Great Views, Delicious Food
Approaching Loreto, we are compelled as if by a magnetic force to pull over repeatedly and stare longingly at the beautiful views. We drive along curvy mountain passes and stop to scurry up roadside hills. It’s so much fun, we backtrack and take turns driving the passes again. When we reach Puerto Escondido, a natural harbor about 19 miles south of Loreto, we slide into the rest area and linger to watch the sun dip below the horizon.
Largely unseen from Highway 1, Loreto sits tucked between the mountains and the Gulf of California, which is a deep, satisfying hue of sapphire. The town of 20,000 is said to be the first settlement in Baja California Sur and also the first Spanish settlement in the state. The Spaniards built a mission, which still stands downtown, in the indigenous community of Conchó in the 17th century.
We more than maximize our two-day stay. Hotel Posada del Cortes (from $62 per night) serves as our base camp, just steps from the main plaza and a short walk from the malecón, or sea walk. We can’t get enough of Loreto’s food, from carne asada — grilled steak — at a roadside taco stand to fajitas at Mi Loreto, a quaint restaurant in the plaza.
At Waicura, a vegan restaurant near downtown, we devour tacos filled with chickpeas, lentils and beans after our short hike up Tabor Canyon. The canyon is a desert oasis, with turquoise pools of spring water, located near the marina at Puerto Escondido.