Off the beaten path, a charming and relaxed coastal Mexican town with amazing hospitality, culture, and history is waiting to be explored. A hidden gem – Loreto, Mexico, is the perfect place to go if you’re looking to truly unwind, unplug, and enjoy the simple and most beautiful things in life.
You’ll land in the tiny Loreto International Airport among an array of cactuses, mountains and palm trees. Getting to Loreto from Texas is incredibly easy – yet very exclusive, as American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are currently the only airlines offering U.S. flights to and from Loreto. Growing in popularity, in January American officially increased its Loreto services to six weekly flights, including direct flights from Dallas and connecting flights from Phoenix.
Hotel Oasis, Loreto, B.C.S. is a charming boutique property that sits oceanside with the most gorgeous sunset views and sandy beach walkway. Fiery bursts of orange, red, and pink – beach sunrises over the Gulf of California in Loreto, especially during the winter season, are truly something to see.
A wakeup call from the property’s rooster, “V”, is almost guaranteed. The rooster is also part of a unique hotel amenity – a postcard in your room that introduces the rooster, along with a cupcake container filled with food, inviting guests to feed this confident and feathered animal.
Gray Whale Watching
December through March is whale watching season in Loreto. One of the most promising spots, Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos is a two-hour drive to the Pacific from Loreto. You’ll enjoy a scenic drive of mountains and hills in the Baja California portion of the Sonoran Desert, which runs all the way through Phoenix.
Upon arrival, you can book a half-day whale watching tour with a dedicated captain. Gray whales are particularly popular in this spot during the winter months. During our trip, we saw around a dozen of these large and curious creatures – including some groups of mothers and babies swimming side-by-side. With friendly personalities, gray whales are especially fun to watch because they are known for coming right up to boats.
These mammals can reach up to 49 feet long and a whopping 90,000 pounds, and also make one of the largest migrations of marine mammals, traveling as much as 10,000 miles in one trip. Endangered, NOAA fisheries currently estimate there are only 16,500 of the species left – a rapid decline from estimates just three years ago of 20,000.
Blue Whale Watching
Just minutes from Hotel Oasis, Wild Loreto tours offer whale and dolphin watching excursions in the Gulf of California. Here you’ll have the opportunity to see everything from the world’s largest mammal – a blue whale – to other large creatures including fin whales and Humpback whales.
Our group was fortunate enough to see a blue whale and a fin whale from a distance. A rare site, there are only an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 blue whales left in the world. Incredibly endangered, blue whales can grow up to 330,000 pounds and as much as 110 feet long. In fact, it’s estimated that some of the largest blue whales have hearts the size of a Volkswagen Bug.
It’s no secret that Mexico has the best tortillas and margaritas. Fresh salsa and freshly squeezed margaritas of all flavors with highest quality agave tequila await. For a sparkly atmosphere, consider having dinner at Xamaica, where the patio area has live entertainment and is lit up with white lights.
Authentic Mexican food is a must. If you are feeling adventurous, consider trying the very unique Chiles En Nogada dish, also often referred to as the “national dish of Mexico.” A meat-stuffed poblano chile is covered with walnut cream sauce and garnished with pomegranate seeds. A source of pride, locals will urge you to try the dish, which also resembles the colors of the Flag of Mexico.
For breakfast, Hotel Oasis offers a hearty buffet including a large assortment of savory and sweet foods. At dinnertime, chefs fire up the seaside grill, and on Saturdays the restaurant is known for serving the city’s specialty, chocolate clams, which are named for the rich color of their shells. Due to strict export regulations, Mexico is one of the few places to enjoy these savory and tender clams.
Raiz, Creative Cuisine, and Bar offers one of the nicest brunches in the city with the most delicious fresh fruit parfait and Chilaquiles. A beautiful atmosphere, you can reserve a table outside that overlooks the town square with sounds of church bells in the distance.
Located in the mountains, Mission de San Javier is home to the oldest glass windows within the entire state of California. The Jesuits began construction of the Mission in 1744 with completion in 1759. Today it resembles a beautiful historic Catholic church, where visitors can walk through, see historical elements, and take in the spiritual energy.
Enjoy the desert, beach, and the mountains – all in one. Loreto is a hidden gem in the Baja California Sur that doesn’t disappoint and is the perfect way to disconnect and enjoy some peaceful tranquility, while soaking in the laid-back vibes of Mexico.
One final travel tip? If you are heading to Loreto in the winter months, make sure to pack warmly. Due to various environmental factors, including strong winds and proximity to the ocean, the temperatures feel much colder than similar temperatures in Texas.
Cover photo courtesy Visit Baja California Sur
Britni Rachal lives in Austin, Texas. She is a freelance journalist, full-time marketer, and a Realtor®. In addition to writing, Rachal enjoys traveling, event planning, fashion, fitness and serving the Austin community.