La Paz, a small city on the Sea of Cortez on the lower Baja Peninsula, just might be the perfect family vacation spot or first time destination for anyone wanting to visit Mexico.
La Paz is a port city with a vibrant local culture, that just happens to be near one of the most beautiful islands on the planet and near some stunning beaches. It is a city that has tourists, but isn’t a tourist town. It is a fun place with some authentic Mexican culture. Let me tell you about it.
My favorite place in La Paz is the Malecon. Each evening, after the blazing tropical sun finally slips below the horizon, the wide pedestrain street on the waterfront, known as the Malecon, bursts to life. Joggers, bikers, skateboarders and walkers come out in force to join the tourists and families enjoying the sunset.
Along the Malecon is a collection of bars, restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops that are reasonably priced and offer great food. The Malecon was one of my favorite places for people watching in all of Mexico and a terrific place to watch a sunset.
There several are beaches in and around La Paz, but to enjoy some really stunning beaches you need to go north of town.
Playa Balandra, 14 miles away, offers a shallow cove and clear water in a calm, perfect setting. One mile past Balandra is Playa Tecolote, which has a few beach bars where you can eat and drink under a palapa and gaze out to Isla Espiritu. It is pure bliss.
And if you are restless like me, you can hike the mountainous peninsula between the two beaches and explore cactus studded desert and find totally isolated stretches of sand. After all that desert hiking, a Corona on the beach is really nice.
Isla Espiritu is truly one the most spectacular islands on Earth. It is a mountainous, starkly beautiful, uninhabited island dotted with towering cactus and ringed by pristine beaches. We did a day trip in which we snorkeled with sea lions, swam with whale sharks and had lunch on one of the aforementioned perfect beaches. Luckily, it is a national park so there are no resorts there.
There are no big resorts in La Paz
Speaking of resorts, the La Paz town center lacks the sprawling resorts of Cancun or Cabo. It is possible to stay in boutique hotels or small guesthouses. We got an apartment on Air BnB, with a large kitchen, balcony, living room, and swimming pool, which turned out to be a great deal. It was a perfect way to save some money and have the convenience to eat some meals at home.
Cruise ships don’t go there
La Paz is safe and friendly
Many people are concerned about safety when going to Mexico, which is understandable based on the media coverage of the country. Mexico in general is surprisingly safe for visitors and La Paz is extra safe. Driving a rental car in the area or exploring the town on foot is totally fine. In addition, the locals are very friendly and helpful.
So, next time you are in Mexico or thinking of a sunny get away, go to La Paz and thank me later.
Have you been to La Paz?
Do you have any other recommendations for Mexico?
Note: I should say that no one is paying me to give all this effusive praise, but if anyone in the La Paz tourism office wants to cut me a check, I will happily accept hit.
To see more of my posts about Mexico, click here.