Loreto, Mexico Destination Guide

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Know Before You Go

  • Loreto is located just north of Cabo and La Paz on the Baja Peninsula
  • The peso is the currency of choice, no matter what anyone tells you. Most spots in town will only take pesos, not USA currency, or credit cards.
  • Store hours can be random depending on the day and time of the year. The hours on the door can’t always be trusted. Just roll with it and enjoy life in Loreto. This is your chance to try something else in town.

Safety

  • Although Mexico has gotten its fair share of bad press, Baja has not been effected by the violence other parts of Mexico are experiencing.
  • We felt perfectly safe walking around day and night. There were often more expats and tourists than locals in town.
  • Everyone in town seems to know everyone else. Say “hola” and “Buenos Dias” as you pass by the locals. They don’t bite and they will often return the greeting and give you a smile in return. The more people you acquaint yourself with the more you will be known and looked out for.

Weather

  • December – March. Lows in the upper 50s, highs in the 70s.
  • March- June. Low 60s (mainly at night) moving into the 90s by June.
  • June- October. Lows in the 70s, highs close to 100.
  • October- November. Temperatures start to drop from highs in the 90s down to highs in the 70s with lows diving into the 60s by the end of November.
Loreto, Mexico

Meet the sea lions during your Coronado Island tour

Pack

Getting to Loreto

  • Direct flights are available from LAX via Alaska Air. The plane is small, with limited overhead space. You may have to gate check your roller bag.
  • It takes about 12 hours to drive from the bottom of California to Loreto. I’ve been told to avoid driving this route at night if possible. Break the trip into two days if you can.
Loreto, Mexico

La Damiana Inn- you home away from home in Loreto

Arriving in Loreto

  • Travelers of ALL ages must have a passport to enter Mexico, including infants.
  • If a parent is traveling with their child, and not the child’s mother/father, it is advised that you get a notarized note from the absent parent stating that you may take the child out of the country. You may not be asked for it, but it is better to have this document than getting stuck at the border.
  • Flight attendants will give you an entry form. Fill out the top AND bottom of the form. The bottom is your exit form, which the passport agent will rip off, and stick in your passport. Do NOT lose this form. You can be charged if you don’t have it when you exit the country.

Departing Loreto

  • Do not pack batteries in your carry-on bag. They will be confiscated no matter how much you argue.
  • You will go through security at your gate. It is a very tiny airport. You can sit out in the main area, grab a drink or do some shopping at the one tourist store. Or you can enter your gate and sit at the bar in there.
  • Don’t forget to have your exit form ready with your passport as you check in for your flight.
Loreto, Mexico

Tiny lizards are harmless along with most other critters in the area

Lodging

  • La Damiana Inn – Six rooms is all Debora and her husband need to make this inn your home away from home. The communal living room and kitchen make for a fabulous gathering place at night after you put your kids to bed and sneak out for a little adult time with the other guests.
  • CoCo Cabanas- Two pools make this a traveler’s favorite. The rooms are spacious, and the Shack-in-the-Back is the perfect spot for families with 2-bedrooms, 1-bath, and a combined living room, dining room, and kitchen.
  • Resorts– Be very careful before you book a resort in Loreto. There are very few in the actual town of Loreto. Popular resorts are actually south of the city, some almost 45 minutes away. If you want the convenience of cheap eats in Loreto, and more to do than just sit by a pool all day, then explore the local options in town. You will pay half the price, and possibly have a more authentic experience if you allow yourself to.

Critters

  • Crickets. These critters are loud and annoying at night but harmless.
  • Wasps. We saw wasps on our catamaran and were warned not to indulge in sugary beverages. No one was stung.
  • Dogs. There are lots of dogs wandering around town. Most are harmless and will leave you alone. Fleas are an issue. Just to be safe make sure you and your kids meet the “mommy or daddy” of the pup before you give it a pat.
  • Cats. Lots of kitties wander the streets. They won’t bug you if you don’t bug them. Watch out for fleas.
  • Geckos. Harmless and too small to eat the crickets, which is why there are so many of the buggers around.
  • Butterflies. Enjoy the beauty of an abundance of butterflies wherever flowers are found.
Loreto, Mexico

Guacamole and pica de gallo

Food

  • Orlandos. Fish done in multiple ways, and it is right across the way from the best ice cream in town. What’s not to love?
  • La Parala. Fish tacos, stuffed potatoes, and fresh fish are just a few of the delicious items on the menu that you should be ordering up.
  • Islas. If the parrot fish is on the menu order it. The garlic and butter scallops are divine, pasta is worth a try, and the tortilla soup can be good, but is inconsistent. Flan is on the menu but not always available, as well as the fish. The food is generally good, but not always consistent from night to night.
  • Wild Loreto Beach Club. Fabulous fish tacos, fresh guacamole, and drinks as you take a break from kayaking or stand up paddle boarding south of Loreto.
  • Pan Que Pan. Fresh-made breads and pastries along with omelets, smoothies and other breakfast options are an easy favorite for everyone in the family.
  • Fandango Café. Grab coffee, frappes, smoothies (sans dairy), and a few pastries. No crepes no matter what the sign says. Skip the chocolate flan. It wasn’t as good as it looked.
  • La Michoacana. The best ice cream in town. Another alternative is Thrifty, just before the mission, but it’s a bit more watered down.
  • El Pescador. One of the larger supermarkets in town. Baby food, diapers, wipes, and many of your regular favorites from back home can be picked up here.
  • Food Notes:
    • Fish Tacos. Most are fried with no toppings. You will often be served a side of pico de gallo, and can ask for guacamole at most restaurants.
    • Rice and Beans. An easy option for babies and kids.

Transportation

  • Shuttle: Wild Loreto, and other local tour companies offer a shuttle service into Loreto, or to one of the resorts in the area. Be aware that such companies do charge per person, which can be more expensive than a 1-week rental car for most families.
  • Car rental: For families this can be the cheaper option. You will also have more flexibility in how and where you explore.
    • Car rental insurance: No matter what your car rental quote is, you can be charged up to $13 per day for added insurance, no matter how much your home insurance and credit card will cover. This is a mandatory insurance via Mexican law. Even if you drive your own car into the country you can be charged this added daily fee.
    • Rules of the road: There are a few odd rules of the road that you should be aware of. These were told to me by locals and experienced on the road. These may not be a legal rule or written in a rule book.
      • If a driver puts his/her flashers on it means an animal is in the road up ahead.
      • If you are following a slower vehicle and they put their left turning light on, but there is no road up ahead, this means you should pass them.

Loreto, Mexico

Itinerary

Check out this sample itinerary to get your planning jump started.

Shopping

There are no real local crafts in town that you should be loading up on. Instead just find things that you love and shop away. Many of the shops sell the same knickknacks. Plenty of other shops can cater to all of your needs no matter your activity.

  • Sporting goods stores
  • Clothing stores
  • Mexican wares and knickknack stores
  • Grocery store

Rentals

  • Bikes. Walk around town and you will find plenty of spots to rent a bike and explore.
  • Kayaks & SUPing. Wild Loreto Beach Club has rentals available by the hour along with a side of fish tacos. Other outfitters and rental companies in town are happy to set you up with the gear you need.
  • Baby gear. Expat Lynn G. rents out all sorts of baby stuff including life vests and baby carriers. She also carries bottles, formula, and other items you can buy once you arrive. Contact her at lynngreeley@gmail.com.

Tour companies

  • Wild Loreto: if Lynn is around chat with her about the best tour for your kids.
  • Loreto Sea and Land Adventures: located next to La Damiana Inn
  • Best tour with babies and toddlers: Coronado Island
  • Not to miss experience: Gray Whale Watching
Loreto, Mexico

Whale watching

Activities for the whole family