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Loreto Basics

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Scenes of Loreto

Fast Facts: Loreto


Loreto is a small town in a truly spectacular setting. Loreto is located in Mexico's State of Baja California Sur. With a population of only 15,000 people, Loreto has only recently been discovered by American retirees seeking a low-cost lifestyle in a warm climate, and they've found what they're looking for in Loreto.

The mainstay of Loreto's economy is tourism. The Sea of Cortez's abundant sea life makes Loreto a mecca for snorkelers and sport fishermen. Loreto also features pristine beaches, hiking, golf, and water sports, without the frenetic atmosphere of neighboring towns like Cabo San Lucas. In Loreto, the watchword is relaxation.

Loreto has a hot, arid climate in the summer, with daily highs in the 90s. The winter and spring can be quite pleasant, with daily average temperatures in the low-80s and refreshing sea breezes cool down the night. Rain is rare and the skies are clear 360 days a year.


Loreto map


First Impressions


Kayakers

As you look from your ship to the village of Loreto, the gold and green hills of the Sierra de la Gigante mountain range lie to the west and the clear blue waters of the Sea of Cortez are to the east. But it's desert out there in the hills, all the more reason to explore the area.

Your ship will drop anchor in Loreto Bay, and you will be transported ashore via ship's tender. You will come ashore in the northern part of the town, along the city's pleasant Malecon (Paseo Lopez Mateos), which arcs south following the shoreline. The Malecon features grass, palm trees and a seaside walkway complete with benches right at the edge of the Sea of Cortez. How romantic!

The Big Deal in Loreto is the Loreto Bay Company. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, the company is developing the $3 billion Villages of Loreto Bay, a series of seaside villages in walkable neighborhoods near the historic fishing village of Loreto. Plans call for the development of 6,000 one-, two- and four-bedroom condominiums and one- to four-bedroom villa-style houses during the next 11 years. They are attracting retirees and second home owners who appreciate the areas' weather, ambiance and lower cost of living. The Loreto Bay Company also subsidizes flights to the Loreto airport as a way to promote the area.

This is a laid-back place, perfect for relaxation, exploring the desert or swimming, diving, snorkeling or kayaking on the Sea of Cortez. For those who plan to spend at least part of the day in the village, it's helpful to know that Loreto has its own unique culinary traditions. You'll have a good meal which, combined with a cold beverage or two, can make for a very pleasant day.


Time Zone


Loreto is on Mountain Time, seven hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or six hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Mexican flag Loreto Local Time
 


Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Loreto; most of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak English.


Travel Advisory


Dept of State

The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning, dated December 24, 2014, to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas..."

"In Loreto, no [specific] travel advisory is in effect."


Dealing with Money in Loreto


Currency



Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:


Banks and ATMs

ATM machines can be found in downtown Loreto, in the tourist area. The following is a partial list of the ATMs in town:

  • Citibank: At the branch on Avenida Cinco De Mayo, No. 103; Citibank account holders are not charged an ATM transaction fee.

  • BBVA Bancomer: At the branch on Avenida Cinco De Mayo, No. 203; another ATM machine can be found on Salvatierra.

Loreto ATM Map


Map icon

See our Loreto ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.



Using US Dollars in Loreto

As US dollars are widely accepted in Loreto, you don't have to change your dollars into pesos. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Weather


Coronados Island
©2008 josephwaynebarrett, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

Owing to its geographic proximity, Loreto has a climate almost identical to La Paz. Loreto enjoys 340 days of sun during the year.

During the comfortable winter and spring months, the average daily temperatures range from the mid-60s to the mid-70s F (18-25° C). Summer and fall daily averages rise to the 80s. It can be hot in the summer months, with 100+ degree days not uncommon.

Relative humidities range from the low- to high-60% from December through June, and then rise to the low 70s from July through November. Loreto gets an average annual rainfall of only 2 inches per year.

Winter water temperatures in the Sea of Cortez around La Paz are in the mid-60s F. During the summer months, the temperatures climb into the mid-80s F.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation



Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Loreto

The cyber cafes in town are centered in the Mission district, along with the ATM machines. Here's a partial listing of recognized internet cafes:

  • Dot Com Internet Cafe, In the Mission district, next to Cafe Ole. Rates of $2 for 30 minutes. Open daily, year round.

  • Caseta Soledad, Calle Salvatierra, in the Mission District. Reasonable rates. Open daily, year round, 8:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Loreto Internet Access Map


Map icon

See our Loreto Internet Cafes & Wi-Fi Hotspot Map for the locations of the above internet access points.


Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Loreto:

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Loreto area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Loreto area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Loreto area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Loreto area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Loreto area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in the Loreto area. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Loreto when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in the Loreto area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in the Loreto area through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.


Samsung Galaxy S III

Loreto Telephone Information

Travelers with American or Canadian cell phones or digital devices should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones or digital devices are used in Mexico. You can also buy an international roaming plan and/or a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

If you plan on using your cell phone a lot while on your cruise, you may want to consider getting a SIM card for the trip from OneSimCard.com. These SIMs work in over 200 countries, and provide very affordable prepaid talk, text and data plans. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you'll also avoid a big cell bill surprise when you get home.

Country Code: 52

Loreto Area Code: 613

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Calling Loreto from the US or Canada: Dial 011-52-613-XXX-XXXX

Using your US or Canadian cell phone in Loreto

To make a call from:

Loreto to the US or Canada: Dial 001 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Loreto to a US or Canadian cell in Loreto: Dial 001 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Loreto to a local Loreto number: Dial 001-52-613-XXX-XXXX

Woman with a cell phone

OneSimCard - prepaid international roaming, works in over 200 countries, free calls in over 150 countries

Local Events, Holidays & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Loreto in 2017:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), Sunday, January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), Friday, January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive their Christmas gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called the rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), Sunday, February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations. Since the day falls on a Sunday, Mexicans also get Monday, the 6th, as a day off.

  • Todos Santos
  • Festival del Arte de Todos Santos (Todos Santos Art Festival), Tuesday, February 21 to Tuesday, February 28. Todo Santos hosts a week-long art festival, including art shows, concerts, handicraft demonstrations and workshops.

  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), Wednesday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 28. The city's biggest street party and entertainment festival starts Thursday, February 23, and continues through Tuesday, February 28.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, Tuesday, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century. Since the day falls on a Tuesday, Mexicans get Monday, the 20th, off to observe the holiday.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), Monday, April 10 to Sunday, April 16. A religious and a secular holiday in Mexico, where you'll see processions and passion plays taking place in the city. Easter takes place on Sunday, April 16. During Semana Santa, banks are closed on Maundy Thursday, April 13 and Good Friday, April 14.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), Monday, May 1. A national holiday.

  • Loreto Fest, Monday, May 1 to Wednesday, May 3. Three days of fun and games, and some of the best music by the sea. Funds raised benefit local school children.

  • Cinco de Mayo, Friday, May 5. A Mexican holiday commemorating the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. Not as big a deal in Mexico as it is in the US.

  • Fiestas de la Virgen de Loreto, Friday, September 8. The Virgin of Loreto Festivities involve a series of religious, civic and cultural events.

  • Dia de Independencia (Independence Day), Saturday, September 16. A celebration of Mexico's War of Independence against Spain. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), Thursday, October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day.

  • Fiestas de la Fundacion de Loreto, Monday, October 16 to Sunday, October 22. The celebrations surrounding the founding of the city of Loreto is one of the most important cultural events in the state.

  • Mariachis
    ©2013 Inocencio Vasquez Melchor, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license
  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Wednesday, November 1 (which is All Saints's Day) and Thursday, November 2 (which is All Souls' Day). Celebrants build private altars to honor the deceased, using sugar skulls, flowers and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed.

  • Revolution Day, Monday, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Since the 20th falls on a Sunday, Mexicans get the following Monday, the 21st, off as a holiday.

  • Fiestas de San Javier, Friday, December 1 to Sunday, December 3. A celebration of Saint Francis Xavier, patron saint from the neighboring town of San Javier. These festivities attract a lot of pilgrims from the peninsula.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), Friday, December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Tuesday, December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), Monday, December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

Cruise Port Schedules


Ruby Princess
©2009 Scottocaster, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license

Loreto is a boutique port for Princess Cruises' and smaller cruise lines' voyages to the Gulf of California.

Loreto is a tender port; your ship's tenders will take you from your ship at anchor to the town pier.

In 2017, Princess ships arrive at anchor at 7:00 am and depart at 6:00 pm, in port for 10 hours. Both Azamara and Crystal ships will spend the overnight in the port.

In 2017, Loreto is slated to welcome 11,300 passengers sailing on 5 ships. For further information, see our Loreto Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017.

In 2018, Loreto is slated to welcome 8,500 passengers sailing on 4 ships. For further information, see our Loreto Cruise Ship Schedule - 2018.


Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise lines will make port in Loreto in 2017:

Princess icon Princess Cruises Azamara Azamara
Crystal icon Crystal Cruises
Cruise Ship


       
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