Baja Distilled, Refined
|Pristine Mexico: The Sea of Cortez (image courtesy, Village at Loreto Bay)|
From strenuous hikes to soothing beachfront massages, Loreto Bay and its surroundings offer enough recreational activities to fill an octogenarians lifetime.
The Pacific Ocean is notoriously cold, but its nothing a wetsuit cant fix. Just a half-hour boat ride from Loretos harbor is Coronado Island, the perfect point to awkwardly wiggle into a rubber unitard, throw on a snorkeling mask, and stare at the multitude of sea creatures previously only known via Disney animation. A full-day package includes a boat tour around the island with a knowledgeable guide pointing out wildlife (including packs of lackadaisical sea lions), snorkeling equipment, and a picnic lunch, for around $60 a person.
To dive deeper into this vibrant underwater universe, multiple scuba outlets are available. Discover Scuba offers an introductory class at the inns pool, followed by shallow immersion in the surf of Punta Nopolo. Experienced divers can book tours through the hotel with local certified experts, who will lead all-day retreat at the protected Marine Park. The $120 price tag includes gear rental, two tanks, and a picnic lunch.
To observe much larger sea creatures, take a day-long whale watching cruise, 60 miles southwest of Loreto, in Bahia Magdalena. Grab a lifejacket and bring your camera; two knowledgeable guides will expertly maneuver the six-person speedboat, stopping as pairs of grey whales, dozens of whom arrive in the Bay each January, playfully arch through the waters. As cries of Hola Mama! Hola Baby!" resound through the crisp air (mother and child swim together) these humungous creatures demonstrate a surprising grace thats awe-inspiring; watching them is a Zen-like experience. For $180, a day trip includes a two-hour cruise, a tour of Lopez Mateos (the site of annual international whale festival), and a grand seafood lunch.
If one prefers to catch animals rather than simply watch them, fly-fishing and deep-sea fishing is easy to arrange. From afternoons on a cabin cruiser to two-day intensives with certified instructors, the chance of hooking sealife is promising. Seven-hour trips, inclusive of all gear, professional boating crew, and an expert guide, start at $250.
For a bit more exercise than throwing a rod around, one- and two-person kayaks can be rented directly in front of the inn. Though my inexperience amidst high winds and a choppy sea ultimately beached me, I saw several father-son duos doing quite well. One can paddle through the estuaries that will ultimately be Aqua Viva, gliding through local plant life and bird communities. There are official guided tours as well; three-hour jaunts through Punto Nopolo often bring participants in contact with flirtatious dolphins and start at $85 a person.
Other recreational choices become a veritable laundry list: treks through the ancient Cuevas Pintas" (painted caves) of nearby San Javier; spa-centric indulgences like beach-side pedicures ($45) or massages ($65); cruising among the pelicans and sea lions around Coronado Island on El Don, a four-story yacht ($55 a person); burro trekking (laymans translation: riding mules) through the desert But one neednt be overwhelmed; if the options become paralyzing, its nothing a good old margarita cant fix.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication