Vacation Halftime Report: Loreto, Mexico


I want to share a few thoughts on Loreto, Mexico, but first a public service announcement: Traveling with an infant severely modifies the vacation dynamic.

More on that later.

The transition from Portland rain to Baja sun proved disconcerting for the bambina. (See, more on that already.) What can you expect from someone born in Portland in late November? This kind of heat is an entirely new and unpleasant experience for her.

I, on the other hand, am enjoying this brief excursion to a sunnier clime.

Loreto is a what you might call a sleepy little fishing town. But that’s cliche, so let’s see if we can do better. Loreto is a village that time passed by, a once important political center that history built a bypass around. It seems the Jesuits built a mission here back in 1697. That compound became the religious and civil administrative center of all California. In fact Loreto remained the official capital of California up into the 1800s. There’s a piece of bar trivia for you. So anyway, the church remained the governing body. The priests appointed local magistrates. Even the soldiers received their pay from the church while the church went about its evangelical duties, successfully converting the peninsular Indians out of existence by the 1700s.

Now the only remaining evidence of Loreto’s importance is a rather fine mission building. I mean, look at it. Simple but elegant.


The thing Loreto has going for it now is fishing. Pretty much year round, the seasons varying upon the type of fish you hope to catch. I watched an old Toyota pickup truck roll by, a headless shark bobbing along in the bed as if trying to nod. Meanwhile the head remained stubbornly still. The Loreto vibe is laid back, low key. You have a few of the obligatory gift shops selling the same ubiquitous curios found in every other gift shop in Mexico, the T-shirts bearing the same message, only the name of the town changing. But the tourist trap restaurant/bar chains haven’t shown up here yet. The visitors tend to be retirees than spring-breakers.

There are indications that may be changing, that Loreto might be destined to be the next resort destination, a far northern outpost of Los Cabos.

We’ll see. So far I like it as it is. Uncrowded. The food is good. My hotel is modest, but right on the beach and within easy walking distance of the tiny town center. I can try to relax and enjoy some sun. ‘Try’ being the operative word. See, young Victoria Valentina doesn’t realize she’s on vacation, that change from routine is supposed to be a positive and pleasant experience. So about 75% of this trip has been dedicated to placating V.V. I haven’t reached a conclusion, but it is possible that I feel less stress at the office. My lovely and talented spouse and I might want to reconsider our vacation strategy for the near future.


Still, we’re collecting some great photographs. The memories we’ll conjure from these in the future are certain to be more idyllic than the reality. Here, enjoy some yourself, invent your own memories.