Entries in ‘Mexico’ Journal

Things to See and Do in Loreto, Mexico

Monday April 22, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 4 Comments

Pitaya Cactus

Pitaya Cactus in Loreto, Mexico

Are you visiting the Islands of Loreto, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez? The city of Loreto was founded in the 17th century and was the first Spanish settlement on the Baja peninsula.

If this is your first time visiting this part of Mexico, I have some “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in Loreto.


Typically, the first place visitors want to see is Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, the first mission of Baja California Sur, but I also take them to San Javier Mission – for a more local, authentic experience.


Sea of Cortez

Visit Coronado and Danzante Island, on the Sea of Cortez, in Loreto, Mexico

The Islands of Loreto, Mexico


When I want to get away from the tourists, my favorite place to visit is the Malecon (boardwalk) or the Islands of Loreto.


If this is a romantic trip, I recommend Honeymoon Beach.


Museums are wonderful, but if you are traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit the nearest islands, Coronado and Danzante. Walk down to the marina and hire a boat for a half day tour. You might see dolphins during your boat ride and you may snorkel on the island of Coronado. Stop and see the local birds – did you know the Blue-footed Booby was local to Loreto, Mexico? Visit sea lion rock.



Domingo's Restaurant, Loreto, Mexico

Musicians play guitar at Domingo’s Restaurant in Loreto, Mexico

Islands of Loreto Food


If you are looking for chocolate clams, which are typical of the Islands of Loreto, I recommend The Concho´s Restaurant and “El Pangalapa.”


The best place to go for coffee & a breakfast treat is Loreto Islas beach front, located in the Malecon.


Looking for cheap food in the Islands of Loreto? Go to El Farolito de Loreto or Orlandos Place, where you can have typical Mexican food.


The Mita´s Gourmet located in the main Plaza is the spot for late night dining.


For an expensive, yet quality meal, go to La Palapa restaurant, 1697 Restaurant and Domingo´s Place. Domingo’s had strolling guitar players during my visit.

Loreto, Mexico woman

Visit the Hand Crafting Alley in Loreto, Mexico

Authentic Loreto, Mexico

Seeing a lot of marine life? The islands of Loreto  were named  “The Aquarium of the World” by Jacques Cousteau, as they host 80%  of the world’s marine species.


When you come to Loreto, get your picture taken at the Hand Crafting Alley near the Main Plaza.


The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Mirador Frida next to Juncalito beach, a 15 minute drive from Loreto, or climbing the hill right on the beach of Nopolo Bay.


The Islands of Loreto offer great views. Villa del Palmar is the best place to watch or experience the constellations.  As a matter of fact, Villa del Palmar is well known as the million stars resort.


In Loreto, outdoor enthusiasts will want to hike the giant mountains in Tabor or Tecomajac and see oasis and waterfalls. Do you like sport fishing?  “La Mision Tournament” is a great one to watch and contributes to a great cause. Kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, horseback riding, bird watching, island hopping and whale and dolphin watching are all “must do” activities for outdoor lovers. For those of you looking to simply relax, enjoy a drink in “El Santuario” beach shack while admiring Danzante Bay.


Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the boardwalk or rent a bike from Hotel Santa Fe and explore the colonial town. If shopping is more your style, stroll along the tourist corridor while checking out the artisans shops.


Nuestra Senora de Loreto mission

Nuestra Senora de Loreto mission

If you are a museum lover, visit the Loreto Museum of the Jesuits Missions. It’s next to the Nuestra Señora de Loreto Mission.


Looking for night life in Loreto, Mexico? Go dancing at Bichos Bar or Bikers Bar for live music. If you are looking for wild parties and dancing, you’ll need to head to Los Cabos, Mexico.


In the winter, visit Magdalena Bay and see the Grey Whales winter breeding grounds with all the new baby whales.


In the summer, visit Isla del Carmen and see Punta Arena Beach; the underwater cave & the “Pueblo Fantasma.”


San Javier Mission

San Javier Mission

Come to the San Javier Anniversary Celebrations in the winter. The Mission of San Javier is one of the best preserved Jesuit missions in southern Baja. The The locals grow a variety of fruits like Mangos, papayas, figs and guavas and craft them into artisan candies.


Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Giant Mountains in The Islands of Loreto.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Islands of Loreto is considered a National Marine Park. The 800 square mile conservancy consists of a string of five unique islands and is the largest of Mexico’s marine sanctuaries.

Just outside of  The Islands of Loreto you can visit  Mulege and have lunch while enjoying the view of the river which flows into the sea.

What are your favorite things to see and do in Loreto, Mexico? Thanks to Villa del Palmar for assistance with this post.

Article and photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown.

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Villa del Palmar Resort Spa with Free Airfare to Loreto, Mexico

Monday April 1, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 3 Comments

Villa del Palmar

Villa del Palmar All Inclusive Hotel Review, Loreto, Mexico

Off the Eastern coast of  Mexico’s Baja peninsula, at The Islands of Loreto, sits Villa del Palmar. Opened in the spring of 2011, this 181 room property overlooks the uninhabited Danzante Island. With views looking out to the Sea of Cortez, or La Giganta mountain range, you will be surrounded by nature, as well as shimmering stars at night. In addition to the Sabila Spa, four swimming pools, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and beach access, outdoor lovers will be attracted to this mild year-round climate.

Free airfare from Los Angeles, to Loreto, Mexico

Yes, you read that headline right. Anyone who calls Villa del Palmar and references Nancy D. Brown’s hotel review will receive FREE round trip airfare for two from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Loreto Airport (LTO.)  Travel must be completed by May 19, 2013 and is based on availability. You must contact the resort for this special offer.



Villa del Palmar

Rooms at Villa del Palmar Resort & Spa in Loreto, Mexico

Worry free Loreto, Mexico

While the flight from Los Angeles, California to Loreto, Mexico is quick, you’ll feel miles away from big city life at Villa del Palmar Resort. In fact, the sleepy fishing village of Loreto is rather slow paced, as is the Baja Mexico resort. Villa del Palmar is a safe place to relax, unwind and  take in the scenery, sea life and stars. Evening entertainment ranges from Karaoke, to Mexican Fiesta themed-dinners and dancing. A golf course is included in the resort master plan, as well.

Not feeling comfortable with your high school Spanish, the attentive Villa del Palmar staff speaks both English and Spanish. Menus at Villa del Palmar’s Danzante Restaurant, The Market Restaurant, Casa Mia and room service are written in Spanish and English.

Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto

Danzante Island view from Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto

Villa del Palmar all-inclusive or a la carte

There are several ways to experience Villar del Palmar. I experienced the all-inclusive plan that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner, 24 hour room service, unlimited cocktails and beverages, internet access, themed dinners, all resort activities and daily turn down service.

If you select a la carte dining, there is always the option to upgrade ($89 per person, per day) kids, ages 5-13 are 50% off and children 0-5 years old are no charge; a good value if you are staying on property for meals. As the property is a bit isolated, the resort offers Palmita Market for any items you may have forgotten to pack.

Rooms at Villa del Palmar Resort and Spa

Rooms at Villa del Palmar start at $216.13 for a studio. My room #2514, rented for $359.10, per night US (check website for current pricing. This one bedroom deluxe, ocean view suite, featured a king bed with balcony, shower and separate Jacuzzi bath tub in one room and a sofa bed, desk, coffee table, dining room table, kitchen, bathroom with shower and washer/dryer combination. Both rooms offered flat screen tv’s. The one bedroom suite would be ideal for a family of four to share, as the living room offers a balcony, as well.

Two bedroom and three bedroom suites and penthouses are also available, as well as the Presidential suite. Villa del Palmar also offers a time-share program in Loreto, Mexico.

Sabila Spa

After a day outdoors, soak in Sabila Spa

Nature lovers unite at Villa del Palmar

Kayaks and paddleboards, as well as snorkels and fins are available to guests. On-site,  water aerobics, volleyball, hiking and bicycles are offered, as well as the complimentary fitness center. Additional activities are available to book via the concierge.

Sabila Spa at Villa del Palmar

The Sabila Spa is a welcome addition to Villa del Palmar resort. With 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center, wet area featuring plunge pools, hot tubs, saunas and Swiss showers with six different temperatures of hot and cold, this is the place to relax after a day of outdoor activity.

During my visit, I tried the Hot Candle Ritual. This 80 minute treatment blends warm oil massage with Aroma therapy to bring balance and harmony back into your life. I highly recommend this unique massage treatment during your Loreto, Mexico visit.

Need to know

Check in: 3:00 p.m. (Greeting includes a ritual hand cleansing to wash your tensions away, cold towel, non-alcoholic drink and three minute neck and back massage.)

Check out: 12:00 p.m.

Villa del Palmar hammock

Relax at Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto

Insider Tips

Guest are given wrist bands with water-proof smart chip technology. No more fumbling with card keys, simply swipe your wristband at the door and welcome to paradise!

The resort offers complimentary wifi in the lobby and pool-side. Try your balcony, as well, for wifi coverage.

Alaska Airlines offers non-stop flights from Los Angeles International Airport in California, to Loreto Mexico Airport.

For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow Villa del Palmar on Twitter.

If You Go:

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa  (866) 209-0726

Ensenada Blanca, 23880

Loreto, Mexico

Article written by, video and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa.

Related Post:

Things to See and Do in Loreto, Mexico

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort and Spa, Mazatlan, Mexico

Friday February 8, 2013 at 5:05 AM | 2 Comments

"Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay flamingos"

Look for the flamingos at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, Mazatlan, Mexico

Overlooking Olas Altas Bay, in the foothills of the Sierra Madres mountains, Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort and Spa is situated on 20-acres in Mazatlan, Mexico.  The four-star, all-suite resort opened its doors in 1987,  offering views of  the Pacific Ocean and its own beach. Located in Nuevo Mazatlán, the resort is designed as a hacienda of villas that meander through a grove of 150-year-old mangrove trees.

Each of the 337 suites comes with a private balcony or terrace and beach or ocean views. While I didn’t use the kitchenette, families might make use of this option. If this is a multi-generation vacation, grandma and grandpa or anyone with walking issues will appreciate the golf cart shuttle service.  This was my first international trip after my hip replacement, so I was happy to access the shuttle to the restaurant for breakfast each morning.



Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort accommodations

  • "Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay"

    Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay is a hacienda of villas in Nuevo Mazatlán, Mexico.

    All inclusive meal plan option

  • 24-hour in-suite services* *Additional charges apply
  • secluded Pacific Ocean beach access
  • restaurants and swim-up bar
  • Access to two outdoor swimming pools and hot tub
  • Complimentary shuttle service to and from Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán (cheaper than a taxi!)
  • Daily on site activities including Spanish classes, aqua-aerobics, nature preserve tours, bingo, bartending and cooking classes
  • Fitness Center: Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa (open from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán (open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.)


"Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Suite"

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay ocean view suite

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Junior Suite

My room, #1736, in the Claussen Building, was a junior suite that could accommodate 2-4 people with two queen beds. The rate during my January stay was $282 per night. Check the website for package deals, including airfare.

I flew direct from Oakland International Airport in Northern California via Cal Jet Air to Mazatlán.

Armonia Spa at Emerald Bay

After a day of sighting seeing or if the weather is a bit cold, book a visit to Armonia Spa at Emerald Bay. At 16,500 square feet, Armonia is the largest spa in Mazatlán . Whether you prefer to soak a natural (swim suits are optional in the same sex locker room spa facilities) or with your bathing suit, save time for the hot tub before or after your spa treatment. There is a multi-step circuit to enjoy with steam rooms, Jacuzzi, sauna, cold water plunges, showers and a relaxation lounge.

Check in: 4:00 p.m.

Check out: 10:00 a.m.

PB Emerald Bay patio dining

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay ocean view dining

Insider tip

If you need internet access during your stay, request a room close to the main building.  While all rooms are wifi accessible, my internet access was spotty during the trip.  There was good wifi in the deli on the first floor of my villa. Of course, most visitors are traveling to Mazatlán for the beaches and activities; a strong wifi signal is typically not high on the amenity wish list.


For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter and follow Pueblo Bonito on Twitter.

If You Go:

Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay Resort & Spa 1-800-990-8250

201 Av. Ernesto Coppel Campana

Mazatlán, Sinaloa 82110, Mexico

Article written by and photos courtesy of  Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I was a guest of Mazatlán Hotel Association.

Related Post:

Things to See and Do in Mazatlan, Mexico