The enchanting allure of Loreto Mexico – a hidden gem nestled between the pristine Baja coastline and the rugged Sierra de la Giganta mountains

Is this the first time you are hearing about Loreto Mexico? When we think of Baja California Sur, everyone goes south, particularly Los Cabos. In this post, I will share with you the most amazing things I’ve seen and done in Loreto, the most underrated destination in Baja Sur.

📬 Reader Mail: Hello Trisha! I can’t help but comment about your latest trip to Loreto Mexico. I never considered it but I checked the flights from San Diego and it’s really cheap. What do you think about it? Is Loreto Mexico a destination you recommend to solo travelers like me? I have not been to Baja California but it’s so close to where I live. Really tempted to go! Thank you for all your help!

Nadine, United States

Hey Nadine,

I love it when fellow Filipinas travel to Mexico – I get too excited since there aren’t a lot of Filipinos here! Like you, I also didn’t think I’d travel to Loreto.

I just got invited by the tourism board without knowing what’s it in for me. I don’t do research prior to all my trips. I always want the destinations to surprise me! And Loreto did.

In this Loreto Mexico guide, I am going to tell you some stories about this Baja California Sur underrated destination. Should you have any questions, you can easily get in touch with me via Instagram, @psimonmyway.

Good luck and I hope you’ll make it down here!

Xx,
Trisha

🙋 Questions about Loreto Mexico? Ask me on Tiktok!

loreto mexico
Pin this image to Pinterest and save it for your trip to Loreto Mexico!

🔗 Loreto Mexico: quick links

📍 Where is Loreto Mexico?

I really feel like Loreto is the most underrated destination in the Baja California peninsula. It’s just a 5-hour drive from La Paz and yet, not a lot of people visit.

Loreto is on the Eastern coast of Baja Sur and you’re probably more familiar with Cabo San Lucas geographically – Loreto is about 508 km from Cabo.

loreto mexico

If you are researching for travel to Loreto, bear in mind to type ‘Loreto Mexico’ on Google since there is another Loreto in Granada, Spain. That has a more famous search volume so it will appear easily if you only type Loreto.

🗺️ Loreto Mexico Map

⛔ How safe is Loreto Mexico?

Whenever I am asked if a certain place is safe, I kept wondering if they are pertaining to ‘COVID safe’ or ‘crime safe.’ It turns out, it’s the latter.

Personally, I did not feel harmed when I was traveling in Loreto. Speaking Spanish is very helpful not just in Loreto but the whole of Mexico.

Loreto Mexico

I realized that if you can speak the language and talk to the locals, it gives you more confidence, especially in a country that gets a lot of bad press.

Loreto locals are very friendly and are always very attentive to your needs. You can ask everyone on the street for directions and even if they don’t speak English, they will still try their best to help you.

If it makes you feel safer, there are many ex-pats and American travelers in Loreto. So don’t worry! Loreto is safe!

✨ Loreto Mexico travel tips

Best time to visit Loreto Mexico

One of the common mistakes that travelers make (or maybe just me) does not check the weather and pack the wrong things.

loreto mexico

Summer in Loreto is from June 4th – October 7th (August is the hottest month) while cool season is from December 1st – March 8th.

Planning your Loreto travel budget

You can allot $5 USD per meal when in Loreto but I am only talking about the most Mexican food stands. In most of my time there, I ate in big restaurants with an average of $8 – $15 USD per meal.

Accommodations are a little bit more expensive. I stayed in a hotel that cost $90 USD per night and it wasn’t even that great. That was the cheapest I found since I was there during spring.

Loreto Mexico
Get a big batch of fresh clams in Loreto for $12 USD.

There aren’t a lot of free things to do in Loreto. Everything must be booked with tour agencies (except for the beaches, they are totally free).

Assume that you’ll need $50 – $120 USD per tour, depending on the adventure. I will put all the prices of the tours I did in this post as well.

What to pack for traveling to Loreto Mexico

Take note that Loreto and the Baja Sur peninsula are arid lands and deserts. During the summer, expect extreme weather conditions.

I visited in November so it was in the middle of spring and winter. I just packed the usual beach stuff but at night, it can get really cold.

Loreto Mexico
I packed mostly sports clothes and swimming clothes. There are many outdoor activities in Loreto and it’s super hot during the day.

What I realize, since I am from a tropical country, is that the cold for me may not be cold for you. Always check the temperature before packing for your travels to Loreto.

Pack light and use carry-on luggage to avoid long lines at the airport. Also bring a water bottle since it can be really hot during the day.

Even if it’s winter in Loreto, the sun is always hot – you’ll love it!

How to get to Loreto Mexico

I flew from Puerto Vallarta (where I live) to La Paz via Aeromexico. I paid $280 USD for a 2-way flight. Take note that this flight stops for a few hours in Mexico City but it was a short ride.

From La Paz, I drove for 4 hours to Loreto. Roads are really scenic and modern. Every time I do road trips in Mexico, I am really impressed by Mexico’s infrastructure.

Loreto Mexico
We rented a mini-van that comfortably fits 7 people. You need a car when traveling around Loreto.

I often encounter American readers who are afraid to drive in Mexico but it’s safe and convenient, especially in these times of COVID.

Why didn’t I fly to Loreto? It was expensive. I checked Puerto Vallarta straight to Loreto and it showed me $1,000 USD flights!

There were only 2 flights per week (at this price) and I needed to be in Loreto on a certain date so I chose the cheaper option.

If you are coming from the USA, the best thing to do is fly from Tijuana. From Tijuana, the flight costs to Loreto are really cheap and frequent. The last time I checked, you can go for as low as $80 USD!

From La Paz, car rental rates in Baja California Sur start at $30 USD per day (without gas and security deposit). I love road trips and I feel like cars are the best way to travel, especially during COVID.

Loreto Mexico
It’s really best to rent a car when traveling Loreto. The highway is easy to drive and the views are amazing!

I just really feel safer in cars! If you rent a car, you can go all the way to Loreto, do Todos Santos, Cabo, La Paz etc. The drive is scenic and you can totally stop whenever you want.

You can also include Loreto in your Baja California road trip itinerary if you have more time to explore Baja.

Buses from La Paz (to Loreto) take 5 hours but the night bus is faster. If you are traveling solo, you can definitely save money by taking the night bus and spending the night on the bus.

As soon as you wake up, you will be in Loreto ready to start your day! Bus fares start at $500 – $800 MXN (about $25 – 40 USD).

👉🏽 See prices and availability for busses to Loreto

Where to stay in Loreto

Loreto has a lot of all-inclusive/luxury resorts but again, I will only recommend hotels I know and I have stayed in. If you are traveling solo, I am afraid that the lowest rate for a private room in Loreto is $35 – $50 USD.

All these places are super decent, have free breakfasts and a swimming pool!

Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa has the best location in all of the all-inclusive hotels I’ve encountered. The beach is directly in front of the hotel so you don’t have to go out – everything is here!

Loreto Mexico

I mean, that’s the idea of being in an all-inclusive, right? Loreto Bay Golf Resort & Spa has 2 restaurants, Mexican and Western cuisine. There is something to do for the whole family to enjoy a vacation in Loreto Baja California Sur.

If all-inclusive is not your thing, I stayed in Rosarito Hotel, about 3 minutes walk to the Malecon. It is located in a very Mexican neighborhood but don’t worry, it is safe.

Loreto Mexico

The streets are well-lit, too. Rosarito has a pool and breakfast is included when you book at night with them. The complex is very quiet and I was mostly alone in the pool during my stay!

Things to do in Loreto Mexico

San Javier mission was a Spanish Mission founded in Loreto in 1699 and was closed in 1817. It’s less than an hour’s drive to get here from downtown Loreto and you will pass vast deserts (which is also part of the tour if you choose to book it with a local guide).

Loreto Mexico

Upon arrival in Loreto, cobblestone streets, ancient architecture, and beautiful mountain views.

After the San Javier Mission tour, you can go to a local restaurant in the San Javier community and try machaca, one of the best dishes in Baja California Sur.

Loreto Mexico
I had this Machaca at a restaurant by San Javier Mission.

Machaca’s common meat is beef or pork. Ingredients vary, depending on who’s making it but it usually consists of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and chilies.

The meat is usually dried/rehydrated and rolled like a burrito. Some people use skirt steak and is usually slow-cooked.

The highlight of this trip to Loreto is a yacht trip to a secret cove/beach. In the beginning, I was a little discouraged about the limited things to do in Loreto but this Catamaran cruise made up for all of it!

Loreto Mexico
Fully-serviced yacht in Loreto that took us to many remote beaches in the area.

The Sea of Cortez is really impressive – I loved how its waters are so different from where I live in Mexico. Loreto is a very family-friendly destination so I’d recommend this one for families traveling with kids and people traveling in big groups.

Top Loreto Mexico restaurants

Casa Carmen

📍 Esquina Francisco I Madero, Atanasio Carrillo
📞 +52 61 3100 8236

Casa Carmen was my favorite culinary experience in Loreto where I had the chance to see how the traditional clams are made! Clams are Baja California’s seafood candy.

Loreto Mexico

They literally have it everywhere and it seems to be the newest tourist attraction in Baja Sur. Doña Carmen, the local lady who owns this restaurant is very generous with the recipe too.

Hotel Oasis

📍 Calle Baja California E, P.º A. Lopez Mateos S/N
📞 +52 61 3135 0211

You probably see Hotel Oasis in the top hotels in Loreto but they have an amazing restaurant that you can visit even if you are not a guest in the hotel!

I was fortunate to meet the family who owns Oasis. They are one of the oldest families in Loreto and are all from a lineage of cooks.

Loreto Mexico

Surely, their food have showed me the traditions of Loreto, including what they cook in local homes. Of course, they also have their own way of making clams!

El Zopilote Brewing Co. Loreto and Cocina

📍 Calle Davis #13
📞 +52 61 3135 2538

This is a great place for beer lovers. They have many artisanal beer that they brew and their food is also excellent! Since I stayed in the hotel that owns it (Hotel 1697), I had many meals here and all of them are great!

Loreto Mexico

Don’t worry, they only not have clams. They also have international food like pizza. This restaurant has an open layout and this is the spot to hang out in the evening!

Bars and nightlife in Loreto

I only went to one bar in Loreto called Augie’s Bar and I didn’t have a good experience. Before my friends and I entered, we asked for the menu and they said they have none.

As most of us are expats living in Mexico, we know this is the case in many establishments in Mexico. They always say “we have everything.”

We are also well-traveled in Mexico so we know the estimate prices for drinks. We ordered shots of mezcal (not one, but 4) and when we got the bill, they were charging us $12 USD per shot!

It was then I realized that Loreto is expensive (by Mexican standards). Overall, Loreto does not have a vibrant nightlife. It’s more of a sleep town for resort goers and vacationers.

✅ Loreto safety tips

I have no safety tips for Loreto, to be honest because there is nothing to worry about safety here!

The only thing I can say is get travel insurance. Do not travel to Mexico without travel insurance! I use SafetyWing, for my nomad insurance and only pay $40 USD per month (both travel and medical insurance).

Lately, I discovered Ekta Traveling and loved their services! Their medical insurance is as low as $0.99 USD and they accept travelers from 2 months to 100 years old. Mexico will not ask you for mandatory travel insurance (upon entry) but make it a priority when planning your trip to Loreto Mexico.

Additionally, if you make it here, I’d love to hang out as I live in this area. Just send me a message on Instagram and I’ll be down to hang out!

⁉️ Loreto Mexico FAQ

What is Loreto Mexico known for?

Loreto is famous for many things. The first thing I heard about Loreto is the strong and deeply rooted culture of the Jesuit’s missions.

In 1683, the first Jesuits abandoned their post in La Paz and relocated to San Bruno, about 12 miles from Loreto. Baja California’s lands are very dry, which made the community fail because of the lack of supply.

When they moved to Loreto, they realized it is abundant in water and lands to grow food on. This made Loreto home to many missions (they have a lot, really!) and Jesuit settlements that are still standing up until today.

Loreto is also known for its very clear waters and a myriad of sea creatures. The Bahia de Loreto National Park is home to whales, pelicans, dolphins, and manta rays.

Diving is the most sought-after activity here. I am from the Philippines and I don’t get easily impressed by the waters of Mexico but I am truly awed by Baja California Sur. I always come back to the peninsula every winter!

loreto mexico
Golden sunset in Loreto Mexico: swear, it’s always like this!

Aside from its waters, Loreto is backed by the Sierra de La Giganta mountain range where you can experience the best outdoor activities.

There are lots of trails, hikes, and climbs. You will also encounter lots of deserts in Loreto and I think this is the best feature of Baja.

Since agriculture is hard in the peninsula, you will see lots of dry and arid lands without massive hotels or resorts.

From living in Mexico for a while, I realized how many Mexican beach towns have been ruined by new real estate developments. Loreto’s mountain ranges are still intact and well-preserved.

Lastly, Loreto is big on seafood, particularly clams. During my visit, I ate clams every day and what’s really interesting about this is that every restaurant (or local homes) that I visited has very different ways of making clams.

I will share with you all the best Loreto restaurants I’ve been to in this article as well.

What type of travelers visit Loreto Mexico?

Due to its close proximity to the USA, Baja California Peninsula is usually expensive. I mean, it is expensive for me because I live in Mexico.

In this country, as you go south, things get more expensive (except for Quintana Roo, of course, which is the most expensive area in the south).

However, I know that this is not that expensive for American travelers so don’t worry about your Loreto vacation budget. Even if you are not American, there are lots of cheap accommodations and food which I will share as we continue to this Loreto travel guide.

The type of travelers that visit Loreto is usually couples and families. The most common vacation type is staycation as Loreto is very big on luxury and all-inclusive resorts.

Loreto Mexico

I do think that this is a good destination for solo travel, too. Loreto has very impressive diving spots and there are really a lot of outdoor activities you can do while you are here.

If you are traveling solo to Loreto, I can assure you that the locals are really friendly. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, most of the establishments have English-speaking staff.

Again, since they are very close to the USA, you don’t have to worry about the language barrier because there isn’t any!

Most of my readers are Americans and the majority of them are always looking for local experiences. I have to be honest with you – Loreto is pretty white but you can always choose a more local activity to avoid the white crowd.

If you’ll feel more comfortable (and safer) meeting white people, Loreto has lots of Americans, expats, and tourists alike.

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8 Comments

  1. Wow, what a thorough description. I had not heard of this destination, but will now definitely keep it in mind. Seems like a nice place, less touristy and more authentic to Mexico.

  2. You’ve covered it all! From carry-ons to safety, I’m quite impressed. I’ve never been to Loreto, but I have been to Mexico several times. Another beautiful place to add to the list

  3. As I read through your post, I fgured out that the Loreto Convent school in Delhi is most likely associated with Loreto in Spain. And like you, I also don’t read much the locations I am travelling to. I do like the suprises and I learn in detail as I begin to write. Loreto in Mexico sure has awesome sea life–would love to see the national park.

  4. I didn’t hear about Loreto before, but after reading your guide, I’d love to visit. As a foodie, I would love to try the machaca, it sounds delicious. Also, taking a boat trip, with a bbq on board, seems like a great idea on how to spend the time there. It’s great to know that Loreto is a safe destination, ever more, that if you speak Spanish you will get along with the locals so much better.

  5. I just saw some lovely posts about Loreto on Instagram so it’s good timing to read this post. I’m surprised at how expensive it is here, I wasn’t expecting to see this prices. But then with more expats I guess they are taking advantage of them? It made me smile to read ‘we have everything’ I remember this from my travels in Mexico too. Italy is similar in some trattorias.

  6. The yatch trip to the secret cove would be right up my street the mission also looks really interesting. I’m heading to La Paz next year and will be staying with friends who live here. They’ve asked me to pick some places or experiences I want when i’m here and i’m going to suggest Loreto to them. I’m here here before the summer, so hoepfully not too stiffling.

    I’ve made that mistake in India and Fiji before and picked the hottest time to be there (still enjoyed it but it does zap your energy when its too hot).

  7. Loreto looks like such an amazing place to visit! Love that its a mix of beach and mountains, those are my favorite types of places. Also, it’s great to hear that the town has a strong sense of community and culture, and that the locals are so friendly and welcoming. Your tips on where to stay and what to do are super helpful and make me feel like I could easily plan a trip there myself. Also good to know that it’s relatively safe in Loreto! Thats an important consideration for us as a couple.

  8. Loreto is a very beautiful place in the Baja California coast and reading your post it looks underrated and worth exploring. It’s nice to know that people are friendly in Loreto and speak both Spanish and English and definitely flights are expensive so I would love to explore it by road .
    Loreto has a rich history of Jesuit settlers and the cobbled streets and architecture of San Javier Mission explains that. I would love to visit the Bahia de Loreto National Park to sea its sea creatures and Sierra de Giganta Mountains for hiking and trekking. Also a Catamaran cruise and snorkeling would be interesting too. I would love to try Machaca and its various variety of clams at its local restaurants. Also Safety Wing travel insurance looks cheap for $40 and Medical insurance from Ekta for 0.99 cents is extremely affordable.Loreto is definitely family friendly and staycation friendly with luxury resorts.

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