When I travel to Mexico, I look for relatively small towns with a colonial feel. I am not interested in cruise or spring break destinations. In Baja California, Mexico, I have been fortunate to find my perfect place.
Loreto is a colonial town with a permanent population of about 20,000, perched on the eastern side of the Baja Peninsula, nestled along the shore of the Sea of Cortez. It is 316 miles north of the better-known Cabo San Lucas, population 202,000, and very different in its ambiance. If you’re looking for a taste of “real” Mexico, this historic city is the one.
Many coastal towns with resorts and high-end hotels have thriving nightlife. In the town of Loreto, most streets are quiet by 10 o’clock, and while there are great restaurants and lovely hotels, the atmosphere is relaxed and the tempo slower.
I love the cobblestone streets in the center of town, the boardwalk along the waterfront, called the Malecon, family-style restaurants, and the beauty of offshore islands looming above the clear turquoise Sea of Cortez. If you want an experience in Mexico where you feel like you are in another country, instead of a look-alike resort, then you will not be disappointed in Loreto.
The weather is mostly dry and warm, as it is part of the Sonoran Desert and is considered arid subtropical. During October through March, the air temperatures range from the high 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit. Water temperatures are cool, and a spring wetsuit might be appropriate if you plan to snorkel. During April and May, the air warms and by June, July, and August, the daytime temperatures can reach the 90s. During summer the air is humid, due to the “little monsoons” of North America, and can be accompanied by rain.
Loreto has a small international airport and there are direct flights from San Francisco Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Phoenix on Alaska or American Airlines. If you happen to be in Mexico, there are flights arriving in Loreto on both Volaris and Calafia Airlines. Hotels are plentiful and there are reasonably-priced rentals on Airbnb and Vrbo.