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Trip Report Loreto, BCS Feb/March 2013

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This is our second visit to the sleepy, fishing village of Loreto. Although we stay outside of the town in a small development called Nopolo, it is without a doubt, the prettiest spot to relax and enjoy nature.

One thing I must say about Loreto, I haven't had a bad meal. The freshest ingredients are used and if you enjoy seafood, this is where you will get some of the best. From the little taco stands to the pricier small restaurants - shrimp, scallops, fish, clams, octopus - is amazing. Even the dirt floor restaurants are clean and their meals prepared for your enjoyment.

We decided to take a weekend and head towards La Paz - about a 4.5 hour drive from Loreto. Not for the feint of heart, driving is an adventure. As you leave Loreto, you go through the curvy mountainous range. The number of crosses along this route, makes you want to slow down. The road is the road - no sides to pull off. I would advise any driving in the Baja is done during daylight hours! After going through the mountains, you have about an hour of nothing - cactus, brush - pretty boring - except watching the crazy drivers passing at the crest of hills or on corners. Two towns await you - Insurgenes and Constitution. We drove through and headed towards Puerto San Carlos to find the grey whales.

Puerto San Carlos is a beautiful fishing village. Mostly dirt roads, but the beaches are pure white sand. We found the harbour master and asked about hiring a boat to take us out to see the grey whales. Captain Crispin was called, and he arrived at the office to take us to his boat. Four hours later, we managed to see about 30 whales. A small panga with four comfortable seats, was our vehicle that provided amazing entertainment for our small group. Crispin recommends calling ahead to check on the weather as the winds had been quite high for the last couple of weeks. We were lucky we arrived early enough that the sea didn't get too rough until our return around lunchtime. After docking, Crispin led us to a small, clean restaurant that served us the freshest shrimp and scallop dinner with tortillas and beans/rice. His english was excellent even though one of our party spoke Spanish. Crispin joined us for lunch and shared stories about the town and his life. The entire trip, including lunch and tip, cost us about $4000 pesos or under $400 for four of us. I would have stayed an extra day here, just to explore the beaches. If you are looking for a Four Seasons here, not the place to come.

Onwards we travelled to La Paz for the weekend. We stayed on the Malecon at a small, clean hotel called El Moro. We had a two bedroom suite overlooking the small pool area. It is about a ten minute walk to the busy section of the Malecon. I don't think wherever you stay along the beach, you will find peace and quiet - lots of noise! Again, if you are looking for a Four Seasons, I wouldn't recommend El Moro but I would probably stay there again. They do allow dogs, but to the owners of the yappy dog that barked all night and day, I wish they had left it home! Our suite also overlooked the small bar which seemed to be the happening spot on Saturday night. The bartender isn't the fastest, but he was lovely and encouraged me to try what he said was the best margarita in la Paz. Not sure about that one, but I drank it!

The Malecon in La Paz is littered all times of the day with bikers, runners and people exercising. It was good to see so much activity. Sunday morning seems to be the time they all come out to exercise - at 7:30 am it was packed with people. We strolled down the Malecon to the Perla hotel for our morning coffee and fresh juice. We also shared an excellent omelet. It was perfect, comfortable outside seating with a view to die for! We watched the boats prepare to take out tourists and the National Geographic boat unload his passengers and prepare for another excursion.

La Paz is now the capital of the Baja, so lots of people and big box stores - but the charm is still there! We certainly enjoyed our stay and again, can't say we had a bad meal at any of the restaurants we visited. One small bar close to the Perla even made us a special dish that wasn't on the menu - raw scallops with red onions and lime juice. I didn't really want to look at the bill when I got it, but for 70 pesos, I was amazed! We actually couldn't finish the plate there was so much on it.

We have a few more weeks here in the Baja, so will post more about our trip. The sun and surf are calling my name!

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