Mexico – Loreto, Baja Sur
One of the oldest settlements in the Baja California peninsula, this beautiful destination carries you deep into a Mexico of legends and colonial splendor, whether you’re wandering its winding streets, exploring caves and admiring prehistoric cave paintings, or enjoying a dip in the Sea of Cortez.
Loreto is guarded by the great Sierra de la Giganta and made up of the stunning Coronado, Del Carmen, Danzante, Monserrat and Santa Catalina islands. You’ll enjoy unsurpassed natural surroundings including beautiful beaches, breathtaking cliffs, impressive rock formations and, of course, a closer look at where the colonization of Baja California all began. It was here that the first Mission was established, laying the groundwork for the establishment of the Church of Our Lady of Loreto.
More than 300 years of history combine to make the oldest settlement on the Baja California peninsula what it is today. You’ll be amazed by the vivid contrast of the deep azure of the sea against the rich greens of island vegetation. There are many nooks and stretches of sand to explore along the beautiful bays, where those with a taste for extreme sports can choose between kayaking, snorkeling and sailing.
You might enjoy a pleasant tour along the gentle, calm waves of the Sea of Cortez to reach more secluded places such as the gorgeous beaches of Isla Del Carmen, the stunning cliffs and perfect diving conditions of Isla Danzante, or Isla Catalina, an ideal excursion for the ecologically-minded or those who simply enjoy admiring the indigenous flora and fauna.
Loreto also offers sport fishing, and species such as the mahi mahi, wahoo and tuna abound in local waters. If you’re looking for a more exclusive experience in Lareto, you can play golf to your heart’s content on its renowned golf courses; or, if your preference is for adrenaline-fueled activities such as diving, surfing, mountain biking or rappelling, there’s plenty on offer. Those on a winter getaway won’t want to miss the chance to take a whale watching tour; grey whales can be sighted just 90 minutes off the coast of Loreto.
Loreto is rich in culture, as you’ll see when you witness its colorful traditions and festivities. The most important celebration in this picturesque city, the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto, is held on September 8th in honor of its beloved patron saint.
On that day, the effigy of Our Lady of Loreto is accompanied by pilgrims and novenas throughout the city, combining worship with a joyful, explosive celebration.
Sports are an integral part of the festivities, and fishing tournaments and other activities are held throughout the region. Music, exhibitions, traditional dance and callejoneadas – in which groups of revelers stream through the streets to the rhythm of the music – are part of another important regional celebration, the Jesuit Missions Festival. This festival is celebrated a few days before the regional fair of Loreto – the festival celebrating the founding of Loreto – in October. Both cultural festivals highlight Loreto’s many traditions and vibrant street life.