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Loreto Baja California Mexico - Maps, History and Overview
Loreto was once the capital of a piece of territory stretching from California to Texas that included Sonora, Sinaloa
and Coahuila. Nowadays it is the heart of a natural paradise known as the Sea of Cortés.
Loreto is located between the sea and the Sierra de la Giganta, the city is approximately
400 km from the far south of the peninsula with warm climate that fluctuates
around 28ºC. Loreto Bay, which includes Coronado, Del Carmen, Danzante, Montserrate
and Santa Catalina islands has been protected as a National Maritime Park since
June 7 2000. It provides refuge for mother-of-pearl, starfish, sea urchins, fan
coral, killer whales, blue whales, dolphins and sea lions.
The desert climate around
Loreto is typical of Baja. Here, the dry heat is complimented with cool
sea breezes that blow off the Sea of Cortez, making the climate agreeable
all year round. Can you see yourself vacationing in Loreto...absorbing the
spectacular sunrise? It is truly a Destination of Discovery!
Because of its biological
diversity and geological peculiarities, Loreto is an ecological entity
with varied ecosystems. The coastline in and around Loreto is one of the
richest and most varied in Baja. You will find the towering Sierra La
Giganta Mountains, reefs, caverns, bays, oasis, a multitude of islands,
coves - all influencing and being influenced by the climate of Loreto.
Loreto Baja California was accidentally discovered in late 1533, Baja California has a history that blends
ambition, scientific curiosity, evangelizing zeal and the challenges of nature.
For over 150 years, it was considered an island, and several expeditions landed
here in search of the pearls that originally made it famous. They all failed
because of the difficulties of obtaining supplies, the resistance of the Indians
and attacks by pirates, until October 25 1697 when Juan María Salvatierra
created the first permanent settlement when he established the mission of
Nuestra Señora de Loreto. The mission constituted an initial attempt at
colonization, and served as the capital of the territory until 1829 when an
earthquake destroyed the city and the capital was relocated to La Paz. It would
be another 150 years, however, before Loreto was fully integrated into the
country’s development, its international airport was built and its
trans-peninsular highway was built.
California, Mexico - General Activities:
Loreto has beautiful beaches with soft sand ideal for relaxation and water
sports; the nearby beaches of Nopoló, Puerto Escondido and Juncalito are also
This long, protected bay with blue-green waters
and several little coves can be visited from the highway linking this town with
Mulegé. Santispac beach is surrounded by mangrove swamps bordered by rugged
hills, and at El Requesón there is an attractive white sand dune adjoining some
rocks. At high tide, these cks are surrounded by water, forming a little island.
27 km south of Loreto, Nopoló is a tourist center
developed by Fonatur. It has several medium and small sized beaches with
transparent water and a marvelous view of El Carmen Island. This forms a kind of
wide sea canal between it and the coastline.
Puerto Escondido is a small bay almost completely closed off by Danzante Island,
which is quite small compared with the enormous El Carmen Island, just next to
it. The Sierra Gorda stretches down to create coves with small beaches.
Walking through the old missionary town of Loreto is extremely pleasant, but the
best beaches are to be found in Nopoló, 9 km away, the North Beach 17 km and
Puerto Escondido 28 km away, the last of which provides a number of caravan
Loreto’s cuisine is a combination of Northern cooking, seafood and the recipes
brought over by the missionaries resulting in wonderful fish and meat dishes.
Specialties include ceviche, lobster, seafood dishes and fish tacos as well as
fajitas, fillet steaks and the very famous chocolata clams "tatemadas".
Loreto is located midway between the two most highly recommended places for
spotting the gray whales that annually make the long, eight-thousand mile
journey from the waters of the Sea of Behring to the coasts of the peninsula. It
is also the largest town in the region, and the one with the best services,
including the only international airport. Towards the northwest lies the Laguna
Ojo de Liebre in San Ignacio and to the south, the Bahía de Magdalena. The best
excursion for spotting the gray whales lasts a minimum of three or four days,
which will give you time for several boat trips to have a closer look at the
mammals and their offspring, which weigh two tons at birth. If you have a little
more time, you could take in a visit to the famous cave paintings.
San Ignacio lagoon:
Seeing the gray whales.
NOTE: The San Ignacio lagoon in Southern Baja California is located about
350 km northwest of Loreto. Gray whales come here from Nordic latitudes at the
end of December and stay there until the beginning of April. In order to see the
whales, a stay of a minimum of three days is recommended. In this time, the
chances are that you will have an opportunity to see the whales up close without
having to sail out to the open sea.
Fishing tackle is available for hire in Loreto so that fishing enthusiasts can
catch marlin, yellowtail, rooster fish, sail fish, dorado, sea bass and giant
squid in the waters of the Gulf of California or the Sea of Cortés.
The city’s foundation is celebrated between October 19 and 25, when various
cultural, sports and artistic events are held including its famous golf and
Campo de Golf Loreto:
Located on Boulevard Misión de San Ignacio, it has
18 holes par 72, with a 6,800 yard course.
Hiking & Climbing
Thirty km outside Loreto stands the Sierra la Giganta an eroded mountain chain
with spectacular ravines and crags. Some of its walls are vertical and you can
walk along the edge of the ravines.
You can go horseback riding on the beaches in Loreto; or if you prefer, you can
ride a horse along the paths leading to the Sierra de la Giganta escarpment
Loreto has a small marina and the waters of the Sea of Cortés are ideal for sailing
and visiting the many islands off the coast.
Snorkel & Scuba
The enormous island of del Carmen lies just
opposite Loreto, and, a little further out to sea, one can see some smaller
islands, including Coronados, Danzante, Montserrat
and Santa Catalina. Together, these form a natural habitat for some fantastic
terrestrial and marine fauna. Underwater, divers can swim among seals, dolphins,
and colorful tropical fish; on land, you will find birds and reptiles.
Built on the shore, Loreto has all the amenities and traditional attractions of
the finest beach resorts, such as a magnificent climate, sand, sky and clean
waters, water sports, gastronomy, and the finest hotel services. It is also the
biggest Marine Park in México consisting of the islands of Coronado, Del Carmen,
Danzante, Montserrat and Santa Catalina opposite the bay that are perfect for
photographers, divers and environmentalists since they provide refuge for
several marine species such as seals, and various migratory birds as well as
dolphins, corals, starfish and numerous varieties of small reptiles.
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