La Paz is a modern seaside city embraced by nature. With its near perfect weather, a stroll along La Paz’s bustling Malecon is a popular pastime for locals and tourists alike. La Paz, also known as the “City of Peace”, is a laid-back community with a big lifestyle. With her back against the mountains and her feet set in the soft sands along the Sea of Cortez, La Paz is a city of contrasts. From the brilliant sunrises and fiery sunsets, centuries-old cacti amid rugged, arid terrain, fishermen plying the waters in their outboard pangas and visitors in 200-foot luxury yachts, La Paz makes room for the old and new.
First-time visitors are beguiled by the pristine white sandy beach that runs along the main street of town. Sailboats bob on the sparkling waters and the municipal pier and lighthouse add to the charm. Sunday night is the time to be out, to see and be seen. Enjoy a double-dip of limon crema ice cream as you walk along the Malecon. Drummers, artisans, families, strolling young lovers, kids on roller blades and locals walking their dogs are all part of the scene.
La Paz’ “celebrity” population is elusive and seasonal, but when they are here, they are a friendly lot. No “A list” Hollywood stars or sports celebrities among them. These celebrities are the spectacular whale sharks. The psychedelic colored, docile and toothless sharks grace our waters from January though May. Kayaking in the calm waters around El Mogote with these gentle giants is an experience of a lifetime.
Discover the beautiful world under the sea. Snorkelling or diving outfitters will take you out for a day to swim with sea lions, snorkel around a sea mount and take you to Isla Espiritu Santo. You have your choice of riding in a dinghy or kayaking to the island, where your lunch awaits. The color and variety of fish will amaze. Jacques Cousteau said about this area: “It is the world’s largest living aquarium…” Visit Balandra- the most beautiful beach near La Paz. At low tide, you can walk across the bay and stroll white-sand beaches of deserted coves. Visit the famous Mushroom Rock and watch for puffer fish, sea anemones, and other sea life. Deep water fishing is very popular and there are several tournaments including The Dorado Tournament in June and the International Bisbee Tournament in September.
La Paz has more fabulous beaches than any city in Baja! Up the coast, along the offshore islands, as well as northeast, east, and south of town. It is possible for the Baja traveler to find beautiful beaches with plenty of activity, or completely secluded beaches where there isn’t a soul for dozens of miles!
PLAYA LA PAZ: Right in town, along the Malecon. These beaches are clean, convenient, and offer a quick escape from the city pace!
PLAYA EL COROMEL: Pichilingue Hwy, near Km. 3.5. Another beautiful beach, food and drinks, palapas, water slide.
PLAYA DEL TESORO: On the Pichilingue road at Km. 8.5 A relaxing beach with a restaurant and palapas.
PLAYA BALANDRA: Famous for its rock formation Balandra has 8 smaller beaches you can walk through the water to.
ISLA ESPIRITO SANTO: North east of town, less than an hour boat ride. Best beaches are on the west side. Island paradise! 14 miles of crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and coves.
BAHIA DE LA VENTANA: South of La Paz 20 miles on Highway 286, then head north to the beach. Miles of spectacular beaches, no crowds, perfect!
La Paz is also home to many off-road races, the most famous being the Baja 1000 every November. Locals line the highway starting the night before to watch their favorite cars emerge from the desert. The final part of the race is run on the only highway to town and local traffic is mixed with the racers. First-time visitors find this disconcerting. Long-time residents take it in stride. The Baja 1000 is the most famous but there are off-road races throughout the year.
La Paz has adapted and grown to meet the needs and demands of its expanding middle class and growing expatriate retiree population. Hip, modern espresso shops are all over town as are small tiendas selling freshly-made tortillas. Two blocks up from the Malecon is Madero Street, fast becoming the place to find the newest and best restaurants. And on Tuesdays from 9:00 until 1:00 (or sooner as vendors sell out their wares) is an organic food market. Throughout the city are taco stands and small Mexican-owned restaurants that serve a nice meal for reasonable prices. Several grocery chains, small and large are all over town. Coming soon is another big Mexican chain, Mega, also known for being stylish and chock full of the things foodies crave. Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, Home Depot, McDonald’s, Appleby’s, and Burger King have opened their doors and there is talk of Costco coming soon.
La Paz is home to a large Canadian population including snow birds who arrive in October and leave in May. Others stay the year round. The warm, sunny climate, affordable health care with English-speaking doctors, recreational activities, and reasonable housing prices make La Paz an excellent second home or retirement destination for Baby Boomers.