Best Place to Literally Eat 3 Meals in One Day – Orlando’s, Loreto
Oh Orlando’s – how many times have I sung your praises? Let me count the ways I love you. The blended margaritas at 9 am. The piping hot – and homemade - tortillas. The never-ending coffee refills. The Yucatan style tostadas. The overzealous coconut shrimp. But most of all it’s your breakfast that brings me back time and time again. Every fresh egg, every sliver of meat, every squirt of crema, every pile of beans, every hit of salsa, every sprinkle of cheese - the mish/mash of these elements all whipped together into a different concoction with the same ingredients is mind boggling and satisfying like only your grandmother’s kitchen would dare to be. And, word on the street is that the owners are opening a new restaurant in Loreto Bay this month; now you will finally have a reason to go to Loreto Bay and stay awhile!
What to Try: Gooey cheese omelet smothered in green sauce – don’t be afraid to have it twice in one day; the sauce is that addictive.
Best Place to Catch a Real Christmas Vibe – San Jose Del Cabo
Wandering the historical back streets of downtown SJD around Christmas time is a sight to behold. There’s the delightful town square with a huge Christmas tree perched in the center, all lit up, even though the balmy/windy weather requires a light sweater at most. The bars and restaurants are all ablaze, slowly filling up around dusk – locals and tourists alike listening to live music, trying modern riffs on local dishes, sipping on Baja valley wine and craft tequila, and generally thanking their lucky starts they aren’t in sub-zero temps like most folks they know. It’s the perfect time of year to mosey around, spy through open doors, catch whiffs on amazing food, get lost down side roads, and catch a few great art shows. All while Xmas is happening right around you – trust me, this is the time of year where SJD is at its most bewitching.
What to Try: Tasty churros being hawked from the street vendors that surround the Xmas Tree; any vendor will do, they are all fried to perfection.
Best Place to Get Your Spa on in the Middle of the Desert – Sabila Spa at Villa del Palmar, South of Loreto
There are certain times when things get gnarly down in the Baja – we’ve all had them hit us. It’s when the sun gets too hot, when the drinks get too sour, when the sand gets too grainy, when the hair just won’t un-dread – and you know what that means. Yup, time to regroup at a super-sonic, real deal spa. And, mid-Baja, only one exists that can do the trick. It’s a little diddy called Sabila. This oasis, named one of the best spa’s in Mexico, is located within the Villa del Palmar Resort compound and is just heavenly with its sprawl of baths, hot tubs, steam rooms, plunge pools and enormous treatment rooms. Blissfully, you are assigned a personal assistant for the duration of your stay – they are there to grab you water, assist in your movement between rooms, provide you with fresh towels and generally just make sure you leave their oasis the sparkliest version of yourself.
What to Try: A frozen margarita at Casa Mia, the hotel restaurant, just moments before your 2-hour massage.
Best Place to Have Friendly Doggie Dates – 1697 Restaurant & Bar, Loreto
There are a few guarantees about Loreto that will pretty much never change. The town square is the most beautiful in all of Baja. La Picazon serves the best seafood on the entire Sea of Cortez. The street dogs roam leash free and are very friendly. The loaded meat and cheese potatoes at Super Burro are life altering. And, though wine isn’t served everywhere (Loreto Islas does have the best Rose), beer is always available all day long – everywhere! Now, merge a few of these things together at the lovely 1697 Restaurant overlooking the glorious church, and you have a pretty much perfect night. We always eat on the terrace since we have a dog with us, and no matter what, a play fest happens with some of the local pups skittering about. The food is quite dependable – some actually hitting getting the mark of super delicious, but it’s the lighting, the convivial vibe, the light background music, and the craft beer that really makes watching dogs that were strangers a mere moment ago tussle like the best of friends seem like the greatest show on earth.
What to Try: The craft beer from El Zipolote, Loreto’s only microbrewery, served onsite – think frosty cold and stone cold refreshing.
Best Place to Mojito out and Feel Real Wind – La Ventana
This tiny seaside town is a bit of a rarity on the Sea of Cortez. While most towns on this beatific body of water house mostly locals with a spattering of tourists and expats, LV comes alive around this time of year. You see, it’s one of the windiest spots on earth – and we all know what that means for Baja’s outdoor enthusiasts. It’s time to kite surf in paradise. Thousands of sporty types from Canada and the US load up their RV’s, trucks, campers, and cars and come down for a quarter of the year to do nothing all day but gauge the wind, strap on a kite and take flight. Throw in a few blended cocktails from the myriad of rooftop decks, and you just about have Mother Nature nirvana for months on end.
What to Try: Baja’s Joe’s is the kite boarding mecca in these parts and the mojitos at Joe’s Garage Bar are damn near perfect.
Best Place to Wile Away the Day – La Esquina, Todos Santos
Coffee and jewelry go together like wine and cheese at La Esquina, a quaint coffee shop populated with in-the-know locals every single day. Clean food, stout coffee, fresh juices, homemade soap, live music and local artisans hawking some next level jewelry co-mingle together at this palatial hotspot, and you can find flyers for everything from farmers markets, flea markets, Spanish lessons, house sitting services and items for sale plastered up on the walls around the shaded courtyard. This place is the perfect Baja café - old friends, new pals, insight into the daily doings in Todos Santos and fresh food at a reasonable price. And, at night it starts turning out the booze - think Cheers in Baja...which means of course it’s pet friendly!
What to Try: The damiana soap is a desert specialty and one that will leave your skin feeling as luxe as the chia latte your belly starts to crave every morning.
Visit the Orlando’s Facebook page
Visit the 1697 Restaurant & Bar Facebook page
Visit the Orlando’s Facebook page
Visit the Baja Joe’s website.
Visit the La Esquina Facebook page