Known as the City of Peace, La Paz has become a sought-after vacation destination with travelers who want to connect with nature. The capital city of Baja California Sur is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, which is comprised of 244 islands, islets and coastal areas that together form one of the world’s most diverse ocean ecosystems, prompting marine biologist Jacques Cousteau to dub it the ‘Aquarium of the World,’ and UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site. Discover La Paz.
The most diversity underwater can be found in its rocky depths, less than 50 meters deep, mainly around the islands and coasts of the Peninsula of Baja California, considered one of the big five most productive marine ecosystems of the world.
Due to their richness in endemic species, the islands found within the Sea of Cortez are not only examples of evolution but have been and may continue to be important natural laboratories for research, teaching and outreach. The relative isolation of the islands has been making them attractive to biologists and tourists alike.
From the pristine natural landscape to all the wonder of Sea of Cortez, La Paz can be explored year-round, offering a unique eco-experience each season.
Whale Watching, November – March
Each year, gray whales, orcas and humpbacks make a 12,000-mile journey to the waters surrounding La Paz. Magdalena Bay, Ojo de Liebre and San Ignacio are amongst the best places to whale watch in Baja Sur. In 2014, 2,107 whales were registered in Ojo de Libre, dubbed the ‘sanctuary of the gray whale’ with a total of 1,241 adults and 866 calves. The number of the blue whales registered this year surpassed prior ones with a record of two dozen.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling, All Year Round (Peaks in November)
The waters surrounding La Paz are home to 891 fish species (90 of them endemic), making up 39 percent of the world’s marine mammal species and a third of the world’s marine cetacean species. It comes as no surprise why the area is widely considered one of the top 10 places in the world to dive.
The epicenters of diving action are the Bay of La Paz; Isla Espiritu Santo, a protected island about 23 miles north of La Paz; and Isla Cerralvo, east of La Paz. In these waters it is common to spot giant mantas, whale sharks and hammerheads…not to mention a population of more than 500 California sea lions eager to greet visitors, often nibbling fingers and tugging on fins.
Sailing, Kayaking and SUPing, All Year Round
With its calm, transparent, azure waters, sandy anchorages, and average winds of 15 knots and 340-plus days of sunshine per year, the Sea of Cortez offers sailing enthusiasts unmatched yachting, cruising and sailing experiences. Visitors can also enjoy a guided kayak tour or paddleboard across the mangroves of Balandra beach, named one of Mexico’s Best Beaches by Trip Advisor. For those bringing their own boats, the city boasts three marinas-Marina La Paz, Marina Costa Baja and Marina Palmira-that provide all the necessary services for vessels up to 250 feet long.
Sports Fishing, All Year Round
The Sea of Cortez, home to hundreds of species of trophy fish, including dorado, tuna, marlin, roosterfish and yellowtail makes for some of the best sports fishing in the world. Many international fishing tournaments are held in La Paz each year, attracting experienced anglers and tourists from all over the globe. La Paz has several world-class fishing outfitters that can provide everything needed for fishing excursions.
La Paz’s top fishing tournament, the 8th Annual Gold Cup Black & Blue Marlin Tournament (September 25 – 28), will offer ambitious anglers a hand at landing the biggest fish in the Sea of Cortez and a jackpot of $1,00,000 pesos (approximately $76,586 USD).
Companies such as Mosquito Fleet, The Moorings and The One Baja lease everything from pangas and cruisers to large yachts at reasonable rates.
The beaches surrounding the Sea of Cortez are an ideal setting for rustic camping in the untouched landscape, difficult to experience anywhere else. Punta Coyote and San Evaristo are located approximately 60 miles away from La Paz and directly in the foothills of the Mountain Range of La Giganta.
Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding
There are numerous places where one can enjoy the panoramic sea views during invigorating walks and jogs through the trails carved through desert hills in and around the city of La Paz.