La Paz, Mexico
Nestled in the shoreline of the Sea of Cortez, along Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, La Paz is a throwback to a more traditional Mexican town and is considered to be one of the most authentic settlements for tourists to visit across the state of Baja California Sur.
For many visitors, La Paz is a welcome change of pace after time spent around the Los Cabos region, with cruise passengers arriving to a cactus cladded shoreline landscape where the desert meets the sea. Am old- fashioned provincial feel makes it hard to believe the capital city of Baja California is home to more than 225,000 people, many of whom hail from around the world.
With a beautiful natural bay, vibrant town centre, palm fringed waterfront promenade and stunning sunsets, it is no wonder those visiting La Paz often decide to linger.
Meaning ‘peace’ in Spanish, La Paz offers a relaxed and safe setting, and as a sojourn from busier ports, it’s been awarded with a namesake that couldn’t feel more appropriate.
Unlike the Port of Cabo San Lucas, which is situated along the Baja Peninsula’s western coastline, La Paz is located along the peninsula’s eastern shores off the Sea of Cortez, around 150 kilometres from the peninsula’s southernmost tip. Larger cruise liners tend to dock at the Port of Pichilingue in the bay of La Paz.
Major facilities at Pichilingue Port are almost non-existent; however, on days when cruise liners are in town, a craft market appears. Taxis and buses can easily be taken from docks at Pichilingue, with some cruise lines offering complimentary shuttles to the waterfront in La Paz.
How to Get Around
With a logical grid of streets and relative flatness, La Paz’s city centre is ideally explored on foot. Taxis are readily available but are not metered, so it’s always best to agree on a fare beforehand.
Bikes can be rented along the waterfront and are a popular way to explore the coastline north of La Paz, including the less populated beaches.
For those looking to go further afield, hiring a car from the car hire kiosks along the Malecon (large promenade) is the best way to go. Car rental rates start at around MXN$500 per day. Tours to the Sea of Cortez islands can also be taken from the pier along the Malecon.
Travel times from the port:
- It is a 30 minute journey to La Paz’s Malecon
- It is a 39 minute journey to the Manuel Márquez de León International Airport.
- Currency - La Paz uses the Mexican Peso. Coins are available in 50c, MXN$1, MXN$2, MXN$5 and MXN$10 denominations, while banknotes come in MXN$20, MXN$50, MXN$100, MXN$200 and MXN$500 denominations. US dollars are also accepted and dispensed at ATMs but be sure to have smaller amounts if paying for taxi rides and buying food.
- Time Zone - La Paz operates on Mountain Time (MST), which is 7 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC.)
- Weather - La Paz has a desert climate with low rainfall and more than 300 days of sunshine per year. The yearly average temperature sits at 30.7 degrees Celsius, with an average July high of 36 degrees Celsius and a January maximum of 23.6 degrees Celsius.
- Los Islotes Marine Park – Take a boat tour to Los Islotes, home to a colony of more than 300 California brown sea lions. The curious sea lions are accustomed to divers and snorkellers and often swim right up to snorkelers, making for a very memorable encounter.
- Plaza Constitucion - Admire the traditional heart of La Paz around the Constitution Plaza. The city’s main square (Zocalo) is flanked by the Cathedral de Nuestra Senora de la Paz, which was built in 1861 on the site of an original Jesuit mission. Inside, paintings that were salvaged from the old missions are proudly hung. The open space outside, central water fountain and tall palm trees make the area an ideal place to relax and watch the world go by.
- Snorkel with Whale Sharks - In addition to swimming with sea lions, the chance to snorkel alongside the world’s biggest fish is another highlight for visitors to La Paz. Whale sharks can reach up to 20 metres in length, and tours allow snorkellers to swim with up to 12 of the gentle giants at any one time.
- La Paz Malecon – Widely regarded as one of Mexico’s best waterfront precincts, La Paz’s famous tiled boardwalk stretches 5.5 kilometres and is filled with places to eat, drink and shop. Be sure to try some of the fish tacos for which La Paz is famous by stopping at one of the many street vendors.