Baja California: The Islands of Loreto

Do you need a recharge from the daily grind? Do you want some sun and sand but minus the usual party crowd? Consider taking off to the Baja California peninsula.

Just under 2 hours by flight from Los Angeles, the islands of Loreto offer a quiet serenity that attracts those who ultimately want to feel renewed.

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The historical importance of Loreto sheds light on the cultural influences of the area. As the first Spanish colony on the peninsula in 1697, Loreto served as the home of the Misión Nuestra Señorade Loreto. After a few changes in hands of power, the settlement eventually separated in the late 1700s into Baja and the state of California, as we know it today.

The location of Loreto on the east of the Baja geologically offers natural beauty to be admired. A hike through the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range delivers a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the land.

Further exploring the terrain by mountain bike (or even a mule!) affords you the chance to glimpse ancient cave art and view some cardon cacti up close, some up to 20 meters tall and 1 meter deep!

Villa del Palmar

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If you’re fast on your feet, you may even sight the roadrunners and rams, which roam freely. Or visit the nearby 5 desert islands, Del Carmen, Danzante, Montserrate, Santa Catalina and Coronado, claiming lapping blue waters against white sand beaches.

Not to be missed are the spectacular waters near Loreto. Although the waters are rough on the Pacific Coast, the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez that surround the city lend itself well to water activities.

The enthusiastic adventurer looking to spend some quality time with Mother Nature has a gamut of choices: paddle boarding, fly fishing, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, and whale and dolphin watching – just to name a few!

10263981_1165205820156423_4266524504949433370_oThe abundant marine life of sea lions, whales, dolphins, rays, marlin, dorado and tuna give the Gulf of California its UNESCO recognition and protection. Although this is lesser known, the late French naval officer, explorer and conservationist, Jacques Cousteau, referred to the Gulf of California as the “Aquarium of the World.”

After spending your sunshine-filled day outside, you will need to unwind and relax at a peaceful retreat. The striking Villa de Palmar Beach Resort & Spa offers luxury and modern conveniences amongst palm trees, hammocks, and fresh fish tacos. For additional stress-busting time, the 39,000 square foot Sabila Spa and Wellness Center caters to massages, body wraps, and hydrotherapy sessions.

Or are you looking for more cleansing of the mind and soul? Meet the onsite shaman for a purifying Sun Salutation or join a session of energizing yoga. Golf and health enthusiasts will be satisfied with a challenging 18- hole course and a current fitness center, all the while being rewarded with a majestic view. With options for an all-inclusive or pay as you go plan, Villa del Palmar Loreto has options for every family member, on any budget.

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The mind has been cleared through appreciation for the outdoors; the body has been cleansed through wholesome cuisine; and finally, the soul has been restored through much-needed down time. Come, stay awhile, and explore this quaint town that’s only a hop, skip, and jump away.

You may be pleasantly surprised by what you will find: a new, refreshed version of yourself. Alaska Air files daily from Los Angeles and WestJet, weekly, from Calgary to Loreto. Vacation package deals are available from both airlines.

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