Loreto, Mexico: The Crown Jewel of Baja California Sur

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Loreto, Mexico: The Crown Jewel of Baja California Sur

Loreto and Todos Santos are the only 2 “Magical Towns” in the beautiful Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

In the case of Loreto, it’s no surprise, with its beautiful beaches surrounded by incredible marine life, such as sea lions, humpback whales, and dolphins.

This quaint coastal town, often hailed as the “Crown Jewel of Baja California Sur,” captivates visitors with its unparalleled beauty, rich history, and abundant natural wonders.

From its turquoise waters teeming with marine life to its charming cobblestone streets lined with centuries-old architecture, Loreto exudes a timeless allure that beckons travelers seeking an authentic Mexican experience.

And not to mention extreme land adventures such as rappelling and ATV rides.

Now, I will gladly share what I think are the best things to do and see in the Magical Town of Loreto, Mexico. Let’s begin!

How to get to Loreto, Baja California Sur

Loreto is located in the southern part of the Baja Peninsula along the coast of the Sea of Cortez.

If you are traveling from the United States, you can fly into Loreto International Airport, which has direct flights from Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Tijuana.

Alternatively, you can drive from the United States or other parts of Mexico. Loreto is approximately a 15-hour drive from Tijuana.

If you are traveling within Baja California Sur, you can take a bus or drive to Loreto from other cities such as La Paz, San Jose del Cabo, or Ciudad Constitución.

Best 14 things to do in Loreto, Baja Sur

1. First things first: Stay in a comfortable hotel

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Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto

Loreto Mexico offers several lodging options primarily designed to cater to the American and Canadian tourists arriving in town through its small international airport or from the terminals of nearby cities, such as La Paz, Los Mochis, and Ciudad Obregón.

Among the top accommodations in Loreto are the Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa and the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa.

2. Visit Loreto’s Missions

The Hispanic history of Baja California began in Loreto, with the Mission of Our Lady of Loreto construction at the end of the 17th century.

Other missions of interest are San Francisco Javier and San Juan Bautista Londó.

The evangelists led by the Jesuit Fathers Eusebio Kino and Juan María de Salvatierra would sow the Baja California territory with the first missions of the region in which indigenous and Spaniards coexisted.

3. Visit the Loreto Baja California Sur Museum

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Loreto Museum

The Jesuit Museum gives you a complete overview of the missions of Baja California, both from the facet of indigenous life and the Spanish settlements.

When the conquistadors and missionaries arrived in Loreto, the territory was inhabited by the ethnic groups of the Pericúes, Guaycuras, Monguis, and Cochimíes.

The museum walks through the interaction of the Indian people with the colonization process through 18 missions, showing weapons and other indigenous and Spanish objects, and documents from the evangelization period.

4. Does Loreto have swimmable beaches?

loreto baja california sur mexico

Loreto Baja California Sur is a quiet and exclusive beach destination to enjoy the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez and its other attractions.

There are wonderful swimmable beaches on the peninsular coast of Loreto and its islands to enjoy the calm water and fine sand.

Most of these beaches are located near Loreto, which is part of the Loreto Bay National Maritime Park, such as Isla del Carmen, Monserrat, Coronado, Catalina, and Danzante.

5. Practice sea activities

Considered a paradise for sport fishing due to the prohibition of industrial fishing in its protected aquatic spaces.

The fish species here are rich and varied, such as dorado, marlin, greater amberjack, and huachinango (red snapper).

Diving is another activity to delight the senses due to the richness and color of the marine fauna. Sailing lovers will also feel at ease in Loreto, whether on a yacht, sailboat, or a simple kayak.

6. Enjoy outdoor entertainment

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The boardwalk
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Boardwalk other end (evening). I just love it here. Is so peaceful!

If you prefer land entertainment, in Loreto, you can practice rappeling at the site of El Juncalito, where you can descend rocky walls.

At the same time, you take several breaks to appreciate the desert and extensive landscape.

This magical town also offers the possibility of hiking, horseback riding, and riding through the desert in all-terrain vehicles.

7. Watch the gray humpback whales

loreto baja california sur mexico

The gray whale has distinguished the Sea of Cortez as the place of choice for calving.

When the waters start to freeze in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere, this huge and beautiful aquatic mammal seeks the warmth of the Gulf of California to give birth.

These whales that only live in the northern Pacific Ocean are visible from different points of the Bermejo Sea.

Near Loreto are two insular spaces for magnificent sightings: the Carmen and Colorado islands.

8. Get to know the Rock Art

Between Loreto and Bahia de Los Angeles, in the Sierra de San Francisco, there is a site of cave paintings that is one of the most important in northern Mexico, mainly because of the large size of prehistoric artistic works.

The paintings show scenes of everyday life, such as representations of hunts and other more complex and not fully interpreted, which delve into the vital and cosmic vision of the people who made them.

9. Watch some Sea Lions and Seals

Another thing you must do in Loreto is enjoy the sighting of seals and sea lions.

They can be found in the Loreto National Marine Park, where you can find other species, such as dolphins, and walk along the white sandy beaches of Isla Coronado with colorful fish fluttering at your feet.

10. Explore Coronado Island, Baja California Sur

mexico travel and leisure
Coronado beach in Loreto

Yes, back to the beaches. Among them, one truly deserves your visit: Coronado beach.

It has beautiful, refreshing, and crystal clear calm water, ideal for spending an afternoon alone, with your partner, or with your family.

So don’t forget to book a boat tour and visit this unique island.

11. Experience Loreto’s festivities

The patron saint festivities of Loreto have their peak date on September 8, the Day of the Virgin, in many towns in Latin America and Spain.

For the occasion, the mission church and the town dress up to honor the Virgin of Loreto with religious events, music, fireworks, and popular and cultural shows. 

The festivity commemorating the anniversary of the founding of Loreto takes place from October 19 to 25 and is very lively.

Throughout the year, sport fishing tournaments and off-road vehicle competitions in the desert are held in Loreto.

12. Take a shopping tour

mexico travel and leisure
Local souvenir shop

Loreto’s artisans have specialized in making artistic seashell pieces collected on the beaches of the Sea of Cortés.

These souvenirs are available at Artesanías El Corazón and other folk art stores in Loreto.

Some Loreto residents are also skilled saddlers, while others work with clay, which they turn, for example, into the picturesque piggy banks that have almost disappeared.

13. Relax in a SPA

There are several spas in Loreto, mainly inside the hotels.

Las Flores Spa & Boutique, located in the Hotel Posadas de las Flores on Madero Street, gets the highest praise from clients for its beauty and cleanliness, the professionalism of its masseuses, and facial treatments.

Another prestigious place is Sabila Spa & Wellness Centre, at km. 84 of the Transpeninsular Highway, which stands out for its hydration therapies.

14. Taste the local food

As you may already know, Mexican gastronomy is delicious! and Loreto is no different. Here you will find fused cuisines of the Baja California desert and the Sea of Cortez.

The Gulf of California produces fresh fish and seafood that make delicious dishes like ceviches, zarzuelas, soups, grills, salads, tostadas, and other goodies.

The machaca, both the traditional one from the North of Mexico, based on dried meat and the more modern ones of fish, is also an essential dish in the restaurant menus of Loreto.

And don’t forget to try red and white wines of the “Baja California Wine Route” to make the perfect pairing.

The festivity that commemorates the anniversary of the founding of Loreto takes place from October 19 to 25 and is very lively.

Throughout the year, sport fishing tournaments and off-road vehicle competitions in the desert are held in Loreto.

Loreto, Mexico: Final Thoughts

As the sun sets over the shimmering waters of the Sea of Cortez, one cannot help but feel the enchantment that is Loreto, Mexico.

Loreto’s allure lies not only in its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters but also in its profound connection to the past.

As you wander through the cobblestone streets of its charming downtown, remnants of its colonial heritage echo through the centuries-old mission, quaint plazas, and adobe buildings.

Each step is a journey through time, a testament to the resilience and spirit of its people.

Beyond its historical charm, Loreto offers a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From snorkeling in the vibrant marine life of Coronado Island to hiking the rugged trails of Sierra de la Giganta, adventure awaits at every turn.

For those seeking tranquility, the smooth shores of Ensenada Blanca beckon, offering a sanctuary of serenity amidst nature’s embrace.

Yet, it is perhaps the warmth of the local community that leaves the most lasting impression. Whether sharing stories over fresh seafood at a seaside palapa or joining in the vibrant festivities of a local fiesta, visitors are welcomed as family, embraced by the genuine warmth and hospitality that define Loreto.

This magical town is more than a destination; it is an experience that touches the heart and soul, leaving an indelible mark on all who are fortunate enough to wander its shores.

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  1. Hi There,

    Loved reading about Loreto! Can’t wait to get there.
    I plan to be in Loreto in Jan for my 60th birthday, staying at VDP. I have yet to find out what bars offer fun music where we can dance a bit. We want to venture out a bit.
    Also, if there is anyone that rents catamarans for perhaps a sunset happy hour.
    Any & all info would be great!

    1. Hey Lizzy,

      Congrats on your 60th birthday!
      Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of fun places to hang out in Loreto. After the pandemic, many businesses closed, but other new ones opened.
      Just head to town by the boardwalk, and most bars and restaurants will be there.

      As for the catamaran rental, your first option is to check with the concierge at VDP. Or you can ask around town near the beach.

      I hope you have a lot of fun. Stay safe and healthy.

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