Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Businesses in Agua Viva enhance Loreto Bay!

There have been several recent additions to the amenities and services available within Loreto Bay this Season, all of them located in Agua Viva, the second phase of the Development which is on the north side of the Founder’s Neighborhood.  These businesses are a welcome addition to the lifestyle we enjoy here and I, like most Homeowners, want to encourage and support them as their success will bring others to our community as we continue to grow.

Although many people are attracted to Loreto Bay for the healthy lifestyle; planned as a walking community, with an open Beach running the length of the Development, surrounded by a reasonably priced Golf Course, and connected with miles of landscaped flagstone pathways ideal for leisurely walks or cycling.  But for some Residents and Visitors something has been missing – an indoor cardio and fitness center.

Introducing The Roadrunner Gym a new private Fitness Center that has just opened in the Agua Viva Neighborhood of Loreto Bay.  Operated by Erick and Alfredo, who also operate other businesses from their location in AV68, the bright attractive space is equipped with several pieces of Life Fitness exercise machines including a couple of treadmills, a recumbent cycle, an elliptical trainer, a Nordic Track and free weights.

This provides a new fitness alternative for those of us who may prefer to get our workout indoors, with programmable equipment in controlled conditions, when it may be too hot, humid or windy for outdoor exercise.  They are also offering a variety of payment options for daily, weekly or monthly use of the facility as well as a discounted monthly rate for couples and a long term three month rate (with additional months available) for single members and couples.

Those of you who know Loreto (and long term regular readers of this Blog) may be familiar with Dali Delicatessen a gourmet food specialty shop that operated in town for a number of years.  I wrote about it in these pages less than two years ago ( when the couple who were the original proprietors decided to move their business to La Paz. 

By the following Fall a similar store was re-opened in the same location by another local entrepreneur, Pedro, who has operated a store and restaurants in and around Loreto for many years, including the main restaurant at the Airport.  Late last year Pedro rented a small storefront in Agua Viva and opened a satellite store to his larger one in town, which he has now packed with an amazing selection (considering the limited space available) of delicious foods and ingredients, many of which are imported and can’t be found in even the largest stores in Loreto.

 With a couple of freezers stocking perishables, like individually frozen portions of prime meats, as well as refrigerated dairy products and drinks, a good selection of wines and liquors, as well as dry and packaged goods, and even a sampling of fresh produce, Pedro with his assistant Pamela have managed to bring most of the best-selling items from his store in town so here in Loreto Bay we have a convenient source of entrees to build a fine meal around, and the special ingredients that make it memorable!

It seems that almost anywhere one travels in the developed world now there is a local version of
Pizza available, making this one of the most popular dishes everywhere.  That is true here in Loreto as well, with a number of Pizza restaurants in town competing for both the local Mexican clientele as well as the ex-pats and visitors who are looking for a familiar and favorite “comfort food”.  One of the most successful of these Loreto Pizzerias is Pepeginas, with a couple of locations in town, and, as of this Fall, a new branch here in Loreto Bay, opening in a location where another restaurant had operated last year. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I fancy myself as somewhat of a Pizza Connoisseur, having worked in a Pizza joint in Calgary as a part-time job in High School, and so I was anxious to try our local version when  it opened after I returned to Loreto Bay this Fall – and the verdict, two sticky thumbs UP!  This is a seriously good pie, nice thin crust, good cheese and ingredients – and best of all, IT’S HERE!  Although I had “hankered” for pizza often in past years, the logistics of driving 30 km round trip into town to pick one up never made much sense in the past.  But now I am able to order by phone and wander over to pick it up fresh and hot from the oven – yumm!  And if that’s not easy enough – they deliver, better yet, by bicycle (what else would you expect in a “sustainable” community!

When I dropped in to take some pictures for this post I met Sebastien and Cesar, who introduced themselves as the new management of the restaurant.  Sebastien, who will be taking over as the new Chef, said there would be some changes made to the Menu, offering a wider selection of options for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, while continuing to specialize in Pizzas.  They also pointed out that work was beginning to develop the vacant lot next door for a new extension to the limited space they currently have.

These three new businesses, all started in the past few months, are each offering products and services that are contribute to enhancing our lifestyle here in Loreto Bay; a fitness center with state of the art equipment that will help its members to keep in shape while providing a new social center, a food store that brings a sampling of gourmet foods and ingredients to our community along with convenience and another step towards independence, and another restaurant providing more variety and service to our growing population so we can dine and socialize here without having to always make the drive into town for a night out.

In conclusion, I can’t help thinking that it was only a few years ago that the idea of having these sort of businesses here in our community would have seemed highly unlikely, when access to a private fitness center, a gourmet food store and a delicious Pizza place was beyond the expectations of the small numbers of people starting a new life here in a new development.  Now, we welcome three new businesses, joining the growing commercial sector, and adding to the independence and options we enjoy as we are “Living Loreto”. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Loreto Bay Volunteers – making a difference in many ways!

Amidst the day to day routine of “Living Loreto” that for most of the ex-pat population here includes socializing, golfing, kayaking, cycling, beachcombing – and just enjoying the pleasures of spending time enjoying a beautiful place and a (usually) ideal climate, a growing number of people are looking for something more.  They are looking for a way to give back, or pay forward - to do things that make a difference and make a contribution that will help to make this an even better place, and benefit some of the people who live here under difficult circumstances.

This desire to help found a way to be expressed with the formation of Loreto Bay Volunteers about four years ago.  This umbrella organization brought together those in our community that were looking for a way to get involved and contribute to making a difference, and worthy recipients throughout the surrounding area so that the efforts were focused where they would do the most good where the need was greatest.

While the Volunteer group has a regular schedule of meetings throughout the season, this week there was an “Open House” event held at the Golf Course Clubhouse to introduce the community at large to the numerous agencies that receive assistance in one form or another, and continue to expand their activities and the benefits that result. 

When I arrived, the courtyard of the Clubhouse was busy with over a hundred mainly Loreto Bay residents, along with others who had come from town to get involved, while around the perimeter there were table top displays by a number of the agencies that receive support from the organization. In addition to beverages and snacks provided by the Hoyo 19, the Clubhouse restaurant, Rich (the “lone dog” musician of the local Beach Dogs currently in Loreto Bay) was doing a solo performance entertaining the assembled crowd.

The energies of the Volunteers are focused into four general areas: Community, Environment, Children and Animals and most of these involve the following agencies with different specific areas of interest and activity:

Caritas - A charity organization that works to feed, clothe & give basic care to the needy of Loreto and its surrounding communities.

Ramon’s Families – Named after a popular Property Manager in Loreto Bay who is the organizer, this is a group of destitute/in-need families that have “fallen through the cracks” and are now receiving donations of food, clothing and housewares collected in Loreto Bay.

Internado - The Internado is a government-sponsored hostel for 62 children from kindergarten thru high school. It provides children who live in the rancheros & fish camps from outlying areas a place to live in town so they can attend the local public schools.

Earthcomp - Earthcomp’s goal is to reduce waste and the resulting contamination of air, soil, & water thru public education and immediate action that restores and preserves natural balance by recycling plastics and composting organic waste.

Amigos de Loreto - ADL is the civil association/Mexican nonprofit “umbrella” organization that LBV works with to comply with Mexican law with a primary focus on supporting the medical needs of the larger Community and children’s groups.

Ilsa Verde Garden – This program aims to develop an educational gardening area for kids in Loreto, the full program is based on the Lifelab curriculum ( that runs from kindergarten to high school in its educational range.

Living Roots - Living Roots has been promoting vibrant Baja Ranchero lifestyle for future 
generations. The focus is on Community empowerment, Economic development, Youth engagement, and expanding the marketplace through developing a Cultural Center in nearby San Javier.

Eco Alianza de Loreto – With the mission to protect & conserve our natural & cultural environment by empowering civil society and Government to jointly create healthy & prosperous communities, the goals for Eco Alianza include improving the enforcement of Loreto National Park rules & regulations and increase the awareness and protection of the municipal watershed of Loreto.

Patronada of Casa Hogar - Casa Hogar translates as House Home, meaning a house that is a home-cozy, snug, and safe. It is a temporary home for children who have no family to live with. Casa Hogar Loreto is sponsored in part by the Mexican government and further support is provided by the Volunteers to provide additional living necessities.

Segunda Chansa – Supporting Loreto’s private animal shelter with supplies and equipment and organizing Volunteers to help feed and socialize rescued animals and transport some of them to shelters in the US for adoption.

Animalandia – Provides clinic care for stray and abandoned animals and sponsors periodic free spay and neuter clinics and vouchers for these procedures that are distributed to low income pet owners in Loreto.

CAM - Special Education School – Providing financial support and other contributions for the education of local children with learning disabilities.

Community Medical Support - Focusing on Loreto Hospital, Red Cross, the Bomberos, and the Rehab Unit, this LBV subgroup collects funds and other donations for quarterly acquisition of supplies for the Loreto Hospital.

As you can see, beneath the surface of the tranquil setting that we all enjoy here, the needs and opportunities for volunteer assistance and charity are many and diverse, and Loreto Bay Volunteers are making important contributions that are making big differences in so many areas!  At the same time, these activities provide purpose and satisfaction for the growing numbers of residents who are spending increasing amounts of time here and are looking for meaningful ways to make a contribution.

Underlying all of this positive effort and energy is the simple fact that I have been aware of since I started living here almost 10 years ago – a little goes a very long way!  While many of the “poor” in North America may own cars and TV sets, here in the Baja poverty is much more basic and the needs are far greater.  But with that, the opportunities to make a real difference are also greater, and that is a benefit for all of us who are able to be “Living Loreto”.

P.S. If you are looking for more information on any of these activities or Agencies or want to get involved and help (from near or far) please visit or Loreto Bay Volunteers on Facebook.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

As Winter as it gets!

As we begin a New Year here in Loreto Bay I am pausing to reflect on my life here, and some of the differences from my former life.  One of the obvious differences is the weather, but perhaps you might be surprised that in fact, relatively speaking, the differences are not as big as you might think. 
Before you assume that I have been sampling the Tequila (more than usual) let me explain.

While my former home in western Canada is currently locked in a deep freeze – along with large parts of North America – we here in Loreto are experiencing OUR version of mid-winter weather too.  Albeit a much kinder gentler winter weather than up north, but for us it’s winter just the same. 

So, what is winter in the Baja like?  Well, historically, from about mid-December through to mid-February is our “winter”, although in recent years it seems it can start later and end sooner than that (remember now they call it “Climate Change” – not “Global Warming”) and while the daytime highs are currently a comfortable mid 20 degrees Celsius or mid 70 Fahrenheit, it does cool down at night to sometimes as low as single digits C or 50 F.

This cooler weather can also come with overcast skies (although not usually all day) and sometimes strong winds from the NE (as I've written here before, bad weather in Loreto is called a windy day) which can blow cooler weather from up north, down the Sea of Cortez and bring us a taste of what passes for winter in the southwest US.

One sign of the season for me is when I switch to my winter wardrobe - long pants from my otherwise standard dress of shorts - and I even have several lightweight sweaters I occasionally wear at this time of year, sometimes with a light windbreaker for the odd windy morning commute to my Office (by Golf Cart).  This change garb from shorts and polo shirts to trousers and long sleeves makes me realize that perhaps I am gradually becoming acclimatized to the Baja, after spending more time here than away for the past seven years. Particularly when I see recent arrivals from “The Great White North” striding around determinedly in their summer shorts and T-shirts, while I am relatively bundled up by comparison.

Briefly put, I am beginning to look more like the local Mexicans on some of these cooler mornings – although some of them are wearing light parkas and scarves, and so while there are similarities, I will never be truly “local”!  But it does go to show that when it comes to weather, everything is relative, for the mid-westerner just off the plane in January this feels like a beautiful day in early spring or late fall, but for some of us who are here 8 or 9 months a year this is as cold as it is going to get, so this is OUR winter.

But before you get the wrong picture about winter in Loreto, it’s all a matter of degree and what one is used to.  When I started writing this post a couple early in the week we had been having a couple of cooler cloudy days which inspired this topic, then I had a couple of busy days at work and when I got back to writing again we were back to calm, sunny days again.  Which speaks to how quickly things can change here, and more importantly, how nice “normal” is! 

And speaking about “normal”, by my own admittedly unscientific observations, it seems to me that so far Climate Change has been working rather decidedly to the advantage of this area around Loreto, and probably a good part of the southern Baja.  Given the fact that we have had several times the average annual rainfall in each of the past three years, after an extended drought for the several years prior to that, and the brush and vegetation that covers the foothills and mountains to the west of us are now green year-round and growing noticeably bigger from the increased rainfall.

At the same time, my perception is that there have been fewer cloudy or windy days at this time of year than was the case even a few years ago and as far as the increased amount of rainfall is concerned, my “theory” is that the planet is a closed system and globally the same amount of rain has to fall, but due to changes in other factors affecting the weather patterns we are experiencing changes in WHERE the rain is, and is not, falling.  Considering that large parts of the US southwest has been experiencing record drought conditions, perhaps it should not be surprising that here in the southern Baja we have been receiving record rainfall over much the same period of time.

I should also mention that not all the weather in this part of the world has been good news.  Last fall Hurricane Odile was a record breaking storm that hit the Los Cabos area at the southern tip of the peninsula causing tens of millions of dollars of damage.  This follows a pattern of more frequent significant storms in the past several years affecting the eastern Pacific.  The good news so far is that the area around Loreto has been spared the brunt of most of these recent storms and due in part to our more protected location on the Sea of Cortez and in the lee of the Sierra de la Giganta mountains.

And so a New Year begins, and for we who are fortunate enough to call Loreto home, our winter is just a gentle reminder that seasons change, with the effect that perhaps we appreciate how close to perfect a climate enjoy here – which is certainly an important part of “Living Loreto”! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year's Greetings!

Happy New Year and Feliz Ano Nuevo!

I trust this posting finds you and all the readers of this Blog well, and my best wishes for the New Year!

Along with my Best Wishes I also must make an apology.  Due to some badly timed computer issues (although, there never is a GOOD time for such issues) and a busy time of year in the Office, I will not be posting a regular installment of Living Loreto this week.  But check back in a week or so and I plan to resume my publishing schedule - or some variation on it.

For those of you far from the Baja as you read this, perhaps this will be the year you visit and experience for yourself "Living Loreto"