The Magic of Mexico
February 17, 2009
Filed under Destinations
Editor’s Note: Mexico has been a favorite destination of RVers for decades. It has
attracted vacationers with its pristine beaches, sparkling waters, abundant recreation,
delicious food and, especially, its warm and friendly people. Despite the very ugly press
that the country has been receiving lately, it is still an outdoor paradise and can safely
be enjoyed, with precautions. Avoid the border towns, stay on the main highways and never
travel at night.
To visit the old town of Loreto, first settled by the Jesuits, is to walk under fig-tree arches and on cobblestone roads, to smell homemade tortillas on the grill and snap your fingers to mariachis in the marketplace. The Jesuit missionaries selected Loreto in which to erect their first mission in Baja – Our Lady of Loreto – in 1697 for many reasons, among them the fact that the area holds claim to perhaps the most perfect beaches, lagoons, marine life and mountain scenery along the entire Baja Peninsula.
Located roughly 800 miles from San Diego, California, Loreto sits midway on the eastern side of the peninsula on the Sea of Cortez, and encompasses the magnificent island of Isla Carmen plus a half dozen other islands that are all a part of the glorious Loreto Bay National Marine Park. This protected area boasts the largest variety of marine mammals in the country, including humpback, pilot, and occasional blue whales. Boat tours are available.
Sports fishermen will thrill to the bounty of the waters surrounding Loreto. Yellowtail, sailfish, dorado, marlin, wahoo, roosterfish and more are abundant and offer a fight for adventurous anglers. Fishing expeditions and scuba outings can be booked from the marina. The area is a renown fishing area and the local fleets can be seen daily in the waters. Here in the Sea of Cortez, large schools of dolphins perform their antics for visitors, and sea lions add their barking to the show.
History buffs will certainly be impressed with the remarkable cave paintings and petroglyphs in the area, some possibly dating back to nearly 12,000 years. These fascinating murals of sorts depict events from years past of hunting scenes, ceremonies and other life events.
Naturally, a visit to the Nuestra Senora de Loreto Mission – the mother of all missions – is a necessity, as is the adjacent Museum of the Jesuit Missions. Artifacts include more than 300 items, among them a
large 19th-century bell, a life-size painting of Christ and an unusual bebelama wooden cross. Divided into seven distinct galleries, the building has housed a school, prison and warehouse since its creation. Nearby to this historical section of town, the Rivera Del Mar RV Park & Camping offers 25 spaces, Laundromat and 24-hour security. For more information, email [email protected].
Down the coast, the nearby communities of Nopolo and Puerto Escondido offer more modern amenities, including a golf course, restaurants and hotels. According to long-time visitors, now is the time to discover Loreto – not mañana, when major development changes the face of the beautiful harbor and town, and it becomes a busy tourist destination as its sister city, Cabo San Lucas, has done.
Loreto is accessible by boat, plane and RV. RVers should avoid entrance to Baja via Tijuana and try instead to cross the border at either Tecate or Mexicali. From Tecate, take Highway 3 to Highway 1, the Baja Transpeninsular Highway. From Mexicale, take Highway 5 to Highway 1, straight down to Loreto. A stop midway at Santa Rosalia is recommended. Remember to have your passport, driver’s license, and proof of insurance with you at all times. If you travel with a pet, check for the most recent requirements and have all necessary paperwork available. Drugs and firearms are strictly forbidden. Remember, this is an adventure, a grand drive of challenging roads and majestic scenery. Enjoy the journey, not just the destination.
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