BajaÂ’s capital is a luxury-loaded adventure destination. By, Melissa C. Gillespie
Just under two hours north of Los Cabos by car, La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, the state boasting the greatest length of Mexico coastline. La Paz, Spanish for Â“peace,Â” has a rich history, delightful people, delicious food, and an easy-going lifestyle.
Thousands of people sail to La Paz every year, enticed by the calm, warm waters of the Sea of Cortez, which is home to reefs, underwater caves, and exotic sea life. It is considered one of the premier diving, snorkeling, and sport-fishing locations in the world. Nearby Isla Espiritu Santo, an oasis of secluded coves and dramatic sandstone cliffs, has been protected as a biosphere national reserve and is well-populated with friendly sea lions.
La Paz, although quaint and quiet, has the services and amenities for a comfortable and relaxing visit, from elegant dining and a full-service spa to the direct flights from several cities.
Long known for its exquisite coastline and abundant fishing, La Paz is also making a new name for itself as a second-home destination for mainland North Americans.
Most recently, the destination welcomed the CostaBaja Resort & Spa, home to Gary PlayerÂ’s first golf course in Mexico; several oceanfront and oceanview condominiums, villas, and custom home lots; and a full-service hotel. The resort is a town within itself, offering exquisite dining in the marina at Azul Marino and La Barcaccia and oceanfront relaxation and activities at its beach club. La Paz is also home to Paraiso del Mar, a 1,700-acre resort community with an island lifestyle and an award-winning Arthur Hills championship golf course. Development plans over the next year include the completion of an additional 102 beachfront condominiums.
High tourist season in La Paz is from mid-November through May. However, there are several sporting events year round and in the off-season, most notably the Fishing Tournament Dorado La Paz, attracting fishermen from around to world in June.
The Essentials La Paz
1 Where to Stay The condos at Hotel La Concha Beach Resort & Condominiums range from one to three bedrooms. Children under 12 are not allowed. laconcha.com, 612-121-6161 (USA), 01-800-716-8603 (Mexico). CostaBaja Resort & Spa is the first five-star property in La Paz, featuring a signature restaurant, a 250-slip marina, a beach club, a golf course, and a spa. Rates are dependent on season, view, and size. costabaja.com, 866-409-9940 (USA); 01-800-267-8222 (Mexico).
2 Where to Eat Enjoy the casual patio seating at LumiÃ¨re in the Plaza Real: try the Quatro Quesos (four cheeses) crepe for a satisfying mid-afternoon snack. For a more traditional La Paz dining experience, locals and tourists agree on Bismarck II for the fresh catch of the day. Las Tres Virgenes serves up Â“Baja High Cuisine,Â” featuring a diverse selection of international fare and an excellent wine selection as well.
3 What To Do If youÂ’re not into sport fishing or snorkeling, two of the most popular activities here, stroll the historic malecÃ³n (seaside boulevard), relax at the beach, or let the professionals at Fun Baja take you on a whale-watching expedition. funbaja.com. La Paz is home to two 18-hole golf courses: one at Paraiso del Mar (paradiseofthesea.com) and the other at CostaBaja Resort & Spa.