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Wellness and Outdoor Adventure in Loreto, Baja California Sur 

The sun glistened on the cerulean water as I climbed onto a paddleboard and made my way around the quiet cove at Honeymoon Beach on Danzante Island off the coast of Loreto, Mexico. I watched seabirds, looked down into the water and peered at fish and creatures clinging to the rocks, as I breathed in the fresh, salty air. The sunshine, slight breeze, and gorgeous scenery was a refreshing step away from the busyness of the world. My companions and I were out on ABT Sailing’s Bel Gato catamaran for the day, enjoying a day of swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and relaxing on the beach. 

When snow, rain, and bitter cold make winter dreary, or you just want to slow down and enjoy nature, Baja California Sur is a great option for a getaway focused on outdoor adventure and wellness. Located on the southern part of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, Baja California Sur is an amazing destination for everything from whale watching, to sportfishing, hiking, yoga, and more. 

Cabo San Lucas is known for nightlife, luxury resorts, and golf courses, and it is located at the very southern end of Baja California Sur. North of Cabo San Lucas, around two hours away by car. La Paz is located on the peninsula’s eastern side, and it is a popular place to see whale sharks during the late fall and winter season. Further north, about a four hour drive north of La Paz, Loreto is a quiet city—by far the smallest of the three—with around 18,000 residents (as of 2020). Loreto was founded in 1697, and today it is a tranquil place to stroll along the malecón, practice yoga, head to the islands and bay for water-based adventures, or go up into the mountains for hiking and more. 

Get Out on the Water

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Image by Costanza S. Mora

Danzante Island, where I enjoyed a day on a catamaran voyage, is one of the five main islands in Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto. This protected area in the Bay of Loreto is a national park, as well as a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it also has a Ramsar designation. Make time to explore the national park, whether you take a catamaran trip or sign up for a guided kayak tour. The area is also known for its multitude of great sites for scuba diving and snorkeling, so sign up with one of the guide companies to fully immerse yourself in the ocean. 

Winter is prime whale watching season in Baja California Sur, so sign up for an outing to see these incredible migratory mammals. Watch for gray or blue whales, among other species. La Paz—several hours south of Loreto—is known for whale sharks. 

Try Land-Based Adventures

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Image by Nick Dunlap

If you’d like to explore the Loreto area by land, you’ll have plenty of choices, including hikes among beautiful canyons with barrel and saguaro cacti and stunning views. Tabor Canyon is a popular three-hour hike in the desert canyons, and Wild Loreto offers guided hiking tours to explore the area. A number of other hikes are also available near Loreto from easy strolls to advanced all-day adventures. 

Spend a day horseback riding for a taste of the ranch life, or opt for an ATV tour through the mountains. Visiting cave paintings is another popular excursion involving a day trip out of Loreto to see the rock art near Mulegé. Biking is another great way to venture out, whether pedaling around town or going for a mountain bike ride. 

Motorsports enthusiasts may wish to plan their trip to coincide with the Baja 1000, the popular off-road motorsports race. An impressive assortment of vehicles compete in the world-renowned race, covering more than 1,000 miles along the Baja Peninsula. 

Immerse Yourself in Wellness

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Image by Pascal van de Vendel

The sun was barely up as I pulled my stand-up paddleboard from the beach into the water, slowly paddling out from shore before dropping my anchor. As we sat on our boards, not far from the beach, our instructor slowly led us through a series of yoga poses, which were challenging as the water lapped steadily under the board. The early morning SUP Yoga class provided a perfect way to start the day, focusing on mindfulness, wellness, nature, and breathing. 

Later in Loreto, we met up with yoga instructor, Karen, at Palmas Altas Retreat where we enjoyed Yin Yoga, a very calming and relaxing practice. The retreat offers an assortment of wellness activities and retreats, including sound bathing, chakra alignment, and more. Karen also led my group in a mala making workshop later. We strung beads into mala necklaces as we focused on the intention we were putting into creating the beaded strand.

To achieve an even deeper state of relaxation, stop by one of Loreto’s spas, including Spa Las Flores at Loreto Bay, for massages, treatments, and more. 

Explore Loreto

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Image by Jonathan Adeline

Plan some time to explore the city of Loreto itself. Stroll along the malecón boardwalk beside the water, take a peek in the Loreto Mission and enjoy the vibrant downtown plaza. If you would like to learn more about Loreto and the town’s history, sign up with a local tour guide to take a city tour. 

Set some time aside to enjoy your accommodations as well. Hotel Posada de las Flores has a rooftop pool with several seating areas to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather. The pool has a glass bottom and you can see down into the lobby—and lobby-goers can look up and see swimmers making their way through the water. 

Enjoy the Flavors of Baja California Sur

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Image by Vic Padilla

Located right on the water, Loreto is known for its delicious seafood specialty: chocolate clams. Named for their color—not their flavor—these clams are highly praised and worth seeking out when they’re in season. Beachside Hotel Oasis features a special buffet dinner where these unique clams are the star of the show. Watch as a chef lays the clams out in a special oven on the beach, covering them with wood, and burning it to cook them. When clams are out of season, enjoy other delicious seafood as well as standbys like chicken, ribs, and plenty of sides.  
Loreto also has a number of other great spots to grab a bite. Orlando’s Restaurant is a favorite spot for breakfast and brunch, serving up delicious chilaquiles, omelets, huevos rancheros, and many other favorites. Mi Loreto is another great spot for everything from -enchiladas to mole, chile relleno, and many other tasty dishes.

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