San Javier Mission in Loreto, Mexico
Hot, dusty and sweaty. That is what a trip up to San Javier Mission is. You know what else it is? Awe inspiring, monumental, historic, intriguing, and a rock-filled good time.The boys and I, along with our friends Debbie and Becca from TipsOnRoadTripping.com, decided to cram into our little rental car while staying in Loreto, Mexico this past March, and take the drive up to this historic church. The road was a bit perilous, having been washed out be a hurricane that year. Efforts to rebuild the roads are underway, but slow. I white-knuckled it a bit, but overall the winding roads were a blast to twist through, and no one got car sick in the process. Score 1 for me!
We poked around the arid exterior of San Javier Mission, more formally known as Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó, and the cool, art-filled interior. The alter, along with stone and wood sculptures, are treasures to behold for art historians, and the casual visitor alike. The kids were not so into the church, but we, the moms helped them find something they each liked. My favorite thing to do with Dek is look up, especially in churches were the ceiling are often just as ornate as the walls. We were not disappointed. Founded in 1699, San Javier is one of the main church sanctuaries on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. Every December 2 hundreds, if not thousands, of pilgrims head to the church to worship. Even 300+ years later this religious monument plays a predominant role in not only the local’s lives, but their devote countrymen as well.
Although the church is impressive, there isn’t much to the town. About 200 inhabitants reside in the approximately 4 block stretch; sometimes it seemed like more dogs were on the streets than people. It was a hot day though, who could blame them. We grabbed a bite to eat at Palapa San Javier across from the church and one of two restaurants we found in town; the cookies were better than the meal, but it was good in a pinch. On our drive back we stopped at a tiny chapel about half way back to town. It was across the street from someone’s house. We weren’t sure if it was a personal chapel, or open to the public. There was no sign or placard. We were just happy to have been able to stop and captured another slice of the life of the wonderful people who lived in this region of Mexico.
Exterior of the mission
Interior of the mission
Around the mission
Read more in the Loreto, Mexico destination guide
Photo of the Week: San Javier Mission in Loreto, Mexico written by Keryn Means