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21 Things to Do in Loreto, Mexico by Land and Sea

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Located along the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, Loreto is renowned for its water activities like whale watching, sport fishing, and snorkeling with sea lions. If you prefer to stay shoreside, then worry not. There are plenty of land-based adventures in this small town on the Baja Peninsula from visiting historic missions to horseback riding on the beach. Sound like your idea of a good time? Read on to discover the 21 best things to do in Loreto, Mexico!

Loreto, Mexico
Loreto, Mexico (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

My trip to Loreto was hosted by Visit Baja California Sur and Loreto BCS Tourism. I did not receive any monetary compensation related to this article. All opinions are mine, as always.

1. Malecón de Loreto

Take in views of the five nearby Islands of Loreto as you walk along the town’s beautiful mile-long boardwalk, Malecón de Loreto. You just may spy dolphins leaping in the surf as you stroll. The Malecon is particularly pretty at sunrise and sunset.

Malecón de Loreto
Malecón de Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Pretty palm trees, inviting benches, and statues of sea life add to the waterfront experience in Loreto. Look for vendors riding bicycle food carts and peddling snacks along the way. Of course, you must stop for a photo by the city’s sign as a memory of your travels.

Loreto's city sign
Loreto’s city sign (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

2. Boating in Loreto National Marine Park

Designated a national park in 1996 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto (Loreto National Marine Park) encompasses nearly 500,000 acres of nature between the Baja California Peninsula and the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California). In fact, this area is so rife with beauty and marine life, the famous marine biologist Jacques Cousteau once named the Sea of Cortez, “the world’s aquarium.”

Loreto Bay National Park
Loreto Bay National Park (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Loreto Bay National Park includes numerous rocky, uninhabited islands. There are five primary islands: Coronados, Carmen, Danzante, Montserrat, and Santa Catalina. All of these can be viewed from the shore in Loreto. But to really soak up the beauty of this marine park, you will want to take to the sea.

Paddle boating on the Sea of Cortez in Loreto
My friend, Camy Jun, on a paddle board during a boat trip in the Sea of Cortez (Photo credit: Ivette Granados)

Board a 35-foot catamaran at Puerto Escondido Marina to take in stunning views of the national park from the water. Sip cocktails, beer, wine, and other refreshments and munch Mexican snacks like ceviche and tortillas while sailing past the Giganta Mountain Range. Your tour may also provide paddleboards so you can really experience the water.

Dolphin swimming in the Gulf of California near Loreto
Dolphin swimming in the Gulf of California near Loreto (Photo credit: Visit Baja Sur)

If you’re lucky, dolphins will join your journey! My travel journalist friend from Phoenix, Eric Jay Toll, said watching dolphins playing in the boat’s surf was the best part of his boating adventure in Loreto. He said, “A pair of dolphins kept popping out of the wake into the air and then diving back into the churning water.”

Book your 2-hour Loreto sunset cruise with open bar from our trusted partner, GetYourGuide.

Plaza de Loreto
Plaza de Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Downtown Loreto

Loreto has been designated one of Mexico’s Pueblo Magicos, or Magic Towns. According to Visit Mexico, these special villages exhibit a wealth of the country’s “folklore, traditions, culture, history, nature and cuisine.” There are currently 132 Pueblos Magicos in Mexico.

Statue of Catholic priest with indigenous people of Loreto
Statue of a Catholic priest with indigenous people of Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The lovely Spanish colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, and blooming desert plants make Loreto’s historical center feel magical indeed. Just off the main square, Plaza de Loreto, pause to admire the bronze statue of a Catholic priest with the indigenous peoples of the region.

Stray dog in front of Loreto's City Hall
Stray dog in front of Loreto’s City Hall (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Also located on Plaza de Loreto, you’ll find the lemon-yellow City Hall building. Pop inside to take a look at the rotating art exhibits. Often, the artwork by local artists is available for sale. You will also find dramatic murals across four walls in the stairwell by Mexican painter, Alexandro Curiel.

Pretty pedestrian shopping street in downtown Loreto
Pretty pedestrian shopping street in downtown Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Wander through Loreto’s souvenir shops selling folk art, clothing, and other mementos. Then relax in the shade of a green tree tunnel canopy.

Blue whale watching in Loreto
Blue whale watching in Loreto (Photo credit: Visit Baja Sur)

4. Whale Watching

Loreto is renowned as a sanctuary for whales. January through April is the best time of year to view these magnificent creatures in the wild. You may see humpback whales, orca, gray, minke, pilot, and even blue whales in the waters near Loreto.

Blue Whales

In fact, the Gulf of California in Mexico is one of the best places in the world to see blue whales. The biggest animals to have ever lived on our planet, blue whales out-size the T-Rex by about 30 to one. These massive creatures, however, are more elusive than many other whales due to their endangered status, deep-water homes, and shy nature.

That makes the opportunity to see a blue whale during your Loreto travels all the more exciting. It is believed that blue whales return to the waters near Loreto each year as a safe birthing and feeding ground. Boats must stay at least 328 feet (100 meters) from the whales by law to protect their habitat.

Grey whale approaching a small boat
Grey whale approaching a small boat (Photo credit: izanbar, Depositphotos.com)

Gray Whales

Whereas blue whales like to keep a wide berth from viewers, gray whales are known to be curious and may even approach small watercraft. The gray whale is the most commonly spotted of these marine mammals in Loreto National Park, too.

Book your eco-friendly whale-watching tour with a variety of local tour guides recommended by Loreto BCS Tourism.

Snorkeling with sea lions in Loreto National Park
Snorkeling with sea lions in Loreto National Park (Photo credit: Ivette Granados)

5. Snorkeling with Sea Lions

For an amazing experience you will long remember, book a snorkeling excursion with wildlife in Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto. Groups visit Isla Danzante (Danzante Island) or Isla Coronados (Coronados Island) and get a chance to snorkel with wild sea lions.

Toll from Phoenix visited a sea lion colony during a Loreto boat tour. He said, “They are massive creatures with faces that look like dogs. I think their ‘bark’ sound contributes to that image. On land, they moved so clumsily, but in the water, they were so graceful. They bobbed up right next to the boat and floated on their backs looking at us as they came nearly close enough to touch.”

You may view sea turtles bobbing in the waters here, too. In fact, with so much diverse wildlife, Loreto’s islands have developed a reputation as the Galapagos Islands of North America. It’s heaven for nature lovers.

Book your Coronado Island Snorkel and Lunch Cruise with local tour operators through GetYourGuide. One 3-hour boat tour includes snorkeling gear, a picnic lunch, refreshments, and land transportation.

Horseback riding near Loreto
Horseback riding near Loreto on Ligui Beach (Photo credit: Travel Mamas)

6. Horseback Riding

A land-based activity in Loreto that is not to be missed is horseback riding. You’ll get a chance to trot through the Sonoran Desert and along the Gulf of California.

My guide, Mario Perez, and I climbed onto our horses at a ranch in the village of Ligui. Unlike on some trail rides, these trained cattle-working horses were lithe and quick to take direction.

Our horses sauntered through the desert landscape past cardon cactuses, cousins of saguaros. Before long, the desert brush opened up to a sweeping sandy beach with incredible views of Loreto National Park’s different islands.

I mentioned to Mario that I couldn’t get “A Horse With No Name” out of my head. Moments later he began playing the song by America on his smartphone’s speaker. I swear the horses started walking to the beat! See what a mean in my Instagram video above.

Guard chihuahuas in the village of Ligui near Loreto
Guard chihuahuas in the village of Ligui near Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

After the beach, we rode our horses through the tiny Mexican village. Chihuahua “guard” dogs barked at us as we passed, protecting their properties. Then a little boy no older than 3 spotted us, pointing and exclaiming, “Caballos! Caballos! (Horses! Horses!)”

To book a trail ride with Mario, go to his Facebook profile, Loretours Perez. He is such a character and the experience is so unique, you won’t regret it!

View of Puerto Escondido from a hiking trail in Tripui
Cardon cactus and view of Puerto Escondido from a hiking trail in Tripui (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

7. Hiking Near Loreto

For my hike near Loreto, Local Guide Rafael (Rafa) Murillo, brought me to an uphill trail in the town of Tripui. At the top, we were treated to an awesome view of Puerto Escondido, where boats set sail on tours of the Loreto Islands.

Ancient cave paintings near Loreto
Ancient cave paintings near Loreto (Photo credit: Arthur McMahon)

My friend and adventure travel journalist/writer, Arthur McMahon, got a chance to view ancient cave paintings during his hike near Loreto. He said, “My guides led me down rutted dirt roads toward the heart of Peninsula Concepción, where we parked the weathered Jeep at the mouth of a stunning desert canyon. The walls were decorated with 5,000-year-old rock paintings, mostly of turtles, whales, and several varieties of fish like yellowtail, roosterfish, and triggerfish. We hiked for hours amid the natural beauty and historic artwork.”

Hiking lovers may also want to stop on the road to San Javier to hike through Las Parras Canyon. It starts below the peak of El Pilón de Las Parras and ends at an oasis near a river.

Bird spotted on my guided hike near Loreto
Bird (female hooded oriole?) spotted on my guided hike near Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

To make the most of your trek through the Sonoran Desert, hire a guide. A naturalist can help you find and navigate nearby trails. Plus, your guide will point out and name the birds and other native animals seen along the way. Ask your hotel concierge for assistance in finding a guide or book a guided Loreto hike through GetYourGuide.

 
Playa Oasis in front of Hotel Oasis
Enjoying the birds and sunset colors at Playa Oasis near Las Garzas Estuary in front of Hotel Oasis (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Birdwatching

Head to Estero Las Garzas (Estuary of Herons) near Playa Oasis for spectacular birding opportunities in Loreto. It’s located where Garzas Creek and the Gulf waters meet, just south of Hotel Oasis. The low tides expose much of the shorebirds’ favorite foods, making sunrise and sunset the best for birdwatching.

Blue-footed boobies in Loreto National Park
Blue-footed boobies in Loreto National Park (Photo credit: Visit Baja Sur)

More than 35 species of birds can be spotted in Loreto. Look for herons, snowy egrets, pelicans, royal terns, turkey vultures, yellow-footed gulls, and more. You might even get a chance to see blue-footed boobies, the birds made famous by Charles Darwin’s studies of the Galapagos Islands.

Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó (Loreto Mission)
Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

9. Loreto Mission

The first Jesuit mission in the Californias was Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó (Our Lady of Loreto Concho Mission). It served as a base for missionaries throughout the Baja Peninsula, starting in 1697.

Chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Mission Loreto
Chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary at Mission Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Loreto Mission still operates as a catholic church today with multiple services throughout the week. Stop into this small sanctuary to view the altar and a pretty blue chapel dedicated to La Virgen de Guadaloupe (Virgin Mary).

Of course, be mindful not to disturb any services. Out of respect, avoid wearing short shorts, short skirts, or tank tops, too.

Courtyard at Museo de las Misiones de Baja California
Courtyard at Museo de las Misiones de Baja California (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

10. Museo de las Misiones de Baja California

Next door to Loreto Mission, learn history at Museo de las Misiones de Baja California (Museum of Baja California Missions). Read signs in English and Spanish about the past of Loreto’s native peoples as well as the Spanish conquest. Plan to spend about an hour in this small museum and its pretty courtyard.

Beach at Hotel Oasis in Loreto, Mexico
Beach view from Hotel Oasis (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

11. Beach Day

There are plenty of places to lay down a beach blanket and enjoy a day along the shores of the Sea of Cortez in Loreto. Although some beaches border hotels, all beaches in Mexico are public property so feel free to plan a beach day wherever you please. Below are four of the best beaches in Loreto.

Isla Coronados
Isla Coronados (Photo credit: Vist Baja Sur)

Isla Coronados Beach

If it is soft white sand you seek, then take a boat to Coronados Island Beach. This is also a fantastic spot to view marine life like sea lions, blue-footed booby birds, pelicans, and sea turtles.

Ensenada Blanca at Villa del Palmar at Islands of Loreto
Ensenada Blanca at Villa del Palmar at Islands of Loreto (Photo credit: Villa del Palmar)

Ensenada Blanca

Located along the shores of Villa del Pal Mar at the Islands of Loreto, Ensenada Blanca is a great beach for snorkelers. Expect to see schools of tropical fish in clear blue waters. Although anyone is welcome to visit this beach, only hotel guests may use the beach loungers, palapas, and hotel facilities and services.

La Darsena Beach in Loreto Mexico
La Darsena Beach (Photo credit: H. Chow)

La Darsena Beach

A favorite among residents and tourists alike, La Darsena Beach is the closest to Loreto’s downtown and boardwalk. This makes it a convenient place to swim and play. You can place to-go food and drink orders from nearby restaurants to enjoy on the beach in the shade of a palapa.

Playa Oasis at sunset
Playa Oasis at sunset (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Playa Oasis

Stretching out before Hotel Oasis, Playa Oasis is one of the most appealing beaches in Loreto. This gray sand beach is a wonderful place to view sea birds of all sorts at dawn or dusk.

Learn more about Loreto’s beaches from Visit Loreto and Villa del Palmar.

Clambake at Hotel Oasis
Clambake at Hotel Oasis (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

12. Clambake with Chocolate Clams

On Saturday nights, Del Carmen Restaurant at Hotel Oasis hosts a memorable beachfront clambake. In addition to clams, dig into fish ceviche, corn on the cob, grilled chicken, potatoes, salads, and more. Even if you aren’t a big fan of clams, there is plenty of other options to eat and you will appreciate this meal.

Array of good things to eat at the Hotel Oasis clambake
Array of good things to eat at the Hotel Oasis clambake (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The evening starts with an Almejas Tatemadas (Grilled Clams) Show. The fresh clams are prepared on a fire buried in the sand and covered with brush. Watch as the chef digs up and presents the cooked clams.

Loreto’s seafood specialty is the chocolate clam, which is so named for its rich brown color. The clams are served chilled on the half shell, au gratin, and simply grilled. Best of all are the clams escabeche, prepared with a traditional Loretana recipe of cream, mustard, onions, and carrots.

The food is delicious and the setting overlooking the Gulf of California is even better. This was one of my favorite experiences in Loreto. I will long remember eating this incredible food under twinkle lights as pastel pinks, peaches, and purples danced across the water.

San Javier Mission
San Javier Mission (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

13. San Javier Mission and Gardens

After winding through Sierra de la Giganta Mountains for about an hour outside Loreto, our tour group rounded a corner and came upon the cobblestoned village of San Javier. I knew that’s where we were headed but it was still a shock to find this gem in the middle of the desert!

Local vendors in San Javier, Mexico
Vendors in San Javier (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The town was founded as the home for Misión San Javier de Viggé-Biaundó, the second oldest mission in the Californias. Beside the stone block San Javier Mission, there are a few restaurants and vendors selling handicrafts.

Ancient gardens in San Javier
Ancient gardens in San Javier (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

During your day trip to San Javier, purchase entrance to the ancient orchards. Literally an oasis in the desert, the garden features the oldest olive grove in Baja as well as citrus trees, herbs, and other produce. They are watered using an age-old irrigation system that relies on gravity.

Watering system used in San Javier's ancient orchards
Watering system used in San Javier’s ancient orchards (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

On your way back to Loreto, be sure to stop to take in the vast desert view at La Cumbre. There is a turn-off along the 24-mile (38-kilometer) route.

View at La Cumbre
View at La Cumbre (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

To get the most out of a visit to San Javier, book a GetYourGuide Historical San Javier Mission Tour with Lunch. The 4-hour tour includes transportation in an air-conditioned Mercedes van and a meal at a local Mexican restaurant.

Sport fishing in Loreto, MX
Sport fishing during a guys’ trip in Loreto (Photo from GetYourGuide.com)

14. Deep-Sea Fishing

Traditionally a fishing village, one of the biggest draws to Loreto is sport fishing. In summer, you may catch Dorado, marlin, and sailfish. Meanwhile in winter months, yellow tail is king.

 

To get in on this adventure, sign up for a 7-hour Private Deep Sea Fishing Trip with local expert fishermen via GetYourGuide. All necessary gear is included as well as lunch and beverages. Bait and fishing licenses are extra.

Dazante Bay TBC Golf Course in Loreto
Dazante Bay TPC Golf Course (Photo credit: Ivette Granados)

15. Golf in Loreto

Loreto is home to two golf courses for your playing pleasure. Fall through early spring provide the most temperate weather for golfing. Meanwhile, you can score some sweet deals on an early morning round of golf during summer.

Find Danzante Bay TPC Golf Course at Villa del Palmar Resort. Expect greens set amongst dramatic cliffs with challenging elevation changes and Sea of Cortez views on this par 72 course. You need not be a hotel guest to play a round of golf at the 18-hole TPC Danzante Bay.

Your other golfing option is at Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa, a master-planned community and hotel favored by U.S. and Canadian expats. This challenging waterfront 18-hole course is par 72. Guests and day visitors alike are welcome to book a round of golf here.

ATV tour in Loreto
ATV tour in Loreto (Photo credit: TripAdvisor user, Viator.com)

16. ATV Tour

Get your heart pumping with a 3-hour Private ATV Adventure in Loreto with Guide from Viator. First, zoom along Loreto’s Malecón and onto the beach. Then race along part of the Baja 1000 off-road course. Finish up with a visit to the natural springs and pools of Las Virgines. No experience is necessary. Helmets, goggles, and gloves are provided.

Spa Las Flores off Loreto Plaza
Spa Las Flores off Loreto Plaza (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

17. Spa Day

After so many exciting things to do in Loreto, you will want to unwind with a spa treatment. Spa Las Flores offers pampering perfect for some solo time or a girlfriend getaway.

I especially appreciate this spa’s affordably priced Special Packages. These bundles include a full-body massage with your choice of facial, body scrub, or pedicure.

During a romantic Loreto vacation, book the Rosa Plan Para Dos. It includes a couple’s massage followed by red wine and an assortment of cheese, nuts, and olives to share.

Spa Las Flores is conveniently located off Plaza de Loreto in the heart of downtown. There is another location at Loreto Bay.

Swimming pool at Hotel Santa Fe in Loreto
Swimming pool at Hotel Santa Fe in Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

18. Swimming Pools in Loreto

What better way to chill out after a day of exploring than with an afternoon at the pool? Pool time is practically a must in summer and early fall.

Average temperatures in Loreto range from 76 F (24 C) in January up to 97 F (36 C) in September. Keep in mind that temperatures fluctuate 20+ Fahrenheit degrees in one day in the Sonoran Desert. So look for a heated pool if you’d like to go for a dip mid-winter.

Thankfully, many of Loreto’s hotels offer pools for swimming. Even if your hotel does not have a pool, you can still get in on the splashy fun with a pool pass at two local resorts.

Hotel Santa Fe

For about the same price as a frozen daiquiri at a luxury resort in the United States, you can spend all day at the lovely Hotel Santa Fe by Villa Group. And that fee comes with one free drink! From 10 am to 4 pm, enjoy a heated courtyard pool and jacuzzi, cushy lounge chairs, palapa shades, and polite poolside service. Call to make pool reservations.

Pool area at Hacienda Suites Loreto
Pool area at Hacienda Suites Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Hacienda Suites Loreto

Find another attractive pool option at Hacienda Suites Loreto. Expect similar pricing for four hours between 9 am to 6 pm. Relax in a Spanish villa setting filled with bougainvillea, a fountain, and an outdoor (unheated) pool with six loungers and two umbrellas for shade. From your day pass fee, you’ll receive credit to use at the poolside bar, which opened at 4 pm on the day I visited. Make your pool time reservation by phone.

Friday night fair in Loreto Plaza
Friday night fair in Loreto Plaza (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

19. Loreto Festivals and Events

From Carnaval in the weeks leading up to Lent in spring to Fiesta de San Javier honoring Saint Javier in December, there are many reasons to celebrate in Loreto. Mexico’s Independence Day is celebrated across the country on September 16. Unique to Loreto, Festival Almeja Chocolata is a gastronomic event that takes place along the Malecón de Loreto with chocolate clam tastings, live music, and fireworks.

Chocolate clams on the half shell in Loreto
Chocolate clams on the half shell (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The biggest fiestas of the year take place over the course of three weeks in October, commemorating the foundation of Loreto. The celebration culminates on October 25 with a State Symphony concert and party in Plaza Juaréz and concludes on October 26 with an event on Salvatierra Street near the Malecón.

Additional events take place throughout the year, hosted by restaurants and bars featuring live music, dancing, and festive food and drinks. On a Friday night in April, I happened upon a local fair in the main plaza with clowns and DJ music, plus food and goods being sold by vendors. Read about Loreto events including fishing tournaments.

Poolside paloma in Loreto, Mexico
Camy sipping a paloma poolside at Hotel Santa Fe

20. Mexican Beverages and Local Craft Beers

Mexico’s national drink is tequila, an agave-based liquor. Sip it straight or find it in salt-rimmed lime margaritas or sugar-rimmed fruity margaritas like strawberry or mango. Alternatively, order a tangy paloma made from tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda.

Or, switch things up and get a mezcalita instead. This drink is similar to a margarita but is made with tequila’s cousin, mezcal, mixed with orange juice, and rimmed with tajin.

Local craft beers at Zipilote Brewing Company

Craft beers at Zopilote Brewing Company (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

If cerveza is more your style, then there are plenty of places where you can order a beer or two. El Zopilote Brewing Company near Plaza de Loreto features locally brewed craft beers like Blood Orange Ale and Rattlesnake IPA.

Well-known Mexican beers are also readily available in Loreto like the country’s most popular brew, Corona. Other favorites include Modelo, Tecate, and Dos Equis.

Piña colada at Mi Loreto
Piña colada at Mi Loreto (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

For me, it doesn’t really feel like a vacation until I’ve sipped my first piña colada. Technically a Puerto Rican drink, this pineapple-coconut concoction is served all across Mexico. Find a particularly tasty (and grande!) version at Mi Loreto. Toast your good fortune to visit Loreto on their shaded patio.

Mexican horchata
Mexican horchata (Photo credit: joshuarainey, Depositphotos.com)

For those who prefer their libations sans booze, you could always order a virgin piña colada or daiquiri. Mexico’s preferred alcohol-free drink is the agua fresca, though, a refresher made from fruit puree blended with water and sweetener. Horchatas are also popular, typically containing rice milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. For breakfast or dessert, you can’t go wrong with a Mexican hot chocolate (chocolate caliente) — hot cocoa spiced up with cinnamon, vanilla, and a dash of chili powder.

Potato stuffed with arrachera (flank steak) at Asadero Super Burro
Potato stuffed with arrachera (flank steak) at Asadero Super Burro (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

21. Authentic Mexican Cuisine

One of the great joys of visiting Mexico is eating the country’s delectable cuisine. Loreto is home to a plethora of tempting restaurants serving everything from casual street food to elegant fine dining.

Salsas and toppings at Asadero Super Burro
Salsas and toppings at Asadero Super Burro (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Asadero Super Burro

For exceptionally good grilled meats served with a bounty of salsas and other toppings, pull up a chair at Asadero Super Burro. Listen to local musicians as you dig into overflowing burritos, tacos, or baked potatoes.

Baja fish tacos from El Zopilote in Loreto
Baja fish tacos from El Zopilote (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

El Zopilote Brewing Company

In addition to an array of craft beers, El Zopilote Brewing Company serves up yummy fare at welcoming outdoor tables. Expect traditional Mexican items like very good guacamole and corn tortilla chips as well as tacos made with ingredients like beer-battered Baja fish or cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork).

Irish nachos at El Zipolote
Irish nachos at El Zopilote (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Owned by an Irishman named Kieran, you’ll also find some culinary twists at El Zopilote like Irish nachos made with house-made potato chips and Mexican toppings.

Pescado Los Olivos, the signature dish at Los Olivos Restaurant in Loreto
Pescado Los Olivos, the signature dish at Los Olivos Restaurant

Restaurante Los Olivos

The upscale Restaurante Los Olivos at Hotel La Misión specializes in nouveau Mexican cuisine, especially seafood and steaks. Olive lovers will enjoy their signature dish, Pescado Los Olivos, a sea bass filet served with a sauce of olives, capers, lemon, and white wine.

Flan at Los Olivos Restaurant at La Misión Hotel
Flan at Los Olivos Restaurant at La Misión Hotel (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

This is not the time to skip dessert! In the U.S., flan tends to be too gelatinous for my taste but the house recipe at Los Olivos was creamy and downright craveable.

Loreto whale sculptures along the boardwalk
Loreto whale sculptures along the boardwalk (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Why Plan a Loreto Vacation

Ever since I returned from Loreto, I have been recommending this sweet and safe vacation spot in Mexico’s Baja California Sur. Located a 4.25-hour drive from the closest big city of La Paz, this Pueblo Magico is a great place to unplug and connect with nature and a more easygoing way of life.

Although this Mexican town feels worlds away from the U.S. and Canada, Loreto International Airport is easy to reach. Look for direct flights with American Airlines and Alaska Airlines from my hometown of Phoenix as well as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, and Calgary.

In addition to being incredibly affordable, Loreto offers just the right blend of adventure, beauty, and relaxation. In fact, I can’t wait to return!

Map of Loreto, Mexico
Map of Loreto (Courtesy of Visit Baja Sur)

Explore More of Mexico

Traveling with little ones? Here’s what to do in Cancun with babies and toddlers.

Prepare for your Mexican vacation by learning, or brushing up on, some Spanish language. Read my Rosetta Stone review for families.

Celebrate Mexico at home with a Cinco de Mayo party with kids. These family fiesta tips work any time of year!

Discover one of my favorite places on the planet with this curated list of things to do in San Miguel de Allende with kids. Get a taste of the best restaurants in San Miguel de Allende, too.

View of San Miguel de Allende from Luna Rooftop Tapas Bar at the Rosewood Hotel
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Save These Top Things to Do in Loreto

Planning a trip to Loreto? Be sure to keep this list of Loreto activities and attractions. Just save the image below to Pinterest. I hope you’ll follow Travel Mamas on Pinterest while you’re at it!

Best Things to Do in Loreto Mexico

Which of these amazing things to do in Loreto would you like to experience? Let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments below!

 
About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, TravelMamas.com. She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. Fransic verso says

    Wow, so pretty and love the pictures fro this trip. A lot of things to do in Loreto. Would love to try them this year.

  2. Stephanie says

    Water, beaches, good food and drinks, and a bit of history? Sounds like the perfect vacation spot for my family!

  3. This post is so detailed and well written with lots of high-quality photos. You really brought us closer to Loreto. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Pedja – Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope you can visit Loreto someday!

  4. This is one of the hidden gems of Mexico that you don’t hear about much. Thank you for your post!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Beth – The unique thing about Loreto isn’t only that it’s one of the most charming places in Mexico, but also that it is a paradise for nature lovers, with so many things to do and explore!

  5. Tweenselmom says

    This is such a great place to travel to and you made a wonderful list on where to travel out first.

  6. Rose Ann Sales says

    Wow! Didn’t know that you can do all of these in Mexico! I’m surely gonna add this on my bucket list

  7. I went to Loreto many years ago – probably 25. It has changed so much, and I am guessing it would be almost unrecognizable to me if I returned to see it myself. Has a lot of great things to see and I love all the sea life there!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Marysa – I bet you it is very different! Maybe it’s time to plan a return trip?!

  8. Wow, gorgeous photos! Thank you for sharing your trip. Now, I wanna goooo!

  9. That looks like such a beautiful place to visit. I think we’d love to be lucky enough to have dolphins swim, with us.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Cinny – I hope you can visit Loreto someday and the dolphins swim with your boat! Amazing experience!

  10. The architecture does look really fascinating and the photos capture the atmosphere so well, what a great place to visit.

  11. What a comprehensive guide so much to see and do. To be honest you had me at horse rides on the beach, how perfect xx

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Melanie – A woman after my own heart! My Loreto horseback ride on the beach was a wonderful experience — the scenery was stunning!

  12. Great list of things to do! I would definitely enjoy snorkeling with sea lions!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Mandy – Such a unique experience! I hope you get a chance to snorkel with sea lions in Loreto someday!

  13. Ntensibe Edgar says

    Nnniiiccceeeeee…it is boat riding and whale watching for me. I have really missed those, for about 7 years now. Thank you for sharing about them all here.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Ntensibe – I would absolutely LOVE to see a blue whale someday! I guess I have to head back to Loreto in whale season!

  14. Your opening image alone on this post has me craving a trip to Mexico! It’s on my bucket list, and perhaps someday we’ll get the opportunity, but it won’t be for a long time!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Nyxie – I hope your Mexico travel wishes come true sooner rather than later!

  15. Mexico has so much to offer! This is not a tourist city you hear much about, but like you have proven, these small, lesser- known places are often hidden gems and deserving of a look.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Bryan – Truly, Loreto is such a wonderful off-the-beaten path destination!

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