Culture / Travel

Why Loreto, Mexico Is A Must-Visit Destination in Baja California

Where to Stay, What to Do, and How to Easily Get There

BY // 07.03.24

Whether you’re looking to plan a last-minute summer getaway or get a head start on your fall travel plans, Loreto in Baja California Sur deserves a spot on your calendar. Enchanting all year long, the Mexican state is ideally situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California making it perfect for fishing, boating, surfing, diving, dining, and more. 

Rich in history, Loreto was the first capital of The Californias (Mexico and the United States) and is said to be the first settlement in Baja California Sur and the state’s original capital. The state features breathtaking scenery, from the windswept ocean beaches on the west to the tranquil, turquoise waters on the east. In between are canyons, desert-scapes, and lush oases ripe for exploration. Known for its extraordinary marine life, whale watching is one of the area’s most well-known tourist attractions, along with sportfishing, kayaking, and bird-watching.

For the thalassophiles, there are lots of ways to explore the magic of the water in Loreto.

What To Do in Loreto

What to do in Loreto depends on the time of year you book your trip, but one thing’s for certain: you’ll never be bored. Depending on your passions, there’s something for everyone in this magical town. For the thalassophile, exploring the Bay of Loreto National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site spanning over 200,000 hectares, with five main islands – Isla Coronados, Isla del Carmen, Isla Danzante, Isla Montserrat, and Isla de Santa Catalina – just a quick boat ride away from town is a must.

From fishing to diving to stand-up paddleboarding to kayaking to chartering a private sailboat, there are dozens of ways to explore the natural beauty of the hidden coves and beaches. For avid divers, it’s hard to beat Loreto. With 100 dive sites, 80 percent of all Pacific Ocean marine life, and over 890 species of fish, Loreto is often deemed “the aquarium of the world.” With all this variety, there’s something for every type (and every skill) of diver.

On land, explore the history of the town of Loreto by foot and enjoy its black sand beaches, particularly idyllic at sunset or sunrise. The original capital of The Californias and resurrection site of Baja California’s first mission, Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, the city has a deep history that can be witnessed through momentous landmarks and museums dating back to 1697. Meander through town and spend the town exploring, getting to know the locals, and enjoying a taste of true Loreto hospitality. 

Indulge in Loreto’s burgeoning culinary scene, with restaurants serving freshly caught seafood and traditional Mexican dishes that encapsulate the flavors of the region. One can’t leave Loreto without trying the local favorite, Almejas Tatemadas or “Chocolate Clams,” known for their rich, chocolate-brown shell color. Prepared by locals in a vibrant show at Hotel Oasis, the clams are charred in the sand under a large fire on the beach – a special scene to witness before a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Other restaurants to try include Raíz Creative Cuisine in Posada de las Flores hotel — where three or five-course tasting menus, paired with a handcrafted selection of cocktails, showcase a mix of Mexican cooking with surrealism — and Ocotillo in Napolo for a taste of Fusion Baja Sur-Mexican cuisine, with wines selections from Valle de Guadalupe, Guanajuato, Queretaro along with an in-house selection.

Depending on your passions, there’s something for everyone in this magical town

Where to Stay

Loreto boasts a selection of unique lodgings, primarily comprised of small, family-owned hotels that exude charm and offer excellent amenities. Here, you’ll find a distinct absence of chain brands or large resorts, with the exception of Villas del Palmar, located 40 minutes from downtown.

Loreto is flush with locally owned, enchanting hotels to give you an authentic experience. Located on the central plaza, Hotel 1697 and Posada de las Flores offer boutique accommodations, each with its own unique styles to match your travel preferences. Hotel 1697 provides an upscale modern, yet intimate setting, and Posada de las Flores presents a sophisticated enclave, elevated by antique colonial-inspired architecture. Visitors seeking a waterfront experience can lodge at the more traditional La Mision hotel, with a contemporary European meets Mexican hacienda style. Loreto’s small-town feel makes these hotels, and the city’s streets, easy to navigate and all within walking distance of restaurants, shops, museums, and more.

How to Get There

While this charming beach town’s remote nature is one of its biggest attractions, it’s still extremely easy to get to. For Texans, Loreto feels like a world away, while only being a short, direct plane ride. American Airlines offers non-stop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, as well as a multitude of other airports across the country, making it easy to congregate in Loreto with friends and loved ones from all over the nation.

Book the flights, request the PTO days, and pack your bags for Loreto.