Loreto, Mexico

This ancient and beautiful destination, cradled by the lush hills of the Sierra de la Giganta and the cobalt waters of the Sea of Cortez, immerses you in history and culture from the moment you step onto its shores. Dating back nearly 12,000 years, Loreto is thought to be the oldest human settlement on the Peninsula of Baja California, and you can explore its fascinating cave paintings and petroglyphs. It is also where the Jesuit missionaries landed, founding the first Mission of Baja California and establishing the Church of Our Lady of Loreto, which still anchors the town. Mexican heritage and colonial influences can both be seen as you wander through the quaint streets, browsing curio shops, sampling local fare and meeting the friendly people. Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring Loreto's sun-drenched and scenic surroundings. Sparkling beaches and dramatic cliff-top vistas invite thrill-seekers and eco-travelers alike to discover the local flora and fauna and the abundant water activities. Kayaking, snorkeling, sailing and sport-fishing are popular, as are more extreme off-road adventures and, in the winter months, whale watching. Come experience the unspoiled beauty of Loreto for yourself!

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Points of Interest

  • San Javier & Mission San Javier
  • Mission of Our Lady of Loreto
  • Jesuit Missions Museum
  • Outdoor Adventure
  • Underwater Adventure
  • Mexican Fiesta
Learn about these Points of Interest

More about Loreto, Mexico Points of Interest

  • San Javier & Mission San Javier

    This quaint village is home to the second oldest mission in the Californias. Its historic 17th-century church boasts period architecture, stained-glass windows and the first weather vane in Baja.

  • Mission of Our Lady of Loreto

    Rising above the main plaza, the charming stone church's bell tower is the town's main historic landmark, founded in 1697. Step inside for its beautiful crucifix and golden altarpiece carved in wood.

  • Jesuit Missions Museum

    Located in an 18th century Jesuit convent, this petite museum displays 300 artifacts showcasing the development of the Baja and Alta California missions as well as 17th- and 18th-century mission art.

  • Outdoor Adventure

    Explore the beauty and wonder of the rugged Baja Peninsula by kayak.

  • Underwater Adventure

    Enticing divers and snorkelers of all levels, Loreto National Marine Park, a 100-mile stretch of sea-hugging Baja coastline, is home to over 800 species of colorful fish, unique to the Sea of Cortez.

  • Mexican Fiesta

    Savor the flavors of an authentic Mexican seafood specialty exclusive to Loreto. Fresh from the sea, "chocolate" clams, cooked over rocks, are complimented by margaritas and a music performance.

5 EXCURSIONS

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Loreto Walking Tour

2 hours | Loreto | LTO-380
  • Mission of Our Lady of Loreto
  • Jesuit Missions Museum

The tales the small town of Loreto has to tell will captivate history buffs and culture enthusiasts. Discover one of the oldest cities in Mexico on a walking tour that takes you through the Main Plaza to the famed mission and adjacent museum. Along the cobblestone route, you will see houses from the late 19th century and the city hall building. There are several 18th-20th century buildings in Loreto of historical note, the most important being the Mission of Our Lady of Loreto. Inside, look for the "retablo," a small oil painting behind the altar, and a cross, erected in 1997 to commemorate Loreto's 300th anniversary. Adjacent to the church, you will find The Jesuit Missions Museum, showcasing over 300 artifacts from the 17th and 18th centuries used in the Spanish missions of Baja. At the completion of the tour, stroll leisurely through town and back to the pier.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$49.95

Baja Coast Kayaking

3 hours | Loreto | LTO-760
  • Outdoor Adventure

Your kayaking adventure begins when you board your transportation and enjoy a scenic ride along base of the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range to Loreto Bay. Arrive at picturesque Nopolo Beach, meet your instructor and participate in an introductory session and safety briefing. Then settle into your one or two-seater kayak and take to the waters of the Sea of Cortez. Generally calm, although you should be in clothing you don't mind getting wet, this expedition can be enjoyed by those with no prior kayaking experience. The striking scenery and expansive views of Loreto Bay enhance your experience, and you may see a variety of wildlife, including sea lions and seabirds. At the completion of your excursion, relax and unwind with some free time on the beach to soak up the rays or walk along the shoreline before returning via a scenic ride to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$79.95

Traditional Clambake & Mexican Fiesta

3 hours | Loreto | LTO-110
  • Mexican Fiesta

Treat yourself to a Mexican buffet lunch featuring an authentic Loreto clambake. A taxi van transports you from the pier to a quaint venue filled with music, colorful dancers and the party's best friend - a piñata! A clambake is an authentic Mexican traditional seafood to Loreto. To harvest the "chocolate" brown-shelled clams, divers swim about 500 yards off shore and then dive 10-15 feet. An inner tube with a basket serves to keep the harvested clams in the water as they are collected, ensuring that you are sampling the freshest the sea has to offer. Enjoy these delicacies while the Ballet Folklorico entertains you with their joyful traditional dances. By the end of the day, you'll be shouting, Olé!

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes meal

From

$89.95

San Javier Mission

5 hours | Loreto | LTO-115
  • San Javier & Mission San Javier

Explore San Javier, the second-oldest town in all of the Californias and the home of one of the best-preserved missions. An approximately one hour narrated ride takes you through the majestic Sierra de la Giganta mountain range past a number of points of interest, including ancient petroglyphs and a 200-year-old chapel, before arriving at Mission San Javier. The mission was founded in 1699 and is the second established by the Jesuits. The exterior is a classic example of baroque architecture. Inside, you'll marvel at the stunning gold altar piece, five vivid oil paintings brought from Mexico City and the two statues, one of San Francisco Javier and another one of Our Lady of Guadalupe. An 18th century crucifix and three bells which date back to 1761 complete the décor. At the completion of your cultural day, a light traditional Mexican snack will be served before you re-board your transportation for the picturesque ride back to port.

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Moderate Activity, Shopping Opportunities

From

$119.95

Snorkeling at Coronados Island

5 hours | Loreto | LTO-775
  • Underwater Adventure

A relaxing day of snorkeling and nature entices you to the shores of picturesque white-sand beach El Atracadero Blanco. Board an open-air motorized skiff for a one-hour cruise across the azure waters of the Sea of Cortez. Disembark in shallow waters, then step onto a three-mile stretch of paradise located on the west side of Coronado Island. A guide will orient you to the area and provide your snorkeling equipment and instruction. This excursion is suitable for snorkelers of all abilities. The aquamarine waters of the Baja Peninsula offer outstanding visibility and one can snorkel right from the beach. If you have an underwater camera, be sure to bring it to capture the colorful sea life you may encounter. After your snorkeling, return to the beach for a snack followed by a guided nature walk along a scenic trail. The skiff will return you to port.

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Strenuous Activity, Shopping Opportunities, Includes snack

From

$129.95