Loreto, Baja California Sur – The protective Virgin

As we wish to leave San Javier next morning the road is blocked. A rally comes through town, a kind of veteran’s race from Mexicali to La Paz. Nobody including the village policeman knows how long it’ll take and how to acknowledge the end of the rally. After one and a half hours watching dune buggies, dirt bikes, tuned VW beetles, and jeeps all waiting parties unanimously decide to raise the road block. The village policeman watches indifferently. We only meet two isolated race participants and one that had a breakdown.

There are only 40 km to go to Loreto at the Sea of Cortez, a city that’s completely adjusted to tourism. This appears in the good supply and accommodation options, but as well in the high prices of the souvenir shops. Loreto has got a pretty promenade with palm trees that is called malecón in Mexico, and even a small beach with sun umbrellas. Besides, the city owns the oldest mission of Upper and Lower California. Had the statue of the Virgin of Loreto to remain in a provisory tent in October 1697, a stone church was built for her between 1699 and 1704 that was expanded and restored several times. The original statue of Nuestra Señora de Loreto de Conchó can still be seen today in a side room of the church and is dressed in a new gown every year. In return the saint protects her church: It survived the 1829 hurricane as well as the devastating earthquake of 1877. The restored altar piece also dates back to the mission era.

22 km south of the city there is a possibility for boondocking at Juncalito Beach.

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