Loreto, a tiny town on the Baja Peninsula, is big on outdoor activities. It’s home to the Parque Nacional Bahia de Loreto (Loreto Bay National Marine Park), an expansive national park that’s essentially a giant, natural aquarium—this natural wonder is home to hundreds of species of marine animals. Loreto also provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventure on the land or sea, from kayaking and snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez to hiking the desert mountain range.
Here are four can’t-miss outdoor adventures.
Explore the five islands
Just off the coast of Loreto are Loreto Bay’s five islands—Coronado, Danzante, Del Carmen, Montserrat and Santa Catalina. Each island offers its own adventures but sure bets are Danzante, known for its beautiful Honeymoon Beach and plentiful hiking options, and Del Carmen, the largest of the islands, for sea kayaking and exploring the caves. On the boat trip out to one of the islands you’ll likely spot manta rays, dolphins and even whales jumping out of the water—Danzante Tours does a variety of day trips.
Magdalena Bay, about two hours from Loreto, is a haven for grey whales. They arrive in late December and stay well into April for mating season. These whales are very friendly and often will get up close and personal with the boat (obviously, this isn’t guaranteed). Get ready to be in awe and have your camera ready. On the way to and from the bay you might also catch sight of other whales including the elusive blue whale. Wild Loreto does tours from Loreto.
Take a hike
The desert mountains surrounding Loreto are perfect for hiking, but be sure to go in the morning before the day really heats up. If you’re staying at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa there are plenty of trails of varying difficulties nearby—along the way stop and admire the flora and fauna like the cardon catctus and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Or, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, try hiking the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range. The Tabor Canyon is part of this range and offers a more rugged adventure. You’ll climb to higher elevations and have to scramble over boulders and travel through pools of water but you’ll be rewarded by amazing ocean views and a stunning waterfall.
There are endless options for snorkeling in Loreto as the crystal clear, warm waters of the Sea of Cortez are perfect for it. There are plenty of marine life to see including a variety of fish like angel and puffer along with moray eels and turtles. Snorkel along the beach at your resort or head out to Coronado Island, famous for its white beaches and coral reefs, perfect for snorkeling.