Loreto’s state is Baja California Sur (“lower California, south”) which comprises the southern half of the peninsula. At the state line is Guerrero Negro, a major commercial center, with one of the biggest salt-production industries in the world. There the highway (Mexico 1) veers east across the peninsula, passing San Ignacio, site of an especially beautiful native-stone mission church that dates to the 1700’s, to Santa Rosalia. This interesting city is the terminus for the ferry to Topolobampo, Guaymas and the cities of Sonora, and was also a thriving mining town until the revolution. Its mining, primarily for gold and silver, is now being revived by a Canadian company. Among its interesting features is a metal church thought to have been designed by Eiffel.
Just south of Santa Rosalia is Mulege, located at a freshwater estuary amid a forest of palm trees, surprising after the desert land both north and south. It has great historical significance to Mexico; located nearby are large and well preserved examples of cave paintings by now-extinct local tribesmen. From Mulege south toward Loreto is the shoreline of Bahia Concepcion, about 15 miles long, with a series of quiet, well-protected coves and sandy beaches.
The Loreto area, covered in detail elsewhere on this site, includes Loreto itself, plus the outlying development called Villages at Loreto Bay, and the environmentally protected Bahia de Loreto with its rich waters and surrounding islands offering seemingly endless protected anchorages, private bays and beaches, and a few smaller populated areas. Here, on the north edge of the city, is Costa Loreto.
South of Loreto the highway leaves the Sea of Cortez and goes inland to pass through the agricultural city of Consitucion. On the Pacific shore, west and north of Constitucion, are Magdalena Bay – famed for its close-enough-to-touch whale watching early in the year – and numerous spots known to fishermen and surfers north to the small town of San Juanico. To the south of Constitucion is La Paz, the state capital, reached by Hiway 1 as it heads back eastward to the Sea of Cortez side.
La Paz is a modern commercial city and seat of government, with an international airport, a spectacular malecon on its waterfront facing across the bay to the peninsula known as El Mogote, and its own series of great swimming beaches at Balandra and the nearby coves. A short boat ride away is Isla Espiritu Santo, with more swimming and sandy beach, and its own native whale sharks to observe.
South of La Paz the highway splits, with Highway 1 going east to Los Barriles and Highway 19 west to Todos Santos. The former is a still sleepy fishing town with lots of boats bobbing offshore (and crazy good wind for windsurfers in the winter). Todos Santos, another formerly thriving mining town, has over the past two decades been transformed into a center for artists and artisans of all kinds. Less than an hour by car on a nearly-completed four-lane highway from the tourist mecca of Cabo San Lucas, its galleries and restaurants are constantly busy during the tourist “season” – all of the year except the hot summer months.
Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are the cities that comprise Los Cabos, at the southern end of the state. They and the tourist “Corridor” of 20 miles length between them are the probably the most developed and varied tourist destination in all of Mexico. Cabo San Lucas is characterized by hotels and timeshares, condominiums, and its famous sandy beach called El Medano, and for its marina filled with the white hulls of hundred of boats. For those so inclined, this is Party Town, but there are plenty of options for those who just want a quiet vacation in a sunny place with a seemingly endless variety of restaurants, harbor-side bars and shopping.