Lovely Loreto

The uncrowded fishing village has all the appeal of larger destinations

By: Patricia Alisau

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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.

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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.


Cortez Exolorers
52-615-153-0500 (in Mulege)

Happy Vacations

Loreto Bay Company

Posada de las Flores