Published on 30/12/2021
Everything You Need to Know About the Islands of Loreto
Rising out of the tranquil waters of the Sea of Cortez, the Islands of Loreto create a striking view, tempting travelers to explore their rugged shores. Since the islands are within a protected marine zone, they’re a safe haven for all sorts of tropical fish, sea lions, small reptiles, sea turtles, and birds. When you sail out to the Loreto Islands, you can take in all the natural wonders while snorkeling in the water or hiking on the land.
The Islands of Loreto
There are five main Loreto Islands that were created thousands of years ago by volcanic activity: Danzante, Coronado, Carmen, Montserrat, and Santa Catalina. They all have different levels of elevation and sizes, but on each of them, a careful eye can spot iguanas and lizards scurrying among the rocks. Overhead, seagulls, egrets, herons, and frigate birds seem to float on the ocean breeze, and one of the most iconic island residents is the blue footed booby bird. Underneath the water’s surface, there’s even more marine life to marvel at, including sea lions and dolphins.
|Island||Area (ha)||Distance to mainland|
|Del Carmen||15,110||8.4 km|
|Santa Catalina||4,300||25.8 km|
Loreto Bay National Marine Park
The Sea of Cortez and the Islands of Loreto are the community’s greatest treasures, and as tourism started to grow in Loreto, the city protected the environment by creating the Loreto Bay National Marine Park. Founded in 1996, the park covers nearly 800 square miles of the Sea of Cortez, and it’s home to more than 80% of the marine life that lives in the Pacific Ocean. This area of the Sea of Cortez was famously nicknamed “The Aquarium of the World” by the legendary explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau, and when you snorkel or dive here, you’ll see why.
What’s the Best Island in Loreto?
Within the marine park are five main islands, each with its own rocky formations and attractions. Danzante is a small but strikingly beautiful paradise, and its turquoise waters around are filled with sea lions, dolphins, and tropical fish. The famous Honeymoon Beach has white sand that makes it a scenic spot for tourists. Carmen Island still has a few houses, a school, a cemetery, sports facilities, workshops, and warehouses from when the island had a commercial salt operation, but today, it’s protected by two different environmental organizations. Coronado is considered one of the best Loreto islands for a day trip, and you’ll see many boats anchored by the soft white sands of the island. Here, you can hike all over the island or scuba dive among the underwater rock formations. Montserrat and Santa Catalina are two of the less-visited islands, but they have scenic views of Loreto and an abundance of natural beauty to explore.
How to Get to the Islands
Because the Islands of Loreto are one of the city’s main attractions, there’s a number of tour providers and boats that sail out there every day. For an all-inclusive experience with kayaks and paddleboards, book a tour, but you can also take a small water taxi out for a simple excursion. After sailing across the smooth waters, the boat will anchor, and you’ll be free to explore the islands. Keep your eyes peeled for the playful sea lions basking on rocks and diving into the water.
Activities to Experience When You Visit the Islands
On the islands, you’ll get the best views by hiking up the hills or lounging on the beach, and among the rocks and cacti, you’ll spot small lizards while tropical birds flutter by. Out on the water, paddleboarding and kayaking are two peaceful activities that most tours include. To explore life under the surface of the sea, strap on a snorkel or book a scuba diving tour. Each island is surrounded by some of the best dive sites in Mexico, and the clear waters make it easy to spot an abundance of fish, sea turtles, and other animals.
Whether you love soaking up the beauty of nature or you love the thrill of exploring the ocean, come explore the Islands of Loreto for an unforgettable adventure.