I was enjoying the passing scenery while bouncing along a dusty gravel road in a packed shuttle bus with my husband. There were several varieties of cacti dotting the desert, with the mountains resting in the distance. Our heavy-footed driver took a quick turn then eased onto the brakes just as we approached a security barricade. It seemed as if we were in the middle of nowhere but the secured entrance and signs for drivers to slow down indicated we were approaching our destination. It wasn’t long before the Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto came into view.
The resort is distinctly Mexican with clay coloured walls, intricate stone work and decorative arches. It is inviting but I was drawn to the scene in the distance… Danzante Bay with sky blue water that the pelicans glide above. It is cradled by sandy beaches and spectacular mountains. Much to my husband’s delight, a golf course was coming to life nearby.
We arrived at the front doors to find smiling staff lined up to greet us. Some remembered me and welcomed me home like an old friend. We were led into the lobby where the colourful tile artwork came into view. I saw the pool area beyond the lobby doors but resisted the temptation and made my way to reception to get checked in before seeing our room.
Our one-bedroom suite offered more space than we needed but it is nice to be spoiled now and then. The private balcony gave us a breathtaking view of the pool, Danzante Bay and the Sea of Cortez.
I stepped onto the balcony and took in a deep breath. The Villa del Palmar Loreto had its own unique scent. It is a combination of the sea, the outdoors and a hint of lavender. The scent lowers my heartrate and leaves me feeling relaxed. I wish it could be bottled and taken home.
A year prior I had the privilege of being introduced to the Villa del Palmar Loreto at the Islands of Loreto on a media trip and I felt a calm there that I had never felt anywhere else. When my husband and I were discussing getting away alone, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. So there we were, surrounded by nature and ready for our first vacation without the kids in over a decade.
After fourteen years of marriage, we are comfortable enough with each other to appreciate our time together but we can also appreciate some time apart to do the things we love. For my husband that meant perfecting his golf swing at Danzante Bay while I was being pampered in the Sabila Spa. I spent some time kayaking in the bay while he honed his skills on the paddle board. For me, this turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip because I found myself kayaking next to a whale shark.
My encounter with the whale shark was not unusual. Jacques Cousteau referred to the Sea of Cortez as “The Aquarium of the World”, while others have dubbed this particular area of the Baja Peninsula “The Galapagos of North America”. My first visit to the area was during whale season (January-March) and I not only saw whales on almost every boat excursion, I had the thrilling experience of touching a grey whale and her baby when they swam up beside our boat. In addition to several types of whales in the sea you can also discover sea lions, dolphins, turtles and rays. Along the volcanic rock you will find unique birds, like the blue footed booby, and Isla Coronado treats guests to snorkeling in crystal clear waters full of a rainbow of fish. Nature is my meditation and I was surrounded by it.
When we were ready to relax at the resort, we lazed by the pool where we were greeted by name each day while we soaked in the sun. From my lounger, I watched the resort manager greet his staff with a hug each day. I wonder if this warm connection between management and staff is responsible for the welcoming atmosphere of the resort or if it is simply a part of the Mexican culture. I had time to ponder that while enjoying the specialty drinks they kept surprising us with.
No getaway is complete with delicious food, and we were surrounded by it. From traditional Mexican cuisine at the Market Restaurant buffet, to themed meals at Casa Mia, your taste buds will be on high alert. We made reservations at Danzante for the ultimate fine dining experience. It was a perfect date night followed by an evening stroll. Our week ended far too quickly but we will return again for another relaxing couple’s retreat.