by: Roger, local Editor
flight San Diego-Loreto-Mexico City!
As of about 6 months ago Loreto has a propina (propane) plant CALIGAS just south of town on highway #1, close to Prima Agua, for refilling tanks. You don't have to travel to CD Constitution for gas any more. (Isn't progress great?)
Loreto Calendar Of Events
Immigration FM3 & FM-VC etc.
The immigration office at the Loreto Airport is for arriving and departing planes. The office for business, visas, FM3, FM2 is located on the road into Loreto (close to the bus station & El Nido) in the complex called "Casa De Cultura"
The local Mexican immigration office in Loreto is planning its relocation on January 10th. The office will be located next to the Plaza Loreto Hotel in the central part of town on Paseo Hidalgo. (Tentative Plan anyway!)
O R E T O
Loreto is the original capital of all of the Californias, and if you haven't been here lately, you should consider giving this historic seaside town a second look! The seafront malecon has been completely rebuilt, and now features grass, palm trees, and a seaside walkway complete with sitting benches right at the edge of the Sea of Cortez. Many additional improvements were made in 1997 to celebrate Loreto's 300 year anniversary, and Loreto is now looking ship-shape as it heads into the 21st century.
A new marina has been built on the north end of town, and is now the focal point for most of the fishing out of Loreto. A good launch ramp can handle almost any size boat, although larger vessels should avoid the ramp at low tide.
Right next to the marina is a sandy swim beach, and the sand goes all the way out! Jumping from the small marina pier into the water at the swim beach is a favorite past time for the local kids, and a great way for anyone to cool off on a hot Baja afternoon! A nice restaurant is located right next to this beach, at water's edge, and offers spectacular views of the Sea of Cortez.
Just south of Loreto is the newly developing Nopolo area, offering excellent golf, professional tennis, and custom homes in a very relaxing environment.
Loreto has always been popular with the fishing crowd, and hook-ups are still a big reason to visit Loreto. Although now kayakers have finally discovered the delicious waters off of Loreto, and divers are becoming increasingly common in town. The waters off of the local islands have been set aside as underwater national 'parks' to ensure pristine diving for many years to come.
sailors, the natural harbor at Puerto Loreto (more commonly known as Puerto Escondido)
is a great place to hole up during bad weather, or as a great destination in and
of itself. The offshore islands of Isla Coronado, Isla Carmen, and Isla Danzantes
each offer hidden coves and some spectacular white sandy beaches!
In short, Loreto has come a long way from the dusty days when the blacktop first came through town, back in the 1970's. With the international airport just south of town, getting to Loreto is less than a two hour flight from Los Angeles, California. Lookig for a quick, fun getaway? Loreto is waiting for you!
Beaches:Loreto has miles of sandy beaches, north and south of town. The Malecon consists of large boulders, creating a long breakwater for the city. The beaches near town are made up mostly of brown sand. Offshore, two nearby islands offer spectacular white sand beaches in protected emerald coves. North to south . . .
Camping-R.V.:There are a few places in town that offer camping facilities, and miles of beaches and open terrain out of town. Most of the camping in and around Loreto is basic in nature, offering few amenities. Camping on the beach is possible just north of town, and there are some great beaches further south as well.
Fishing - Boating:Loreto is a big fishing town, both for the locals and for the Baja visitor. Even though the fishing improves as the water starts to warm up towards summer, there really is decent fishing in Loreto all year long. Those who bring their own boats will have no problem launching on the cement ramp in the new harbor on the north end of town. Boats with a deep draft should avoid launching at very low tides. Those who need to charter the services of the locals will usually have no problem finding a competent skipper and a vessel.
Let's talk fish. The Yellowtail usually run from November through June, Marlin June through September, Yellowfin Tuna July through October, Sailfish June through September, and Snapper and Cabrilla can run all year long. Your mileage may vary. If you or your skipper spot a huge sea turtle cruising near the surface of the water while out at sea, please don't kill it. There aren't that many of the buggers left.
Hotels - Lodging: The hotel situation in Loreto seems to be improving each year. There are a few medium sized hotels in town, and a large mega-resort just a few minutes south. Fear not, the ever present La Pinta Hotel chain also has their foot in the sand in Loreto!
Local history: Mission San Javier is one of the true jewels of the Baja Mission system. It is located 22 miles west of Loreto on an unpaved road. This road can be traveled by most passenger vehicles, although small cars with low clearance will have to adapt to a bit slower pace. If you're not in a hurry this is a very pleasant drive. Average driving time is less than 2 hours. The mission itself is located in a palm filled valley, with the population of the local village somewhere around 300 souls (goats, chickens and horses not included). It's extremely well preserved, made of large stones and lava rock, and a walking tour of the mission and surrounding grounds is a genuine treat. This settlement originally settled by the Jesuits in the year 1699. For a guided tour try . . .
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Recreation: Even though fishing has always been the main stay of Loreto, more and more Baja travelers are finding other ways to enjoy their stay in this fun seaside town. A few options include:
BIKES: Loreto sits on relatively flat terrain, so biking around town is fun. There's not too much traffic, and a ride along the Malecon at waters edge is very enjoyable. For a more serious bike run, heading south past Nopolo to the harbor at Puerto Escondido is an option, but watch out for trucks on the highway. The shoulder is minimal.
DIVING:When the water is calm, snorkeling can be fun right off the sea wall, in the main part of town. The bottom consists of sand, sea grass and sea weed, and a surprising number of fish. Scuba diving is good along the cliffs of the offshore islands, especially the large island directly offshore, Isla Del Carmen.
GOLF: Golfing at Nopolo Resort is probably the most laid back golfing in the known Universe. Crowds are rare, although the word is gradually getting out about this little slice of golf paradise. A golf course with this small number of customers in the U.S. or Canada would go out of business quickly. But the Mexican government keeps this puppy running just fine. Pack a cooler full of drinks, and go hit the links!
NOPOLO RESORT GOLF COURSE A mile or two south of Loreto International Airport. 18 holes / par 72 / 5400 yards / clubhouse / restaurant / bar lockers / carts. A very fun course, rarely crowded, several hole right on the Sea of Cortez!
KAYAKING:The calm waters of the Sea of Cortez around Loreto are great for snorkeling. Although the beach in town and just north of town is somewhat exposed to the prevailing winds, south of town near Nopolo the seaside cliffs provide a windbreak close to shore. For beginners, kayaking in the harbor at Puerto Escondido is an enjoyable experience.
TENNIS,NOPOLO RESORT TENNIS CENTER .: About a mile south of the Loreto International Airport. 8 championship courts / tournament stadium for 250 people / restaurant / lockers Pro shop / dressing rooms / sun deck / pool / usually not crowded.
WINDSURFING: Where else can you launch a board right in the middle of town? The sea wall along the Malecon is just a few feet above the high tide line. Also, the sandy beach a couple hundred yards north is a good place to launch. Winds range from calm to moderate most of the time, and the water is warm enough most of the year to avoid wetsuits.
Restaurants: There are several very good places to
eat in Loreto, and more seem to be popping up each year. The menus vary widely,
and the Baja traveler can find just about any type of meal desired right near
the center of town.
The best steak in Loreto is at El Taste
(formerly Caesar's) across from the small gas station- outstanding cook (everything
excellent on menu, eat there often).
JR's (Macaws) on the malecon
next to the old Carmans Restaurant (Charlie's) is where people go for happy hour
(4-6) and to watch sports on TV. Also good cook - my specialty there is:' best
hamburger in Loreto', and a great chicken soup. Nice big place where we have our
gringo Christmas program.
Great restaurant also is what we
call "Pancho & Martina's - Mexico Lindo y Que Rico located about 1 block east
of the Pescador market (south side of street just before the stop sign and speed
Shopping:Loreto offers shopping sufficient to please locals and visitors alike. The main market in the center of town is just like the supermarket back at home, although maybe not offering quite the same large selection. Other stores in town offer shopping of the other variety, such as clothing, apparel, jewelry and the like. While pop is out at play on the ocean, mom should have no problem running up the Master Card.
Transportation: One thing can definitely be said about Loreto . . it's easy to get to! The International Airport is just a couple of miles south of town, with direct 2 hour flights from Los Angeles. Also, the Baja Highway skirts just west of town, making it easy for vehicles to get here. And, supposing you were crazy enough to want to arrive by boat, the harbor in town is a good place to tie up. Click for flight schedule
Taxis can almost always be found parked on the north side of Loreto's main street, just east of the large El Pescador market. Before and after incoming flights, Taxis can be found parked in front of the airport. Most folks arriving at the airport choose to utilize the airport shuttle vans, at the reasonable cost of $5 per head. If you simply must get to town immediately, a private Taxi will be happy to help you, at a cost of $15-$18.
Estate: Loreto real estate is hot, and seems to be getting hotter
each year. More Baja aficionados are deciding to set down roots in Loreto, and
real estate prices appear to be on the upswing. The short 2 hour flight from the
United States is enticing more buyers each year to purchase vacation homes. Properties
available include beach front, ocean view, and interior properties.