There is a small town in the Baja peninsula known as Loreto that will remind you of the beauty of nature and the luxury of a slower pace of life. Having just spent time at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa at the Islands of Loreto, I was introduced to the peace that is found in this city. (To learn more about Villa del Palmar, please see their special offer here with code “CHEFW17”)
Just a short flight from Los Angeles brings you to a town that sits on the sapphire blue waters of the Sea of Cortez. Referred to by Jacques Cousteau as the “Aquarium of the World”, you will be able to see the underwater sea life up close and personal. Like this jellyfish that is almost transparent in the water:
For Water Lovers
The best way to immerse yourself in the culture is to take a guided boat excursion that will introduce you to the Islands of Loreto. Our tour guide shared with us his passion and knowledge of the area, telling stories along the way about the islands, types of birds, fish and sea life.
Imagine sitting on the boat, the sun is shining, this is your view and you are enjoying a picnic lunch all the while learning about the 5 different islands and their 5 varied stories.
Marine life, birds and sea lions make it their home at various times of the year. 891 species of fish and 695 vascular plant species. Stunning to experience.
What can be more enchanting than watching whales and dolphins play in the sea? We had the most amazing experience being surrounded by so many dolphins as they swam around us in search of food and fun.
Seeing the whales breach the surface and then go underwater leaving us just enough time to snap a photo was incredibly memorable. It’s possible to see blue whales, gray whales, humpback whales and so many others depending on the time of year.
Kayaking, Paddle Boarding, Scuba Diving
If it’s kayaking, paddle boarding, or scuba diving that makes you happy, then the waters of Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortez will make your day. The calmness of the water means that anyone, no matter the skill level, can have these experiences.
Enjoy a morning out on the sapphire waters by taking a private fishing tour.
Bonus: should you catch any fish, the restaurant at Villa del Palmar will cook it to your specifications. Two of our friends spent the morning fishing, coming back with their winnings and great stories to tell.
If today’s idea of water fun means relaxing at the pool, then you have a choice of five different pools to choose from at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa. All together, they form the shape of a turtle which makes for great photos.
Play a little volleyball
Some night swimming
Or just rest and enjoy from the beach
Or from the mountains
Touring Downtown Loreto
After our whale and dolphin watching tour, we docked in the marina in Loreto to take in all that the city itself has to offer. This small quaint town has a history all its own.
Loreto became the first Spanish settlement on the Baja California peninsula when Jesuit missionaries established the Mission of Our Lady of Loreto in 1697.
As we wandered the streets, stopping in small shops, taking in the architecture of the buildings, admiring the artwork and gardens, we enjoyed the simplicity of the area. No one was “selling” to us but was welcoming us into their town.
The one stop we made that required us to find some energy was at the Giggling Dolphin Restaurant. It was here that we learned a new way to make margaritas.
We had to earn them! The carafe is filled with all the ingredients (including ice) and placed on the front of the bicycle for us to blend our own drinks. And trust me, we had to make them just right. That meant no slacking on the number of rotations on the bike. But it was so worth it in the end!
If you are a golfer at any level, you will appreciate the design and thought that went into the Danzante Bay Golf Course at Villa del Palmar. Renowned golf course designer, Rees Jones, created the plan for this magnificent course that incorporates nature in the most unique way possible. As you play this course, you will see 4 of nature’s landscapes: desert, water, mountains and valleys.
The 17th hole is just mesmerizing – although you really need to see it firsthand to truly appreciate the incredible beauty of where you are standing.
The final seven holes will be completed towards the end of 2017. In the end, there will be 7,400 yards once done. Per Rees Jones, “This golf course will have open entrances, pockets and sandy areas to capture the ball and keep it from going to the desert, and green contours that are manageable in the wind. People will want to play it over and over again because the conditions will change with the wind.”
Danzante Bay Golf Club is a place for any level golfer. Just beware of the glorious distractions that nature brings.(The 17th hole at Danzante Bay Golf Course)
Getting close to nature is very easy at Villa del Palmar as you are not only surrounded by water but mountains and desert. As we took our morning hike with Danzante tour guide, Carlos, through the grounds of the resort, we learned so much about the flowers, cacti, mountains, islands and connection to Jacques Cousteau. The photos you will collect will be worth every step you take up the mountain.
If your idea of relaxation means a day at the spa, then you are in the right place. Within the spa’s 3,900 square feet, you will be offered treatments that will benefit your mind and body. There are treatments that range from specialty facials to traditional massages to balancing treatments and more. All designed to bring you to a state of wellness.
Take advantage of the various pools from cold to hot to salt to aloe vera all contained in the spa itself. Add to this relaxation by looking out the enormous windows to see the mountains surrounding the resort.
Visit Loreto, Mexico
The Islands of Loreto is the hidden gem in the Baja peninsula. Come see for yourself. Find direct flights from Los Angeles aboard Alaska Airlines and from Canada on WestJet Airlines.
Stay at the Villa del Palmar Beach Resort and Spa with this special offer if you book and travel until June 2018. Enter the code – “CHEFW17” – under the category “Promo/Corporate Code” for 50 percent off accommodations when booking through this link. Terms and conditions apply.
For more information, visit about Loreto.