By Marissa Willman
There’s a lot to love about Mexico’s resort towns: white-sand beaches, warm turquoise waters and endless tacos and tequilas, to name a few. But towns like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta come with a dark side: constant parties, spring breakers all year round, and constant crowds.
But not in Loreto.
This undiscovered Baja town sits on the Sea of Cortez, welcoming visitors with warm beach weather, undisturbed stretches of picturesque shorelines and platters filled with chocolate clams, a Loreto specialty. Just a 2.5-hour flight from LAX, the calm waters of Loreto are waiting for you.
If it’s relaxation you’re after, there’s no better resort to book for your Mexican getaway than the Villa Del Palmar Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto. This expansive resort sits on its own slice of the azure Danzante Bay, with every room on the property offers a view of the water.
Speaking of rooms, the accommodations at Villa Del Palmar don’t leave much to be desired. Suites include an in-room Jacuzzi, washer and dryer, full kitchen and separate living space, perfect for families, couples or friends who like to stretch out. You can soak up the sun from the day bed or lounge chair on your patio, or you can grab a couple of loungers by one of the five pools in the center of the property. Luckily, you won’t find yourself having to stake your claim poolside at the crack of dawn – plenty of chairs are available throughout the day.
While lazing by the pool, you can order fresh ceviche made from local sea bass or a platter of those famed chocolate clams, named for their color rather than flavor. If you opt for the all-inclusive package (and at $89 per day, it’s a steal), you’ll have unlimited food and drinks at the pool, in your room and at the three onsite restaurants, which range from casual to fine dining.
If you’d rather explore the ocean at large, you can rent a kayak or paddleboard (both included with your stay) and head out into the bay to discover the fish and other sea creatures that call Loreto home. You’ll find a wealth of sea urchins and puffer fish under the water, as well as brilliantly colored crabs and birds along the rocky shores.
A packed schedule of weekly events and an onsite spa serving up locally inspired treatments round out the list of perks you’ll find waiting for you at Villa Del Palmar.
Wander on the Water
With its enviable location on the Gulf of California, it’s no surprise that water sports and activities are one of Loreto’s main draws. Don’t be surprised if you find you’re the only one on the plane who didn’t pack a set of fishing reels – Loreto is renowned for its sport fishing offerings, even hosting a number of tournaments throughout the year. If you forget your poles, you can always opt for a sport fishing tour through the resort.
And there’s more waiting for you in the waters of Loreto: sea lions, dolphins and blue whales, to name a few. Book a tour to Coronado Island – known as the Galapagos of Mexico– through Wild Loreto to catch glimpses of these aquatic creatures, and maybe even a blue-footed booby or two.
While it’s easy to spend your entire trip to Loreto lounging by the pools with a cocktail in hand, add a bit of culture to your vacation with a Wild Loreto tour of Loreto’s missions. The tour starts with a walk through a desert area known as the Painted Caves, where you’ll see cave paintings more than 7,000-years old. Then, you’ll learn about the arrival of the Jesuits and how it affected Loreto while visiting San Javier Mission, a Baroque- and Moroccan-influenced mission that’s also the second-oldest mission in all of Baja. After walking along the trails surrounding this rural community, you’ll head into town to view Baja’s oldest mission: Loreto Mission. The mission sits on a Loreto street filled with shops selling local handicrafts and souvenirs, so be sure to load up on trinkets here to commemorate your trip to Baja’s best undiscovered resort town.