We recently had the chance to visit Loreto and discover the magic, the beauty, and the real paradise that this destination has to offer.
Located on the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California) in the State of Baja California Sur in Mexico, Loreto is an ideal place for the perfect escape.
Whether you are looking for a quiet place to relax from it all or a more adventurous vacation full of fun and exciting things to do, Loreto will not disappoint you.
And the best place to stay just happens to be the only Five-Star resort in Loreto: Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto.
Villa del Palmar is a fantastic resort with 180 luxury rooms with a Jacuzzi tub in each suite and well equipped with full kitchens. It is located on 1,800 hectares of property surrounded by nature and its own beach cove at Ensenada Blanca Beach.
The resort also has 5 pools, a world-class spa, a mini market, a kids’ area, and three restaurants.
The entertainment at Villa del Palmar is endless. Every day there are fun activities scheduled all day long. Start early with a morning hike on one of the trails that overlook the beautiful islands of Loreto.
Throughout your hike, you will see the diversity of vegetation in the area, the amazing water colors of the Sea of Cortez, and if you are lucky, you could spot Baja condors flying around the coast. Just make sure you are wearing enough sunblock.
If you wish to enjoy the resort’s activities, you can join the aqua-aerobics classes at the main pool every day. On different nights, they have a variety of great shows. Don’t miss Mexican Night on Saturdays; it is a fun, colorful display of all the important traditional dances of Mexico.
As far as water activities, Loreto is a true paradise. Not only is Loreto one of the best whale-watching spots during the winter months, but all year round you can enjoy great kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and paddle boarding.
The late Sea Explorer Jacques Cousteau actually dubbed the Sea of Cortez “the aquarium of the world” due to the hundreds of species unique to the region.
Wild Loreto is a company with friendly staff and many years of experience who have an office in Villa del Palmar’s lobby.
Their staff can help you choose among all the fun activities and tours you can do during your stay in Loreto. They also have kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling equipment for rent.
If you wish to ride on a catamaran boat around the islands, they can help you as well.
We took a boat to Danzante Island and it was an incredible experience. We saw many dolphins on the way there and we snorkeled at Honeymoon Beach, where we saw starfish and other types of sea life.
Not many know that Loreto is of great importance in the history of California. Actually, of both Californias: the Alta California and the Baja California.
And it is from here that the Spanish went on to build missions and presidios that went all the way up north ending at the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma following El Camino Real.
Furthermore, the famous “Camino Real” actually starts in Loreto. Despite this importance, the town of Loreto has remained small, with a population of about 10,000 people.
If you want to be closer to the historic downtown, Hotel Santa Fe Loreto is a great place to stay. The spacious rooms are equipped with full kitchens and the hotel offers a pool, hot tub, and plenty of parking. It’s only a short walk to visit the historical Mission of Loreto.
How to get there
Loreto is such an easy destination to get to. From LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) there are several airlines that fly there. You can get great specials on a charter flight with CalJet Airlines.
They have a fantastic schedule leaving and returning on Saturdays. And best of all, the flight only takes 1 hour 40 minutes. It’s that fast!
If you love adventure and beautiful scenic road trips, you can go by car. Driving from San Diego is about 13 hours.
Most people drive to the town of Guerrero Negro on the Pacific side and spend the night, arriving in Loreto the next day.
If you’re looking for a relaxing beach getaway paired with authentic Mexican charm, Loreto is a destination you won’t want to miss. But hurry before it’s discovered!
We’re so curious!
What’s your ideal vacation? Here are the options, vote below…
Being one with nature:
Access to historical sites:
A festival or event:
A beautiful beach and lots of sun:
On Monday, February 22nd a Travel Alert was issued by the U.S. Department of State regarding travel to Mexico.
For the many tourists who have been loyal to visiting Mexico over the years, this news wasn’t cause for concern. However, Mexico attracts new visitors every day and this Travel Alert could have potential tourists feel a little worried about traveling to Mexico.
To begin, this is not a new Travel Alert, but an update from a Travel Alert dated August 20, 2009 and is reviewed every six months. The main revisions on this version have to do with a few additional border areas where extra caution is recommended.
If you read the document, you will see the U.S. Department of State mainly refers to cities like Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, and Nogales, where there has been an increase in violence along the U.S. – Mexico border.
Clearly, the Travel Alert has put an emphasis on the border area. But Mexico is a big country and fortunately the top touristic destinations are far from those border cities.
So what does it mean to travelers and how should we respond to this alert?
One of the things that we need to understand is that there is a big difference between a Travel Alert and a Travel Warning.
Basically a Travel Alert informs the public about short-term conditions, meaning U.S. citizens should take common-sense precautions (we hope you always use your common sense, regardless!).
On the other hand, Travel Warnings are issued to describe long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable.
So, it is very important U.S. citizens understand that this alert is not to discourage Americans from traveling to Mexico’s tourist destinations.
As I mentioned before, the top tourist destinations in Mexico are far from the areas included in the alert. For example, the distance from Cancun to Ciudad Juarez is 1,312 miles – approximately the same distance between New York and Miami (1,290 miles).
Other tourist spots like Los Cabos, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco, are about a two-hour flight away from the areas identified in the alert. In other words: no need to get up from your hammock, so relax and ask your waiter for another Margarita!
Putting things in perspective
Big fact: U.S. and international travelers continue to visit Mexico because they feel safe; they know the violence in the northern border cities is unrelated to Mexico’s main tourist areas.
Tourists who visit Mexico find the friendliness, warmth, and hospitality like no other place. Because of this, Mexico welcomed almost 22 million international tourists in 2009. In addition, over one million Americans choose to reside in Mexico.
Always remember: As with any other place in the world, you should always be a smart traveler, use your common-sense, be informed about the place you will visit, respect the local customs, and take any necessary precautions.
Getting to your travel destination is part of the fun. You can drive, fly, take a train, or go by boat.
But how about getting there by participating in a world-class regatta race?
Last Thursday I had the chance to attend the Kick-Off Party for one of the most popular regatta races in the western hemisphere: the Vallarta 2010 race. This event took place at the San Diego Yacht Club and it was sponsored in part by the Mexico Tourism Board.
The Vallarta Race is an annual competition that started back in 1953. It begins in San Diego, California and ends in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, covering a distance of 1,000 NMs down the coast of Baja California.
This year 12 boats will be competing; eleven of them representing USA and one team representing Mexico on boat Peligroso.
The boats are expected to cross the finish line and arrive in Puerto Vallarta between February 24 and 26, where there will be many celebrations and events. But you can actually follow the competition and track the race boats on real-time by clicking here.
Many people take advantage of this race event to travel to beautiful Puerto Vallarta and enjoy the many attractions of this beach paradise.
What to do in Puerto Vallarta
If you love the outdoors, Vallarta Adventures offers different tours and packages for everyone. From thrilling zip lines at their private canopy reserve to scuba diving, and from swimming with dolphins to exploring colonial villages, Vallarta Adventures is a great place to start exploring Puerto Vallarta and its surroundings.
As a bonus, Vallarta Adventures participates in many programs aimed at preserving the local wildlife and vegetation.
If you love shopping, you can find traditional Mexican arts & crafts, pottery, silver jewelry, beautiful indigenous masks, ceramics & hand-blown glassware, and even contemporary art where you can meet the artists in person at the many different art galleries in town.
When it comes to Mexican gastronomy, Puerto Vallarta has many top restaurants that offer the best in Mexican dishes with the excellent customer service that distinguishes Mexico.
Dance all night to the rhythm of the night or enjoy live music at the heart of town, El Centro. Also known as the Malecón, here you will find all types of bars and restaurants with something for everyone.
Vallarta Wine Fest
For the wine lovers, the 4th Vallarta Wine Fest will be held on February 22 and last a week.
At the event you can expect all types of cultural and artistic expressions, wine tastings and wine pairings. The event not only promotes wine culture in a fun way, but also promotes Vallarta as a great travel destination.
For more information on Vallarta and other Mexican destinations, please go to www.VisitMexico.com
* Regatta photo courtesy of the San Diego Yacht Club