Famous for its Technicolor sunsets, world-class fishing and thrilling diving and whale watching opportunities, La Paz invites travelers from all walks of life to revel in its breezy oceans and old world charm. La Paz is situated on Mexico’s gorgeous Baja Peninsula, and is a favored vacation destination for golfers, avid fisherman and water sports enthusiasts. Whether you’re visiting for a girls’ getaway or a summer family holiday, there are many exciting things to do in La Paz, Mexico.
Dining out in La Paz offers something for everyone. From healthy vegetarian eats and authentic wood-burning grills to traditional Mexican fare, this charming port town has it all. Praised for its fresh seafood and mouthwatering Latin cuisine, Las Tres Virgenes is a top-rated La Paz restaurant, known for its classic Caesar salad and serene courtyard setting. Doce Cuarenta is a trendy coffee shop that tempts patrons with delightful pastries and pies, bistro sandwiches and melt-in-your-mouth quiches — and the prices can’t be beat. For the best in fine dining, head to Estancia Uruguaya Parrilla Bar, located a few blocks from the Malecon. The menu includes traditional criolla empanadas and some of the best grilled steaks, sausages other choice meats.
Come and enjoy what John Steinbeck called the “world’s aquarium” when he wrote a book about his voyage here aboard a scientific collecting expedition. Tour operators run daily scuba diving trips where you can see enormous yet docile whale sharks (the world’s largest fish), sea lions, manta rays, sea turtles and other interesting marine life while exploring ship wrecks and blue water coves. The crystal clear waters give you visibility of almost 30 meters (100 feet) and the average temperature is 30 degrees in fall and summer. There are more than 25 premier locations for scuba diving in the Bay of La Paz.
Snorkeling in La Paz is sure to be another vacation highlight. Experience the magic of swimming and snorkeling with curious and playful sea lions at Los Islotes, about a 1-hour boat trip from La Paz. The scenic tour on the Sea of Cortez includes a tasty picnic lunch and pit stops along the beaches of Espiritu Santo Island.
Sport fishing is one of the most popular activities in Baja California Sur, and La Paz is the perfect place to land the big one! Seasoned captains and experienced crew know the best fishing hotspots and offer half and full-day charter excursions that include all gear, snacks, beer and other refreshments. Choose from inshore or offshore catch-and-release fishing for chances to reel in marlin, tuna, grouper, rooster fish, wahoo and mahi mahi. The communities of Los Barriles, Bahia de los Sueños, La Ventana and El Sargento are the main fishing points in the state, and La Paz hosts several international fishing tournaments like the Bisbee’s circuit, which draws thousands of the world’s finest anglers.
The waters around La Paz are also renowned for migrating whales, including blue, humpback, killer and grey whales. For the ultimate whale watching experience, plan your trip between January and April when massive pods of Pacific grey whales are migrating through Baja’s Pacific Coast to Magdalena Bay. Magdalena whale watching tours are great for families, and usually entail one or two nights camping on the beach. The adventure includes excursions through mangrove estuaries, dune hiking and, of course, plenty of up-close encounters with whales.
With its tranquil waters, sublime weather and pristine shorelines, water sports in La Paz dominate most travelers’ itineraries. Local outfits offer jet-ski tours and rentals, along with chances to go water skiing and sea kayaking to the soft white sands of Balandra Beach or Espiritu Santo Island. Looking for something a bit more relaxing? Boat cruises ply the aquamarine water and islets dotting the Sea of Cortez, and may include visits to the local sea lion colony. La Partida, El Gallo, La Gallina and Los Islotes are some of the most picturesque islands in the Sea of Cortez; boat tours feature lunch, snacks, bottled water, soft drinks, snorkel gear and bilingual guides. La Paz also boasts some of the most beautiful sunset cruises aboard well-appointed vessels where patrons can enjoy a champagne toast while making new friends.
There are two world-class golf courses in the area, both of which feature state-of-the-art design that complements the exceptional desert-by-the-sea landscape. The 18-hole El Mogote within Paraiso del Mar was listed among the Top 5 Best New International Golf Courses in 2009. This links-style course is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday.
Mexico’s first Gary Player Signature course was inaugurated in 2010. The CostaBaja golf club, which is framed by the Sea of Cortez, features 18 challenging holes and stunning panoramic views. The PAR 72 course is open to the public 7 days a week.
La Paz is a wonderful blend of old world beauty and cosmopolitan flair. The Malecon – the beachside boardwalk – is a great place for shopping and is lined with inviting places to grab a meal or a drink as the sun dips below the horizon. When night falls, party-goers will have plenty to keep them entertained. La Paz clubs and nightlife might not be as famous as nearby Cabo San Lucas, but they do offer opportunities to dance and mingle with other travelers.
Other places to visit and things to do in La Paz: