LTO - Loreto International Airport
Loreto has "grown" significantly in the last 10 years. 30 years ago when it was "targeted" for tourism, an "international" airport was created. The "old" terminal had character. One entrance, one terminal, one way in and out and one bar.
Fast forward to the year 2004 and the Loreto Bay development 9 KM south of town and things began to change. Five year later, a new "modern" terminal came into being with both domestic AND international areas on both ends of the flight.
The new terminal has 3 bars, a full service restaurant, novelty shops clean rest rooms and even a parking lot (15 pesos to park). No more parking in the dirt on the side of the road.
Still I kinda miss the thatched roof of the "old" terminal that has been converted into the "general aviation" terminal for private planes.
- Historical Travel
- Whale Watching
The last couple times down to Loreto I've been a bit more adventursome and rented a car. Now "car" is a relative term. The "compact is sized to handle two adults in the front and my camera bag and one suit case in the rear. The trunk held the other suit case.
If you haven't driven a stick before, don't get a compact. Luckily I was born and bred on 3, 4 and 5 speed sticks (over the years) so within 30 seconds I was back to my old habits. It was definitely a bit different than my current ride's paddle shifters.
If you plan to go to town at least once a day and would like to have the freedom to just wander, then a rental is worth the price. If you plan to be at the pool by the resort, then skip the rental, take the taxi.
Long weekend (Fri-Mon) is $150-200 depending on the car.
- Road Trip
- Luxury Travel
Getting around without a city bus...
Loreto is such a sleepy little place, it has yet to institute any bus transportation or municipal transportation at all. Unlike the tourist meccas like Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, Loreto has not caught up with the times. However, this is the appeal of Loreto too. It is not the overpriced, Americanized tourist draw (yet) and still retains its quiet Mexican roots.
For travelers looking to get around, look into the car rental scene. Alamo, Eurocar, Budget, and perhaps one more agency offer rental cars. Shop around though. A quote before we left was $2000 for two weeks with Eurocar and only $475 with Alamo. Many of the website seem to think that they don't have service in Loreto, so it may take some effort to make it work. In 6 separate visits to price car rental on the Alamo site I was informed 3 times that no Alamo rental location was in the Loreto area. One or two of these visits the site even insisted that it did not exist.
Remember that in Mexico you will be required to spend about $12-15 US per day for mandatory liability insurance. You cannot decline this coverage. Our Volkswagen Jetta (automatic with A/C) was $475 including liability insurance, two drivers, taxes, and fees for 14 days. We drove about 1500 km and used about 1500 pesos' worth of gasoline. So, that averages out to about 39 US cents per kilometer for our 2 weeks of adventure. The Jetta had a decently large trunk and we somehow managed to crowd 3 adults, 3 children, and 13 bags/suitcases in and on us to get to the resort from the airport. It only has seatbelts for 5, but no seatbelt laws are enforced in Mexico.
We were staying at the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, which is 38 km south of town and we were back and forth every day for diving and shopping. The trip is $60 per person each way if you can find a taxi or transportation service to take you (the hotel offers limited free shuttles). Considering that the area is rarely below 80F and the highway is a narrow 2 lane road, I don't recommend riding a bicycle or walking outside of the town.
Now that more resorts are moving in and the VDP development will be growing over the next 10 years it is possible that the next decade could see transportation advancements. Another option might be to ask a local fisherman for transportation. Head to the Marina and you will find an assortment of gentlemen sitting idle, some even speak English, and ask if anyone is willing to take you to a local island beach for a picnic on their panga. I recommend paying on the return trip to ensure your safe return though.
One more suggestion: Avoid driving the highway at night. After dark the free roaming range animals like to sleep on or cross the highway. It is very easy to come around a blind curve directly into a large cow or goat. Take it slow, use caution, and avoid driving after dark.
Speed limits appear to be Gringo limits. The only people I saw obeying the 40-80 kph speed limits were newbies. We averaged 100-120 kph most days and still felt like we were standing still among the cacti at times.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
There are plenty of taxis around Loreto. The Airport, as small as it is, always has a queue as does the Inn at Loreto Bay in near by Nopolo.
Cost from the Inn to Airport is about $20.00 (US); from the Inn to Loreto about $20-25 (US) depending on the driver. Travel in and around Loreto is typically $15.
In Loreto you can always find taxis along the main section of Miguel Hidalgo and also at the corner of Miguel Hidalgo and Fco I Madero just to the right of Mike's Bar (note the Black and White and El Rodeo are just up the street so the taxis are strategically positioned to pick up the patrons as they stagger back to town).
There are two companies serving the area:
Sito Loreto - 613-135-0434
Sito Juarez - 613-135-0915
- Road Trip
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