We learned from our time in interior Mexico that we love staying in town centers so we can walk to everything. It really makes us feel connected to the local culture. But we hadn’t had a chance to do so in Baja so far.
That was about to change in Loreto.
Route Between Mulegé and Loreto
I have to say the drive between Mulegé and Loreto is, so far, my favorite in all of Baja. It skirts Bahia Concepción, which is a stunning body of water, especially juxtaposed with the surrounding rock faces.
Many people, including Expedition Portal’s Scott Brady, consider El Requeson to be the gem of beach camping along Bahia Concepciòn. I can certainly see why, though the word appears to be out!
Where We Stayed in Loreto: Romanita
Based on everything I said a minute ago about us loving to stay in city centers sometimes, there was no question we wanted to stay at Romanita if possible. We knew it was in the central part of Loreto, but we didn’t know it was so close to both the malecon (oceanside walkway) and zocalo (town square) that you can see either from right outside the gate.
We pulled in on a Wednesday and there were only a couple of spots left. By that night, it was full. We stayed for two nights and left on Friday for more beach camping (keep reading for more on that).
Romanita is small, but serviceable. There are two combined toilet/shower rooms–one designated for men and one for women. The cost is 200 pesos a night, or just over $10 USD. You can’t beat this price for the location.
Oh! And there’s also a washing machine. I didn’t use it, but it looked fairly new and clean. There’s an extra fee to use it, and you’ll need to hang-dry your clothes (I’m not sure where). Definitely another perk.
Coming from friendly Hacienda la Habana in Mulegé, the other campers seemed quiet at first. But we ended up meeting a ton of wonderful people.
Impressions of Loreto and What We Did
Upon arrival, Loreto is immediately charming. It has the beautiful oceanside, nice restaurants, welcoming coffee shops, and colorful trinkets. It only takes one stroll around the city center to realize everything is directed at tourists. Because of that focus, it can feel challenging to get to know the authentic Loreto.
The service industry expects visitors to speak English here, which feels fairly new if you’ve been driving all the way from the U.S. border. This may be the first time you’re accosted on the street by someone who wants to sell you a tour, or get you to walk through their store. (Remember, these are real people trying to earn a living.)
So, you may love it or want to leave it. We enjoyed the locals, expats, and travelers who we met in Loreto. We probably could’ve stayed another night happily, and we’ll probably return on our way north. But tourist towns are not the only focus of our desire to overland.
I have no plans-Jack Kerouac
No appointments with anybody
So I leisurely explore
Souls and cities
One of my favorite quotations ever, and the way I like to approach most of our travels. We haven’t done any whale-watching in Baja; we haven’t seen any cliff paintings; we haven’t gone diving or kite-boarding or surfing or.
But we’ve done a lot of walking, a lot of eating, a lot of talking. And it’s that day-to-day life that seems so rich and balanced. What do you think?
Loreto was like that.
What We Ate in Central Loreto
- Sea Coffee: Americano, galletas (cookies), Wi-Fi works on the outdoor patio
- Mi Loreto – nice ambiance, weird service, delicious steak, cochinita pibil, and margarita.
- Super Pan – may or may not satisfy your craving for pan dulce, but it is within walking distance of the town square
- Orlando’s – fairly typical Baja cuisine, but everything was good
- Michoacana Ice Cream – great ice cream/paleta shop adjacent to Orlando’s when February is warm
- JR & George’s – restaurant on the malecon that caters to gringos, but is run by a really wonderful Mexican man. We got to know him and his story well, and felt privileged to support his local business.
- El Rey Del Taco – highly recommended as the place with the best tacos by our campground host, but it wasn’t open when we tried to go for lunch
Grocery shopping is also walkable, with a well-stocked mercado called El Pescador about seven blocks away. I got some good frozen tilapia there, as well as produce, dairy, and other things. They had a fairly wide variety of meat, though I still struggle with the meat side of the house in Mexico.
Camping at Juncalito Beach
Having seen a shinier side of Baja, we were ready to get back to beach camping on our weekend. We drove a short half-an-hour south down Mex 1 to Juncalito Beach, where we enjoyed more time with our friends from @overlandbunch.
This was the busiest beach we’ve experienced, but we had plenty of space between us and other campers.
The water was just perfect for swimming, including with little ones. It was actually Caspian’s first successful time in ocean waves, and he was the one asking to go farther in. It was really exciting and special.
Like every Baja beach, it was free to camp.
The other highlights were the pelicans, which were constantly dive-bombing for fish. They were really fun to observe.
We considered staying another night, but circumstances pushed us south to La Paz. More on that in our next episode.
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