Baja Memories

Loreto Bay Re-Visited – Stories, news, photos

None of us here, or anywhere in the world for that matter, saw the great crash of 2008 coming. It struck hard. Donald Trump’s development in Baja California, the northern most state on this peninsula which extends south from California, went belly up.

Coronado Island: I've seen worse.

Coronado Island: I’ve seen worse.

If the wonderfully esoteric word “StarkSilverCreek” triggers a neurotransmitter somewhere deep within your cranium, you’ll likely recall that back in the day, before theater, before Napa, before Android, this web site was heavily focused on a place called Loreto Bay.

In 2006, the precursor to Stark Insider was known as StarkSilverCreek – and we extensively chronicled, for better or worse, our adventures visiting the town of Loreto, along the Sea of Cortez, in Baja California Sur. Soon after we bought a plot of land in what was an expanse of barren land–desert, cactus, the proverbial tumbleweed.

Writing about it on these pages has been rewarding, illuminating, and even therapeutic I suspect. There was the initial euphoria of deciding to plonk down money on the great unknown. Ooooh, invigorating sea breeze! That was followed by equal excitement seeing the Canadian developer–Trust for Sustainable Development (TSD)–break ground. The vision was grandiose: 5,000 planned “village homes,” estuaries that would wind there way through the neighborhoods, a central “Beach Club” with killer views of the Sea. A seemingly endless parade of photos of construction, rebar, Adobe brick (remember that?) soon populated this site. As we built relationships with the locals, and business owners in town, we wrote about the shops, the restaurants, and even the political scene.

Loreto and the Loreto Bay resort continue to dominate my inbox. Surprisingly so – never underestimate the ability of Google to steer readers your way.

None of us here, or anywhere in the world for that matter, saw the great crash of 2008 coming. It struck hard. Donald Trump’s development in Baja California, the northern most state on this peninsula which extends south from California, went belly up. Projects across North America were cancelled, seemingly overnight. Bankruptcies became the order of the day. Loreto Bay was not immune. Construction halted. The flow of money dried up; or maybe it just swam happily away with the Dolphins to Coronado Island.

Flash forward and, against all odds, Loreto Bay is alive.

Alive and well. Thriving even.

Not that there aren’t still economic challenges. Balancing the needs of a new resort, with the needs of locals, and the needs of Government is always a tricky endeavor. If you stroll the town of Loreto, though, you see change. Some of that comes from the increased tax base thanks to the foreign investment from Loreto Bay buyers (located in the town of Nopolo twenty minutes south via Highway 1): newly paved streets, a refurbished Malecon, fresh paint for City Hall, an expanded town square, the impressive combination of circular hardscape and garden that welcomes visitors turning in from the highway. Walking the pathways of Loreto Bay–most beautifully finished in flagstone with lush landscaping–it’s apparent that the developer’s original vision was quite remarkable. And unique. Village homes don’t have garages. Light pollution is kept to a minimum (no lights are allowed in the “viewing towers” seen atop many of the homes). Open concept floor plans featuring open air courtyards, terraces, and spiraling stairways create intriguing, even European inspired, vistas.

We get a lot of email related to things we write about on Stark Insider. But Loreto and the Loreto Bay resort continue to dominate my inbox. Surprisingly so – never underestimate the ability of Google to steer readers your way. I get asked a lot of things: When is the best time to go whale watching? Is the developer still bankrupt? Where can I find a place to rent? Are there any good home deals down there?

Many Google “House Hunters International” and land here. There’s been two episodes based in Loreto Bay (Baja Bound: House Hunters International Comes to Loreto).

I finally took some time to revisit the archives–552 posts, 10,753 photos, 41 videos–and take a walk down memory lane. I surfed through the pages of Stark Insider to see what our coverage of Loreto and Loreto Bay looked in 2006 and 2007. Then, how it evolved six years later. It’s an interesting process to see such a significant cross-section of my life hanging out there on the Internet – shaky video cams, excited!! posts about paint color and floor plans, smiling faces of so many new friends we’ve made over the years (by far, the best part of our LB experience).

Here’s some of the content that I think could be of most interest to those reading up on Loreto and Loreto Bay:

 It Started Here: Hola, Off to Baja for Long Weekend Fun

My wife Loni at the Inn at Loreto Bay during a Loreto Bay sales event.

My wife Loni at the Inn at Loreto Bay during a Loreto Bay sales event.

Choosing a Lot in 2006

Demand was strong for Loreto Bay homes in 2006. Potential buyers had to put down $5,000 USD just to attend a sales presentation (the amount was credited towards purchase). You chose your Top 3 lots, and hoped you'd get your favorite.

Demand was strong for Loreto Bay homes in 2006. Potential buyers had to put down $5,000 USD just to attend a sales presentation (the amount was credited towards purchase). You chose your Top 3 lots, and hoped you’d get your favorite.

Construction Begins: Loreto Bay in 2007

Loreto Bay Construction Process

Construction of the “Agua Viva” phase of the Loreto Bay Resort begins in 2007.

 From the Viewing Tower: Construction Continues in 2008

Cranes in the Baja!

Cranes in the Baja!

Touring a finished Loreto Bay Home

Shaky-cam courtesy yours truly.

Kayaking the Sea of Cortez: Lessons on the Beach by Aturo’s 

Sea of Cortez - Kayak Lessons - Loreto Bay

House Hunters International Comes to Loreto

Baja Bound - HGTV House Hunters International

House Hunters International has filmed two episodes in Loreto Bay.

Besieged Loreto Bay developer throws arms up, blames homeowners

Loreto Bay Declares Bankruptcy

2008: The money dries up.

Loreto Bay Baja resort, unable to find new buyer, suspends operations

“We regret to inform you that until new funds are secured, as of June 7th, 2009 all hospitality related operations will be suspended and as of June 8th, 2009 all construction related activities will be suspended.”

Is it mañana yet?: The adventures of building a home in Loreto Bay

One of the challenges of building a home here was the draw process. You had to ensure progress was matching payments. But that wasn't always easy when I was back in San Francisco.

One of the challenges of building a home here was the draw process. You had to ensure progress was matching payments. But that wasn’t always easy when I was back in San Francisco.

Inn at Loreto Bay Re-opens

Inn at Loreto Bay

Loreto Baja Golf Resort & Spa, anchors the southern end of the Loreto Bay development.

Loreto Calendar Raises $15,000 for local charities

Loreto Calendar

Loreto Bay resort emerges from economic downturn

Outside our little casa, "Casa De Lagarta Azul"

Outside our little casa, “Casa De Lagarta Azul”

All’s Well that End’s Well:

The Baja adventure continues…

San Francisco Bay Area Arts and CultureRecent Loreto-related stories:

Baja wine hunter

Fishing the Islands of Loreto, Baja

Loreto Bay, 6 years later

Voices of Loreto: Drenched

From the Field: Canon T2i shots from Loreto, Baja

Holy Mole: Baja breakfast

Best of Stark Insider Baja: 200+ of the best Loreto Articles

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Clinton Stark
Clint is based in Silicon Valley and co-founded Stark Insider. A new media venture, the goal was to fill the increasing gap in arts and food & wine coverage. This site has consumed his every fiber. Yet, he still has time to talk Android, praise Pebble, and shoot videos. More: Clint's story...