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Top Attractions: Day Trip to La Paz

December 17, 2021

Los Cabos rightfully commands the attention of every traveler to Baja California Sur. The iconic sea arch at Land’s End. The beckoning beaches. The array of land and sea activities. And of course the glamour factor.

Often overlooked is La Paz, the state capital of Baja California Sur and a laid-back coastal city nestled in hills fronting clear, calm waters. Located on the East Cape 2.5 hours north of Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, which exudes old-world charm, lives up to its name (paz translates to peace in Spanish).

Here’s an overview of the city’s top attractions and must-sees.

City Tour

· Malecon – This pleasant waterfront promenade features a “sculptural route” of international art installations, many of them large-scale and whimsical. A favorite strolling place for visitors and locals alike, the Malecon traces the palm tree-lined shoreline and has a fine view of the bay from start to finish. It’s spectacular at sunset. Across the street from this walkway are hostelries, bars, cantinas, open-air cafes, and ice cream shops.

· Cathedral - In the city center, the 19th-century Nuestra Señora de La Paz (Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz) rises dramatically from the shady Velasco Garden. It was built by the Jesuits in 1720 to house the Misión de Nuestra Señora de la Paz Arirapí (Mission of Our Lady of la Paz Arirapí). This beautiful church is worth a visit.

· Regional Museum of Baja California Sur – Established in 1981, this museum exhibits the cultural heritage of Baja California Sur, delving deep into the geological formation of the peninsula and the animal and plant life that emerged over the eons. The museum’s archaeology section recreates the way of life of the hunter-gatherers who populated the territory when lakes and forests existed, as well as their coexistence with mammoths and saber-toothed tigers. Early European explorations are detailed, as is the Jesuit missionary enterprise, the impact of Mexican Independence on the peninsular territory, and the war against the U.S. invasion in 1847. The

Revolution room exhibits collections and graphics related to the armed and social movements of the second decade of the 20th century that shaped the region’s character.

Dining

There are several good restaurants in La Paz, but top of the list is Sorstice, which features an eclectic Mediterranean-themed menu. Legs of Jamon Serrano Grand Reserva in their wooden mounts are proudly displayed throughout the dining room. Excellent pizza. The Caesar salad, studded with charred bits of jamon, is out of this world. The seafood (lobster, octopus) is exceptional, as are the steaks. Located near the Cathedral.

Experiences in the water

· Balandra Beach. Ranked among the best and most beautiful beaches in Mexico, this stunning bay in La Paz is breathtaking. White powdery sand and pale turquoise-blue waters qualify Balandra as a Baja paradise. The water is shallow in most of the bay, so even non-swimmers can simply walk around or bury their toes in the sand and let the gentle surf lap around their feet. Follow the shore to the northeast and you’ll find the famous “mushroom rock,” a local landmark. Balandra is a mecca for kayakers, who can paddle to the reefs across the bay for an exceptional snorkeling experience. Kayakers can also explore the mangroves on the left side of this pristine bay.

· Swimming with Whale Sharks. For an unforgettable encounter alongside the largest fish in the sea, La Paz is the place to swim or snorkel beside whale sharks. These gentle giants, which can attain a length of 40 feet or more, are filter feeders, not hunters, so observing their feeding habits as they glide slowly through the water in search of plankton is safe. Often swimming near the surface in the Bay of La Paz, these gentle, slow-moving creatures allow you to approach without risk. Local outfitters are available to guide the way.

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