A Taste of Mexican Culture and Cuisine in Loreto

Posted January 12, 2010 by Jamie Moore

Loreto-bird-def Banish the winter blues in Loreto's warm Mexican sunshine. Here, the don't-miss activity is spotting dolphins, whales, and sea lions in the azure waters of Loreto Bay National Marine Park. Once you've checked that off your list, sample some land-based fun admiring the work of ancient artists, indulging in a chocolaty dish, or relaxing at a cheap and cheerful inn.

Aboriginal Cave Paintings: Mix up your vacation activities with a visit to the past—a World Heritage Site just north of Loreto. Follow a tour guide into the isolated hills of the Sierra de San Francisco and marvel at extraordinary prehistoric cave paintings—human figures and animal species—created by a culture that lived here more than 1,000 years ago. Back in Loreto, present-day pleasures await like kayaking, scuba-diving, or meandering along 155 miles of coastline.

El Canipole: Warm Mexican breezes accompany the spicy dishes at this open-air restaurant. In her famous chocolate mole, chef Sofia Rodriguez uses 34 spices, displaying them in tiny bowls on a table. Try tortilla soup or pozole, a pre-Columbian stew with meat, chile, and chickpeas. You can also get in on the cooking action and help Sofia make homemade corn tortillas. Or sit back, savoring a specialty such as rabbit or squash blossom quesadillas and sipping spicy-sweet Mexican hot chocolate.

Iguana Inn: A short walk from the beach and one block from an ice cream parlor and bakery, this quiet inn is a great place to unwind. Inside the terracotta walls you'll find a cozy courtyard frequented by other guests and colorful birds. And, in your air-conditioned room you can brush up on Spanish with local television, choose a DVD to watch, brew yourself a cup of java, or curl up with a book from the inn's collection. Rooms start at $55 per night.

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(Photo: iStockPhoto/Martyn Unsworth)

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