Published on 21/08/2021
What Makes Loreto One of Mexico’s Magic Towns?
Nestled between the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains and the Sea of Cortez, the quiet town of Loreto has long been the cultural center of Baja California. Its scenic beaches, vibrant ecosystem, and historic charm attract travelers from around the world, and while it’s grown as a tourist destination, Loreto still has that feeling of small-town life, where neighbors greet each other by name and the days slip by slowly. Because of this, the country’s government has named Loreto a Pueblo Magico, or Magical Town, a historic marker that sets apart towns that retain their traditional culture and ways of life. On your next Mexico vacation, discover what makes Loreto such an enchanting destination.
History of Loreto
Founded in 1697 by the Jesuit missionary Juan María Salvaterra, Loreto is the oldest city in the Californias, and it’s been called home to indigenous tribes, pirates, missionaries, and even international tourists. In fact, the original mission, Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, is still there in Loreto’s historic downtown. Today, it holds Catholic mass, and the museum next door tells the colorful story of Loreto’s history. In 2012, the town was given the Pueblo Magico title in recognition of its rich history.
While the city of Loreto has changed over the years, it’s greatest attraction still remains: the city’s natural beauty. Because it’s a small town, you can quickly head out into the mountains where you’ll find canyons full of indigenous flora and fauna. As you hike here, you can even discover ancient cave paintings. Another option for exploring the rugged mountains is a round of golf at TPC Danzante Bay, an award-winning course that attracts athletes from around the world. After playing through the canyons, the course takes players towards the beach, and to discover more of the sea, book a diving, sailing, or snorkeling excursion. If you travel to Loreto between December and March, you’ll be able to spot humpback, grey, and blue whales breaching the surface of the water.
Most towns in Mexico have a main festival to celebrate the local saint, and the Festivities of Our Lady of Loreto are celebrated between September 4 and 8. During these days, citizens take pilgrimage walks through the town to the church, and during the processions, you can hear traditional music and experience the warmth of the local community. On November 1 and 2, Loreto celebrates the Day of the Dead, a national holiday that embraces tradition through artwork, memorials, and family gatherings. December begins with the Feast of San Javier on December 3, a day for more pilgrimages, fireworks, and musical performances. From there, Christmas and New Years help finish off the year with vibrant festivities and religious celebrations.
Loreto is located on the Baja Peninsula, facing the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez, a marine zone once nicknamed “The Aquarium of the World” by the legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau. Because of its close proximity to California and Los Angeles, it’s the ideal destination for a quick getaway from the US, and it offers a more tranquil and quiet option compared to nearby Cabo San Lucas. No matter when you go to Loreto, you’ll have sunny days and warm weather, making every day a beach day.
Each Pueblo Magico offers something different to travelers, and Loreto holds its traditional culture and modern luxuries, all surrounded by natural beauty. From the gently rolling mountains to the waves crashing on the shore, Loreto’s timeless magic will make your vacation incredible.