If you are looking for all night bars, fancy restaurants, and endless white beaches where tourists gather for people watching and sunbathing, this is not the place for you. If you wish to teeter between incredible outdoor experiences with plenty of downtime for leisurely walks through quiet streets and uncrowded beaches, then this is heaven!
Hiking, fishing, snorkeling, diving, historical sites, kayaking, whale watching, cave paintings easily accessible with little or no crowds. Your choices of activities abound with the only limitation being finding enough people to complete your party for the tour. i.e. the cave tour takes a minimum of 4 people and no one else signed up the three days I was there.
Below are the three tours I went on with Wild Loreto, who did a great job except for the one incident that I will discuss below.
Coronado Island – Loreto Bay and the five islands within it are part of a national marine park. Coronado Island is a small island approximately 20 minutes by boat from the marina in Loreto which boasts great snorkeling, a nice hike, and sea lion rookery. For $50-60 you can book a tour that will include transfers, snorkel gear, entrance into the park, lunch, and beverages. A number of operators have tours to the island or you can opt to hire someone at the marina. Make sure that your tour will take you all the way around the island to see the sea lions and includes the park pass. (Duration: 4-5 hours)
Tabor Canyon– This hike is not for the faint of heart. While the tour companies call it moderate to difficult, I would put it more at extremely difficult. Fifteen minutes into the hike one comes to a rock face where the guide will scramble up and then ask you to throw your day pack to him so you can climb the rock face. It only gets more difficult, with the last rock face using a climbing rope to ascend. There is no clear trail, lots of bouldering, and rock faces that require a basic understanding of rock climbing. For those willing to make the climb you will be rewarded with a series of pools and a breathtaking view. (Duration: 4-5 hours)
St Javier Mission – While the mission in Loreto boasts at being one of the oldest in the Baja California, built in 1697, it fell to disrepair in the late 1800’s and only the outer walls are of the original mission. Mission St Javier is a 30-minute drive into the foothills on a road that was built in the 1970’s. Due to its isolation, the town did not get electricity until 2011. This isolation protected the mission from vandalism when the Catholic Diocese withdrew support from the area. (Duration: 3 hours)
It is one of the best-preserved churches in Baja and still provides Mass for the 200 mountain residents. It even boosts the original pained glass that was installed in the 1700’s and the gold plating over the altar.
Finally, there is a lot of advertisement for whale watching. I am originally from Alaska and understand the damage tour boats can do on whales and dolphins if not managed correctly. During our trip to Cordova Island, we went through a pod of dolphin. Our boat captain slowed down and idled as we drifted past. The other boat, at the direction of the Wild Loreto guide, kept racing through the pod as the guide stood on the bow to get video and photos. This lack of ecological awareness prevents me from recommending a whale watching tour with Wild Loreto.