15 Amazing Things to Do in Loreto Baja California Sur: The Ultimate Guide [2023]

If you are planning a trip to Baja California Sur, you shouldn’t miss a visit to the pretty Pueblo Magico Loreto. In this post, I am going to share all the amazing things to do in Loreto Mexico in different seasons.

Loreto is among those hidden gems of Mexico that you don’t hear about much. But it’s also one of the most gorgeous towns on Baja California Sur’s eastern coast.

The unique thing about Loreto isn’t only that it’s one of the most charming places in Mexico, but also that it is a paradise for nature lovers, with so many things to do and explore!

Since Loreto is praised for its well-preserved natural environment, it’s one of the rare places where you will experience some of the best Mexico natural wonders, without all the fuss caused by overdevelopment.

Loreto Mexico at sunrise

Combined with the fact that it was one of the first towns of the New Spain settlement, founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1697, the historical charm of Loreto is unparalleled.

Another reason Loreto is such a sublime destination is its coastline by the Sea of Cortez. You can’t find a better place to explore The Aquarium of the World (so it was named by Jacques Cousteau) than this!

Simply put, Loreto has tons of once-in-a-lifetime experiences to offer, including seeing the largest species of whales, the blue whale, and exploring one of the best national parks in the world.

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Fun facts about Loreto Mexico

✔ Loreto is one of the Mexican Pueblo Magicos of Baja California Sur. The title is given exclusively to Mexican towns for their remarkable cultural authenticity, heritage, and charm.

✔ Loreto Bay is part of the Loreto Bay National Park—a protected zone consisting of the Sea of Cortez and part of Baja California Sur.

It was established back in 1966 and has since been a safe haven for countless life forms, including almost a thousand fish species, a third of the world’s cetacean species, and 695 vascular plant species.

✔ The Loreto Bay National Park made it to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 because of its impeccable preservation of the environment and protection of the marine life inhabiting it.

✔ Blue whales, the largest living things on earth, come here during the January-March period to have their babies. (That’s why Loreto is a famous spot to go whale-watching!)

✔ One of the islands that you can visit from Loreto, called Coronado Island, is a crater of a dormant volcano.

Loreto main square

15 amazing things to do in Loreto Mexico

1. Stroll in the historical center for a glimpse of its colonial charm

Taking in the vibe of the town is definitely one of the first things you should do when you arrive in Loreto.

Since Loreto is filled with charming views not only because it’s surrounded by nature, but also because of the historical buildings and monuments dating back centuries, taking a walk in its center (centro) is one of the best things to do here.

It isn’t very big, so you can easily go for a stroll and see everything around it, but it still has plenty of interesting places to check out!

You can start with the first-ever mission in a town called Nuestra Senora de Loreto. Right next to it is the city museum where you will find more interesting things related to the history of Loreto.

Loreto Church

There are also tons of art shops, and also my friend’s bookshop, that you can check out here.

Top off your walk with a cup of coffee in one of the charming cafes in the central plaza, or go for a walk on the seaside promenade (called the Malecon) for a peaceful atmosphere complemented with stunning views, especially at sunset and sunrise.

2. Take a trip to the Mission of San Javier

San Javier Mission

While you’re at it, why not take your exploration of Loreto’s historic origins one step further? You will love the Mission of San Javier for a number of reasons.

To begin with, it’s in a cute little village in the middle of a rocky desert. Then there are all the amazing sceneries to accompany you on the way leading to the village.

Lastly, the charms of the village, including its authentic food and idyllic houses, are another great thing about it.

Check out the best guided tour from Loreto to San Javier Mission

3. Dive in the Sea of Cortez

I mentioned Loreto’s natural wealth earlier, and the Sea of Cortez is mainly the reason why. It’s home to thousands of aquatic species, and Loreto is where the marine life of The Aquarium of the World really flourishes.

The entire Loreto Bay area is a protected national park known for its amazing efforts in preserving the natural environment of its waters.

There are lots of divings sites in the Loreto Bay area to take you on a memorable tour in the Sea of Cortez.

Things to do in Loreto Mexico -diving

I haven’t been on a diving tour yet, because the last time I was there, the cold temperature of the water ended up being a bit off-putting despite the prospect of seeing spectacular creatures of the sea.

But it’s on my bucket list and I highly recommend it to you as well! Keep in mind that winter the water is cold but it’s the time when you can see the whales.

If you are serious about diving you should consider joining a Liveaboard trip in the sea of Cortes and enjoy spectacular divings non stop.

Diving in Sea of Cortez

There are many boats that organize diving safaris in the “world’s aquarium” among which Rocio del Mar which will take you around the wealthy waters of the sea of Cortes for 7 days of diving and other outdoors adventures.

Check out the best guided tour from Loreto to San Javier Mission

Diving in the Sea Of Cortez fishes

4. Spend a day on the stunning beaches in Loreto

Loreto beaches are very attractive. So much so that anyone who visits them falls in love with the stunning views and amazing watersports offered here.

The top beaches in Loreto include Nopolo Beach and El Juncalito, but I recommend checking out a few more as well by driving along the coast each one with its own charm and stunning views.

Baja california beach town

5. Try your hand at kayaking and paddleboarding

You can make your beach day even more fun by adding some paddleboarding into the mix. The activity is quite famous here. So much so that some hotels have paddle boards that their guests can use.

But even if your hotel doesn’t have them, you can always get them from an equipment rental shop.

Bay on the sea of cortez Loreto

The kayaking scene here is also just as vibrant, if not more. You can sign up for a full-day kayaking tour with the agencies in Loreto, and if that’s not good enough, there are also multi day tour options including camping on the nearby islands as well!

There’s just one thing I would like to mention here. Please be mindful of marine life and avoid harming the environment while you’re kayaking.

It’ll ensure both the preservation of the amazing creatures in the water and a fun experience for you.

Baja California coastline

6. Go on a Blue whale-watching tour

Speaking of the marine life that the Sea of Cortez is known for, the thousands of fish species that live here include the largest mammals in the world and you can take a tour to see them in person!

Blue whales swim along the Baja coasts all the way to Loreto Bay every year between January and March where you get some of the best whale watching in Mexico if you want to see blue whales.

Blue whale tour

To go see them, all you need to do is join one of the whale-watching tours offered in Loreto.

The tour includes taking a boat to Isla del Carmen. Once there, all you need to do is silently wait for the blue whales to show up.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and if you’re lucky, you might also get to see lots of dolphins before getting to the bay where the whales live.

Blue whale tail

7. Visit UNESCO Heritage site Coronado Island

Prebook the Coronado Island boat tour from Loreto

Among the islands scattered around Loreto Bay, Coronado Island is the most popular and a UNESCO heritage site.

It’s also easier to get there because the tours organized by the local agencies are more frequent.

Another other islands is Isla Danzante where it’s easier to go on a private boat tour which local travel agencies can easily organize for you.

Isla del Carmen is one of the three main islands you can visit to see the wildlife they’re famous for. The Blue whale tour goes in fact there but you won’t step on the island.

The islands have their own coasts with lots of dolphins, sea lions, and other amazing creatures living in the waters that you can snorkel with.

You can visit these islands either with an organized tour or simply by asking one of the fishermen at the Marina to take you, not before having agreed on the price.

Coronado Island

8. Go hiking in the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range

Planning to go on a hike? Prebook your hiking tour at Tabor Canyon

Sierra de la Giganta is the most famous mountain range in Baja California.

It extends from La Paz all the way north, changing its name to Sierra de Guadalupe up from the Municipality of Mulege.

From enormous rock formations to heavenly oases, the mountain range has lots of mind-blowing wonders of nature in it.

Sierra de la Giganta hike

If you’re up for a hike and want to go explore these, Loreto is a great place to start. This tour will take you to the Tabor Canyon one of the most spectacular situated within the Sierra De la Giganta mountain range.


9. Witness the breathtaking sunrise from the Malecon

Remember the promenade from your idyllic walk in the centro? The Malecon offers great views and a lovely ambiance throughout the day, but it’s a completely different experience to watch the sun rise from here.

Arriving here early one morning was one of the best things that happened to me in Loreto. Watching the golden sunrise above the expansive waters was mesmerizing.

This is definitely one of those experiences that you shouldn’t miss out on during your stay in Loreto.

Loreto sunrises

10. Explore the ancient cave paintings

One of the less-known facts about Baja California Sur are its awe-inspiring cave paintings found all across the mountain ranges here.

One such site is very close to Loreto, just a few minutes on the road from Loreto to San Javier.

If you’re fascinated by remnants of an ancient world, you will definitely love a glance at these cave paintings left by the nomadic Cochimí people of the region.

Road trip Baja California Sur

12. Play golf

Loreto has one of the most premium golfing experiences to offer for all the golf lovers out there.           

One of its best 18-hole courses is the Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa, where you can enjoy both golf and the breathtaking scenery of the mountain ranges and the ocean. Highly recommended if you’re into the sport.

Bahia conception

13. Hit the road for a day-trip to Bahia Concepcion

Loreto beaches are spectacular but only a handful, so if you want to explore even more beaches, I recommend taking a drive to the Bahia Conception bay for it. The drive is only 30 kilometers from Loreto, and the road is perfect.

14. Check out Mulege historical town

Mulege is a pretty and often underrated historical town on the eastern coast of Baja California north of Loreto at about 2-hour drive, which is why I suggest renting a car as I will explain further on in this post.

The road trip is full of incredible postcard-worthy views, which is why a 2-hour drive can become 4 if you keep pulling over like I used to.

I would suggest staying in Mulege for a couple of nights if you have the time and exploring the surrounding.

Mulege Baja California
Mulege river

The coast is lined with spectacular bays where you can stop and ask for short boat trips to explore the multiple islettes and small bays that you wouldn’t be able to reach from the road.

Mulege itself offers a lot to explore, from the old Mision Santa Rosalia de Mulege to hiking trails and spectacular views of the river with its wealth of wildlife.

Mulege historical town

15. Go kiss the gray whales in San Carlos or Adolfo Lopez Mateos

You can either continue driving north of Mulege to San Carlos or take another road trip south of Loreto to Puerto Adolfo Lopez Mateos (my favorite being the latter) where you can take incredible boat tours to watch the grey whales.

Gray whales
Gray whales

These funny and graceful creatures will come close to the boat and let you pet them, they actually love to play hide and seek with the boat and love to follow the motor noise.

The tours are done in full respect of the whale’s habits and environment.

Only available from January through March when it’s whale season.


How to get to Loreto Mexico

Where exactly is Loreto located?

As I mentioned earlier, Loreto is part of the Baja California Sur Peninsula in Mexico. Its exact location is around 508 kilometers north of Cabo San Lucas, on the easter coast of the Peninsula, and right by the Sea of Cortez.

PHOTP © Google Maps

Flights to Loreto, Mexico

It’s true that Loreto has a lot of old-world charm to offer because it’s not been overdeveloped like some other famous destinations in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely isolated.

In fact, there are direct flights to the city.

If you’re coming here from the US, you’ll find nonstop flights to and from Los Angeles with Alaska Airlines. If you’re already in Mexico, Calafia Airlines offers domestic flights to Loreto.

Going to Loreto on a bus

Taking a bus to Loreto has become a good option recently, and it’s definitely one of the ways to get here. You can hop on a bus to Loreto from La Paz, Todos Santos, and Los Cabos.

However, I must warn you that the journey can be tiring, because it takes 6-10 hours to get to Loreto by bus depending on where you’re coming from.

If you consider that by car is only 4 hours 30 minutes from La Paz and 5 hours from Todos Santos, by bus is really a long journey.

👉 Book your bus transfer from Loreto Airport

Going to Loreto by car

I used a car rental to get around when I was in Baja California, so it’s my recommended choice for Loreto as well.

The roads everywhere are neat, there are plenty of parking spaces with no fees, and driving to all the destinations of the Baja Peninsula is pretty straightforward.

On the road loreto mexico

Plus, I got to enjoy so many stunning views that I would’ve missed out on otherwise!

Other than that, there are only a few things that you should be aware of and your trip will be smooth.

✅ First, make sure your car rental is covered with insurance. Your credit might cover it, but not all of them do in Mexico, so double-check beforehand, and if needed, get insurance from the car rental company.

✅ Second, you have to be alert while driving on the roads of Baja California. The roads are spotless, but chances are that you might encounter goats or cows in the middle of them suddenly, which can be dangerous if you’re distracted by the sublime scenery.

But it shouldn’t be such a big issue, just drive slow and stay focused.

✅ Last but not least, it’s always good to have your gas tank refilled whenever you get the chance to. Although there are plenty of stations on the roads, the journeys can be long and you can never be too careful.

✅ For extra security when you want to take a picture pull over and get out of the car but keep the door open or take the keys with you just in case you lock it inside ( it happened to me ones and it’s not fun!)

Car rental

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Moving around Loreto Mexico

The town of Loreto is relatively small and it’s pleasant to walk around. However, you will need a car if you want to explore the surrounding beaches because there is no public transportation to take you around.

So unless you are planning to hire a driver or a guide, having your own car is the best option.

You can still take your day tours to explore the missions or to go hiking because it’s always nice and safe to have a guide showing you around.

On the road in baja


Where to stay in Loreto Baja California Sur?

If you’re like me, going for an Airbnb in Loreto is one of the top options for lodgings there. You can prepare your own meals and have an enjoyable stay at very affordable rates. Additionally, you can check out hotels on Booking.com.

I stayed in an Airbnb during my trip to Loreto, but I did check out some hotels there, so here are a few suggestions from those.

Loreto down town
Shop in Loreto Down Town

Posada de las Flores Loreto

Posada de las Flores is the first hotel that pops in mind when it comes to lodgings in Loreto. Its location is right by the main square in the center.

Then there’s the fact that it’s a renovated Colonial building featuring authentic Mexican art in all its indoor spaces.

There is a courtyard in the hotel that all of its rooms are centered around. The rooms have upscale furnishings and the rooftop terrace offers great views. It’s one of the best places to stay in Loreto.

Book now on Booking.com | Agoda

Posada de las flores
Photo © Posada Las Flores

Hotel Santa Fe

Hotel Santa Fe is a mid-range lodging option in Loreto with stylish studios on offer. The rooms are neat and spacious, and there is an on-site restaurant and a pool as well.

Since the hotel is located right on the main road, you have lots of cafes, restaurants, and tourist attractions nearby along with a laid-back atmosphere.

Book now on Booking.com | Agoda

Mision hotel loreto
Photo © Hotel Mision

Hotel La Mision de Loreto

La Mision de Loreto is an oceanfront luxury hotel with one of the most upscale lodgings and amenities in town. The hotel features modern facilities inside a Colonial-style building. You can book elegant 1- and 2-room suites with terraces overlooking the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range here.

Book now on Booking.com | Agoda

Hotel Bugambilia suite

If you’re looking for a place on a budget but cozy and decent, you can’t go wrong with Hotel Bugambilia. It’s a beautiful property with great rooms, friendly staff, and value-for-money facilities.

Located in the main road of Loreto, it’s surrounded by plenty of restaurants and attractions nearby, and the hotel has secure parking for the guests as well.

Book now on Booking.com | Agoda

Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa

Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa is another luxurious hotel in the city with upscale lodgings. Located 10 kilometers from Loreto, the hotel actually falls within the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range, and it’s an oceanfront property so that’s another plus.

The rooms include all the modern amenities and balconies with oceanfront views, and the suites add jacuzzis and iPod docks.

Loreto golf hotel and spa
Photo © Loreto Bay Golf Resort and Spa

Apart from elegant lodgings, you have access to an outdoor plunge pool, spa, sports bar, and a tennis court as well.

Book now on Booking.com | Agoda


Where to eat in Loreto BC?

I mostly made my own meals during my stay in Loreto both the times I went there, so I haven’t had a lot of experience with the restaurants in town.

However, since I’m recommending a few good places to eat out, I asked some of my friends there about their favorites to find the best ones. Here they are.

1. Playa Blanca restaurant

If you’re craving seafood, there is a restaurant called Playa Blanca. It’s located next to the church in the center, so the surroundings are definitely charming, and the atmosphere of the restaurant itself is also pretty nice.

2. La Picazon

The Gulf of California has some stunning views to offer. La Picazon is the restaurant to double the fun of this unforgettable experience because you get to enjoy the views with some of the most delicious food in Loreto here!

3. Mi Loreto

Loreto is full of authentic Mexican charm and cultural heritage, so it won’t be a good idea to miss out on traditional food while you’re here. Mi Loreto is the restaurant for it.

4. Mezzaluna

Also, I must admit that I did go out for some delicious pizza and empanadas during my stay in Loreto. Restaurante Mezzaluna is where I went, and I highly recommend it to you as well.

Baja California coast


Is Loreto safe to travel to?

Definitely. I’m a female solo traveler and I have been to Loreto twice and stayed there for a while with no issues at all. On the contrary, I felt very safe.

The entire city is very sublime and welcoming natives and expatriates are creating a very nice community.

Since it’s a small number of people, everyone has a strong sense of community, so that’s another reason Loreto is so peaceful.

Just don’t forget some common safety rules and you will be perfectly fine in Loreto.

These include not leaving your belongings unattended wherever you go, not flaunt your money and other valuable items, and avoiding being careless.

I’m sure these are precautions you’re already familiar with, so you don’t have to worry about much.

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When is the best time to travel to Loreto

All year round is a great time to travel to Loreto as you can see from the temperature graphic here below.

Winter is a great time to go to Loreto Mexico because you can see the whales and hiking is not so bad because of the bearable temperatures.

But the water is very cold, so if you love to snorkel or dive wear a thick wetsuit

Summer is hotter and more humid and the perfect time to dive, swim and snorkel but remember there are no whales to watch. Hiking becomes a bit of a challenge for the heat but still doable!

Loreto Water temperature
Photo © Weatherspark.com
Loreto average temperature
Photo © Weatherspark.com


What to wear in Loreto Mexico?

Usually, some casual outfits will suffice for your trip to Loreto. Of course, packing a couple of formal ones won’t hurt, especially if you’re staying in a fancy hotel or planning on attending upscale events.

Since Loreto is surrounded by a desert, it’s no surprise that the temperatures here go high in the day and plummet during the night.

Your casual outfit will suffice for daytime, but a windbreaker wouldn’t hurt for the nights and chilly mornings. Also, some eco-friendly sunscreen and a hat wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

If you plan on snorkeling and swimming a lot, having your own snorkeling gear is one option.

But even if you rent it, make sure to get a wetsuit as well, because the water can be cold during winter months.

And, as I mentioned in the things to do, hiking is one of the attractions here, so pack some hiking boots, pants, and layers for the lower temperatures of the canyons if you plan on hitting some trails.


Things to do in Loreto Mexico – final thoughts

I hope that this article offered the opportunity to learn more about the underrated colonial town of Loreto and gave you 13 reasons to include it in your Baja California Sur road trip itinerary.

But make sure it’s in winter so that you can enjoy some whale watching.

However, in the summer you can enjoy some of the most amazing snorkeling in Mexico without freezing which is also a good advantage!