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Arriving

At the airport, taxis (tel. 613/135-1255) line up on the street to receive incoming passengers. They charge an astonishing 260 pesos to Loreto (300 pesos returning from Loreto to the airport), a 10-minute ride. (You'll save money with a colectivo, or group taxi, at 80 pesos per person, but you'll have to wait until the driver has four passengers to go to town.) The expensive taxi price is not an anomaly; the taxi union has set shockingly high rates in Loreto, so if you're planning to do much automotive exploring, your best bet is to rent a car.

If you do, it's best to book it in advance because the airport is so small that car-rental desks aren't always staffed on your arrival. Budget Baja has a counter at the airport (tel. 613/135-0937) and a branch office in town, on Hidalgo between Pípila and López Mateos (tel. 613/135-1149; daily 8am-8pm). Advance reservations are not always necessary, but will save you time.

If you arrive at the bus station, it's about a 10-minute walk to the downtown area and a little farther to the hotels by the water. A taxi from the bus station to the hotels costs 50 to 100 pesos.

Visitor Information

The city tourist information office (tel. 613/135-0036 or 135-0411) is in the southeast corner of the Palacio de Gobierno building, across from the town square. It offers maps, local free publications, and other basic information about the area. It's open Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm. Information, which may be outdated, is also available at www.gotoloreto.com and www.loreto.com. The Loreto Adventure Network is an association of green-minded hotels, restaurants, and tour operators. Their website, www.loretoadventurenetwork.com is a trove of helpful information.

Warning: Loreto's Timeshare Troubles  -- With the opening of Loreto's first timeshare development an hour south of town in 2011, the town has been invaded by out-of-town sales representatives willing to say just about anything to get you to visit the development. Firsthand reports tell of pitchmen representing themselves as tour guides, taxi drivers, even representatives of the marine park; they offer free whale-watching trips, boat tours, and overnights at the hotel. Don't be fooled: The tour takes at least 6 hours, and you'll be subject to a hard sell. You can tell the sales reps by the "Villa del Palmar" logos on their shirts, and by the fact that when you brush them off, they tend to get snotty -- Loreto locals never do. At time of research, the Hotel Association was working on guidelines to keep the salesmen from harassing tourists; with any luck, by the time you read this, they'll be under control.

City Layout

Loreto is laid out between the entrance to Hwy. 1 and Bulevar López Mateos (the malecón, or beachside promenade), a distance of about 12 blocks. Salvatierra is the main street that connects them, running through the main square and up under a block-long arbor to a cobbled section of colonial road through Loreto's tiny historic district, with mahogany and teak homes dating from the 1800s, and the central plaza, with restaurants, an elegant hotel, a town hall straight out of a Western movie, and the old mission. Where Salvatierra is pedestrian-only, it's paralleled by Hidalgo, another main drag. The town's social life revolves around the central plaza, the old mission, and the malecón, where you'll find many hotels, seafood restaurants, fishing charters, bars, and the marina.

Festivals in Loreto

The feast of the patron saint of Loreto is celebrated September 5 to September 8, with a fair, music, dancing, and other cultural events, closing with the procession of the miraculous figure of the Virgin of Loreto. During the month of October, Loreto celebrates the anniversary of its founding with a series of cultural events that include music and dance. There is also a reenactment of the landing of the Spanish missionaries that is part of a popular festival held from October 19 to October 25.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.