On the Sea of Cortez, off the eastern coast of the Baja peninsula, one of Mexico’s last virgin coastlines, you will find Loreto. This perfectly charming and adorable seaside town is everything you wished Mexico to be before the Springbreakers took over the hot tubs and it lost its yo-no-se-que. Packing your bags already? Good. Then you’ll want to know about these things to do in Loreto, Mexico before you go.
Things to do in Loreto, Mexico
The Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California) is one of the most diverse seas on the planet! It is home to numerous marine animals throughout the year including various migratory species such as such as the humpback whale, California gray whale, killer whale, manta ray, Humboldt squid and leatherback sea turtle, and the blue whale. Whale watching in Loreto is a must! Chances are you will also see a plethora of other animals.
Kayak or Paddle Board
Most of the resorts in the area will have on property kayak or paddle boarding options, so make sure you check with the front desk for your options. While I stayed at the beautiful Villa del Palmar at The Islands of Loreto I saw first hand how perfectly still the water is for kayaking or paddle boarding! Coming from choppy Florida waves, the glass like water is exactly what any beginner or experienced kayaker would want. Bonus points? Because the water is so calm you will probably spot some awesome wildlife while you are on the water.
Snorkel or Scuba
Of all the things to do in Loreto, this may be one of my favorite. At Villa del Palmar, guests can enjoy PADI-certified SCUBA diving lessons and snorkeling tours in the protected indigo waters that explorer Jacques Cousteau once dubbed the “Aquarium of the World.” With crystal clear waters and so much aquatic life, this is a MUST in the area. From tiny jellies that don’t sting to whales, from manta rays to sea lions you never know what you might encounter on your dive!
The area is also known for its wildlife, including the 900 species of fish off the coast and in an area that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second largest National Marine Park in the world. Guests can enjoy PADI-certified SCUBA diving lessons and snorkeling tours as well.
The town of Loreto has a number of local shops and cobblestone paved streets to walk and explore. Tiny shops are filled with traditional area handmade artisan crafts. The town was founded in 1697 by Jesuit missionaries, who found a steady spring of fresh water on the site. The Misión Nuestra Señora de Loreto is a short shuttle ride away and can be visited.
Outdoor adventurers can also experience tours of the nearby Coronado, Danzante and Del Carmen Islands or enjoy some of the local areas to hike. The stunning mountain top views are what postcards are made of where the sky meets the ocean and a desert landscape takes you to a far off land. No doubt too, you will encounter some of the oldest cacti as they tower over you in a majestic presence that is to be respected. Mountain biking is also another option for those looking for an outdoor adventure.
Food. So much good food! I was lucky enough to have an impromptu cooking lesson with Chef Penny Davidi! All over Loreto and the surrounding resorts, there are wonderful places to eat. For those of you looking for a fun, unique margarita experience check out Giggling Dolphin Restaurant & Boat Bar, where you blend your own margarita on a stationary bicycle! One of my favorite things? All the chips, guac, and salsa! I leave you with the recipe of my favorite.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
- Jalapeño chilli
Salt and pepperJust pop your veggies (skin-side-up) on a baking sheet in the oven for 20 minutes (250°) until they’re nice and blistered and blackened…then pop them into a blender or food processor add some salt and pepper and you are done! Put everything on a plate and add the final addition of fresh cilantro!
When you’re thinking of things to do in Loreto, don’t forget to relax! Sabila Spa is an oasis of relaxation and if you have the opportunity to spend some time getting pampered, do it! The spa offers an incredibly peaceful mountain view and has fully-equipped wet areas with soothing sauna, relaxing spa tubs, cold water plunge and many other high-quality areas. Sabila Spa also features state-of-the-art massage and treatment suites! The spa therapists will take you to an endless summer of harmony, balance and pure pleasure.
- Soothing spa tub
- Relaxing spa sauna
- Gorgeous garden and mountain view from the spa
- Couple’s massages
- Kids treatments
Loreto is the oldest mission in Mexico, so you know there is a lot of great history here! Add in all the Native Mexican peoples who once held the lands and called Baja Sur home and you are sure to find some great historical and cultural places to check out.
Lay out by the beach (or pool)
Sometimes on vacation, you just have to veg out, soak up the sun, rock a floppy hat, and sip cocktails by the pool or on the beach. Normally I am NOT this kind of traveler. But even I make exceptions… This area of Mexico is not over developed, sky rises and condos haven’t taken over yet, so sitting by the beach was actually relaxing. Laying on the beach meant you could enjoy your book and that delicious cucumber margarita! Even if just for an hour to watch the sunset, you need to take a moment and relax.
Charter a fishing trip
This region has historically been a magnet for world-class sport fishing activities, with a rich history of sporting world records! Most fishing charter locations can also recommend local restaurants where your fresh catch will be prepared for you. When one of the other girls on the trip and I took our charter, it felt like there were no other boats out! We saw more whales, manta rays, dolphins, and caught a few fish, too. Though we were hoping for tuna, we were happy with the experience of being all day on the boat.
My stay at Villa del Palmar in Loreto, Mexico was one of the most amazing experiences! The resort was named the 16th best resort in Mexico by Trip Advisor. In 2015, Travel Weekly magazine recognized the Islands of Loreto with a 2015 Silver Magellan Award in the Adventure Destination category. Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto was also recognized as Mexico’s Leading Beach Resort in the 22nd and 23rd annual World Travel Awards. It also earned recognition as Mexico and Central America’s Leading Resort by the same prestigious organization.
Travelers can take a short flight from LAX on Alaska Airlines or from Calgary, Canada aboard WestJet, Canada’s most-preferred airline, to the Islands of Loreto.
Special thanks to Villa del Palmar for arranging my stay at the Loreto property. It was a great time and a perfect choice for a luxury hotel experience! And it gave me so many great ideas for things to do in Loreto! This in no way shaped my opinion.