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Have a Baja Moment! Stay at a Romantic Vacation Rental in Loreto Bay

Have a Baja Moment! Stay at a Romantic Vacation Rental in Nopolo or in Downtown Loreto.

Vacation Rental in Loreto

Looking for a romantic getaway? Visit Loreto and get seduced by the history and charm of this magical Baja town. Image: Casa 465 in Nopolo, south of Loreto.

Loreto was the first Spanish settlement in the Baja Peninsula. Once billed as the “Capital of the Californias,” today Loreto is a lovely town with well-preserved 18th and 19th century buildings, quiet cobblestone streets, museums, art galleries and a friendly population of close to 15,000 residents.

In Loreto, the crystalline waters of the Sea of Cortez bathe sandy beaches and inhabited islands while the impressive mountains of Sierra de la Giganta overlook the bay. Surrounded by this spectacular landscape, the sleepy town offers a unique combination of historic relevance, natural beauty and local flavor that has resulted in its recognition by the Mexican Tourism Board as one of Baja’s three Pueblo Magicos (Magical Towns).

Vacation Rental in Loreto

Loreto is one of only three towns in Baja to be designated as a Pueblo Magico.

The Loreto area doesn’t lack for excitement and adventure either. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of water-based activities such as diving, kayaking, snorkeling, sportfishing and whale watching, or opt for more relaxing pursuits, like a soothing walk on a secluded beach at sunset. The desert and mountains nearby also provide excellent activities options – hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking- and a visit to see some of the peninsula’s famous cave paintings can be an unforgettable experience.

And when it comes to accommodations, Loreto has something to suit every budget.

Vacation Rental in Loreto

El Tibruon Casitas’ charming accommodations are located in the heart of downtown Loreto.

For instance, it’s hard beat the convenience and affordability and luxury of El Tiburon Casitas. This charming hotel boasts a perfect location on a quiet street in downtown Loreto, and it is within easy walking distance of the historic district and the malecon (marina boardwalk).

El Tiburon Casitas features four little Casita houses built around a central patio and sparkling Pool. The hotel reflects the laid-back style of the town, and is decorated with vibrant colors and Mexican arts and crafts. All units are fully furnished and have a kitchen, private bathroom and well-lighted spaces. Other room amenities include air-conditioning, ceiling fans, fresh linens and towels, as well as daily maid service. Complimentary WiFi, Phone calls, and Bikes.

Vacation Rental in Loreto

Traditional Mexican furnishings are hallmarks at El Tiburon Casitas.

Another great feature of the hotel are its outdoor spaces. The secluded courtyard has a huge palapa and a grill where you can prepare delicious meals for your loved one.

Stay at El Tiburon Casitas and stroll around town, plan a picnic on a nearby beach, or have a romantic dinner in one of the many fine restaurants downtown. The hotel’s amiable staff, convenient location and affordable rates makes it an outstanding option for budget-conscious travelers to Loreto.

 
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from  Tijuana  to Cabo San Lucas.  

 

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Loreto Hosts First Annual Chocolate Clam Festival

Loreto Hosts First Annual Chocolate Clam Festival.

Perhaps best known as California’s first capital, Loreto is also famed for its almejas chocolatas (chocolate clams), and last Saturday, June 1st,  was the perfect time to sample them. The Restaurant Association of Loreto (CANIRAC),  in conjunction with the state tourism department, hosted the historic town’s inaugural Festival of the Chocolate Clam, and it was awesome!

We arrived in the early evening to find the Marina transformed with beautifully decorated food booths, all serving special dishes that highlighted clams. Each restaurant prepared clams in many different ways:  chile rellenos stuffed with clams, clams on the half shell with butter, wine and cheese, clams in escabeche, plus many more. While we sampled all the delicious offerings, we were also enjoying the entertainment, which consisted of mariachis and traditional folkloric dancers, as well as the gorgeous seaside backdrop, with the sun setting over the islands of Loreto and sinking into the Sea of Cortez.

Later in the evening, we were treated to a dramatic demonstration of Almejas Tatamadas, the way locals traditionally prepared clams hundreds of years ago. First they were covered with sand, and then piled high with a brush that was lit and burned for about 40 minutes, perfectly steaming the clams.

We’re already looking forward to the next Festival of the Chocolate Clam, scheduled for the first week in June, 2014!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.  For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Living the Loreto Experience: How to Have a Baja Moment!

Living the Loreto Experience with tour operator Vive Loreto:  How to Have a Baja Moment!

by Ashley Curtin

Vive Loreto is a tour operator in the magical town of Loreto. Photo by Julian Gruening.

Vive Loreto is a tour operator in the magical town of Loreto. Photo by Julian Gruening.

While hiking in the La Giganta Mountains, diving among the colonies of sea lions in the Sea of Cortez or discovering the Mexican culture inside San Javier Mission, Have a Baja Moment! with Vive Loreto.  If you are seeking a way to live the Loreto experience, this mutli-faceted tour operator has a complete spectrum of activities.  Looking for adventure?  Want to learn about the history of Loreto?  Thinking about diving or discovering the islands that are scattered in the sparkling waters of the Sea of Cortez?   Vive Loreto has an array of activities that are easily doable while visiting the Magic Town of Loreto.  No matter age, skill level or niche, Vive Loreto will tailor an adventure just for you.

islands of loreto2

The Loreto experience wouldn’t be complete without a romantic sunset.

Land Excursions

Canyons, waterfalls and breathtaking lookouts are just a few of the natural wonders found on a one of Vive Loreto’s guided hikes. While on foot, travelers will trek through the La Giganta Mountains and discover a preserved ecosystem and natural water pools. Or to discover the islands of Coronado or Danzante, travelers have the option of an island hike.

 

Hiking the region around Loreto offers interesting copper-colored terrain framed by sapphire sea. Photo by Ashley Curtin.

Hiking the region around Loreto offers interesting copper-colored terrain framed by sapphire sea. Photo by Ashley Curtin.

 

Another way to explore the countryside is on an ATV or mountain bike. There are different trails and tracks to follow—even the famous competitive ones used during the Baja 1000—to provide any skill level driver or bikers a memorable experience. Or travelers can hop on a mule and ride through the mountains and tour the local surroundings of Loreto the traditional way.

 

Sea Adventures

Snorkel, swim or relax on the beach of one of Loreto’s islands for the day. Vive Loreto offers travelers a boat ride on an open panga or a 21’ cabin cruiser to the uninhibited islands, the best options to for a peaceful and relaxing getaway. It is there travelers can also take advantage of all the fun sea activities and enjoy lunch while looking out at the Sea of Cortez.

 

An open panga boat is a great way to experience Mother Nature.

An open panga boat is a great way to experience Mother Nature.

World-renowned fishing off the coast of Loreto is also a very popular activity among travelers and locals alike. Vive Loreto has options to satisfy both beginner and expert fisher-people.

Whale watching, depending on the time of year, is an amazing and unforgettable experience also facilitated by Vive Loreto. There are two different tours. One often offers travelers the chance to touch Gray whales in Magdalena Bay in the Pacific Ocean; the other allows people to simply marvel at the blue whales here in Loreto Marine Park, with the possibility of dolphin sightings, in the Sea of Cortez.

 

The Loreto experience happens on land and under the sea!

The Loreto experience happens on land and under the sea! Photo by Julian Guening.

The qualified and licensed dive team at Vive Loreto allows any level experienced diver a fascinating view of underwater. Filled with a multitude of colorful fish, rays and coral reefs, the Sea of Cortez offers the most beautiful sea life spotting. For travelers who are looking to learn how to dive, PADI courses, including referrals and refreshers, are also offered at Vive Loreto.

 

Cultural Experiences

Rich history marks its territory in Loreto.  Vive Loreto has many cultural tours to teach travelers about Mexican traditions, starting with the charming downtown. Loreto is the oldest town in Baja and Vive Loreto offers travelers a unique cultural experience starting with the sampling of Mexican cuisine native to the area.  Paired with the culinary experience are excursions to historic missions and distant ranches that are original to the Loreto region. There is nothing like learning about the indigenous peoples, exploring cave art and walking through churches on the San Javier Mission tour or the ranch tour.

 

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Vive Loreto’s tailored tours provide travelers with an unforgettable discovery of all things natural and incredible. Their expertise allows travelers to experience the magical culture, see the magnificent sea life and take part in the ultimate adventures that wait in Loreto.

There are lots of great places to stay in and around Loreto, including the  small and intimate  La Damiana Inn which is centrally located and rich with history, or El Tiburon Casitas, which are fully furnished and near the marina.  And dining?  Loreto is as delicious as it is charming!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants hotels , as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities

 

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Live it Up In Loreto: Have a Baja Moment! in California’s First Capital

Live it Up in Loreto:  Have a Baja Moment at California’s First Capital

Loreto was not only the first capital of Baja California (and Alta California, for that matter, although gringos just call it California), but the first Spanish settlement on the entirety of the Baja Peninsula.  A sleepy seaside town located about 220 miles north of La Paz, Loreto enjoys a privileged position between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range. It was founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1697, but these days it’s best known as a tourist destination — and heaven for lovers of outdoor adventure and water sports like fishing, diving, sailing, and kayaking.

Situated between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra de la Gigante mountain range, Loreto is known for its beautiful settings.

Situated between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra de la Giganta mountain range, Loreto is known for its beautiful settings.

Much of the current interest in Loreto centers upon five large uninhabited islands off the coast: Coronado, Danzante, Carmen, Montserrat, and Santa Catalina. These ruggedly beautiful  islands are situated in the Loreto Bay National Marine Park (they’ve also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a fish rich environment perfect for snorkeling, diving and whale watching. This marine park is one of the best places in the world to view blue whales (February and March are the best months), and a premier destination for kayak enthusiasts.

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How to live it up in Loreto? Sea Kayak Adventures offers scenic tours of the uninhabited islands off the coast.

Sea Kayak Adventures is one of the companies licensed to give tours in Loreto Bay National Marine Park, and they offer all-inclusive packages that include food, lodging, and of course spectacular kayak trips around the islands, from Coronado’s sea lion colony to Danzante’s romantic Honeymoon Cove. Sea Kayak Adventures specializes in small group tours, and has an excellent guide to guest ratio. Better yet, all of their guides are also marine biologists. This comes in handy when you’re exploring such an abundant wildlife environment, paddling next to dolphins, manta rays, whale sharks, and over 800 species of colorful fish.

Villa del Palmar at Loreto Resort & Spa

Villa del Palmar’s Islands at Loreto Resort & Spa  located 45 min south of Loreto

One of the area’s newest lodgings is Villa del Palmar’s Islands at Loreto Resort & Spa, which opened in March of 2011. The property is actually located south 0f Loreto at Ensenada Blanca, about a half hour drive from the airport, with 181 suites overlooking Isla Danzante and the glittering blue waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Villa del Palmar offers serene settings, first-class dining, and plenty of outdoor activities options.

Villa del Palmar offers serene settings, and plenty of outdoor activities options.

The resort is located within the boundaries of the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, and offers outdoor activities options like osprey and whale watching hikes. Guests may relax at the Sabile Spa and Wellness Center, or work up a sweat on one of the two tennis courts. A golf course was just completed in June 2016.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants hotels, as well as guides, maps and articles. 

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Have A Baja Moment at Tabor Canyon: Hiking the Mountains of Loreto.

Discover Loreto’s natural playground in the mountains of La Giganta and Have a Baja Moment, hiking the various terrain types and discovering a variety of wildlife living within the region.

by Ashley Curtin 

 

 

Climbing over boulders, wading through pools of water and scaling steep mountainsides in Tabor Canyon is the most popular hike among adventurous travelers visiting Loreto. The impressive natural features of the canyon preserve an ecosystem boasting green vegetation, blue palm, natural water pools and sheltered large trees, all home to the canyon. As hikers approach higher elevations in the mountains La Giganta, beautiful views of the Sea of Cortez across from Puerto Escondido are clearly visible. 

Hikers can Have a Baja Moment in Tabor Canyon.

While Tabor Canyon, located 15 minutes south of Loreto Bay, is a moderate to advanced hike, it is best that a guide accompany hikers of all levels. The hike is about a three-mile distance along various geo-terrains at a climbing elevation of 1,000 feet. With tour groups such as Wild Loreto, the hike takes about three hours with a stop along the way to re-hydrate, snacking on healthy foods.

 

The first part of Tabor Canyon includes hiking along a trail, but as the hike progresses, it becomes more challenging with steeper climbs and an overall less defined route. As waterfalls from mountainsides and natural swimming pools entice swimmers, hikers become one with nature. The natural aspects of the hike are not only breathtaking, but also rejuvenating and invigorating, all at the same time.

 

Within the mountains of La Giganta lie the flora and fauna of Baja. The Tabor Canyon hike reveals indigenous plants and wildlife that inhabit the desert of Loreto. Bird watching is another common and rewarding practice on this hike. There are various species of birds perched in trees or swooping up the mountains surrounding hikers. Various reptiles — some which are rare — hide within their natural habitat and, given the opportunity, might cross path with hikers. It makes for an unforgettable experience.

 

The rugged mountains of Loreto offer travelers a way to seek out adventure with various trekking opportunities. From large, clear hiking paths to less traveled trails, Loreto is a place for hikers of all levels to discover the wilderness.

 

Here are a few tips when hiking Tabor Canyon:

  •  Travel with a guide
  • Pack lots of water
  • Wear proper clothes (long pants, proper hiking boots and a hat to block the sun)
  • Apply sunscreen
  • Start hiking early in the morning
  • Hike with a partner
  • Bring a camera
Check out the video Vimeo below to find out more about how you can Have a Baja Moment in Loreto!

 

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. 

 

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Have a Baja Moment: 5 Places to Eat in Loreto

Have a Baja Moment:  5 Places to Eat in Loreto that Serve Up Baja Freshness

By Ashley Curtin

Fresh, local and seasonal:  three of the regular attributes of  the cuisine of Loreto. Located on the Sea of Cortez in Baja, Loreto’s fresh seafood is the main feature on many restaurant menus. Grilled fillets of sea bass, prepared chocolate clams and homemade ceviche are just a few of the staple dishes of Loreto. And to enjoy the area’s authentic cuisine, here are five acclaimed restaurants serving Loreto’s favorites dishes.

Mita Gourmet

A top tier restaurant located on the Plaza in the center of Loreto, Mita Gourmet is serving creative dishes to visitors and locals alike. The restaurant is known for its personalized service, attentive wait staff and exceptional food quality.   From shrimp wrapped in bacon to a fish fillet stuffed with seafood and various cuts of steak, the menu boasts an array of flavors. With both inside and outside seating, the atmosphere is casual, colorful, and intimate  Mita Gourmet’s prices are on the high side, but the restaurant’s superior standards and gourmet food makes it a place worth dining.

Location:  Davis Street In front of Plaza Juarez, Loreto, BCS 23880

 

La Palapa

 

Designed to resemble an oversized palapa—a thatched roof hut on the beach that provides protection from the sun—the fun atmosphere and fresh food make La Palapa a favorite restaurant among visitors who visit Loreto. The restaurant specializes in the preparation of seafood and other traditional Mexican dishes, such as chile relleno. Fresh fillets of sea bass are prepared to perfection, while a fun culinary experience at La Palapa is the Cesar Salad made table-side. A Mariachi band also frequents tables to entertain guests, but be prepared to pay a price for each song they perform. Moderate prices.

Location: Prolongacion Hidalgo a short block away from the Malecon
Loreto, BCS 23880

Conchó

A simple restaurant with no frills makes Conchó’s popular among the local foodies. The casual atmosphere, where plastic tables and chairs line the restaurant, is a fun way to spend an afternoon and fill up on seafood caught daily. Known for serving the freshest chocolate clams in Loreto, Conchó’s guests can choose from various preparations—grilled, raw, stuffed or broiled with melted cheese. But certain preparations can take some extra time so guests should expect to wait. And the wait is well worth the freshness. Conchó’s menu is not only easy on the wallet, but the restaurant provides guests a memorable authentic Mexican dining experience when visiting Loreto.

Location:  Calle Madero at corner of  Carrillo Anastasia, Downtown Loreto

 

The Market

Located  45 minute drive south of Loreto, within the Villa del Palmar Timeshare Property on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, The Market serves a delicious buffet complete with American favorites and authentic Mexican staples during breakfast, lunch and dinner. For guests looking for a serious entrée, the menu is composed of seafood and meat dishes highlighting the fresh and flavorful cuisine of Loreto. The Market is also known for its homemade bread—sweet rolls are made daily on site and served at each meal. The open dining area both inside and out offers guests a place to relax, with views of the pool and tropical landscape.

Address:  Carretera Transpeninsular km 84 Ensenada Blanca, Loreto,Baja California Sur, Z.C.23880

 

Giggling Dolphin Restaurant and Boat Bar

 

The once-boat-turned-bar-and-truck is now a grill!  Remnants of this eatery’s colorful history are scattered about this restaurant, and have become famous fixtures that have visitors flocking to the Giggling Dolphin Restaurant and Boat Bar on Benito Juarez half a block from the water. The main dining area is inside the open-sided restaurant under a thatched-roof and provides its guests a bright and airy dining experience. Known for its fresh seafood, the fish tacos are the most popular choice on the menu. The guacamole served with homemade chips is also a local favorite. To experience the fun atmosphere, sit at the boat bar and enjoy a hand-crafted margarita on the rocks or blend it yourself by peddling a stationary bike. The staff is very friendly and attentive. The fairly priced menu at the Giggling Dolphin Restaurant maintains high quality and consistency, while the lively, colorful decor makes this a popular place to dine at while visiting Loreto.

Location:  Benito Juarez, Loreto,Baja California Sur, Z.C.23880

Whether looking for a restaurant downtown or along the coast of the Sea of Cortez, Loreto has a variety of options for visitors. And no matter the atmosphere,  visitors are sure to Have a Baja Moment eating the freshest seafood and tastiest Mexican dishes while in Loreto.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula.

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A Hide-Away in Baja’s Paradise: Las Cabañas de Loreto

A Hide-away in Baja’s Paradise:  Las Cabañas de Loreto

On the Baja Peninsula, nestled between the towering mountain range of the Sierra La Giganta and the beautiful azure Sea of Cortez, is the tranquil, historic town of Loreto. Just fifty paces from the sea, you will discover Las Cabañas de Loreto, the perfect place to stay to relax and explore this area. The cabañas are within  walking distance to harbor, beach, restaurants and to shopping.

Las Cabañas de Loreto are a hide-away in Baja’s Paradise

Loreto is full of history and is considered the oldest permanent settlement in Baja. In 1697, Spanish padres founded the Mission Nuestra Senora de Loreto, the first mission in the chain of 17 that stretched to Sonoma, California. Loreto remained the capital of Baja California for 132 years, until 1829 when a hurricane devastated the city, and the capital was then moved to La Paz. Loreto has a beautiful Malecon, sea-front boardwalk, that invites you to stroll or rest in one of the benches facing the Sea of Cortez. It also has one of the most quaint town squares in all of Baja, and is the center for people to gather for music, poetry reading and other civic activities. The islands off of our shore have been designated and UNESCO world heritage site.

Loreto is truly a paradise. Photo provided by Las Cabanas de Loreto.

And there, smack in one of Mexico’s most lovely regions, is Las Cabañas de Loreto…a hide-away in Baja’s paradise.  The cabaña studios are behind the main house and face an inner courtyard. The studios have air conditioning, wi-fi access, kitchenettes equipped with microwaves, coffee makers and small refrigerators. The property has a pool, hot tub, guest laundry, outdoor sink area, BBQ and hammocks, available for you to use.

Loreto is one of the most picturesque towns in Baja, and can be easily reached via Mexico Hwy 1 (750 miles from San Diego) or by a 90 minute direct flight from Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines.  Loreto has many activities to choose from; fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, golf, tennis, whale watching, excursions to historic missions, or just watching the pelicans fly over the water.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities

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The Arts in Loreto: Lizette Inzunza is Doing What She Loves

By Jeannine Perez

The Arts in Loreto:  Lizette Unzuna is Doing What She Loves

We all see our worlds differently…each through his own unique lens of culture, beliefs and experiences. I recently interviewed Lizette Inzunza, a quiet, very talented woman who helps us see the worldviews of others through art.

“Juntos” by Lizette Inzunza

 

Lizette Inzunza is Directora of Social, Civic, and Cultural programs in Loreto. We gather on our Plaza for dances, gymnastics, music, holiday fiestas, food, and fun. The Arts become our answer to difficult times felt around the world and also here.

Exhibits in two rooms of our Municipal change each month; there have been more than 20 exhibits since our mayor’s election. No two exhibits are alike, ranging from abstracts escaping their frames to a seventeen year old boy’s intricate drawings, professional paintings done in vivid Mexican colors, and water colors by retired Americans who can still live in luxury. We shudder over violent Revolution paintings and smile over nature drawings done by school children. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, viewing of exhibits and simple refreshments are anticipated and well-attended. Strong art and the voices of people from contrasting backgrounds and cultures become windows allowing us to view the world through the eyes and passions of others.

Lizette has lived in Loreto since 1988, raising her son (also an artist), teaching classes, volunteering, and always, painting, painting, painting. She tells me she’s always loved art, but never dreamed it could become her career. On a science track, with chemistry her major, art was a hobby while doing something else “important.” However, each book margin and notebook was crowded with doodles and drawings. At graduation, ready to begin her science career, her teacher praised her art talent and said many available careers are open to talented artists. Lizette scoffed, but the next day, he brought her a list of art careers.

That teacher changed her life.

Lizette smiles, noting that she still struggles, while most of her classmates are now doctors or in science careers. However, she’s doing what she most loves to do….art.

"Entrega Absoluta" by Lizette Inzunza

At that time Lizette’s favorite subjects seemed to be landscapes and still-lifes, particularly those with chilies  She still enjoys painting them, but says her favorite subjects now are strong, capable women, and also she loves pangas (Mexican fishing boats), because, she says, pangas have souls and feelings, and she captures that as easily as the emotions in the women she paints. Some paintings of mermaids or angels, contrast darkness with light, and she did a series on the Mexican Revolution, and we felt the dangers and losses of that period.

I asked about her own favorite painting and which was hardest to paint. She said her favorite was of three angels (again, darkness vs. light). The hardest was begun several months after suffering a violent attack near the border, when she feared she might die. She didn’t cry and decided to paint the attack and her feelings, but began to cry, couldn’t stop, and couldn’t finish that painting. I remarked that perhaps it was complete, allowing her release of tears.

“Yo Elijo” by Lizette Inzunza: The Arts in Loreto thrive with her passion

My last question was about future ambitions and hopes. Lizette longs to travel, see and experience new things, while keeping her base in Loreto. Wherever she goes, Lizette will take along her gentle patience, sharing talents and visions, and always will impact the lives of others. Lizinsol@hotmail.com

 

Want to learn more about Loreto, its people and arts?  Find out where to stay and what to do in Loreto!

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula, supported by a full-service tour operator staffed by Baja locals (our “Baja Travel Savants”). We offer Baja travelers expert advice about localrestaurantshotels and vacation rentals, as well as guides, maps and articles about events, sports and activities. We provide bilingual customer support, information and sales seven days a week, 365 days a year.

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Loreto’s Eco-Alianza: Ecology in Action

By Jeannine Perez

The attractive little blue and white building at Centro Paseo Miguel Hildago #67 houses an organization founded four years ago, when several people decided that there was a greater need for community involvement  through an organization that would encourage working together to conserve the natural resources and beauty of the desert, mountains, and sea around Loreto. This beginning came during a time of much local development, and a group of individuals were concerned about the impact of that development on the environment and fragile ecosystem of this area.  And so, Eco-Alianza was created.

The organization has initiated a number of activities and programs since its inception. It is involved with water quality and waste management projects, Earth Day activities, education for all ages, formation of Pescadors de Alianza (fishermen who are collecting data from the sea and sharing their expertise), outreach activities for families and young people, and research that empowers these young, their families, local fishermen, and others in the community to be heard by those who have the power to make and enforce environmental laws.

Edna and Gaby, who run the two-room office and give the children’s workshops, are beautiful young women with lots of energy and enthusiasm for their work. This enthusiasm is contagious.

I recently sat in on one of their workshops.  In it, boys and girls identified marine birds, learned about the animals’  habits, had contests, went on field trips, and ended by creating surprisingly professional paper mache birds from plastic bottles and lots of glue, paper, and paint (and much patient instruction).

Here’s what Edna and Gaby had to say about their workshops and the organization:

What ages are the children at your workshop, what is the cost to attend, and can you tell us about your most popular workshops?

Our youth education workshops are geared toward children 9-12 years old. The workshops are free, with materials and employee salaries covered by donations.  All of the workshops have been wildly popular for the children. The favorites are probably the camping programs “Camping Without Leaving a Trace” and also the one on “Sea Mammals.” It is hard for me to believe that many children who have lived here all of their lives have never before been in a boat, on an island, or seen dolphins or sea lions.  The cost of a boat trip to Coronado is too much for many families’ budgets.

What are the greatest needs if Eco Alianzia? Can you tell us about some of your upcoming project? 

We are always in need of funding for more environmental programs. Future plans include forming a club for young people who have formerly been in classes, with the idea of maintaining continuity and then growing our own mentors/helpers for future programs. We also plan to create an online magazine, hopefully with a new page for each of the four seasons, with the goal of giving a voice to the people of Loreto (including our  young people).  This program would become a forum to air views and write about  many issues: problems, current research, solutions to problems, dates for planned activities, and it would give everyone a chance to participate and speak. We also hope that it could help instill a sense of pride in all the natural beauty we have here.

What is the hardest thing you do? ( I had my own idea of that, having stayed to help clean up after the workshops busy with pasting and painting birds, but they did not mention clean-ups. )

The waste management concerns and programs are currently the hardest to deal with, because  Eco-Alianza has been embroiled in setting up the necessary groundwork, which takes time, and does not quickly show the progress made.

We ended our conversation with enthusiastic hugs and promises and Edna summed it all up when she said that “for our young people, this is so important.  You cannot love what you do not know.” The education program has already touched the lives of many young people (and their families, who are often included), and I sense a growing awareness of pride and sense of ownership of the beauty here in Loreto.

For more information on the organization and its activities, visit the Eco-Alianza Facebook Page, or contact them at 52 (613) 135-1900.

Have you experienced an Eco-Alianza workshop or event? Share your comments with us!

 

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Loreto’s Art Cooperative: A Modern Fairy Tale

By Jeannine Perez

Sand painting by Co-op artist Antonio

Once upon a time, nine spirited women and men watched jobs decrease and hard times spread in their village of Loreto, Baja. The group discussed the need to encourage art and creativity in Loreto, how to add beauty and inspiration, and ways to showcase the talents hidden here. People living on remote mountain ranches were searching for outlets for their handmade leatherwork and art. But was this the time to start something new? There was no money, but the cooperative took off.  the members called themselves Misioneros del Arte.

Loreto’s Art Co-op can be found on the north side of the Plaza in Loreto. It has a unique wood and leather sculpture outside, a sign noting classes offered, and is open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4 p.m-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Many cities have art galleries. Step inside ours.  Watch the entry; the first step is high, and is missing a big piece of floor tile. We find all kinds of art for sale: angels, masks, sand paintings, leatherwork, shell sculptures, wooden birds, and mermaids with twisted serpentine hair. The second room is a classroom, painted orange with two windows, tables, and shelves of recycled materials unavailable in stores. Classes are offered (three or four each week), constantly changing, and using recycled materials found naturally in the area. Paper mache birds, angels, mermaids and fish are created from discarded tortilla wrappings.

The future of this little place? Everyone hopes for expansion. This requires more materials, and funding, but if success continues, government grants are possible. The co-op wants to involve the community, sharing ideas and inspiration.

Women with small children tell me that this co-op gives them choices and opportunities; they learn skills while making salable items, earn income while remaining home with their children in a kind of cottage industry, and they also say that watching their parents make art that is valued has influenced their own children. Co-op art is art therapy, art as expression, and shared ideas. The mood here is, “Look at me! Art helps my heart and soul.”

You can visit the Loreto Art Co-op at Centro Historico Loreto BCS, Tel. 613 118 2977 or contact them at

 

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