Loreto, California Baja Sur
The easiest way to visit Loreto in Baja California Sur is to fly into the Loreto Airport. Alaska (from LAX), Westjet (from Canada) and Volaris (Tijuana) provide the most service. You can also fly from Cabo San Lucas via Alaska Airlines. We (because we are somewhat gluttons for punishment), decided to drive.
We left Cabo San Lucas for La Paz at approximately 9:00 am with a plan to stop for breakfast in La Paz. It took us only one hour and 45 minutes. Hwy. 19 is a beautiful, four-lane highway and the bypass at Todos Santos is now complete, making the drive even more pleasant. From La Paz, it's another four+ hours to Loreto, via Hwy.1. There are two main towns enroute: Ciudad Constitucion and Ciudad Insurgentes where you can stop for gas or a snack. The landscape is desert as far as the eye can see. It's a beautiful drive in September and October when the rainy season winds to a close and the desert comes alive with flowering cacti. Nearer to Loreto, the vegetation is much dryer as it doesn't rain as frequently on this side of the peninsula.
Photos: Good highways and a lot of cacti to look at along the way. Descending to the Villa del Palmar Resort and a glimpse of the golf course below.
On approach to Loreto, the road begins to ascend before winding down through the Sierra de la Giganta mountains to the Sea of Cortez. Our hotel, the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, is 21 miles south of downtown. It is the only hotel on Dazante Bay and is known for its Rees Jones designed golf course. While secluded and remote, plans to expand the hotel with another wing and additional pools and restaurants will begin October, 2020. Lots surrounding the hotel are currently being sold for private residences as well. (Take note there may be considerable construction noise for the foreseeable future.)
Currently, the price to shuttle from the Loreto Airport to Villa del Palmar will run $28 US per person, one-way, and are handled by Wilde Loreto.
Photos: Lobby and grounds of the Villa del Palmar, at the Islands of Loreto
Photos courtesy of Villa del Palmar website: Great shot of Danzante Golf Course and the spectacular 18th hole. Tip: I can help you with a golf package! hint hint
We found the Villa del Palmar, Loreto, to be a very nice, 4-Star resort. With Covid safety precautions in place and only 40% occupancy, we were easily able to social distance. It was very clean, with a pleasant atmosphere, nice pools and a beautiful bay to swim in. With virtually nowhere to go outside of the hotel, the pool activities staff did their best to engage guests with games and music and the restaurant featured nightly entertainment. There is a Spa and of course, the golf course. If you don't have a car you can take the hotel shuttle into town for $10 per person, each way. (Price subject to change.) We met Misael Chan, the Club Manager, who took great care of us and even continued to check in with us after we returned home.
Photos: Picture of the hotel from waist deep in the bay, evening sunset, local wildlife.
Photos: The Loreto overlook between Villa del Palmar and the town of Loreto
The drive to downtown Loreto took approximately 1/2 hour and included gorgeous views of the Sea of Cortez along the way. Surprisingly large, with a population of about 20,000, we were impressed with its cleanliness and charm. Again, COVID has shuttered businesses there but open-air restaurants and small souvenir stores surrounded the plaza and no one yelled or fought for our business like they do in downtown Cabo.
Photos: Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, (Loreto Mission), founded in 1697, was the first successful mission in Baja California. The Plaza and colorful town of Loreto and a COVID-empty Malecon.
Photos: Mi Loreto Cocina Mexicana, few tourists, salt, pepper and hand-sanitizer served at every table
We ate at Mi Loreto Cocina and met the kindly owner, Edgar. The standard sanitizing mat for shoes, hand sanitizer on entry and required masks were the norm. We had shrimp tacos and Chicken Mole, plus a margarita and cerveza - all great and reasonably priced.
In the heat of September, the temperature of the water in the bay is truly bathtub warm. You can walk out a long way and be only waist deep. We did a little snorkeling by walking down the beach to the rocks and swimming along the shoreline. We saw a few fish, including Puffers and a Pipe Fish but to really experience Loreto's fish sanctuaries you need to go out by boat.
Photos: Danzante Bay shoreline and two great places to watch the evening sunset.
Loreto is much like Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo before the tourist industry really took over. If you want to relax, experience old-world Mexican charm and get away from the hustle and bustle of Los Cabos, Loreto might just be your go-to destination.
A great combination trip:
Fly from LAX to Loreto. Shuttle to your hotel and spend three nights at the Villa del Palmar or other Loreto hotel.
Fly from Loreto to Cabo San Lucas for five or seven days.
Fly from Cabo back to your home city.
I can take you there! Email me here!