Posts Tagged 'Mexico'

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.

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The Real Flavor of Loreto, Mexico: Its Food!

I like to eat. I ate my way through Italy, France, Germany…and most of Europe. Here at Gulliver, we invite you to try new things. When studying abroad or traveling, there is no better way to learn a new culture than through its cuisine. Loreto, Mexico proved no exception. Yes we tried the burritos, chile relleno, margaritas, and tequila. We also stretched our stomachs to the limits.

Tacos. El Rey Del Taco is a side-street restaurant in Loreto known for its top-notch beef and fish tacos, tostadas, and other goodies. For the locals, however, it’s famous for cow’s head (Cabeza de Vaca) and intestine (Tripas) tacos. What?? You read it right. I tried the cabeza taco- turned out to be some of the juiciest and tastiest meat I’ve ever had. The intestines, we’ll save for another time.

Seafood & a View in Loreto

Seafood with a View in Loreto

Seafood. Loreto sits on the Baja California Coast. From mahi-mahi, to sea bass, crab, and clams, the seafood is abundant. My friend and I dined at Mediterraneo one night. As we overlooked the shoreline, we both indulged in mahi-mahi stuffed with crab. Great choice, especially with a little vino. Now, fishing is the biggest sport in the area. We did not make it out on a boat, but we did make it to a secluded beach to go clam diving. We learned how to hunt for the little white eyes hidden in the ocean floor. We captured dozens of beautiful clams. Our reward? Eating our catch at another coastal restaurant in Loreto, Loreto Islas. Our chef served us raw clams, chocolate clams (con queso), and a few soaked in tomato sauce. Add a little lime and fresh salsa and you have a delicious feast.

Sustainable Margarita. Mexico has its share of alcohol: Pacifico, Corona, Don Julio tequila, margaritas, and Damiana liqueur. I had my first Sangrita (Don Julio and a bloody mary mixture) and one of the best Strawberry Margaritas. At one bar, the Giggling Dolphin, I learned a new mixing technique. The drink – an old fashioned margarita.  I of course, acted as the guinea pig. After I refused to dance on a counter top (too much pressure), the bartender asked me to make a “Sustainable Margarita.” This consisted of a bike connected to a blender. Wearing a skirt, I hopped on the rider’s seat and took off, pedaling my way to a blended margarita. After a few minutes, my margarita and I were whipped.

In a sense, we had to earn our keep in Loreto. I’m still thirsty for more. When you travel to new places, try everything- even if it makes you cringe. You won’t regret it in the end. You’ll also discover new ways to entertain yourself.

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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