March 7 – 12 & March 19 – 21, 2022.
After we left Los Cabos it was time for some magic! By now, of course, we were already feeling Baja’s magic! The water, the culture, the wildlife, the big cities. But despite all this wonderfulness Mexico has decided to designate some places as more magic than others – these are called Pueblos Mágicos.
The Pueblo Mágico program was started in 2001 by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism. Towns with historical importance, extraordinary beauty, fascinating culture, or natural wonders and with a population of at least 5000 can apply to become a magical destination. As of 2022, there are 132 Pueblo Mágicos, at least one in all of the 31 Mexican States (with the exception of Mexico City).
In our travels on the Mexican mainland, we’ve visited several of these magic towns. Baja California Sur has two Pueblos Mágicos and we enjoyed adding them to our list.
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Todos Santos lies on the Pacific side near the bottom of the Baja peninsula. Although not situated directly on the water it is close to beautiful beaches known for their surfing waves. The town is also known for its arts community and its turtle nesting areas. An organization called Tortugueros Las Playitas conducts a daily baby turtle release through the winter, which is one of the reasons we were drawn to this Pueblo Magico.
Learn more about Tortugueros Las Playitas here.
A lot of Loreto’s charm is in its water. This Sea of Cortez town is adjacent to Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto. Gray Whales come here to mate and have their young. On the islands of the park, you can find sea lions, beautiful beaches, and endemic reptiles. Coral reefs await snorkelers and divers.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to visit the park. But fortunately, the town of Loreto is lovely. We walked along the Malecon, through the historic downtown, and along the water’s edge. We ate out quite a bit. And because we stayed at a campground in town we were able to experience the beauty of this magic town at night.
And Loreto is also not far from Misión San Francisco Javier. This restored 1700s Spanish mission is just about an hour’s drive into the beautiful mountains overlooking the Pueblo Mágico. We enjoyed our day trip to this tourist site and found ourselves for the first time in our travels in Baja in the minority as gringo tourists.
Misión San Francisco Javier