More than halfway down the Baja California peninsula lies the sleepy seaside town of Loreto, hemmed in by jagged, rust-colored peaks on one side and the Sea of Cortez on the other.
Its desert backdrop is reminiscent of a Spaghetti Western, complete with sagebrush and giant cacti topped by the occasional vulture.
But the harsh, dry landscape is offset by alluring islands in typically tranquil waters that teem with life, what Jack Cousteau famously referred to as “the Aquarium of the World.”
John Steinbeck visited Loreto in the early 1940s, memorializing the trip in his book “Log from the Sea of Cortez.”
He wrote of the friendly reception and the “fantastic and exotic scenery.” At the end of his journey he was reluctant to leave.
“Already our crew was trying to think of ways to come back to the Gulf,” he wrote. “This trip had been like a dreaming sleep, a rest from immediacies.”
That’s a bit how we felt after a recent weeklong stay in Loreto.
On our flight back, I spoke with Lucinda Neumann, a vacationing truck driver from Salt Lake City traveling with her husband.
“It’s not the real world. I’ll come back,” she said of Loreto. “I like it here.”