From the National Geographic Sea Bird in Baja California
Dec 24, 2012 - National Geographic Sea Bird
San Javier & Loreto
After a restful night anchored off Puerto Escondido on the mainland, we approached the dock there and tied our ship up. Breakfast over, we immediately boarded a series of vans which took us to the vicinity of Loreto, and up into the mountains on a nice paved road. Many years ago this road was dirt/rock and a million curves. How the Jesuits ever made it up is a wonder. We only drove for an hour and a half, but for them it must have been a two-week trip at least, walking and driving donkeys or mules up those dirt paths in the mountains.
San Javier is a lovely mission, complete with a small town attached to it. Tourism is what makes the place run, with everyone driving up the mountain to see this most historical place near Loreto. The mission here was begun shortly before the mission in Loreto, but was stopped to build the one at Loreto first. By 1702 it was finished, and then their work was dedicated to San Javier. The place was chosen for the presence of a lot of water, as the native Guaycura were there. This mission is in perfect condition, and the priest goes from Loreto up there once a week to give mass. Interestingly enough, behind the church are a series of good quality cultivation fields where we saw an enormous amount of fruit trees, especially sweet limes, sweet oranges, guavas and hundreds of olive trees. Among these last is an old, gnarled olive tree, around three hundred years old, planted by the missionaries at the beginning of the 1700’s. It still gives bushels of olives every year.
Soon we were on our way back to Loreto, where we were driven straight to the Hotel Mission, where a delicious lunch awaited us. Yes, delicious! And then we were free to visit this small city and its many handicraft shops.
The way back to our ship was uneventful, but with lovely views.