My boyfriend Mat and I met when the world shut down, at the start of the pandemic back in 2020. Needless to say we haven’t done much travelling together. Last year, we escaped to Cancun to an all-inclusive resort. However, as adventure junkies, we wanted our next vacation together to encompass more exploration. We ventured to Loreto, Mexico, of Baja California Sur, and can honestly say it was one of the most memorable trips of our lives. If you’re looking to discover a hidden gem, you’ll want to put Loreto on your list. Here are a few highlights of the region.
Our absolute favourite and a must-visit when in Loreto is the award-winning Villa del Palmar Resort and Spa on Danzante Bay. Mat is a die-hard golfer. He was absolutely blown away by the course. It is the only TPC course in Mexico, rated first in Latin America and is recognized for its panoramic views across 4,447 acres. Part of what makes this course so unique is that it runs over and through valleys, arroyos, dunes and foothills. Their signature 17th hole is the most challenging, with the greatest view of the Sea of Cortez. And if you’re not a golfer, trust me when I say you will enjoy riding in the golf cart for the scenery alone.
If you’re looking to get some steps in, you can go hiking on a trail that runs through the mountains overlooking the golf course. Be sure to enjoy a delicious meal and drinks at their clubhouse, which comes with stunning views of the course, ocean and resort.
Local charm in La Purisima
Make time for a visit to the small and quaint town of La Purisima, founded in 1720 by a Jesuit Missionary. The current residents of La Purisima were born and raised there, so you’re getting an authentic experience when you visit. If you’re looking for cultural activities in town, learn from residents how to dry dates, how to make corn and flour tortillas, goat cheese and even wine.
Centuries-old aqueducts are still intact and operational today. The aqueducts flow to a fresh body of water where we went kayaking. The morning was cool but after about a 30-minute paddle, we warmed up and discovered a scenic waterfall. Along our journey we were also able to park our kayaks and do some hiking where we saw some baby goats and turkey vultures.
Unsurpassed nature in Loreto
Bird watching was definitely a first for both of us! We had a fantastic guide named Rodolfo from ToursByLocals, who not only pointed out over 20 different bird species, but shared so much of his knowledge about the area and its vegetation. We were able to see species that are endemic, residents and migratory birds. By far my favourite bird was the Spotted Sand Piper—if you haven’t seen it, it basically twerks when it moves. In addition, Coronados Island possesses a diverse marine environment and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On our visit we spotted Blue-Footed Boobies, crabs and had a close-up experience watching sea lions (the puppies of the ocean). This unforgettable experience was topped off when Mat and I saw not one or two dolphins, but approximately 100. It was as if our boat was swimming with them. Truly one of the most magical experiences.
Stellar Loreto stays
From simple casitas to luxury villas, there are an abundance of accommodation options in and around Loreto. We stayed at La Mision, one of the biggest hotels in Loreto. It also happens to be oceanfront and a five-minute walk into town where you’ll find many shops and restaurants. It was clean, comfortable and had a contemporary, European-Mexican hacienda flair to it.
Another hotel we visited was Hotel Santa Fe. This boutique property has family suites complete with kitchenettes for people who are looking to stay for a longer period. A restaurant serves one amazing and hearty breakfast!
History and heartwarming hospitality
Loreto was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California Peninsula (founded in 1697) and the first capital of California. So there’s history everywhere you turn. This untapped, authentic Mexican paradise has a population of under 15,000 which gives it the feeling of a small town, and it’s this feeling of warmth that extends to the locals. For example, we visited Mulege where we met Javier. He was born and raised in the city and is the owner of the fifty-year-old hotel, Las Casitas. The vibrant property embodies the charm of old Mexico. This is exactly what we felt from Javier. His hospitality, pride, generosity and stories were the best part of the visit for us.
Just south of Loreto is the protected bay of Puerto Escondido where we took a world-class catamaran ride with ABT Sailing. The boat isn’t your average sailboat. It has four bedrooms, four bathrooms and a mini kitchen where the crew made us a delicious breakfast and lunch with bottomless refreshing drinks.
Our highlight of the adventure was stopping at Honeymoon Cove. The water is so clear here we could see the bottom of the ocean. We took the dingy to shore and were able to explore and hike on the island.
Even though Mexico continues to be a very well-travelled country, Loreto is one of those rare finds, still unspoiled, making this a trip of a lifetime for us. We will forever cherish the experiences, adventures, stories, people and landscape we encountered. The more we saw and experienced, the more we wanted to do, and the more we can’t wait to return.