Posts Tagged 'Kayaking'

Relaxing Ways to Spoil Yourself Abroad

What entices you to travel or study abroad? Discovering new cultures, enjoying good cuisine, or conquering outdoor adventures? We at Gulliver recommend you do all of the above! On my recent trip to Loreto, Mexico, I went kayaking, braved cow’s head tacos, and drank some of the best tequila (ok, I guess I can do that back home!) There were a few instances, though, where I let myself unwind.  Normally I find “relaxing” a waste of valuable time.  As I continue to travel, however, I’m discovering some of the best experiences involve simply taking a break.

Catching the Sunrise

Wake up to This

Wake up to This

Ok, maybe waking up at 6am to watch the morning sun light up the sky is not your idea of relaxing. But imagine a rainbow of pink, purple, red, and blue illuminating the coast of Baja California Sur. At first, I regretted waking up; I wanted to go right back to sleep, but then I saw a pink layer of light over the horizon and realized I was in for a treat. The precious sound of my friend yelling at me to get up forced me out the door. Once outside she curled up in a hammock while I busted out my camera. There are so many benefits to watching the sunrise: it’s free; requires no energy; and it’s one of the best sights you’ll ever see.

Spa & Massage

If you need a break from eating, drinking, and overheating in Mexico- or anywhere else- get a massage. The whole point of going abroad is to pamper yourself… right? I had never been to a spa before Loreto. For one hour I didn’t think about anything else. To make life sweeter, it was apparently cheaper than a normal massage in the states. After clam diving, indulging in our catch, and enduring 100 + temperatures, an hour inside a cool, dark room proved mesmerizing. We went to a masseuse at the Hotel Posada de las Flores in downtown Loreto. If you have a free hour, this is a great way to spend your time!

Boat Rides & Whale Watching

Open Waters Offer Unparalleled  Views

Open Waters Offer Unparalleled Views

I regret not doing this in Loreto. The town is known for it’s fishing and sailing. We went kayaking and snorkeling but never took a cruise or boat ride. Boats go out much further from land than kayaks.  If you’re lucky you’ll see dolphins, turtles, man rays, and even whales! You can rent a boat or befriend locals or expats who have their own. If you’re dying to go whale watching- visit Loreto between January and March- that’s the prime season.

Personally, I find adventure sports soothing.  Most of my friends go to Mexico to lie on the beach. Everybody has a different way to relax.  At Gulliver we encourage travelers to try new things, especially those they cannot easily do back home.

Loreto, Mexico – A Hidden Oasis

Going abroad? We at Gulliver recommend taking that road less traveled.  If you’re planning to study or take a trip to say, Mexico- which you should- skip the parties in Tijuana, the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, or spring break in Puerto Vallarta. After a significant hiatus from traveling overseas, my best friend invited me to meet her in Mexico.  Next stop? Not Los Cabos or Acapulco, but the small, sport fishing town of Loreto.

A Beautiful Start to the Day

A Beautiful Start to the Day

Loreto?  That’s exactly what I thought. A New York Times article said travelers visit this area of Baja California Sur for the “beach and the charming village.”  Others describe Loreto as “paradise.” The town sits 700 miles south of the US/Mexico border, on the Sea of Cortez.  It’s surrounded by mountains and the ocean and is known for fishing, whale watching, dolphins, and kayaking. The Islands and Protected Areas of the Sea of Cortez have also been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The people of Loreto are extremely outgoing.  From restaurant chefs, to multimillionaires, local tour guides, and hotel owners, they all know each other. The town is pretty quiet right now, due to the economic recession and the off-season. Even our outdoor adventures were pretty secluded. It was a welcomed change.

Our travel guide, Antonio, turned into a good friend. Antonio, a Loreto native, works with Paddling South a Baja Adventures Tour Company. Our first adventure found us hiking through canyons en route to Misión San Javier– the second oldest mission in the Californias. The oldest mission, Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó, built in 1697, sits in the historic center of Loreto. Our next trip, sea kayaking and snorkeling on Isla Danzante, introduced us to dozens of starfish, exotic fish, an octopus, and a turtle. Both locales lie just south of Loreto.

Sea of Cortez, Baja Coast

Sea of Cortez, Baja Coast

Our fascination with the sea… and hunger for seafood enticed us to go clam diving. Antonio voluntarily took my friend and me to Los Conditos and taught us how to dive. I don’t know what proved more rewarding, catching the clams… or eating them! Antonio couldn’t join us for lunch, but his boss, Trudi, took us to Loreto Islas, where the head chef Francisco (Antonio’s Uncle) served up our clams.  Simply stated, the cuisine in Loreto is delicious!

In less than one week I went from knowing nothing about this coastal town of Loreto to befriending many of the locals and expats.  My friend works for the United Nations Foundation and visited Los Cabos, La Paz, and Loreto as part of the World Heritage Alliance conference. The mission: to protect historical sites, marine preserves, and promote sustainable tourism around the world.  If you are looking for a unique experience overseas, Loreto is the perfect place to watch the sunrise, meet the locals, walk along the Malecon (boardwalk), swim with the dolphins, or people-watch while sipping a strawberry margarita.


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