Loreto is the oldest permanent settlement in Baja, dating to 1697 when the mission Nuestra Señora de Loreto was founded. The mission took 55 years to complete (a long time even by Baja standards) and is in use to this day. If you are driving the length of Baja Loreto makes a great overnight stop or at least a charming place to fill up the gas tank, have a leisurely lunch and maybe stretch your legs with a walk along the pleasant Malecon.

Loreto had the distinction of being the capital of Baja for 132 years and was very prosperous during that time, as most capitals in Mexico are. In 1829 a hurricane devastated the city and La Paz then became the capital.

Loreto has long been a favorite destination for fishermen and divers alike. The five nearby islands and the numerous nearby coves make for some great fishing and diving. November through March is Yellowtail time in Loreto and the summer months bring with them substantial numbers of Dorado along with smaller numbers Marlin and Sailfish. Bottom fishing off the islands and some nearby seamounts offer even more variety for avid fishermen. There is a sizable panga fleet that works out of the small marina and boats are usually available. Sea kayaking, mountain biking and hiking are also gaining popularity in and around Loreto.

The Loreto mission a popular attraction and there is a small, but interesting, museum next door. There is an International airport, an 18 hole golf course where tee times are almost always available and many empty lots on deteriorating streets, all signs of a resort developing at pace much slower than planned. The Mexican government has been trying to get development in Loreto going for many years, without much success. The hot summer days and cold winds that the winter months bring to this area have proven difficult obstacles to overcome although there is quite a bit of private capital being injected into Loreto at this time.


San Javier

About 1 mile south of the main entry into Loreto is the turnoff for San Javier which lies at the end of a passable 22 mile drive over a well maintained dirt road. San Javier is home to a picturesque, well preserved mission, the second in the California's, dating back to 1758. While in San Javier try to buy some guayaba or mango marmalade, cactus candy or other locally made sweets, as all are incredibly delicious. Further south lie the well protected anchorages of Puerto Escondido, bearing all of the scars of another failed development and Agua Verde, a remote undeveloped anchorage, known mainly to private yachts and many sailboats that ply the Sea of Cortez.

Airport Code for Loreto: