Travel Diary: La Paz, Mexico
Saying I love Mexico is a bit of an understatement - I mean, we got married there. I’ve also already visited three times this year! The love affair is never ending. In late February I was invited by the La Paz tourism board to explore La Paz and boy, was it an adventure. From whale watching to swimming with sea lions and whale sharks, I’m proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and soaking up all Baja California had to offer. Keep scrolling to learn more about our adventures and my tips for visiting. I also posted some great vids on this IG post in case you want to see the whales in action (we got SO close).
To get to La Paz it’s about a 2 hr. scenic drive from the Los Cabos Airport, some coastal and a lot desert. The best part is that you have to pass by/through Hotel San Cristobal and Todos Santos on the way. I would highly suggest making a stop to break up the drive and check-out both the hotel and the gorgeous little town known for it’s many art galleries and yummy food spots. Personally, I’m dying to go back and stay at the Hotel San Cristobal because it is just absolutely stunning!
Our 72 hours itinerary was pretty jam packed - up at 5am everyday and adventuring until late in the evening. If you’re going for vacation and have a few more days I would definitely space out the activities over the course of 4 -5 days to really soak it all in but also get some veg time.
Where we stayed:
Paraiso del Mar - right in the heart of La Paz and on the Sea of Cortez, this spot has condos and casitas for rent. It’s great for large groups or big family vacays. There’s a golf course, tons of pools, and just gorgeousness everywhere you look.
What we did:
The primary reason people visit La Paz is for the amazing ocean experiences like swimming with whale sharks and sea lions or going whale watching; it’s a HUGE scuba diver destination. During our 72 hour trip we spent about 24 hrs of that in the water or en route to the water!
Magdalena Bay (Whale watching) - Magdalena Bay is a mecca for wildlife lovers and wildlife itself and is a favorite playground for gray whales. Every year they travel south from Alaska to spend their winter in Mexico to give birth, mate, raise their calves—and play with their human visitors. Whale watching is carefully regulated here, so it’s just you and the whales coming out to see you.
This is experience was nothing like I’ve ever had and I believe very different from other whale watching experiences because the whales come up SO close to the boat (see this vid). It was a little scary at first but we were assured they were just playing.
Aside from being able to get so close to the whales another PLUS is that the waters are very calm, so you don’t need to worry about getting sea sick which is typically an issue in other parts of the ocean. The CON about Magdalena Bay is that it’s about a 4 hr. drive from La Paz. This is a full day adventure with much of it spent in the car. The drive through the cactus filled desert is stunning, just long, so prepare yourself.
Espiritu Santo Island Santo Island (swimming with Sea Lions + Whale Sharks) - my favorite day was definitely the one spent with Tuna Tuna Tours swimming with sea lions and whale sharks. The first half of the day we snorkeled with the friendly sea lions at Los Islotes. I’m not going to lie, I was SCARED before we jumped in. In California you don’t mess with sea lions but our guide reassured me that these sea lions were extremely friendly and with his expertise we would be fine. And we were! It was such an incredible experience (see the video on my IG). The water was a bit chilly but the wet suits kept it bearable. The sea lions are so fun and playful and it’s especially great to see them in their natural habitat just living their best lives.
Afterwards we headed to a gorgeous local beach - the water was SO blue and the sand so white- and had fresh ceviche and cold beer. That’s when all of us were living our best lives- hah.
Next we went to the Whale Shark refuge area which is actually right outside of Paraiso del Mar. If I thought I was scared with the Sea Lions, I was almost pooping my pants with the whale sharks. So whale sharks are not sharks they are just really big fish… like 18-33 ft. big. Instead of going in as a group you go in one by one with the guide, holding his hand and swimming together (sans life vest). I’ll be honest and tell you I only lasted for maybe 5 minutes but I DID IT. I swam along this ginormous magical creature and it was an experience of a lifetime.
RESTAURANTS IN LA PAZ:
Because we were adventuring so much we honestly didn’t scope out that much of the town but did get to eat at two really yummy spots.
Capuchino - great vegetarian restaurant serving up super healthy and fresh dishes.
Nim - international cuisine with fresh seafood and beautiful Mexican wines. We closed out our trip here and it was delightful!
Definitely a trip for the books! Like I mentioned above, I would suggest taking a few more day to adventure if you have it because spending two full days having fun in the sun and on the water can definitely tire you out. My dream scenario would be two weeks in Baja, hitting my favorite spots in Los Cabos, a night or two at Hotel San Cristobal and a visit Todos Santos, plus all the local adventuring around La Paz with some quality time scoping out the town. A girl can dream! xo - Ash