The Loreto Bay Company’s
8,000-acre complex includes one-
bedroom units for $199 a night.
Come winter, when migrating whales and perfect weather draw
travelers to the Baja coast, travel agents might want to think
about steering clients to Loreto as an alternative to the more
crowded, developed destinations along the peninsula. This winter,
facilities and activities will be in place, appealing to a wider
range of tastes.
Even though a little more than a decade ago Loreto was nothing
more than one hotel and three restaurants, it has grown into a
couple dozen inns and eateries while managing to maintain its
romantic, old fishing village ambiance.
By December, visitors will not only be able to check into the
traditional sporty lodges in town, but also into new luxury home
rentals. Located 10 miles from town in an area known as Nopolo, the
Loreto Bay Company, which is building an 8,000-acre residential
complex, will start offering one-bedroom colonial-style units for
$199 a night. Longer-term rentals for a minimum of six months will
also be put on the market. Guests will have access to a pool,
beach, watersports, restaurants and massage services at the nearby
Inn at Loreto Bay. The 155-room property, the former Camino Real,
is due for renovations under the new owners.
If your client craves luxury and wants to be in the heart of
Loreto, there is the older, but stylish, 15-room Posada de las Las
Flores, a 150-year-old mansion with exposed beams, lovely archways
and antiques. It’s steps from the plaza and a few blocks from the
first mission of the Californias, Our Lady of Loreto, which dwarfs
the town with its huge bell tower. The 17th-century compound is
worth a visit for its history alone, which coincides with Loreto’s
past as the first capital of Baja California.
Loreto’s popular golf course
is getting a redesign.
For those looking to hit the greens, starting in December, duffers
will be able to play the back nine holes of the town’s 18-hole golf
course. Being redesigned by British Open champ David Duval, the
rest of the course will open fall of 2008. For tennis buffs, the
nine courts of the Loreto Tennis Center are also being upgraded
with a reopening planned for the end of the year. Loreto is a
sportfishing Mecca. Although May is the big month for dorado,
yellow-fin tuna surpasses all catches in the winter. Fishing
excursions can be arranged on everything from yachts and cruisers
to family boats.
Any time of year, you can hop aboard a panga at the pier for a
half-hour ride to Coronado Island to swim, snorkel and kayak in
blue crystalline waters much like those found around Cancun. If
you’re lucky, you’ll catch glimpses of sea lions or hundreds of
dolphins dive bombing around your boat. A time-honored tradition is
whale-watching in Loreto, especially December to March, when the
whales travel to Baja to mate and give birth to their young.
The town makes an ideal hub for touring neighboring Jesuit
missions. There’s Santa Rosalia just outside Mulege, north of
Loreto, and San Francisco Javier, 20 miles south, which will reopen
its museum in time for the holiday season. Those hankering to scuba
dive might want to linger in Mulege and try Cortez Explorers, a
PADI dive center under new ownership. British dive master Mick
Chapman has a list of new dive sites, one of which he claims has as
much diversity as the Red Sea.
Bobbi Huber, director of business development for Happy
Vacations of Watsonville, Calif., has been sending FIT travelers to
Loreto for the last 1½ years
“I sell to the soft-adventure bunch people from ages 40 to 70,”
she said. “They do snorkeling, fishing, diving and hiking. This
location has tremendous potential.”
With the variety of activities and accommodations, it seems
Loreto is ideal for those looking for a Mexican experience away
from the crowds.