Guide to Loreto

Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico

About Loreto

Loreto is one of five main locations in the State of Baja California Sur, which include Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, Todos Santos and La Paz. All of these places can be discovered individually with Mexperience.

Loreto was the state capital until 1830, before the capital it was moved south to La Paz. Originally a Spanish missionary center for the region, the town was inaugurated by Father Juan María Salvatierra in 1697 under a statue of the Virgin of Loreto, from where the town gets its name.

The Mexican government has been promoting Loreto as the next big place for tourism as far back as the 1980s: it has invested in local infrastructure, built an airport, golf and tennis facilities here. However, to date, Loreto has still not turned into the huge power magnet that was originally envisioned; its primary attractions are still its tranquil atmosphere, it’s fishing-village feel, and stunning natural scenery.

In more recent times, Loreto has become a popular location for foreigners who are buying property and retiring in Mexico. Its close proximity to the United States, easy access to La Paz and Los Cabos, and great road and air connections are making Loreto a destination of choice for retirees and people seeking second homes in Mexico.

Located about 240 miles northwest of La Paz on the Sea of Cortés (also called the Gulf of California), Loreto is flanked by the Giganta Mountains, with excellent beaches and turquoise waters along the coast. Five islands offshore provide a range of experiences for travelers including eco-travel activities.

Some of the finest fishing also takes place in the waters off Loreto; although this destination has not been in the top list of visited places by tourists and travelers, experienced fishermen have known of Loreto and its treasures for some time.

If you’re looking to experience a quieter, less commercialized beach destination, away from the crowds in Los Cabos and a world away from the Cancún style resort, Loreto should be on your shortlist of places to explore.

Key Attractions

Islands Offshore

If you’re looking for excellent water sports: diving, fishing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling etc., the islands just offshore from Loreto are some of the top places in Mexico to enjoy these activities. Isla del Carmen and Isla Danzante are the two main islands, which also offer the opportunity for overnight stays.

Nature and Adventure Experiences in Loreto

Loreto is a perfect base from which to enjoy Mexico’s great outdoors and take part in a variety of Nature and Adventure experiences.

The local ecology, the landscape, the climate and the proximity to the sea make this region a natural paradise for those who love enjoying nature. You can find experienced local tour guides who are ready to help you enjoy the best of what this region offers.

Fishing, kayaking, sailing, camping, surfing, horseback riding, nature walks, fabulous bird watching, cliff hikes, sunset cruises, watching the amazing whales and sea lions are just some of the outdoor activities you can enjoy in the area.

See Also: Nature and Adventure Experiences in Mexico.

Water Sports

With its calm turquoise waters, fine year-round weather, and uncompromising beaches, its no wonder that water sports are one of the main attractions in Loreto. Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, kayaking, water skiing and jet-skis… if it’s water based, you can experience it in Loreto.

See Also: Water Sports in Mexico

Local Cruises

What better way to enjoy the scenery than on a local boat cruise? Local cruises take you on tours around the many islands surrounding the area and you can also go on a sunset cruise where you can experience some of the most wonderful sunsets.

Whale Watching & Sea Lion Colonies

From the Bering Strait, whales migrate to the Pacific coast of Baja California Sur between January and March of each year. To witness part of this extraordinary migration, you’ll need to visit ‘in season.’

See Also: Whale Watching in Mexico

Fishing Trips

Baja California Sur is one of the top venues in the world for sports fishing. You can rent your own skiff (“panga“), or contract a full-sized boat. Read the Mexperience guide to Sports Fishing in Mexico and discover just what a fantastic day out a sports fishing experience can be on your next visit to Mexico.

Away from the Water

Away from the water, Loreto offers the Museo de las Misiones (Missions Museum) that portrays the history of the settlements in Baja California Sur and contains some anthropological exhibits of the area. The Mision de Nuestra Señora de Loreto was the first Mission to be built here in 1697 and can be seen today in the center of town.

Property and Retirement in Loreto

Loreto is becoming a popular and sought-after destination for people seeking retirement options in Mexico and also those who want to buy a second home here; either as part of their retirement planning and/or a vacation home in Mexico. Mexperience offers extensive guides to Living and Working in Mexico, as well Mexico Retirement planning, and Buying Real Estate in Mexico.

Golf in Loreto

The climate in this area is ideal for golf, all year-round, and the region is fast becoming one of the top places to play the game. One of the contemporary golf courses in Loreto is Los Danzantes, which offers 11 ocean-facing holes, and plans to extend the course to 18-holes is planned by the end of 2017.

Getting There & Around

By Air – You can get to Loreto by plane from Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Los Angeles (USA). The airport is about 5 miles south of town. Ground transportation options, including taxis and shuttles, are available from the airport. For detailed information about flights and flying, see the Mexperience guide to Air Travel in Mexico.

By Bus – To get to Loreto from the USA, your best bet is to fly there (see above) as the bus journey from Tijuana to Loreto takes about 22 hours. If you are in Los Cabos or La Paz and want to take a bus, you can find daily services running—check the local bus station for schedules and prices. For detailed information about bus transportation read the Mexperience guide to Bus Travel in Mexico.

By Car – Driving to Loreto from the southern border of the United States will take you about 16-20 hours on Highway 1. There is a car ferry from La Paz to Mexico’s mainland — see ferry information, below. See additional information about Driving in Mexico and Mexico’s Toll Roads on Mexperience.

Car Rental – To properly explore Mexico’s Baja Peninsula consider renting a car for your visit. Having your own car will give you more flexibility than using public transport options and, in some cases, offer you access to places which are otherwise difficult to visit without the use of a car. Read our guide to Car Rental in Mexico to learn more.

By Ferry – If you are on Mexico’s mainland, or want to get to it, there is a ferry that crosses the Sea of Cortés (also known as the Gulf of California) to and from La Paz to the port cities of Mazatlán and Los Mochis (Topolobambo). Check the ferry’s web site at: http://www.ferrytmc.com/ for details of routes, schedules, prices and contact details. Getting to Loreto from La Paz will require a further journey northwards on Highway 1.

Taxis – Taxis in most of Mexico’s beach-side towns and cities are not metered, so agree your price before you get in. Taxi travel is very affordable in Mexico, in comparison to the USA, Canada and Europe, and so provides a viable means of public transportation in Mexico. Your hotel can arrange taxis for you; some post their rates on a board in the lobby; taxi hotel rates are usually higher than cabs you hail off the street. If you speak Spanish, you will have a distinct advantage and be able to negotiate a price with the driver. For detailed information, read the Mexperience guide to Taxi Travel in Mexico.

Local Bus – Local bus services are available which connect La Paz, Los Cabos and Todos Santos as well as other destinations further north such as Loreto, San Felipe and other destinations in Baja California.

Local Events Calendar

No local events currently listed.

Practical Information

Telephone and Internet access: Connect to the Communications in Mexico page on Mexperience for detailed information about keeping in touch and the latest table of national dialing codes. Internet cafes can be easily found in towns and cities across Mexico and WiFi and mobile data widely available in Loreto.

Exchanging Currency: Banks with ATM machines can be found in the downtown area of Loreto. During business hours, they and the Casas de Cambio offer foreign exchange. For detailed information about exchanging and managing your money, read the Mexperience guide to Money in Mexico.

Travel Insurance: We recommend that you are adequately covered with travel medical insurance and/or travel assistance insurance when you are visiting Mexico. Read the Mexperience guide to Travel Insurance in Mexico for full details and links to specialist insurance suppliers.

When Night Falls

After a hard day’s play on the water, or not so hard day relaxing in the sun, visitors in Loreto take advantage of the ample and varied range of cafés, bars and restaurants downtown. Nightlife in Loreto is not what you’ll find further south in Cabo San Lucas; the night scene here is more relaxed and tends to revolve around cafes and smaller local bars and restaurants.

What to Buy in Loreto

The downtown area of Loreto offers various boutiques and shops selling a range of Mexican art and craft works including ceramics, blown glass, silver, lamps and furniture, carved sculptures, fine textiles and other Mexican works from the Baja and the Mainland.

Local Climate

The weather during the summer months will be extremely hot; cooler near the coasts. In the winter it can get cooler and windy, so if you’re traveling in the winter, take some warmer clothes just in case the weather turns cooler (especially in the evenings) while you’re there. The ‘rainy season’ is September, otherwise this part of Mexico enjoys sunshine and dry weather most days of the year.

Weather & Climates in Mexico

Learn more about the weather and climates through the seasons and regions by connecting to the Mexperience guide about Weather and Climates in Mexico

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