Loreto and La Paz Mexico
The charming town of Loreto nestles between the scenic coast of the Sea of Cortez and the abrupt escarpment of the Sierra de la Giganta range. The streets are quieter than those of La Paz or Cabo San Lucas, and it is a perfect vacation spot accessible by plane, small cruise ship, or car.
Loreto is the site of the first permanent mission and settlement established by Jesuit padres as a step by Spain to colonize the Baja California Peninsula. The 'Mother of Missions' was founded in 1697. Loreto became the capital and remained so until 1829, when a hurricane swept through the community. The tower of the mission building collapsed in 1877, but the structure was rebuilt and remains an important symbol of the history of Baja California. A second mission is located in the San Javier Valley, 26 miles inland.
In addition to the intriguing cultural background of this area, one can discover a wide range of natural attractions. Many vacationers zero in on snorkeling adventures or sport fishing. Brown pelicans, boobies, and other seabirds can frequently be seen at the local boat harbor. Five nearby islands and the surrounding marine environment within the Sea of Cortez have been set aside as Bahía Loreto National Park because of their extraordinary biological values.
Travel to La Paz which is a bustling city with a long history of human occupation. A mission built here still stands in the town center. La Paz became the capital in 1829, when a hurricane destroyed much of Loreto. Today, La Paz is a primary point of entry to Baja California by small cruise ships, ferry, or by planes arriving at the modern international airport.
On a La Paz, Mexico travel expedition ship, one might visit Espíritu Santo National Park, immediately to the north of La Paz. The park shelters endemic animals and plants, those found here and no place else in the world. White sand beaches and weathered volcanic rock surround bays of teal-blue water. This region is also of tremendous value because of a number of archaeological sites that hold secrets about the native people found here long before Spain claimed Baja California and other parts of Mexico.
La Paz is a beautiful vacation spot with artistic sculptures and interesting shops. A lovely promenade, the malecón, follows the protected shoreline where herons and egrets search for food. Local skiffs and visiting sailboats rest at anchor in the quiet bay.
Many travelers to the Sea of Cortez and Baja Peninsula visit only Cabo San Lucas and miss the experience of seeing Loreto and La Paz. This is unfortunate, because they provide a more realistic window into local life in this remarkable part of Mexico.
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