A view of the main plaza
Located 84 miles south of Muleg� and 217 miles north of La Paz is the historic town
of Loreto (loh-REH-toh) or "Conch�" in the indigenous language which means "red mangrove".
Not only is it the oldest town in Baja California, founded in 1697 by the Jesuits, but its
surrounding scenery is incomparable; the magnificent Sierra de la Giganta mountain range,
the awesome desert and the azure Sea of Cortez.
Facing Loreto (pop. 10,000) are the wonderful islands such as the Coronados with its turquoise
waters and sea lion colonies; Isla Carmen with its beautiful beaches and coves; the Danzantes
with its rocky edges and small coves, a paradise for scuba diving; and Catalina, a favorite of
the ecologist with its unique flora and fauna.
The surroundings of islands offer the great sportfishing with an abundance of fish like yellowtail,
sailfish, dorado, marlin, wahoo and roosterfish. Sportfishing has made Loreto famous and is one
of its main tourist activities. Likewise, great schools of frolicking dolphins can be observed and
with any luck, one might see the blue whale, the biggest animal on the planet. Recently a wide
area of the Sea of Cortez in front of Loreto was declared a Nation Marine Park by the Mexican
government thus preserving the pristine waters here.
As the oldest permanent settlement and first capital of Baja, Loreto is steeped in history. The
mission of Nuestro Se�ora de Loreto, built in 1752, has been rebuilt due to earthquakes and
floods many times, but serves as the lead mission in colonialization of the Baja peninsula. A
museum filled with religious art and colonial artifacts is found next door. One of Baja's most
magnificent missions, San Javier, can be found 23 miles to the west in the Sierras. A must see!
The tourist corridor of "Loreto-Nopolo-Puerto Loreto" offers many tourist amenities and is
developing into a popular getaway for the sailing crowd. There is an 18 hole golf course and a
magnificent tennis center with 9 courts and a stadium, considered among the best in Baja.
Loreto has an international airport which is served daily from California, a bus depot, and
excellent tourism services; hotels up to five stars, bed & breakfast inns, restaurants, R.V. parks
and campgrounds, car rentals, recreational services and much more.