset views from the waterfront Beach Bar are spectacular. Room rates start at $149.
The iconic architecture of the Westin Resort & Spa, Los Cabos (westin.com), has made it one of the destination’s most eye-catching properties. Onsite weddings can be intimate or come one, come all: the hotel has 243 guestrooms and almost 12,000 sq. ft. of indoor wedding space, plus multiple outdoor settings with dramatic ocean views. Experienced wedding planners can tailor-make the ceremony and reception, though couples can choose packages from the Intimate Wedding starting at $1,899, up to the all-inclusive Distinguished Wedding with beach ceremony starting at $262 per person for 50 guests.
Sometimes, couples just can’t wait. “Esperanza’s outstanding planning services is one of the many reasons to celebrate the most important moments of your life at this beautiful Cabo resort,” says Marc Rodriguez, general manager at Esperanza, an Auberge Resort (esperanzaresort.com). “We had a couple here who spontaneously decided they wanted to get married the next night. Our onsite wedding coordinator executed a beautiful, intimate wedding on the beach with only a 24-hour notice, and the bride and groom toasted with Cristal champagne and Tequila La Reserva.” If you have a little more time to invite some family and friends, book the hotel’s Intimate Wedding package for up to 12 starting at $3,500.
Funky Todos Santos is now only 30 minutes from Cabo, thanks to the new highway. Six miles south of town, Rancho Pescadero (ranchopescadero.com) more than lives up to its self-proclaimed “outrageous oceanfront oasis” status. They recommend their takeover package for the ultimate in privacy: three days’ rental of the entire property (26 suites plus facilities) for up to 60 people for $24,500, with dinners and events planned on either side of the ceremony. They handle everything and you’ll have an extensive menu of services and extras to choose from, as formal or as casual as you want.
Overlooking the Pacific in the Olas Altas area of historic Old Mazatlan, Casa Lucila (casalucila.com) is the embodiment of everything that’s good about this romantic destination. Behind the beautifully restored Victorian facade is an interior that skillfully blends the old with the new, with eight individually designed rooms boasting a modern chic ambiance, a serene courtyard, a terrace with an infinity pool and a restaurant that showcases the area’s amazing seafood. Intimate weddings are a specialty, and their event planners can organize everything including the necessary wedding documents. Room rates start at $95 per night during low season.
Sightseeing: The seaside city of Ensenada is a favorite stop for yachting, cruises, surfers and off-road race enthusiasts, but inland lies the state’s crowning glory: wine country and La Ruta del Vino (rutadelvino.com.mx). Just 15 minutes north, the Valle de Guadalupe is home to some of Mexico’s finest wineries, plus a handful of beautiful inns and boutique hotels that can organize impeccable sunset weddings (think Sonoma—only Mexican), wine tastings at neighboring wineries, horseback rides, and more.
La Paz is as peaceful as its name implies. The town’s colonial charm is undeniable, though it’s Mother Nature who takes center stage. Baja Expeditions (bajaex.com) specializes in whale watching, sea kayaking, eco-camping, sailing adventures, and wildlife cruising, and can organize daytrips to Isla Espiritu Santo or the mangrove forests, complete with lunch and gear. Sportfishing means marlin, wahoo, tuna, dorado and more with outfitters like The Mosquito Fleet (bajamosquitofleet.com) and Baja Pirates of La Paz (bajapiratesoflapaz.com).
And though there’s plenty of shopping, endless spa experiences and tons of fantastic dining in Los Cabos, the great outdoors also wins hands down. What’s collectively known as Los Cabos is made up of three areas: colonial San Jose del Cabo, the 20-mile-long corridor dotted with resorts and golf courses, and the boisterous Cabo San Lucas. This is a golf and sportfishing Mecca with much to offer the adventure traveler, from the granite peaks of the San Pedro Martir Range to the Pacific breeding grounds of the California grey whales. The Sea of Cortez is a destination unto itself, teeming with underwater excitement. Check with Cabo Expeditions (caboexpeditions.com.mx) for eco-adventures with bilingual guides. Big on colonial charisma and chic eccentricity, the nearby small town of Todos Santos makes for a great day trip. Small restaurants serve excellent local fare and there are lots of art galleries, bookstores and tiny shops.
Mazatlan is known for its beaches, its tasty Pacifico beer and its colonial downtown area, a thriving cultural center where visitors mingle with locals along the quaint streets lined with museums, art galleries and boutique shops. The plazas fill with music and dancing on the weekends (don’t miss opera at the Angela Peralta Theater), with restaurant patrons enjoying fresh seafood dishes and European fare on sidewalk tables. The lengthy malecon, or boardwalk, is right above one of the most popular beaches, and at sunset it’s filled with couples walking hand-in-hand. Viajes El Sabalo (viajeselsabalo.com) takes groups on sunset city tours, rural tours to the tiny towns of Quelite, Concordia and Copala and sets up deep-sea fishing charters. Owner Gloria Tirado also recommends day trips to Isla de Piedra on their catamaran-style boats, which includes a meal on the beach and watersports activities.
Weather: Ensenada in Baja Norte enjoys mild year-round weather. Baja California Sur is hot and dry most of the year, though November through April the climate gets milder. Mazatlan is tropical, with a short, very humid, very rainy wet season from July to September and a very pleasant dry season in the winter.
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