Top Reasons to Stay at Casa Mariquita Hotel
- The Spanish-style hotel is set in the hills surrounding Avalon.
- The property is within walking distance of the beach and local restaurants and shops along the town’s main drag.
- You can look out onto the town and ocean below from a pair of outdoor patios with terra cotta tiles and patio furniture.
- Next to the hotel, you can catch a trolley to Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, home to rare Catalina ironwoods and other endemic plants.
- The garden also serves as the trailhead for the Garden to Sky Hike, a gently sloped climb that leads to outlooks with spectacular views of both sides of the island.
- Standard rooms have refrigerators, flat-screen TVs, and views of the hotel’s courtyard.
Catalina Island, California: Desert Foliage and Secluded Coves in the Pacific Ocean
The rocky Catalina Island is only about 22 miles southwest of Los Angeles, but it’s a world away from the crowded metropolis. For starters, there are hardly any cars here⎯golf carts are the preferred way to get around. Much of the island’s interior is unpopulated, home to a vast array of native desert foliage and wildlife. Visitors can hit the many secluded coves that dot the landscape for sunbathing or snorkeling in temperate waters among starfish, sea urchins, and bright-orange garibaldi. Travel + Leisure called these coves “ready-made for romance,” naming Catalina one of the world’s most romantic islands in 2010.
Much of Catalina Island is accessible only by challenging dirt trails, but you can see many of its endemic plants in town at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. Some of the featured vegetation can only be found here, including wild tomato and rare Catalina mahogany. The memorial itself was designed to incorporate as much local material as possible, including quarried Catalina stones, blue flagstone rock from the harbor, and hand-painted tiles from a local pottery company.
You can get to the gardens by catching a taxi or trolley from nearby Avalon, the island’s only major city. This small village, with a surrounding backdrop of steep, amphitheater-like hills, occupies only about 3% of the island. Still, it’s where most visitors spend the majority of their time, thanks to a popular beach, a lively harbor, and a surprising variety of restaurants. The most famous landmark here is the art-deco-style Casino building. Surrounded by the sea on three sides, the circular structure stands at the equivalent of 12 stories tall and houses an art gallery, a museum, and a theater.