Like any other tourist destination, Baja California Sur’s capital La Paz makes sure that its visitors can have anything they want and need, reasonably and conveniently. Outside of Tijuana, La Paz is known to have the widest range of shops – from clothing to knick-knacks, and from post cards to industrial items – in the entire peninsula of Baja California.
In the town proper, food markets sell the freshest food ingredients and items for the consumption of enthusiastic (or perhaps just merely curious) visitors as well as the locals. Shops in town also sell regular everyday convenience items (such as shampoo and the like) and entertainment (there are a few bookstiores that cater to English-speaking tourists) as well as some not-so-regular items (such as mechanical parts). La Paz is known as a duty-free area, which means you can buy in bulk – you might want to stock up on your electronics (or anything else) for extremely reasonable prices on your way out of Mexico. There is also a rather large shopping center (connected to the Soriana department store – it’s hard to miss) in the city, for people who would like to go mall shopping.
Most of the souvenir shops, however, could be found around the Malecon, or the beach front. The shops around the Malecon cater more to the visitors and tourists who want to take a piece of La Paz – or anything else that could be considered as novelty – back home with them. These shops are often kept open until late into the night – for the benefit of people who prefer the quieter version of the La Paz night life. Many of these establishments sell their items for standard American prices and strive to communicate with their clients in English, something which may let the more disoriented tourist feel a lot more comfortable.
There are an astonishing number of different kinds of shops in near the Malecon; and some of these kinds are surprising. For example in the more cobbled area just off the Malecon is an entire mini-district of Asian or Asian-themed merchandise. However, there are still more of the standard shops that warm the heart of the average tourist: places, often household-based, that sell hand-crafted items (often wood carving) or original art and even t-shirts and local jewelry (authentic or merely copies). Items sold here are sold for reasonable prices without cheating the customer by selling them things made out of cheap components.
What all the La Paz shops have in common is their traditional Mexican quirks, like closing for a while in the afternoons for a bit of siesta and the habit of shopkeepers or owners to chat up the customer not only about the merits of their merchandise but also about their general well-being – if they’re enjoying their trip, etc. They also treat clients like part of the family, insisting they come back for more chatting and introducing them to the rest of the clan.
You can find almost anything in La Paz; but remember, it’s the hunt and the discovery which makes the experience worthwhile.