Loreto is a city and municipal seat of Loreto Municipality, Baja California Sur, on the West Coast of Mexico. Located on the Gulf of California, the city had a population of 20,385 inhabitants in 2019. Loreto is a regional economic and cultural center, as well as a major tourist destination on the Baja California Peninsula. Loreto was founded in 1697, when Juan María de Salvatierra founded Misión de Nuestra Señora de Loreto Conchó. The city served as the capital of Province of the Californias until 1777, when the capital moved to Monterey, California. Loreto continued to serve as the capital of Baja California until 1829. The city grew rapidly in the 20th century and is today a major tourist destination and regional hub.