3 Nights in Loreto, Mexico—a Historic “Pueblos Magicos”

Written by Tracy Ellen Beard

September 6, 2022
Home >> Destinations >> North America >> Mexico >> Baja Sur >> 3 Nights in Loreto, Mexico—a Historic “Pueblos Magicos”

Loreto, Mexico, is a charming 17th-century town on the Sea of Cortez. Enjoy fresh Mexican flavors on land and take to the waters to see dolphins in the Bahía de Loreto National Park.

Loreto is one of Mexico's magical little towns. Travelers can visit beautiful historic missions, stroll through the town shops, play in the warm water, indulge in therapeutic massages, and dine on an eclectic array of delicious cuisines while sipping ice-cold margaritas. Flights to Loreto are less than two hours from Los Angeles, California, and just over three hours from Dallas, Texas, making a trip to Loreto, Mexico, an ideal escape.

Islands near Loreto. Loreto Mexico

Islands near Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard



Loreto, Mexico—a Quiet Oasis in Baja California Sur

I recently visited Loreto, Mexico with a couple of other travel writers. It was my first time, and I was impressed with the lack of “tourism.” I have been to Cabo and many other places in Baja California Sur, Mexico, but Loreto offered all the essential amenities without all the crowds.

Loreto in the early morning. Loreto Mexico

Loreto in the early morning. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard


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Loreto sits on the Sea of Cortez (often called the Gulf of California by those in the US) in the southern half of the Baja Peninsula, about 300 miles north of Cabo. The weather is ideal for outdoor activities, and the turquoise waters of the Gulf will beckon you to fish, surf, boat, dive, and paddleboard. Loreto is rich in history. It was the first settlement in Baja California Sur and the original capital of the Californias (Mexico and the US).

SUP paddleboards in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

SUP paddleboards in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard



The state boasts breathtaking scenery with rugged desert terrain, deep canyons, and the occasional welcoming oasis. Loreto is a fabulous place in Mexico to wander the shops, hike the hillsides, play in the water, watch the local wildlife, and chill in this low-key paradise.

Our group chillin on the Bela Gato catamaran. Loreto Mexico

Our group chilled on the Bela Gato catamaran. Photo courtesy of Bela Gato crew

Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto, Mexico

My home base was Hotel Posada de las Flores. It is only ten minutes from the airport. The hotel, located in a colonial-style building next to the plaza, is a three-minute walk under the arched trees to city-center shops and numerous tasty restaurants. It's also a quick seven-minute walk to the waterfront.

The arched trees heading toward the city center of Loreto. Loreto Mexico

The arched trees heading toward the city center of Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The hotel staff was friendly and accommodating, and the rooms were well-appointed and decorated with a traditional Mexican flare. The showers boasted colorful tiles, and the mellow orange walls beautifully complemented the yellow and brown furnishings and decorative accents. Every room has air conditioning and Wi-Fi.

Suite at the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Loreto Mexico

A suite at the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The outside hallways featured chairs and inviting tile tables to sit amongst colorful climbing flowers that covered the railings.

Hallways at the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Loreto Mexico

Hallways at the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The hotel lobby boasted comfy couches and a stunning fountain. Each day the staff decorated the fountain with bright pink flowers. After checking in, I dropped off my bags and headed to Claudia's Restaurante to meet the others in my group for drinks and snacks.

The fountain in the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Loreto Mexico

The fountain in the Hotel Posada de las Flores. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Claudia's Restaurante

For my first dining experience in Loreto, Mexico, I ordered a cool and refreshing mango-pineapple margarita. We all shared steak nachos, ceviche, guacamole, and clams with tomato and cheese. The food was tasty, and I quickly learned that all drinks in this region come with tajín, a seasoning mix of chili powder, salt, and dehydrated lime. A little is nice, but a full rim was too much for me. From then on, I ordered my drinks with no tajín. After our snacks, some in the group went to rest; I went upstairs to check out the rooftop pool and lounge.

Mango-pineapple margarita. Loreto Mexico

Mango-pineapple margarita. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The Pool at Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto, Mexico

The rooftop pool is a great way to cool off on a hot Loreto day. You can stand under the “pipe” fountain and get the shower effect, swim in the pristine water, or relax by sitting on the edge and getting your feet wet. The pool has a glass bottom. You can't see much when you are in the pool, but guests in the lobby can look up and see the swimmers.

The pool at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

The pool at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The covered lounge area is comfortable, and next year the hotel plans to upgrade the rooftop furniture and add a snack bar.

Rooftop lounge at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

Rooftop lounge at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Dinner at Mezzaluna Restaurante in Downtown Loreto

Mezzaluna, a local Italian restaurant well-liked by the locals and visitors, was only a short walk from the hotel. I began with a cantarito, a drink that typically includes fresh grapefruit and soda. Most places have their own recipe, and Mezzaluna's contained tequila, Squirt (grapefruit soda), fresh orange, grapefruit, lemon, and lime. It was cold, sweet-tart, and refreshing.

Cantarito at Mezzaluna. Loreto Mexico

Cantarito at Mezzaluna. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Each day the chef at Mezzaluna makes a few empanada specials. I had to try one, so I chose the beef steak with olives and raisins. It was excellent. Then I ordered the gnocchi ala diavola with sauteed shrimp in a creamy, spicy sauce with tomatoes, bacon, onion, garlic, capers, black olives, and chili. The gnocchi was light and fluffy, and the sauce was delicious. The walk back to the hotel was quick, and I was ready for a good night's sleep.

Gnocchi at Mezzaluna Restaurante. Loreto Mexico

Gnocchi at Mezzaluna Restaurante. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

A Walk on the Malecón in Loreto, Mexico

It was a glorious and quiet morning. I got up early to watch the sunrise at the Malecón, the stone-built embankment, or esplanade, along the waterfront. The sun rose over the horizon, seagulls and pelicans floated on the water, fishing boats came and left the harbor, the streetlights dimmed as the sky brightened, and a few cyclists and joggers waved as they passed by.

Boats coming and going in Loreto in the morning. Loreto Mexico

Boats coming and going in Loreto in the morning. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

I returned to the hotel and ate a light continental breakfast of fruit, sweet cake, and coffee. Our group met Ivette Granados, our Loreto representative, and a local guide for a quick tour of Loreto history and a walk through the local mission. After the informative walk, Victor, our van driver, took us to the marina, where our luxury catamaran awaited us.

Loreto mission. Loreto Mexico

Loreto mission. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

A Day on the Bel Gato

The Bel Gato is a gorgeous catamaran with a professional and personable crew. We stepped on board and wanted for nothing the remainder of the day. The staff instinctively knew what each passenger needed or wanted before being asked. Francisco, Oscar, and Jorge quickly learned each guest's cocktail preference profile and kept the libations coming at a well-balanced pace.

The Bel Gato crew is always ready to serve. Loreto Mexico

The Bel Gato crew is always ready to serve. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard



The food on Bel Gato was fresh, plentiful, and tasty. The seafood-forward lunch included bass ceviche, a pickled-fish salad, and grilled sea bass stuffed with vegetables and ham. Everything was spectacular.

Grilled stuffed sea bass. Loreto Mexico

Grilled stuffed sea bass. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

One of my favorite activities was jumping off the side of the catamaran to swim and snorkel. Ivette and Donna, a fellow travel writer, went for a paddle on the kayak, and we all took a spin in the zodiac. Donna asked to be captain, and she had a great time at the helm under the close supervision of the actual captain. The water in the Sea of Cortez was deep blue with stunning shades of teal.

Captain Donna. Loreto Mexico

Captain Donna. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Although we only saw one other boat on the water that day, three different pods of dolphins joined us. They were so playful as they swam and jumped in front of and alongside the catamaran. These fantastic mammals were a highlight of the day. We returned to the marina at about 6:00 pm and changed for dinner.

School of dolphins. Loreto Mexico

School of dolphins. Photo courtesy of Ivette Granados

Dinner at Santo Cielo Restaurant

Ivette ordered queso fundido with chorizo and cooked clams for all of us to share. I ordered the flank steak; it was well seasoned and served with one of the sweetest and tastiest baked potatoes I have ever had.

Clams at Santo Cielo Restaurant. Loreto Mexico

Clams at Santo Cielo Restaurant. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

We ate outside, and a guitarist sang and played while we dined. As the night sky darkened, the lights surrounding the church took on a gorgeous glow. Full and satisfied, we walked back to the Hotel Posada de las Flores.

Loreto mission at night. Loreto Mexico

Loreto mission at night. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) Yoga on the Sea of Cortez in Loreto

I love yoga, and there is no better way to start the day than with yoga on the water during sunrise. The instructor kept things simple and told us to do our “own practice.” I love it when they say that; it removes all the intimidation—no need to stand on the paddleboard unless you want.

SUP instructor in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

SUP instructor in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The stretches and moves were not difficult, and our audience of more than 20 pelicans was amusing. After SUP yoga, we returned to the hotel for a light breakfast and got ready for our trip over the mountain.

SUP at sunrise in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

SUP at sunrise in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

A Trip to San Javier Mission

San Javier's Mission was the second mission built in Baja California Sur by the Jesuit priests. This mission was a popular place for many years, and every December 4th, San Javier's birthday, more than 10,000 people would pilgrimage to the mission. People built their homes and towns near oases in Baja California Sur.

San Javier Mission. Loreto Mexico

San Javier Mission. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

The desert here is stark. Although the oases were magical, the harsh weather often dried up the streams, forcing residents to leave.

Baja California Sur Oasis. Loreto Mexico

Baja California Sur Oasis. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Lunch at Casa Mia in the Hotel Santa Fe in Loreto

After our trip to the mission, we stopped for a lovely lunch at Casa Mia at Hotel Santa Fe. Ivette selected a four-course lunch: vichyssoise (a delicious potato soup with leeks and croutons), a green salad with balsamic vinegar and beets, bass confit with a decadent cream sauce, fresh asparagus, mushrooms, and tasty ice cream with cinnamon apples, kiwi slices, and a bright red strawberry. Yum! After lunch, it was time for our spa treatments.

Ice cream at Casa Mia in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

Ice cream at Casa Mia in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Spa las Flores, Spa & Boutique

Lulu, my masseuse, gave me an intense massage and a HydraFacial. Lulu used long, broad strokes to work out the knots in my muscles, and the HydraFacial felt terrific on my sunburned skin. A HydraFacial, sometimes called hydradermabrasion, involves microdermabrasion-like exfoliation paired with hydrating serums. The three-step process uses water and lotions to deep-clean, exfoliate, and hydrate the skin. After our treatments, we met in the lounge area for refreshing mojitos, then returned to the hotel to prepare for dinner.

Spa las Flores, Spa & Boutique. Loreto Mexico

Spa las Flores, Spa & Boutique. Photo courtesy of Spa las Flores, Spa & Boutique

Dinner and Beer at The Zopilote Brewing and Co.

Our final dinner in Loreto was at El Zopilote Brewing Company. Although I am not a beer fan, I enjoyed the tasting and later ordered a refreshing margarita with my dinner. Ivette ordered a delectable Margherita pizza with fresh tomatoes as an appetizer for the group. I dined on crispy, tender fish and chips with a scrumptious tartar sauce. We meandered back to the hotel to tuck in for the evening before flying home the next day.

Beer tasting at The Zopilote Brewing and Co. Loreto Mexico

Beer tasting at The Zopilote Brewing and Co. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Brunch at Los Olivos Restaurante La Misión Hotel Loreto

Los Olivos Restaurante puts on a phenomenal brunch. It features familiar eggs, bacon, potatoes, tea, coffee, etc., but the chef specializes in traditional Mexican fare. The pozole—a soup-like dish made with hominy and pork—was amazing. It was perfectly seasoned and included the typical condiments like cabbage, onions, chilis, and radishes. I have tried this dish in many different places in Mexico, but this version wins first prize in my mind. Everyone in our group tried it and returned for seconds or thirds. After another magnificent meal, it was time to leave Loreto and fly home.

Pozole at Los Olivos Restaurante in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

Pozole at Los Olivos Restaurante in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

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Visit Loreto, Mexico—a Revitalizing Oasis in Baja California Sur

Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit, and Loreto is just a quick flight or two from many places in the US. This less-trafficked oasis is the perfect place for a long weekend or a more substantial vacation. Stop at La Michoacána for a fruit or ice cream bar before leaving Loreto; they are spectacular!

Ice cream and fruit bars at La Michoacána in Loreto. Loreto Mexico

Ice cream and fruit bars at La Michoacána in Loreto. Photo by Tracy Ellen Beard

Bring the family and friends, or make the trek alone for some R&R. Whether your next trip is to Baja California Sur, elsewhere in Mexico, or some other beach destination, let Wander with Wonder help you plan the perfect getaway.

Loreto, Mexico is a charming 17th-century town on the Sea of Corez. Enjoy fresh Mexican flavors and watch for dolphins in the Gulf. Go fishing, do yoga on SUP, relax on a luxury catamaran. When you aren't on the water, you can relax in the spa, see historic buildings, and discover treasures in the quaint shops. Enjoy fresh seafood and great margaritas. Be sure to order a cerveza on the Malecón.

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3 Nights in Loreto, Mexico—A Historic “Pueblos Magicos”



Written by Tracy Ellen Beard

Tracy Ellen Beard, Wander With Wonder Senior Editor, is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer based in Longview, Washington. She is an avid traveler, wine connoisseur, foodie, hiker, cyclist, and kayaker. Tracy is the “Out and About” columnist for the Columbia River Reader and writes monthly for Upscale Living Magazine. She also contributes regularly to LuxeGetaways, Northwest Travel & Life, Country, Country Extra, and several other magazines. Her stories focus on luxury and adventure travel, fine dining, wine, libations, road trips, and recipes. Tracy shares a unique perspective on the world from her personal journeys and the excursions she took as the founder and past president of an international children’s nonprofit. Her twenty years of experience writing in various genres, and her culinary training in San Francisco, California, have added to her knowledge and expertise.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra

    Beautifully written and very informative. An incredibly useful guide to a weekend getaway in Loreto, Mexico.



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