Winter has arrived in North America and for many, it is time to flee to a warmer climate until the arrival of spring. If you are seeking a place in the sun and yearn for something uncrowded, Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto—just forty minutes from both the airport and from the authentic town of Loreto, Mexico, on the Baja peninsula—may offer the perfect escape.

Located on the Sea of Cortez and wrapped by the Sierra de la Giganta mountains, the landscape is dramatic––something like wild west meets the sea. It is so unique that I spent a lot of time just watching the changing light and reflections on the water.

Authentic luxury

Villa del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa at the Islands of Loreto is one of only a few exclusive properties in this area available for both long- and short-term stays. Named a top beach resort in Mexico by USA Today and Trip Advisor, this 188-suite hotel property could be the place you check into and never want to leave.

Room with a view (credit: Villa del Palmar)

Room with a view (credit: Villa del Palmar)

The hotel is ideally located at the Bay of Loreto National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage site). The calm waters of the bay are a great launch point for water sports, and the surrounding mountains have clearly marked hiking trails. Or, pull up a hammock and lose yourself in the peace and quiet of this remote destination.

Designed for families as well as couples and groups, there are a variety of suite accommodations ranging from a deluxe suite to the presidential penthouse suite. All rooms include their own private balcony with nightly views of a star-filled sky, unobstructed by ambient light pollution.

Standard amenities include: LCD television screens, 24-hour room service, kitchenettes or full-size kitchens (both fully equipped), spacious bathrooms, safe-deposit boxes and daily housekeeping. At the deluxe suite level, rooms are 646 square feet but you won’t be bumping into anything no matter which room you chose.

The units are furnished with modern, comfortable furniture in clean, natural colors that complement the terrain. I could easily have stayed in my suite for an indefinite period of time–it was that well-appointed. Even if you opt for the smaller deluxe suites, you’ll have a place to dine al fresco on the patio.

Dining options

Speaking of dining, there are so many options, you will never go hungry. The Market is a casual spot open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is always buffet style with an omelet bar. I couldn’t get enough of the fresh papaya at breakfast.

Casa Mia has a wood-fired oven, so do try one of the delicious pizzas. (This is the place to go when all the other restaurants are closed.) The bar here is also a fun spot for a margarita and casual conversation.

For more elegant evening dining, make a reservation at Danzante Bay: Fresh fish, steaks and creative desserts are served with a view of the bay.

The all-inclusive plan allows access to all five restaurants, the swimming pools, fitness center, tennis courts, and TPC Danzante Bay golf course and beach club. Activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, whale watching, and sport-fishing can all be arranged directly with the hotel. And speaking of whale watching, the Sea of Cortez has the largest and most diverse population of whales in the world!

Yoga with Beth (Credit: Penny Sadler)

Yoga with Beth (credit: Penny Sadler)

On the Sea of Cortez

The Sea of Cortez is the Aquarium of the World. —Jacques Cousteau

The Sea of Cortez is the largest natural marine park in the world (only second to a park in Australia, which is man-made). Couple the stunning waters of the Sea of Cortez with the vistas of Danzante Bay, and it’s clear that Loreto is poised to become the next hot destination in Mexico.

Whale watching on the Sea of Cortez (credit: Villa del Palmar)

Whale watching on the Sea of Cortez (credit: Villa del Palmar)

The natural beauty and pristine waters provide abundant opportunities to enjoy nature. An incredible diversity of experiences make it an ideal destination for both active adventurers, and for those whose idea of the ultimate vacation is lounging on the beach with a good book in hand.

Golf with views

The jewel in the crown of Danzante Bay is the 18-hole, TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course designed by award-winning architect Rees Jones and completed in 2017. In keeping with the eco-friendly nature of this location, the course is planted with paspalum grass, a saline tolerant variety, and has its own water reclamation system.

TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course

TPC Danzante Bay Golf Course (credit: Villa del Palmar)

TPC Danzante Bay embodies the spirit of the place, boasting some of the best landscapes in the world: Dramatic valleys, canyons, and cliffs dropping into the Sea of Cortez that challenge you to keep your eye on the birdie.

Exploring Loreto

The picturesque Mission Nuestra Senora de Loreto, built in 1697, anchors the center of town. It was the first mission in the Californias and still serves the community.

With a population of about 15,000, the town is growing. Signs of new development are everywhere, hinting at the town’s future as a high-end, eco-tourist destination. Due to the citizens of Loreto—who petitioned the government to designate a National Marine Park among the nearby islands—the National Marine Park of the Bay of Loreto was established in 1996.

Just across from the mission are many colorful shops and restaurants where you can easily pass a few hours shopping for souvenirs and enjoying the local cuisine. A pretty pedestrian-only street, shaded by giant fig trees, leads to the town square. This is another great spot to stop for drinks and people watching.

My suggestion: Come visit Loreto while it still feels like your own private paradise.


  • Loreto International Airport (LTO) is accessible from Los Angeles (LAX) via a two-hour flight via Alaska Airline
  • From Tijuana (TIJ), San Jose del Cabos (SJD), and Guadalajara (GDL) on Calafia Airlines; and
  • From Calgary, Alberta, Canada (YYC) on WestJet Airlines.

What’s appealing to the over-50 luxury traveler?

  •  Danzante Bay Villa Del Palmar the Islands at Loreto is a unique eco-luxury destination that offers something for the entire family (It’s a place you can bring the grandkids).
  • If you plan to perfect your golf swing, the stellar TPC Danzante Bay golf course is tournament quality. 
  • This is a remote location that is accessible only to those who truly value an undiscovered destination with the amenities of a high-end resort. 
  • Staying at the resort makes it easy to enjoy all that the area has to offer without expending a lot of effort to do so. 

Take note

  • I felt perfectly safe here but, as always, I would advise travelers to exercise the same caution they would use when traveling anywhere unfamiliar.
  • Winter nights can be quite chilly, it’s the desert; the water is cooler too.
  • Summer can be very hot and humid.
  • If you stay at Danzante Bay you will be 30-40 minutes from the town center and airport. There is a hotel shuttle but hours are limited. 


The author’s trip was hosted by the property and partially sponsored by Alaska Airlines.

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