For outdoor enthusiasts who would like to experience a little bit of history and culture, Loreto (pop. 17,000) makes an ideal home base. Fishing, kayaking, and diving  here are all world-class; on land, town life centers around a historic plaza and mission church .
With a newly restored lighthouse, Loreto’s malecón is an attractive place to stroll. You won’t have white-sand beaches, but with the largest National Marine Park in Mexico  offshore and the Sierra de la Giganta in the background to the west, the scenery is plenty dramatic.
Once sleepy Loreto has experienced a roller-coaster ride of changes in recent years. A venture between Fonatur and the American- and Canadian-owned Loreto Bay Company went under, and a Mexican investor, Homex, took over in 2010. The resort’s hotel is open once again after a prolonged closure during the financial crisis.
Although the real estate market has slowed to a crawl during the recession, locals are optimistic that the town can now better prepare itself for growth. Extensive road and sidewalk improvements have resulted in a pleasant historic district.
With the opening of the new Villa del Palmar resort at Ensenada Blanca south of town, you’ll likely encounter timeshare representatives at the airport, on the plaza, and elsewhere around town. Just say no thanks and continue with your trip, unless of course you’d like to go home the owner of one. The resort welcomed its first guests in early 2011 and is the first resort of its kind in the area.
The marina at Puerto Escondido, part of the failed Escalera Nautica project, remains in operation. Beyond these areas, more than 100 small ranching settlements and fishing communities remain much as they have always been.
By Air: At press time, Alaska Airlines was the only major airline servicing Loreto’s small international airport (LTO) with one small flight a day from Los Angeles; however, the Villa Group has been working hard to get one or two other airlines to reenter the market, as well as possibly a charter service or two. Delta, Aero California, and Continental had all initiated service and then pulled out due to the depressed economic climate.
The newly constructed airport terminal has one shop and one restaurant (Porto Bello) inside. Even though the airport is a small operation, it’s important to arrive early for your flight, because the same staff that handles ticketing and check-in will also do the boarding process once you are inside.
By Bus: Loreto’s bus terminal is located at the intersection of Paseo Ugarte, Calle Juárez, and Calle Salvatierra. The schedule often changes, but you can usually count on about six ABC buses per day running in each direction. Fare to La Paz  is approximately US$42 and about US$127 to Tijuana .
By Taxi: Head to the intersection of Calles Madero and Hidalgo to hail a cab or call 613/135-0047 for pickups. Taxi service from the airport to Loreto or Loreto to Nopoló costs about US$7 colectivo and US$23 private. Rides within town cost around US$5.
By Car: Loreto has several rental car agencies: Budget/Fox (tel. 613/135-1090, www.budgetbaja.com ), on Hidalgo near the malecón; Alamo on Avenida Salvatierra (tel. 613/135-1773, www.alamoloreto.com ) and Europcar (tel. 613/135-2260), at the intersection of Independencia and Salvatierra. In most cases, the desk at the airport and office in town are managed by the same manager; an exception is Hertz. If you book a reservation online, you’ll get the Hertz at the airport. The location in town is under different management and looked closed at last check. These companies also have desks at the Loreto airport.
Even with this many brands, the rental car companies frequently run out of cars on busy weekends, and they give cars to customers on a first-come, first-served basis, regardless of whether you have a reservation. Be flexible, as it’s likely you may end up taking a cab to town and waiting a day or so until a vehicle becomes available. In the case of a problem with your rental, the agency should reimburse you for the cab fare at the end of your rental. Keep the receipt.