This financefoodie.com editor was lucky enough to recently go on a trip to La Paz and Loreto, Mexico--both towns are still non-touristy and there's only a 3-1/2 hour drive on Mexican Federal Highway 1 (AKA "The Transpeninsular"). The drive alone is worth doing because along the way there are really no rest stops or even many signs. It is pure rustic Mexico, with little man-made stands with thatched roofs along the way, often housed with ladies making homemade empanadas inside and bathroom facilities outside!
La Paz is actually a sprawling town famous for having world-class deep sea fishing with over 300,000 residents and it just recently got its first five star hotel, The Costabaja Resort & Spa. The rooms are oversized and it's not unheard of to a get a rack rate of $140 per night. Being foodies, we especially enjoyed our classic Mexican breakfast at Steinbeck's, the hotel's ground floor restaurant--it's named after John Steinbeck (as his famous book "The Pearl" was based on a story he heard in the city during the 1940s) and features one of the world's biggest collections of rare tequila (over 400 bottles in all).
Palermo's featuring high-end Italian cuisine, including a drop-dead thin-crust pizza with arugula that is the best thing this side of Naples (a strange thing for a restaurant in Mexico, we know)!
Hotel California, home to the famed Chef Dany Lamote, and / or enjoy a lively lunch in the courtyard restaurant of the Guaycura Boutique Hotel & Spa.
magbaytours.com and hit on their whale watching link). We had a "whale of a time (pardon the corny pun) as we caught about 15 whales coming up out of the surf (some mamas with babies and one floating on its side after childbirth).
Moving on to Loreto, our hotel pick is The Hotel La Mision, the only five star resort in Loreto--it's newly renovated with a rack rate of about $140 for a luxury double room with a kingsize bed. The La Mision Hotel not only features fine dining and a unique art Mexican art collection, but their restaurant Baja Peninsula features freshly caught fish in nearby waters -- a real highlight for us lovers of animals from the sea (on our plates that is)!
Hotel Oasis, which was built in 1962 and has been owned by the same family all this time. It's a charming combination of kitsch and the Old Mission style...and when we took a tour of the property, we were impressed to learn that you could get a renovated room that opened right onto the hotel's private beach on the Sea Of Cortez for only $120 a night. Be sure to get some of the Baja Peninsula's most authentic huevos rancheros for breakfast in their Del Carmen Restaurant (rooms come with a complimentary breakfast there, by the way).
[Photos: Anne M. Raso]
Disclosure: Travel expenses for this trip were provided courtesy of Ogilvy PR. As always, all opinions are our own.