San Javier Mission
(1 Hour Drive From Loreto)
History of San Javier Mission Near Loreto
San Javier Mission, which is officially named Misión San Francisco Xavier de Viggé-Biaundó, is one of the best-preserved missions in Baja. San Javier Mission is located about an hour drive from Nopolo/Loreto, through the mountains and canyons.
The Jesuits originally built a mission in the City of Loreto, but because of the lack of dependable water, abandoned that mission in Loreto and searched for a better place. They were told of a more suitable location by local Indians and San Javier Mission was built around 1699.
After just a couple years, San Javier Mission was abandoned because of a threatened Indian revolt, but a year later was reestablished 1702. However, efforts to grow crops proved unsuccessful due to lack of water for irrigation and in 1710, San Javier Mission was moved a few kilometers south to its present location which had a dependable source of water from a spring.
Thereafter, they constructed dams, aqueducts, and stone buildings and became more sustainable.
What Else To See in San Javier
The Mission is the highlight of going to San Javier, but there's a few more things to check out before coming back. Most notably, the Olive Tree at the end of a very small hike down a hill, just behind the Mission. There is a suggested donation station on the way.
Location of San Javier Mission
As a crow flies, San Javier Mission is about sixteen (16) miles from the city of Loreto. To get there by car, it is about twenty-five (25) miles or about an hour drive from Loreto.
You will take highway 1 south for almost 3 miles and then you will turn right on (west) onto "The Road to San Javier." The paved road meanders through a canyon and crosses a creek bed a few times. You will gain about 1,400 feet in elevation from Loreto to San Javier Mission.
The mission is actually located in the small town of San Javier. Once you enter the town of San Javier, the mission will be on your right hand side.