A New Book About Loreto

MP Mexico News

LORETO, The Future of the First Capital of the Californias by Paul Ganster, Oscar Arizpe and Antonia Ivanova. SDSU Press, available from Sunbelt Publications (www.sunbeltpub.com).

Loreto was one of five regions to be targeted by Fonatur, the tourism development arm of the Mexican government, in the early 1970’s. Tho other areas of Los Cabos, Cancun, Ixtapa and Huatulco have experienced various degrees of development for the past 30 years, with Cancun and Los Cabos leading the way. But Loreto, to the relief of many, remained the small, quiet town that it has always been. That is about to change, starting a few years ago with the resurrection of a stalled project five miles south of town, now named Loreto Bay. This project, once so attractive in their scope and vision, has been through an ownership change, and there are questions about where they will be down the road.

The book notes that the town can probably avoid the negative, inevitable by-product that is created whenever populations rapidly expand, stressing natural resources, mass immigration, trash creation, etc. , if Loreto Bay was the only addition to the area, as they strive to having a sustainable-development, ecological model. But several more devlopments are now on the drawing board, and they have no such good intentions.

In Loreto, as in all of Baja, the main issue is water. There isn’t any, or not much. This is a desert with very little rain. Los Cabos and La Paz are building desalination plants, turning sea water into fresh. This always sounds good, but as you peel back the layers you find that desal plants themselves have significant effects on the environment, destroying offshore ecosystems, putting significant demands on electricity resources, and leaving a salt by-product that is not easy to dispose of.

And now, with the real estate meltdown and sub-prime loan problems in the U.S., there just aren’t the number of cash-rich gringos these days who can be counted on to buy into the new developments. Loreto is cheaper than Cabo, but its not cheap.

All of these issues and much more are discussed in the Loreto book. This is a good resource for anyone interested in Mexico as a possible retirement choice. Loreto might change dramatically in the coming years…or it might not.