Travel Notebook: A Weekend in La Paz, Baja California Sur

Travel is a huge source of inspiration for me. Not only because it’s a window into the way others live, but the colors, the landscape, the experiences and feelings can all be brought back to become part of your artistic inspiration & ideas.

It’s also an excellent excuse to relax and have fun. We’ve been working on our house for the last eight months and the end is finally in sight, but we were more than ready to take a break from all that. So Jon and I decided to get away for a quick weekend. San Diego is an easy drive to a lot of fun places, but living so close to the border has another bonus: really affordable flights to destinations all over Mexico via CBX, the border crossing that makes flying from Tijuana airport a quick ten-minute stroll. A friend suggested La Paz, a little town on the Sea of Cortez just a couple hours’ drive from Cabo on Baja. It looked like a slice of paradise with beautiful beaches and a walkable city center to explore.

Couple at the Malecon Beach at Sunset in La Paz

I can report it is all that and more. I can’t wait to go back for a second visit, hopefully for longer and with the kids. The town has a relaxed feeling about it- sleepy during the hot days but alive during the warm breezy nights when everyone comes out to stroll the Malecón, the promenade along the bay. The promenade is directly next to the water- some areas have a tiny stretch of beach with leafy umbrellas for shade and in other places the water laps at the walkway itself. Sunsets there are spectacular and not to be missed. Across the street are bars, restaurants and museums that get packed on the weekend, but it’s not a touristy party vibe. There’s many visitors, but also locals and lots of families with children.

If you’re a nature lover, you really need to book a tour to some of the surrounding islands. We booked ours through our hotel- the company was Punta Baja Tours and we had a fantastic time. We swam & snorkeled with beautiful sea life in aquamarine water, visited some nature preserves from afar, learned about the history of the islands, and enjoyed lunch on a white sand beach that was a little crowded with tour boats, but we still didn’t want to leave. I was pretty much nonstop goggle-eyed at the incredibly beautiful land and seascapes all around us. Red cliffs worn to a craggy finish, dotted with saguaro, falling into water the color of turquoise, and surrounded by an endless blue sky…

But just in case those pictures aren’t enough to tempt you onto a boat for the day, there are some gorgeous beaches just a 20-30 min bus ride or uber down the road. The waters at Balandra beach and Tecolote look like these and in Balandra they stay neck high as you make your way all the way out to the famous mushroom rock of La Paz. I didn’t take my camera out there but trust me that it’s worth a visit just to be in that incredible water- it’s warm, too. Tecolote has beach chairs and food and you can stay there all day if you want.

La Paz has no shortage of hotels and airbnbs, and we stayed in the Hotel Catedral, named because it overlooks the cathedral in the center of town. It’s a pretty, modern hotel with clean rooms, friendly staff and a great location just a few blocks from the Malecón. There’s a rooftop pool with dreamy views to the surrounding mountains and it’s a great option for catching the sunset. Breakfast is included in the reasonable price of a night’s stay and it’s no ordinary continental. We were only there for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, but they had fruit, granola, cereal, plus hot dishes including eggs with chorizo, beans, chilaquiles, empanadas, and a pastry bar. On Sunday they set up a grill on the outdoor patio with amazing tacos.

I would have loved to have another day or two to explore the town more…we passed through an area that looked fun for shopping very close to the hotel. And of course I had to stop for a few pictures of the local architecture.

Until next time, La Paz…I’m bringing back a little of your colors and spirit with me.

 

 

 

 

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