islands of loreto mexico

Loreto Bay and the Islands of Loreto Mexico

Last Updated:
Avatar photo

About the author

Dejan Badnjarevic is a passionate travel writer from Europe, known for his enthusiasm for exploring cool new places and immersing in different cultures.
More info

Nestled along the Sea of Cortez, Loreto is a relatively new tourist destination in Baja, California. If you wish to escape the crowds of popular Mexican vacation spots like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, a visit to this picturesque coastal town just might be what you need.


Here, in Loreto, life is slow-paced and unhurried, and mass tourism hasn’t come to town, yet! We have to admit that for such a small fishing village, Loreto has a lot to offer. Whether you wish to explore the cobblestone streets in the downtown area and visit museums and art galleries, spend a lazy day on the beach, go fishing, or see ancient cave paintings, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Loreto.

Loreto Bay is also home to a beautiful national marine park which includes the picturesque islands of Loreto Mexico. There is an abundance of tropical fish dolphins, sea lions, small reptiles, and sea turtles in this protected marine zone.

The jewels of the Sea of Cortez, the five main Loreto islands are a must-visit destination in Baja, California. These beautiful deserted islands are a perfect destination for activities like swimming, snorkeling, and hiking. This guide will tell you everything there is to know about Loreto Bay, the national marine park, and the five islands of Loreto.

Loreto Bay National Marine Park

Founded in 1996, Loreto Bay National Marine Park is one of Baja’s greatest treasures. This amazing marine park is located just off the city’s coastline in Loreto Bay and covers about 800 square miles of the Sea of Cortez. World-famous explorer Jacques Cousteau nicknamed this place” The Aquarium of the World” because of its abundance of underwater life.


The Islands of Loreto

Created thousands of years ago by volcanic activity, the deserted islands of Loreto are protected areas of the Loreto Marine Park. These spectacular islands are known for their unspoiled beauty. The only residents of the Islands of Loreto are the legendary blue-footed booby bird, lizards, iguanas, seagulls, herons, and frigate birds.  Also, each of these five spectacular islands has something different to offer. Here is a list of the islands of Loreto.           

  • Del Carmen
  • Coronado           
  • Danzante            
  • Montserrat        
  • Santa Catalina

Del Carmen Island

Welcome to Del Carmen Island, the largest of all the islands in the Loreto Bay Marine Park. Owned by the Wildlife Organization and the Salinas del Pacifico Company, this private natural reserve is actually one of the very few privately owned islands in the Sea of Cortez.

Although the island is uninhabited, there are a few buildings from the time when Del Carmen Island was used for commercial salt operations. You will have an opportunity to see a few houses, workshops, warehouses, a cemetery, a church, and even a school. The island is just 5.6 miles wide and nearly 17 miles long and comprises 37,000 acres of land.

Coronado Island

Hop a guided boat ride to Coronado Island, the most popular of these 5 islands of Loreto, Mexico. Located just 30 minutes from the charming town of Loreto on Mexico’s west coast, this uninhabited island is covered in soft sands, palm trees, and cacti. Visitors will come across caves, lakes, and picturesque beaches with crystal-clear waters.

Coronado Island is also home to a variety of marine life and tropical birds. Here, you can snorkel among tropical fish, enjoy bird-watching and even spot dolphins. Most people who visit the beautiful Coronado Island do so by booking an organized boat tour.

Danzante Island

Also part of Loreto Bay National Marine Park, Danzante Island consists of 4 square kilometers. This small island is well-known for its natural beauty, stunning beaches with turquoise waters, and marine life such as rare fish species, dolphins, and sea lions. On land, the only inhabitants you might come across are seabirds and small reptiles.  

The best way to experience Danzante Island is by hopping on one of the guided Danzante Island tours that typically include visiting secluded beaches, seeing exotic wildlife, and activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking around the island. The island’s Honeymoon beach is one of the best beaches on all of the 5 islands.

Monserrat Island

Well-known for its stunning landscapes, Monserrat Island is a great place to enjoy water activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and swimming in crystal-clear waters. What we like about this island is that it offers probably the most amazing views from its highest point (200 meters).

Travelers can snorkel and discover an abundance of marine life or visit the main attraction, Yellowstone Beach. Located on the north end of Monserrat Island, Yellowstone is a beautiful half-mile-long beach known for its fine white sands and see-through waters teeming with marine life.  The good news is that you can always find a nice deserted white sand beach to explore alone on Monserrat Island, as most of the cruisers and boats go to places like Agua Verde in the south.

Catalina Island

The last of the five islands of Loreto Mexico is Catalina Island. Being granite, this Loreto Bay Island is a bit different than the other 4 islands in the Loreto Bay National Marine Park. It is also the most remote island in the marine park and to visit it, you will need to obtain a special permit.

Catalina Island is about 13 km long and 4 km wide and houses a wide range of endemic plants including the big barrel cactus. Popular activities include sport fishing and scuba diving.

Islands of Loreto Mexico FAQs

What’s the Best Island in Loreto?

It’s really difficult to say, as each island of Loreto is unique and offers something different. For example, Denzante Island is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, the famous white-sand Honeymoon Beach. On the other hand, Carmen Island is the only island in the national marine park that has buildings because of the commercial salt operation. Then, there is Coronado Island, which is the most popular day trip destination from the town of Loreto and offers amazing hiking trails. Santa Catalina is the least visited island because of their remote location.

How to Get to Loreto Islands?

Being one of Loreto’s most popular attractions, Loreto Bay National Marine Park is easily accessible via tour providers that offer boat excursions to the islands. You can either catch a small water taxi for a simple boat trip or book one of the all-inclusive tours that typically include everything from food and drinks to kayaks, paddleboards, and a professional guide.

What Are Some Activities to Enjoy When Visiting Loreto Islands?

The Islands of Loreto are a great place to enjoy both land and water activities. Whether you wish to hike up the hills and come close to wildlife or enjoy water activities like paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling, there is definitely something for everyone when visiting Loreto Islands which are known for their crystal-clear waters teeming with an abundance of marine life.


No visit to the coastal town of Loreto in Baja California is complete without going on a tour of these incredible islands known for their natural beauty. A visit to the Islands of Loreto is simply the best day trip that you can book while vacationing in Loreto.

Avatar photo
More about Dejan Badnjarevic

Dejan Badnjarevic is a passionate travel writer from Europe, known for his enthusiasm for exploring cool new places and immersing in different cultures. His love for street food and a good glass of wine in picturesque settings brings a unique flavor to his travel experiences. Through his writing, Dejan shares vivid tales and insights, inviting readers into the heart of each destination. His articles are a blend of adventure, culinary exploration, and the simple joys of travel.

Read more by Dejan Badnjarevic

Leave a Comment