Welcome To La Paz

By R.J. Archer

La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, Mexico, is located on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, about 100 miles north of Los Cabos and about 1,000 miles south of San Diego. Its large bay, abundant marine life and many nearby islands make La Paz a unique destination for nature lovers and eco-tourists. The area also attracts many permanent and part-time foreign residents who come for a visit and end up staying a lifetime.

In sharp contrast to the “fiesta” atmosphere of many Mexican tourist destinations, La Paz offers a laid-back lifestyle where visitors can enjoy reasonably priced activities in a relaxed setting and still have access to all the services offered by a city of more than 200,000 people. Entertainment, shopping, and a wide variety of dining options are arranged along the city’s 3.5 mile bay-front Malecón, where tourists and locals alike stroll late into the evening. And speaking of the Malecón, it’s one of the best places to observe La Paz’ famous sunsets! Even though La Paz boasts more than 300 days of sunshine per year, she still manages to put on an incredible sunset show night after night.

A short boat ride from the downtown Malecón, the islands of Isla Espiritu Santo, Isla Partida and Los Islotes beckon. Together, they form a 30-square-mile uninhabited area of such incredible natural beauty that it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1995. Snorkeling with the sea lions on Isla Partida is a favorite tourist attraction and visitors often see turtles, dolphins, rays, sharks and even whales in the waters surrounding the islands! Espiritu Santo is a popular location for hiking, kayaking and scuba diving and its many secluded bays and beautiful beaches make it the perfect day trip destination.

La Paz boasts 7 marinas and a large community of American and Canadian sailors call the Bay of La Paz home. In addition to Isla Espiritu Santo, nearly a dozen more islands are within easy sailing range and the coastline of the peninsula is dotted with breathtaking beaches accessible only by boat.  If sailing is your passion, you owe yourself a visit to La Paz! Full-service and bareboat charters are available locally.

For those who prefer to explore from the comfort of their car, an interesting slice of Baja history is alive and well just an hour south of the city on Mexico Highway 1. The now tiny town of El Triunfo once had a population of more than 10,000 and was the financial and social center of southern Baja. In the 1800s, gold and silver brought miners to the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains and the tall smokestacks of the smelter still stand as a monument to the now-defunct industry. The taller of the 2 structures was designed by Gustav Eiffel, the same engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

If you’re looking for a place to party all night and sleep all day, you should probably look elsewhere but if you enjoy the outdoors, nature, the sea or the seashore, give La Paz a try – you won’t be sorry!