Open Your Heart to
If you’re looking for a more authentic Mexican experience, La Paz on the Baja, California peninsula delivers a relaxed feel with easy access to nature. La Paz is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez where a captivating array of wildlife species can be seen while kayaking, snorkeling or simply observing from the beach.
Where to eat and drink
Sample small batch Mezcals in La Paz town at a Mezcaleria called La Miserable. Don’t let the name fool you as this lively local spot is the opposite of unhappiness with friendly and informative bartenders who educate visitors with the history of each bottle, from sourcing to production. If you love the smoky taste of Mezcal, revel in over 60 varieties from various regions of Mexico. Add a spicy grasshopper to your bar bites while you mingle with other fun guests on the outdoor patio.
Try local fare on the street, but for an upscale dinner look for Nim Restaurante for fresh seafood like oysters, red snapper ceviche, mole, and seared crusted yellowtail. The buttery garlic Oysters Rockefeller are a must-order.
Modern Mexican fare can be found at NEMI where creative dishes use local ingredients to wow guests like make your own tacos with plated grilled fish, corn, and pineapple sauce. An inventive cocktail menu delights guests. Consider a concoction with XILA, a flavored Mezcal liquor made from seven ingredients.
A Mexican popsicle known as a Paletta comes in fun flavors at longstanding La Fuente. It might be hard to choose only one of these creamy or fruity delights with flavors like corn, guava, pitaya, and chamoyada – mango with spice.
Indulge Your Senses – What to see
Snorkel with not only whale sharks but curious and friendly sea lions along Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike California sea lions, this sea lion colony is quite different due to a lack of predators in the area. This experience can be made possible with On Board Baja where will also witnessed hundreds of dolphins swarm our boat in the middle of the Sea of Cortez.
Walk a half-mile out off of Balandra Beach when its low tide or kayak and paddleboard off this Espiritu Santo Island beach with crystal clear waters.
Move over Galapagos Islands, bird lovers will rejoice in admiring birds that can only be found in this part of the world. On Board Baja took us by numerous areas to gape at brown footed boobies, frigates with puffed up red chests, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and more.
Find a natural backdrop
Around sunset stroll the 5-kilometer Malecon (seaside boardwalk) to admire the
large-scale installations showcasing the importance of the sea to the people. Look for the Whale Shark installation, Jacques Cousteau looking out at the whales and dolphins in La Paz Bay, and The Old Man and the Sea. Other art sculptures you may wish to photograph include The Mermaid and the Dolphin, shell bodies playing instruments, and the Giant Clam with a silver pearl that reflects both the palm trees and nearby buildings – a reminder to viewers that La Paz was once a thriving pearl industry center in the 1930s.
Street art can be found on every corner in La Paz. The Ciudad Mural La Paz project helps beautify cities in a creative way. Visitors can peruse over 30 mural paintings throughout La Paz shining a light on the city’s past. Bold paintings depict the Sea of Cortez wildlife, fishermen, and the local desert Baja habitat.
Another place to capture sensational photos is CostaBaja Resort & Spa, a beachside desert oasis tucked in a cove with the mountains hugging the ocean. The resort’s modern laid-back Beach Club is a real stunner for photos at sunset complete with a bar, pool recliners, and lounge chairs perched above the bay.
Take a Spiritual Bath
Snorkeling with whale sharks requires swimming endurance, but gliding along next to the largest fish in the ocean may make you contemplate your place in the universe. The gentle giants are only found in certain locations in the world and can grow up to 40 feet. Being next to one and connecting with its eye feels spiritual. On Board Baja follows the highly regulated laws in Mexico. From October to February, juveniles (5-20 feet) frequent La Paz peaking in February with 70 or more whale sharks seen in the bay area.
Explore a Historic Gem
Todos Santos Eco Adventures offers overnight kayaking experiences where guests sleep on a secluded beach cove on Espiritu Santo Island complete with beds in tents. A chef prepares meals while an expert guide leads guests in bird watching, swimming with sea lions and whale sharks, hiking, and surf lessons.
Meet the Journalist:
Since traveling around the world at age 20 with Semester at Sea, Melissa Curtin hasn’t stopped globetrotting. The pandemic kept her adventures to local road trips in California but she is eager to be back on a plane. Her website LaLaScoop.com covers and discovers the Best of LA. After a recent home purchase in Palm Springs, California, she is relishing desert living. Find her travel, food, and lifestyle articles in print and online at Lonely Planet, Zagat Stories, Roadtrippers and more.