Loreto, Baja California Sur – El SudCaliforniano newspaper reported that for the past week members of an interdisciplinary committee of the federal Ministry of Tourism, arrived in Loreto, in Baja California Sur Mexico, to consider granting Loreto a “Pueblo Mágico” (“Magical Village”) designation, due to its rich and outstanding cultural history and natural resources.
The committee came to spend some days with a local group of top Loreto business leaders, local and state government officials, who have been working for a year to complete and meet all the requirements of an official nomination for the “Magical Village” designation. The visit of this federal delegation represents the last phase of the evaluation process and the proud town of Loreto eagerly awaits a favorable outcome.
Loreto has a rich cultural heritage as the first mission settled in the entire Baja California peninsula (in 1697; from this Loreto base all the old missions were established in a chain north to the San Francisco Bay area in the USA state of California), and the first capital of Baja California. It remains a rural community that preserves the essence of the early ranchers and has invaluable natural wealth that is manifested in Loreto Bay National Marine Park and five of the islands of the Sea of Cortes, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO (and often referred to as “the World’s Aquarium”).
Being a “Magical Village” is a recognition awarded by the federal Ministry of Tourism, to those localities that have managed to preserve the cultural and natural heritage on which they base their identity and sense of belonging.
Deep-sea sports fishermen, private yachters and recreational bush pilots from the USA and Canada “discovered” the natural riches of the southern Baja peninsula in the 1950’s post World War II, before the north-south highway was navigable by modern cars. Sea kayakers and SCUBA divers discovered the islands off Loreto and La Paz in the early 1970’s. They were followed by whale watchers encouraged by the recovery in population of the once-endangered California gray whale, which gives birth only in the Pacific coast lagoons of the Baja peninsula. Baja California is a paradise to geologists, birders, botanists, stargazers, photographers and “snowbird” RV enthusiasts as well. The many recreational and natural history opportunities continue to be astounding and world class.