I set off to the land of cacti, coastlines, good food and culture — Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Are you ready to embark on a journey that will take your breath away? Then it’s time to visit Baja California Sur, Mexico! This stunning region is home to some of the most beautiful scenery and cultural experiences in all of Mexico.
From the picturesque town of Loreto to the oasis of Mulege, there are endless things to do and discover. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, this Baja California Sur itinerary has something for everyone.
And let’s not forget the delicious cuisine – from fresh seafood to authentic Mexican dishes, your taste buds will be in heaven.
Let me unfold the diary of my extraordinary trip, a journey that took me through deserts, across the sea, and into the heart of local cuisine. If you like it and would like to explore the region yourself, you can book the different activities and accommodations here.
Here is an overview of my journey and experiences:
- Day 1: Loreto, Baja California Sur
- Hotel Oasis Loreto
- Restaurant Mi Loreto
- Restaurant del Carmen
- Day 2: Concepcion Bay and Volcán Las Tres Virgenes
- Playa La Burra
- Volcán Las Tres Virgenes
- Eco Tour and Lodges Las Tres Virgenes
- Day 3: Volcan Las Tres Virgenes – Santa Rosalia
- Volcan Las Tres Virgenes
- Santa Rosalia
- La Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
- Restaurant Tonka’s Grill
- Hotel El Morro Santa Rosalia
- Hotel Francés
- Day 4: San Marcos Island
- Loreto: Serrano Wine, Seafood & Grill Steakhouse
- Day 5: Catamaran trip to Isla Danzante and Loreto
- Catamaran trip to Honeymoon Beach
- Hotel 1697
- Exploring Loreto on foot
- Mission of Our Lady of Loreto
- El Zopilote Brewing Company
- Restaurant Los Olivos
Day 1: Loreto, Baja California Sur
My Baja California Sur itinerary started at Loreto. Upon arriving in Loreto, the tranquility of the place washed over me. My first base of operations was to check in at Hotel Oasis.
Hotel Oasis Loreto
Hotel Oasis, was an authentic retreat on the shores of the Sea of Cortez. Imagine a quaint establishment whose architecture reflects the azure sea and bright sky – ideal for anyone looking to unplug and relax. Hotel Oasis Loreto is an ideal getaway for those seeking a tranquil vacation amidst nature, with its unbeatable location right by the Sea of Cortez. Situated at the southern tip of the enchanting Loreto Pueblo Mágico boardwalk, it offers a privileged setting to unwind and relax.
Restaurant Mi Loreto
But let’s talk about the culinary journey that began at Mi Loreto with “Chile Relleno”. Commonly found in Mexican cuisine, Chile Relleno is a delicious dish. Simply put, it consists of a green chile pepper stuffed with ground meat and covered in an egg batter.
In general, fish is also a good choice in Loreto. Fresh catches will entice you with their sizzle and spice. It’s no surprise that Loreto’s seafood reputation is as extensive as its ocean views – after all, they’ve been perfecting the craft for generations.
Restaurant del Carmen
Restaurant del Carmen is the Hotel Oasis restaurant, providing a distinct dining adventure within a laid-back setting, staying true to the tropical vibe that defines the hotel. Experience the delightful Almejas Tatemadas (tatemadas clams) Loreto style, a traditional dish where succulent clams are expertly cooked beneath stones while being embraced by crackling flames.
Day 2: Concepcion Bay and Volcán Las Tres Virgenes
The second day of our Baja California Sur itinerary included some beach time.
Playa La Burra
Day two dawned, and although we had planned to soak up the island vibes at Coyote, a rogue boat engine put a damper on our plans. Not one to let fate ruin the day, we stayed in this beautiful cove at Playa La Burra.
Instead of eating on an island, we ate on the beach at La Burra. It was a spontaneous feast: the mussels and oysters here are not only fresh but full of the kind of flavor that only comes from being moments from the sea. They had just been pulled from 5-7 meters of water. Rustic and unspoiled, like Baja itself, this place is an unpolished gem.
Mulege was our next chapter, a town not only of picturesque charm but also of rich ecology. Surrounded by hundreds of palm trees and fed by the Santa Rosalía River, the town blossoms in defiance of the harsh desert that cradles it.
The valley was breathtaking, and the distant mountains were equally beautiful.
One of the coolest things I saw while I was there was dozens of vultures flying around, looking for a place to rest for the night. They would circle above the palm trees where others had already found a spot. It is a testament to the untamed nature that Baja California Sur wears so proudly.
🌅🦅— Melvin (@TravelDudes) December 7, 2023
I visited Mulegé, a beautiful oasis in Baja California Sur surrounded by desert.
The mountains & sunset are breathtaking. Vultures are flying around looking for a spot to rest.
Have you been to Baja California Sur or Mexico?#VisitBajaSur #travel #Mexico #BajaCaliforniaSur pic.twitter.com/oZZqmcgxIm
Volcán Las Tres Virgenes
We continued to our lodging at Eco Tour Las Tres Virgenes. Las Tres Vírgenes consists of three inactive stratovolcanoes: El Viejo, El Azufre, and La Virgin. These majestic peaks form a vital component of the Desert Biosphere Reserve in El Vizcaino region. Within this reserve, numerous endangered species find refuge, including approximately 500 bighorn sheep in the vicinity surrounding these volcanoes.
Imagine a rustic meets nature experience, with an outdoor fireplace to gather around and a sky full of stars so vivid they felt like part of our circle.
Stargazing under the full moon at Eco Tour Las Tres Virgenes was an unforgettable experience! Despite the full moon’s bright light, the sky was breathtaking.
Eco Tour and Lodges Las Tres Virgenes
In this area, Eco Tour and Lodges Las Tres Virgenes is the only place to stay, which offers five charming rustic cabins (10 rooms) and a restaurant.
The cabins have a rugged charm with basic amenities such as a sink, toilet, and compact shower. You may feel a slight breeze through the small gaps in the wooden structure. However, these aspects contribute to an authentic experience that includes breathtaking views of both the valley and the volcanoes from your balcony.
Day 3: Volcan Las Tres Virgenes – Santa Rosalia
On day three of our itinerary in Baja California Sur, we explored Santa Rosalia.
Volcan Las Tres Virgenes
One of the highlights of my trip was watching the sunrise on the lava flow of Las Tres Virgenes volcano. I stood in front of a wall of lava and watched the sun rise over the horizon. It was a moment I will never forget.
But even the short hike there is an event in its own right. Hearing the silence early in the morning and the desert slowly waking up. The birds fly from cactus to cactus in their territory or interpret the tracks in the sand made by mice at night.
On my return, a hot coffee with a Mexican breakfast was waiting for me. For the Mexican original, bean puree, salsa, fried eggs and bonus toppings are packed separately onto fresh corn tortillas. A few crumbles of feta cheese give your huevos an extra spicy kick.
If you want a unique and unforgettable adventure, I highly recommend visiting Eco Tour Las Tres Virgenes Lodges. The staff are helpful, and the views are out of this world. In fact, I would recommend staying here for two nights. Then you can hike to the rim of the volcano, which will take 8-12 hours total.
Instead, we drove to El Azufre Canyon, where we got a feel for the pristine earth. The sulfuric gases that waft through the air are a powerful reminder of the power of Mother Nature and command respect.
Santa Rosalia, another gem on our itinerary, presented us with a unique cultural offering – the Museo El Boleo, which preserves mining history, and the European elegance of the Hotel Frances. The hotel is also a great place to stay. It’s like going back in time. The hotel has more of a museum feel.
The entire town reflects this unique French architectural style, as it was founded by a French mining company dedicated to the extraction of copper until the 1950s.
La Iglesia de Santa Bárbara
The highlight, however, is the Iglesia de Santa Bárbara. Gustave Eiffel’s metal wonder is a testament to the fusion of French architecture and Mexican soul.
La Iglesia de Santa Bárbara in Santa Rosalía is much more than just a place of worship. This architectural gem is a testament to the charm of Baja California Sur and a cultural hub where French sophistication meets Mexican spirit.
The church was designed by none other than Gustave Eiffel – yes, the inventor of the famous Paris Tower.
It was built entirely of metal and then transported halfway around the world to its current location. It is truly amazing how this prefabricated work of art harmonizes with the rugged desert backdrop.
Its presence in the heart of the mining district speaks volumes about the town’s former economic ties with Europe, and now it stands as a proud symbol of the mix of cultures that have permeated this region. The church, with its small tower rising into the sky and its aged but well-preserved metal reflecting the Baja sun, is a reminder of the intricacies of history – of industry and ingenuity connecting worlds.
Restaurant Tonka’s Grill
Tonka’s Grill nearby serves the heartiest and tastiest plates to fill you up. This is a suburban eatery that offers delicious burgers and steaks as well as a full bar. The outdoor seating allows guests to enjoy their meals. There are also TV screens showing sports. With its excellent service, remarkable food quality, pleasant ambience and friendly staff, Tonka’s Grill has become very popular with locals.
Hotel El Morro Santa Rosalia
Hotel El Morro in Santa Rosalia is a reliable accommodation option for the area. Half of its rooms offer picturesque ocean views and a charming patio, which offers a truly enjoyable experience. The hotel boasts incredible views, exudes a delightful ambience with its classy vintage-style building, and benefits from an ideal location.
The grounds are well-maintained and spotlessly clean. The staff is friendly and always ready to assist guests. While some may find the rooms (and parts of the hotel) a bit dated with their use of fluorescent lighting, they remain tidy and offer exceptional water pressure in the showers (though it seems this may not be consistent for everyone). In addition, the presence of both a restaurant and a bar adds to the comfort of your stay. In addition, the presence of a pool adds to the overall appeal of Hotel El Morro!
Hotel Francés is a charming motel boasting an impressive 135-year history and showcasing captivating French architecture.
Just outside the hotel, visitors are greeted by a charming street adorned with vintage locomotives and various artefacts from the mining era.
Inside, guests can enjoy the utmost comfort on creaky yet nostalgic wooden floors and experience a well-preserved ambience thanks to meticulous maintenance efforts. If you have an affinity for historical tales, the Hotel Francés should be at the top of your list of places to stay during your visit here!
In addition, this remarkable place not only offers stunning views of the Sea of Cortez from the front but also provides great value without breaking the bank.
Day 4: San Marcos Island
The humble and small fishing community of San Bruno shared their wealth with us. We boarded a small and simple fishing boat to get to Playa Los Arquitos, located on the island of San Marcos in the fascinating Baja California Sur.
The scenery was absolutely stunning!
Some of us decided to stay in the small and beautiful bay. Don’t ask me which movie, but the bay with its cave has also been used as a movie set and is perfect for swimming. You can swim through the opening to the open ocean.
We felt like we were part of our own movie set!
Sabrina, Garret and I ventured out fishing and amazingly managed to catch seven fish in no time! The thrill of catching them ourselves was exhilarating. But the best part was that we took the fish to the local restaurant Palapa la Abuela for lunch. They also offer a boat tour. And let me tell you, catching your own fish usually tastes just a little bit better!
In the afternoon, we drove back to Loreto, where we checked in again at the Hotel Oasis – where we stayed when we arrived in Baja California Sur.
Loreto: Serrano Wine, Seafood & Grill Steakhouse
In the evening, we dined under the stars at Serrano Wine, Seafood & Grill Steakhouse in Loreto.
Serrano Restaurant in Loreto, known as “Wine, Seafood & Grill”, was one of my best dining experiences in Baja. Each dish is carefully prepared over an open wood fire, which adds just the right amount of flavor to the food. The meats and seafood were perfectly cooked, while the salads and vegetables were delicious.
To accompany my meal, I chose a glass of Marques del Valle Sauvignon Blanc, which exceeded my expectations with its flavor.
The terrace area of Serrano is beautiful and creates a pleasant atmosphere for the guests. In addition, the service provided by the staff was impeccable.
Although it may be a little difficult to find Serrano from the street initially, it is well worth discovering this hidden gem. The excellent food, top-notch service and a great atmosphere make this place unbeatable. Don’t hesitate and come here for a delicious meal – you won’t regret it!
My taste highlight was the evening’s lobster, octopus, and steak, which were cooked to perfection, an echo of a great trip so far to Baja California Sur in Mexico. But there is one more highlight to come…
Day 5: Catamaran trip to Isla Danzante and Loreto
Catamaran trip to Honeymoon Beach
On day 5, we embarked on a catamaran tour from the Puerto Escondido marina, just south of Loreto.
It was the perfect time to take a break, un-connect the phone, and reconnect with nature. Step away once more from the hustle and bustle and venture into the embrace of nature.
We embarked on an enjoyable sailing retreat, where we discovered underwater wildlife.
On board a majestic catamaran, Isla Danzante whispered its story through rock windows shaped by time and tide. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a pirate ship here, or at least its wreck.
Then Honeymoon Beach welcomed us with turquoise waters so clear and inviting you could see the sea creatures dancing underfoot. It’s worth putting on your diving goggles here. I saw a school of around 100 fish swimming around me. Just watch out, there might also be the one or other jellyfish around.
The chances are good that you spot also a family of dolphins around the island. And between December and March is whale season. Keep your eyes open for them!
In the distance, you can see the mountain range, which reminded me of the remarkable Drakensberg in South Africa… only here, the mountain slopes end spectacularly in the sea.
Our tour with ABT-Sailing lasted 3 hours, but every extra hour is really worth it as you have much more time to enjoy the spectacular scenery. They have, for example, a sunset tour. We didn’t do that one, but this must be superb, as the sun sets behind the mountains.
That night, we stayed in the Hotel Oasis again. Another good hotel option is…
Hotel 1697 is located right on the main square. Upon entering, you are greeted by a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere that perfectly embodies the charm of Loreto.
The hotel rooms offer an ideal setting for a beach getaway with their delightful amenities, providing a serene retreat from the chaotic routine of everyday life. Keep in mind the hotel itself is in the city, and the beach is a short 10-minute walk away.
The courtyard pool is lovely, surrounded by a comfortable and inviting environment, adorned with beautiful landscaping and architecture that is well maintained. In addition, they serve an outstanding complimentary full breakfast in their courtyard area, which adds to the overall experience.
Exploring Loreto on foot
The crowning glory? Exploring Loreto on foot. It’s a small town, so you can add enough photo stops, like for the church “Mission of Our Lady of Loreto”.
Mission of Our Lady of Loreto
The Mission of Our Lady of Loreto holds the distinction of being the first wealthy Spanish settlement in Baja California. This stunning structure captivates both day and night, standing gracefully in the heart of the coastal town.
Despite its challenging water scarcity, Loreto became an unconventional but effective hub for missionaries who established numerous missions nearby. The completion of a magnificent stone church around 1744 marked a significant milestone.
El Zopilote Brewing Company
Close by, you can include a stop for some craft beer at El Zopilote Brewing Company – a testament to Loreto’s rich palette of flavours. 😉
El Zopilote Brewing Company is a popular spot known for its amazing pizza, but we were more interested in trying their delicious craft beers, even if they don’t strictly adhere to traditional brewing styles. One thing I absolutely loved about this place is that you can actually sample the beers before making your final decision on what to order.
The selection of beers on tap is really good, offering options like Pilgrim’s Pilsner, Rattlesnake IPA, El Bandido Stout, Blood Orange, Island’s Hazy, Thirsty Monk, Tombstone Pale Ale, Snakebite D.I.P.A., Amigos or Aztec Imperial.
These choices are truly awesome and give you plenty of variety to choose from!
Restaurant Los Olivos
Our final dinner of the trip took place at Los Olivos, a restaurant located in the La Misión de Loreta Hotel.
This delightful eatery offers an innovative Baja cuisine that combines traditional Mexican dishes with the finest fish and seafood from the Sea of Cortez, freshly caught by nearby fishermen every day.
After careful consideration, I opted for their unexciting but delicious Capellini Scampi dish, which I paired with one (maybe two) glasses of Sauvignon Blanc Monte Xanic. It turned out to be an excellent decision!
So there you have it – the overview and travel tips of my Baja California Sur itinerary. It’s a report that includes not only the sights we saw, but also the culinary highlights.
Every turn revealed treasures beyond my imagination and reminded me that sometimes the deepest beauty lies in the corners of the world, just waiting for us to whisper, “Vamos!”.