La Paz is a city in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Often overlooked by travelers by the more flashy nearby Los Cabos resorts, La Paz has a wonderful waterfront and world class beaches. It is on the coast of the Gulf of California or the Sea of Cortez on the southern end of the long peninsula.
It's a city of 245,000 people (2015) that is clean, safe and attractive. The islands off the coast are a popular destination.
- 1 La Paz International Airport (LAP IATA Aeropuerto Internacional General Manuel Márquez de León). The city enjoys service from US carriers such as Alaska and Delta Air Lines and Mexican carriers such as Aereo Calafia, Interjet, Volaris and Aeromexico.
Taxis, shuttles and vans are readily available from the airport to your hotel but can be pricey. Prices are preset at US$12.50 per person so an airport taxi with four people can run US$50. Buy a ticket at the taxi counter inside the terminal. Expect to pay US$15-20 for a ride to downtown La Paz, as the airport is a fair distance away. As always, settle on a price before entering the taxi or shuttle.
It is best to arrange airport transfers through your travel agent or hotel prior to arriving. Return trip taxis run about US$20 for 1 to 4 people.
Ferries from Mazatlan and Topolobampo, just outside Los Mochis on the Mexican mainland are serviced by Baja Ferries [dead link]. Both routes are overnight trips taking about 12 hours. Fares are M$970 in 2016 for a one-way trip. It's possible to bring your car, but foreign vehicles requires special permits from the customs office.
All ferries arrive at 2 Pichilingue Harbour about 30 minutes north of La Paz city. Public transport is limited, but taxis are readily available.
Autotransportes Aguila offers frequent bus service from nearby cities such as Cabo San Lucas (about 2 hr), San Jose del Cabo (about 2½ hr) and Loreto (about 2 hr), with direct (faster) and local (slower) service. Service is good, although tickets are a bit pricey. Alternatively, Eco Baja Tours operates 7- to 9-passenger vans that go directly from SJD airport to the same La Paz bus terminal used by Aguila.
Taxis are readily available throughout town and prices are very reasonable, usually US$5/$10 for just about anywhere, but make sure to agree on a price "before" entering taxi and be clear that it is not a per-person price.
Local taxi location & phone numbers:
- Degollado S/N Tel: (612) 122-0164
- GMO. Prieto y Bravo Tel: (612) 122-0156
- Revolucion y Degollado Tel: (612) 122-0857
- Rosales S/N Tel: (612) 122-0455
- Abasolo y Sonora Tel: (612) 123-2044
- Bravo y M. Rubio Tel: (612) 122-0060
- 16 de Septiembre y 21 de Agosta Tel: (612) 122-0308
- B. Dominguez y 5 de Mayo Tel:: (612) 122-0770
- Serdan y 5 de Mayo Tel:: (612) 122-1470
- 16 de Septiembre y Revolucion Tel:: (612) 122-0790
By rental carEdit
Many car rental agencies (for example, Alamo, Budget, National, Thrifty) have offices both at the airport and downtown. Daily car rental prices are relatively cheap, comparable to a one-way taxi ride from the airport to downtown. An important consideration is that car insurance is very expensive, with some agencies making policies compulsory. In addition, some agencies may put a hold on your credit card for up to half the value of the car, so make sure your card has enough credit.
Driving allows you to visit great beaches located away from town and to take day trips to nearby cities. It is possible to pick up the car at one location, for example at the airport, and drop it off at other location, for example downtown. This allows you to avoid paying a taxi to get to your hotel, plus gives you a convenient way to visit places that are not within walking distance from town.
La Paz is home to various scenic beaches and boat docks. Playa El Tesoro is ideal for quiet, non-motorized watersports in a protected bay ringed with aquamarine shallow water that looked perfect for abundant fishing in the coves. Other popular public beaches a few miles outside of town (about 15 miles north of La Paz, no public transportation available) are: Pichilingue, Balandra and El Tecolote. As of September 2016, a bus ticket from Aguila Transport in La Paz is M$100 (pesos) round trip to the northern beaches. The first bus to the beach leaves at 10:00 and the last bus back to town leaves the beach at 18:45.
The islands in the Sea of Cortez (such as Isla Espiritu Santo) can be visited by boat tours and are well worth the time to check out. For example, a tour to Isla Espiritu Santo leaving from Playa El Tecolote takes about 4 hours. The marine wildlife and world-class views are a huge draw. Think Arizona with the Caribbean!
There's an active night life on the Malecón of La Paz, the street that borders the harbor. You can walk around, go into a club, buy some drinks, etc.
- Whale Watching Tours – Begin your adventure in the capital city of La Paz. Then on to Port San Carlos to meet the aquatic stars of this tour, the Gray Whales of Magdalena Bay. Snorkeling equipment is provided & a delicious seafood lunch is included in this adventure. On this tour you can go scuba diving with dolphins. They also provide bird watching tours as well.
- Nightlife – Among popular waterfront night clubs are La Paz Lapa, La Casa De Villa, Hookah, and The Jungle. Also, locals can frequently be found sipping coffee until late at the popular franchise of Exquisito coffee shops. "Maleconeando" is the local slang for something akin to "cruising" in the US, and refers to bumper-to-bumper driving up and down the waterfront at night as a pickup spot and pastime. La Paz is quite safe downtown.
- Biking –The city of La Paz is spread out, and you will find yourself walking a fair amount. The best way to see the city and surrounding area is by bike. There are a few rental facilities along the Malecon but for the best deals ask if your hotel has a bike for rent. Rentals range from US$2-5/hr. A good day bike is north along the coast to Pichilingue and beyond. There are numerous beaches to stop at and take a dip in the ocean. Make sure to bring water. Bike difficulty is beginner.
You can walk around the streets of the downtown in La Paz, you will see a lot of little shopping stores where you can buy artcraft made of seashells, wood and other materials of La Paz.
Since this is a coastal city you can get fresh seafood, don't forget to taste the shrimps, lobsters, abulón, snail, etc.
La Paz serves the best fish tacos in Mexico, and they are available at most restaurants.
- Mr Fish
- 1 Restaurantes Bismark, Paseo Alvaro Obregon (On the waterfront), ☏ . Serves great shrimp tacos. Check the price of special combos if you are offered one, as the pricing may be out of line with the rest of the menu.
- El Parnazo, 16 de Septiembre #15. Drinks and food and music videos and a deck with a good view over the bay.
- Tailhunter, Paseo Alvaro Obregon #755. 3-story restaurant and bar, with a breathtaking view to La Paz Bay. ☏
This is Baja, so the best budget option is always going to be beach camping. There are a number of free camping areas near La Paz. The authorities often try to close these areas (many of which have semi-permanent populations of winter Canadians), but determined campers almost always insist on "reopening" them. For this guide we will only list the legal, for-profit areas.
- Casa Blanca RV park US$18 for 2 persons
- La Paz RV park US$20 for 2 persons
- La Ventana Campground US$4 perperson
- Oasis RV park US$10-17 for 2 persons
- Aquamarina RV Park US$12-20 for 2 persons
- Yo Yo's Campground and Trailer park US$6 per person
- Playa Tecolote. About 25 km north of La Paz on the tip of the peninsula, this is a free camping area. There are usually quite a few people camping in the area, but there's plenty of room. There are a couple of eateries and bars in the area that seemed pleased to have gringos camping and supporting their businesses. Free.
Arguably the best place for budget travelers is the Hostel California, a five-minute walk from the Malecon. This brightly colored affair has around 20 rooms built around an outdoor terrace and is very cheap at around US$20 per night for a twin room. The accommodation on offer is very basic: rooms have a fan and private bathroom, and the staff are very friendly.
Slightly more expensive but still a great rate is the Pension Baja Paradise which is only two blocks from the Malecon. Rates are US$25–45. It has incredibly clean rooms, all offering air-con, fridge, TV, shower. Run by a family of tri-lingual Japanese, they are eager to help and run cheap extracurricular rental services in house.
Other hotels in the downtown are Acuario, Miramar, Yeneka and Hotel Pekin. This last one is a mid-range 3-star hotel for US$45 per night, in front of the Sea Side Road and 800 m (880 yards) from the heart of the city.
Hotel La Concha, Carr Escénica Km. 5. Resort with beach and pool.
Hyatt Place La Paz is a beach front hotel, business class, in the Marina Costa Baja where there are also available spots for yachts, restaurants, bars and shopping stores. Some weekends there are events in the Marina Costa Baja with dance groups, jazz music, samba music and other cultural diversions.
You can also find a wide variety of hotels and travel information on the official website of the La Paz Hotel Association at the La Paz Hotel and Tourism Website.
It is possible to take a ferry to mainland Mexico, though if you are taking your car, you will need proper permits.
|Routes through La Paz|
|Guerrero Negro ← Loreto ←||N S||→ Jct S → Los Barriles → Cabo San Lucas|