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La Paz

'La Perla Del Mar De Cortes'

La Paz is a real Mexican city where 170,000 Mexicans live and work. It dedicates just a five block strip for tourist shops, restaurants and tours. Local business establishments intermingle with tourist stops and give the city a lived - in feeling. The romantic seaside walkway (the Malecon) is the vantage point for stunning sunsets and early morning walks. Relax on a waterside bench and enjoy the activity of local fishing boats and sailboats from around the world. La Paz is quickly establishing itself as Baja's eco-tourism center with a wide variety of tours offered by professionals dedicated to preserving the environment.


Located on a large bay on the Sea of Cortes, La Paz is 137 miles by road north of the southern tip of the peninsula. Looking out from the downtown core you see the Mogote Peninsula with its many varieties of birds. Traveling north by water takes you to the wilderness islands of El Espiritu Santo, La Partida and Los Islotes. The islands are destinations for scuba divers, kayakers, fishermen, snorkelers, hikers and beach lovers. Ecologists work to keep these islands pristine so existing flora and fauna survive and so visitors can learn about the sea and enjoy the white sand beaches, the multi-colored cliffs and the sea life.


La Paz was founded by Hernan Cortez on May 3, 1535 but the hostility of the environment forced him to retreat a year later. Other efforts to colonize the area brought Sabastian Vizcaino in 1596, Isidro de Atondo and Antillon in 1863, the Jesuits Juan de Ugarte and Jaime Bravo in 1720 and finally in 1811, Jose Espinoza who established the first permanent settlement that turned La Paz into the capital of Baja California Sur in 1830.


La Paz is one of the favorite beach areas for Mexican and foreign visitors. Its international fishing tournaments are famous. Scuba diving, yachting, sailing and ecotourism trips to the islands enchant the visitors but it is the beaches that keep people coming back. Although situated on a lovely long beach, the best beaches for swimming and sunbathing are found north of the city on the road to Tecolote. Playa Palmira, Playa el Coromuel, Playa el Caimancito, Playa del Tesoro, Playa Pichilingue, Playa Balandra, Playa el Tecolote and Playa el Coyote are havens for the beach lover. Some have washrooms and restaurants.


The city holds several annual events including Carnaval held for six days before Ash Wednesday, Fiesta de La Paz, held May 3rd to celebrate the founding of the city. Fishing competitions, jet ski races and the Nautical Cup also take place here.


GETTING THERE

AIRLINES - Aero California and Aero Mexico have daily flights to La Paz. You can fly to Cabo San Lucas with Aero Mexico, Alaska, America West or Mexicana and take the bus up to La Paz. (allow 4 hours) From Cabo International Airport take the shuttle or a taxi into San Jose del Cabo ($6) and then the next bus to La Paz ($6) Ten buses a day run from 7am to 8pm. The eastern route is shorter but makes more stops.

Car rentals - available at the airport. Ask your travel agent.


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