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The first Catholic Mission on the peninsula was founded here by Padre Juan Mar�a Salvatierra in October of 1697.  Still a small village today, it relies on income through tourism and a salt-production facility on offshore Isla Carmen.  The Mexican government's tourism agency "FONATUR" slated Loreto (and adjoining Nopol�) as a major tourism destination within the last few years, but somehow their plans have somehow (for now) been untypically unsuccessful in turning Loreto into a "major" destination.  Even with ongoing visitation from North American anglers over the past few decades, straying off-the-beaten-path around town, although safe, will get one stared at as an outsider by the locals.  Interesting.

For more Mission information on this site, click here.

Places to stay:

Posada de las Flores -- Opened in August of 1998 right on the plaza in Loreto.  Deluxe accommodations in the heart of Loreto.  This is an elegant property with two restaurants on the premises.  The rooftop glass-bottomed swimming pool is directly above the lobby atrium.  Follow the circular stairway up to the rooms or to the roof where there's the pool, a restaurant/bar, and a fabulous view of the plaza, mission and Sea of Cortez.  The lobby and rooms have fabulous, colorful decor.  The doors are thick hardwood, furniture in some of the suites are hand-made.  Each room is named for a flower, and inside each room is a large painting depicting that flower.  The bathrooms are deluxe and modern, with walk-in tile showers (I'm a sucker for this setup).   There are 10 standard rooms (3 have two beds), 3 Jr. suites, and 2 "master" suites.  The master (and maybe the Jr.?) suites have double wood doors (with canvas-like window covers) that open up overlooking the plaza (nice!).  Certainly the nicest facility in the city itself.  The owners here are presently renovating the Hotel Punta Chivato further north as well (for a May/2000 re-opening).  877-245-2860 (in the U.S.A.).  Ultra-Deluxe

Hotel Oasis -- On the beach slightly to the south of town, but still within walking distance.  Offer rates on either the American or European plan (food's included or it's not).  Catering to the visiting fishermen, but an excellent spot for anyone.   A long-time popular choice in Loreto (especially among fishermen).  Deluxe

Hotel Plaza Loreto -- Downtown, and a short distance from the Mission.   Comfortable, stylish rooms with a/c around a nice courtyard setting.  Moderate

Las Trojes Bed & Breakfast -- Unique property set just off the beach, with a walkway leading down to it.  I don't believe any two rooms are the same.   Located about a half-mile North from the main plaza downtown.  Moderate

Motel Junipero -- Sizable upstairs rooms with fans.  Located across the street from the Hotel Plaza Loreto.  Budget

Motel Salvatierra -- Located across from the Pemex on the main street when coming into town (and near the bus terminal).  Clean, but well used rooms with a/c, satellite TV, and hot water.  Ultra-Budget

Motel Brenda -- Identical rates to the Salvatierra, fewer customers.  I'd still give a nod to the Salvatierra, but you should be aware of this option with similar amenities.  Located a block almost due north of the Salvatierra (and slightly east).  Ultra-Budget

Hotel Posada San Mart�n -- Now renovated, it's an excellent value in cooler months (The Salvatierra and Brenda are a couple of dollars more inexpensive though).   Very clean, unique room designs, and hot water.  No a/c.  Located on Ju�rez, not far from the Misi�n Loreto.  Ultra-Budget

Places to eat:

(There are numerous small restaurants and taco or hot dog stand type vendors, many with great offerings at the right price.  Don't hesitate to pick out the most inviting stand you find on any given day.)

El Nido Steakhouse -- One in a chain of three steakhouses (also serving seafood) along the peninsula.  Very nice interior/ambiance.  The menu may be the same at the restaurants, but the staff isn't, and this one seems to garner more praise for the food than the other two over the course of time.  Very gracious management here as well.  Moderate

Posada de las Flores Roof Garden Restaurant -- Rooftop by the pool at the Hotel Posada de las Flores.  Nice view of the plaza, mission and sea.  Chicken, steaks, seafood, pasta & wood-fired pizza dishes, including a lobster bisque splashed with tequila.  The Mariscada Posada is a meal for two and is a very good sampling of seafood including lobster, clams, shrimp, squid and local fish.  Moderate to Deluxe

Vecchia Roma -- This is another at the Posada de las Flores.  Simply elegant Italian menu and meals.  Very classy.  Menu items include pasta, fish, meat and poultry items.  Nice desserts.  Open 6:30p.m.-11p.m. Nov-Feb.  Moderate to Deluxe

La Casa del Avestruz -- At the Hotel Plaza Loreto.  Ostrich specialties (fajitas, burgers, carne asada).  Beef steaks, pork ribs, seafood, and vegetarian selections as well (Vegetarian: Chili Ancho stuffed with Squash Blossom & Cheese).  Separate breakfast menu as well from 6 a.m. to noon.  Ultra-Budget (breakfast), Budget (lunch/dinner)

Nuevo Playa Blanca -- Very popular with visiting North Americans.  Upstairs location offering a competent Mexican/Seafood menu.  Moderate

La Palapa -- New restaurant with a very nice dimly-lit atmosphere, outside open-air grill, and a Mexican/Seafood menu.  Budget

Il Campenile -- (closed?) A high palapa-roofed location on Ju�rez serving "fine Italian cuisine."  Pizza/pasta/veal/chicken/fish/lobster and varietal wine are all available.  The pizza is cooked in a large adobe wood-burning oven, placed prominently to add to the pleasant ambiance inside.  Very nice.  Moderate

Gracie's Place Deli & Cafe -- (closed for remodeling March/2000) Gracie gets lots of help from her parents, as she'll be 3 years old on June 17, 2000.  Located under the Motel Junipero.  Slightly inventive breakfast menu.   Bagels & lox, fresh orange juice, banana pancakes, deli sandwiches, espresso, "poached pesto" (poched egg, English muffin, sliced tomato and pesto).  Open 7a.m. to 10:30p.m. daily.  Budget to Moderate

La Casa de la Abuela -- I had an ethereal experience here all to myself on a weeknight, almost like from a dream.  Excellent location a rock throw away from the Mission.   At night both the interior setting, or the seating on the wonderfully lit outdoor patio are heavenly.  Outside, one can gaze out over the lit bell-tower of the Mission and ponder the history that has passed through it's doors for over 300 years.  They offer "pasta, pizza, pan" (among other things including breakfast items) on an innovative menu. Wait 'til you hear the prices: Budget   Unfortunately, just because a place has great food at great prices doesn't mean people will patronize such a place.  As of 11/98 they've now made this into a gift & t-shirt shop.  How sad.  

Jorge's Jugos y Licuados -- Fruit and vegetable juices/shakes/malts.  Some with yogurt or granola.  Walk a short block east and a short block north from the Mission entrance.  On the west side of the street.  Budget

Chile Willies -- Palapa restaurant on the beach, just to the north of the malec�n. Pretty much the only place to get a meal on the beach here, with a competent menu.  Budget to Moderate

McLulu's -- Long-time well-known taco stand.  Easy to find on the main street (Salvatierra). Open 10a.m.-7p.m.  Ultra-Budget

Things to do:

Fishing -- Pretty much the main tourism draw to the area. Most of the fishing takes place quite a ways offshore these days, as the closer areas have been "fished out" by commercial interests.

Golfing -- There is an impressive course located in Nop�lo, near the Diamond Eden Resort.

Misi�n Loreto -- The first Mission permanently established in the Californias. 1997 was the tri-centennial celebration. There is an absolutely spectacular new Museum of the Missions (of Baja California). The entrance is just West of the entrance to the Mission itself. If the historic aspects of the Mission colonization and Indian life is of any interest to you, **don't miss this opportunity** (entrance fee: around $1).

Misi�n San Javier -- This Mission followed the Loreto Mission two years later. The present never-renovated stone church, built from 1744-58 still stands in the small mountain village of San Javier.

Mountain Biking -- The same road leading to the San Javier Mission is quite scenic, and makes for a spectacular day of mountain biking.

For weather information, see the WWWlinks page.

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Last revised: June 21, 2002

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