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City of Pearls: The Beauties of La Paz

City of Pearls: The Beauties of La Paz

Summer is the slow season in Baja California Sur for a reason: it’s really hot. But those willing to brave the heat – air-conditioning and the cooling waters of the Sea of Cortez are never far away –  will be amply rewarded with discounted hotel and activities rates, plus avoid the high-season crowds at area beaches and restaurants. There’s another added benefit: you’re likely to have a more authentic experience of local culture, particularly if you eschew touristy hot-spots like Cabo San Lucas – where the vendors and barkers are ever-present – in favor of more traditional vacation spots.

La Paz, the state capital, is a great choice. The scenery is every bit as spectacular as that in Los Cabos, the water-based activities choices are even greater – the proximity of Isla Espiritu Santo offers opportunities for world-class kayaking adventures, and ferry service is available for side trips to the mainland – and there is less emphasis on luxury developments (so far, anyway) and high-end wining and dining. Even the best and most scenically situated accommodations are affordable, and the cultural scene – specifically museums and  theater offerings – offers many more options than you’ll find in Los Cabos.

Or you could just rent a car and spend a week making the coastal loop, with stops at Todos Santos, Los Cabos, Cabo Pulmo and Los Barriles. But La Paz is certainly the best base for seasoned, budget-conscious travelers.

The Beauties of La Paz

La Paz is famed for its malecon, a three mile seaside promenade lined with palm trees, statues and wrought-iron benches.

Hotels

There are tons of reasonably priced hotels in La Paz, two of which – Seven Crown  and Hotel Perla (612-122-0777) enjoy prime locations along the malecon. Seven Crown offers the most modern conveniences, while Hotel Perla is a more traditional stop, with a nice restaurant, La Terraza, and a nightclub called La Cabaña that pulls in big crowds on Saturday nights.

Posada LunaSol is not quite so central, although it’s certainly within walking distance of the malecon, and within a couple of blocks of two popular marinas. It’s a favorite of return visitors and those traveling with pets, and the onsite activities company, Mar y Aventuras, is notable for its excellent snorkeling and kayaking excursions. Posada LunaSol is also around the corner from local burger joint nonpareil, Bandido’s Grill (612-128-8338), which cooks up tasty bacon and egg-topped  burgers on a grill wedged under the hood of a bisected pick-up truck.

Hotel Arte Museo Yeneka  (612-125-4688) also lays on the local color. It’s just off the main plaza, and features a courtyard “museum” chockablock with four generations of family heirlooms and found objects. Rates are negotiable, and continental breakfasts and evening tequila shots are complimentary.

All four hotels offer that most vitally important of summer amenities: great air-conditioning.

The Beauties of La Paz

Hotel Posada LunaSol is a popular stop for budget-conscious travelers, particularly those traveling with pets. Image: Stephen Simpson/Hotel Posada LunaSol

Drinking and Dining

One of the true joys of visiting La Paz is the city’s surfeit of great budget-friendly restaurants, many of which look out across the malecon to the bay. Bismark-cito (612-128-9900) is one of the most popular afternoon drinking and dining spots. The taco menu offers affordable seafood options, and the chile and tamarindo stick garnished micheladas are as good as you’ll find anywhere in Baja California Sur. If you want to splurge on dinner, they also offer excellent steak and lobster options.

For those wandering the downtown area, the go-to spot for creative yet traditional Mexican cuisine is El Tupe (612-158-9524), which offers 6 and 12 course meals nightly. For cheap eats, try Tacos Hermanos Gonzalez (612-120-5074). This long-time local’s favorite now sets us shop at Calles Madero and Degollado, with sidewalk service on a host of seafood style tacos and specialty dishes.

Looking for a bite to eat late night? Stop by Ranch Viejo (612-128-4647), which serves Mexican specialties dishes like pozole and tacos de arrachera 24 hours a day. Of course if you’re up that late, there’s a good chance you’ve been partying at Las Varitas (612-125-2025). The downtown nightspot is open until 5 a.m. Thursday through Sunday, with drink specials and live Mexican music across a variety of styles (ranchera, banda, norteña, etc.).

The Beauties of La Paz

Playa El Tecolote is one of the most popular beaches near La Paz, with excellent food, drinks, and water-based activities options. Image: Palapa Azul Restaurant

Activities

La Paz is famous for its malecon, the seaside promenade that runs for close to three miles along the bay. It’s in many ways the center of the local social scene: joggers, families, cyclists crowd the promenade during late afternoon, while cars move slowly along the neighboring boulevard, Alvaro Obregon, and diners enjoy cocktails and fresh local seafood at restaurants across the street.  It’s the perfect place to watch the local sunsets, which are routinely spectacular.

Rental cars are the best means of getting to some of the area’s premier beaches – including Pichilingue, Balandra, and El Tecolote – all of which are north of the city, beyond the ferry terminal at Pichilingue. Kayaks and snorkeling equipment may be rented at all three, but the best facilities and amenities are found at El Tecolote, the farthest north. Palapa Azul (612-105-5508) is the go to pit-stop at El Tecolote, and the perfect place to enjoy Coronas and Pacificos, or chocolate clams and marlin en escabeche. For sheer natural beauty, however, Balandra reigns supreme.

La Paz excels at many of the same water activities as Los Cabos: world-class fishing, snorkeling, and diving are all readily available (whale watching season runs Dec. – Apr.). La Paz has some added options however, including the opportunity to swim with whale sharks, the world’s largest fish (Sept. – Feb., and occasionally much later), and unforgettable kayaking trips around Isla Espiritu Santo.

The Cortez Club is one of the top local water activities companies, with snorkeling trips to see the sea lion colony at Los Islotes, kayaking explorations of Isla Espiritu Santo, and fishing charters available through their Mosquito Fleet. Summer is a great time to try your luck with the wahoo, tuna, dorado, and marlin populations; one more reason (if any more were needed) to visit Baja during its “slow” season.  

The Beauties of La Paz

The Cortez Club is one of the top local activities companies, with snorkeling, diving, fishing, and kayaking excursions. Image: The Cortez Club

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

Images courtesy of Hotel Posada LunaSol, Palapa Azul Restaurant and Bar, and The Cortez Club. 

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Have a Baja Moment! Visit the Cultural Center in La Paz

Have a Baja Moment! Visit the Cultural Center in La Paz

History, art and culture converge in the recently opened Centro Cultural La Paz. The cultural center has attracted many visitors since its opening, and it has become a premier local venue for book presentations, concerts, conferences, dance performances, and painting and photography exhibitions.

Cultural Center in La Paz

The new cultural center in La Paz has become a premier venue for local events.

Located only two blocks away from the Malecon on Calle 16 de Septiembre, the cultural center has brought new life to the downtown area by reclaiming an historic building and providing a much needed space for residents to gather and experience local culture.

The center’s historic building dates from the beginning of the 20th century. The solid structure of stone and brick was built to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Mexican Independence. Through the years, it has served many proposes: it was a prison, military barracks, the central offices of the dominant political party and the Mayor’s office. In 2010, after a well-deserved restoration, the space was reconditioned to its present purpose.

Cultural Center in La Paz

An early picture of the building that currently houses the Centro Cultural La Paz.

A visit to the center begins with an appreciation of the façade’s architectural details. At the entrance, an oversized wooden double door leads to a central courtyard surrounded by brick arches. Other interesting architectural features like high ceilings and exposed wooden beams can be observed throughout the rooms. The courtyard serves as a multipurpose forum open to local artists as well as noteworthy national personalities.

One of the main attractions in the center is the Sala Codex Peninsula. This permanent two-room exhibit synthesizes the relationship between men, culture and nature in Baja California Sur through a combination of text from writers, scholars and historians, with outstanding images from noted photographers. The Codex room captures in colors, faces, landscapes and words the voices and views of local artists as they describe how men transform nature and create a culture.

The exhibit is divided in ten sections that take you on a journey through history, geology, nature, people, art and popular cultures of the southern part of the Baja California peninsula.

Cultural Center in La Paz

The Baja Peninsula codex room in the Centro Cultural La Paz.

The cultural center also has a Fototeca, a photographic library were you can witness the transformation of La Paz over time. This project works to rescue, preserve and digitize old pictures of people, places and events in La Paz. To do so, the Fototeca reached out to the community and invited local families to share their photographs. After a successful start, the collection has been slowly growing with the help of everybody in the community. It is now open to the public Tuesday – Friday, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

The newest addition to the center is the coffee shop Maria California. Visitors can now savor traditional local flavors and Mexican delights during breakfast and lunch hours. The coffee shop’s rustic decor, attentive staff and delicious food are rapidly increasing its popularity among both locals and visitors. Try their freshly baked pastries with Cafe Lechero, coffee with milk served in a unique way. The cafe is open Monday – Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Cultural Center in La Paz

Cafe Lechero is a specialty at Maria California, the onsite coffee shop.

Find a good book to accompany your coffee at Educal, the cultural center’s bookstore. The store has a wide collection of new and classic texts, and it is also a great place to buy archeological replicas and local arts and crafts.

Centro Cultural La Paz is now a must see attraction in the downtown area, so make sure you pay a visit next time you’re in town. The center is open Monday – Sunday, from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. For a current list of events and exhibits, call (612) 122-0065.

Cultural Center in La Paz

A temporary exhibit room at Centro Cultural La Paz.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Enjoy World-Class Golf in La Paz at Costa Baja

Have a Baja Moment! Enjoy World-Class Golf in La Paz at Costa Baja

Los Cabos might be the first destination that comes to mind when people think about golf in Baja California Sur, but the state’s capital city, La Paz, also boasts world-class golfing opportunities. Costa Baja Resort & Spa, the first five star resort in La Paz, is also home to the first Gary Player designed course in Mexico.

Player, of course, is one of the greatest players in the history of professional golf, with nine major championships, and over 165 victories worldwide. In addition to his legendary playing career, the diminutive South African has distinguished himself as an ambassador for the game, and as one of the world’s premier golf course designers.

Golf in La Paz

Not all of Baja’s best golf courses are located in Los Cabos.

Player’s philosophy of using the latest technology to integrate course design into the existing landscape, minimizing the impact on the land and area flora and fauna has helped establish his reputation as a leading links designer. His green philosophy was a perfect fit with Costa Baja’s developers, and has proved essential in a region with little to no rain.

The Player designed Costa Baja Golf Club is a 7,082 yards from the tips, and features breathtaking views of the serene waters of the Sea of Cortez, desert landscapes, and the rolling hills that surround La Paz.

Golf in La Paz

In addition to world-class golf, Costa Baja Resort and Spa offers favorable year round weather conditions, and proximity to Baja Sur’s capital city.

The Costa Baja Golf Club has been open to members and the general public since 2010. Its unique layout presents challenges for players of all levels, making it one of the area’s most enjoyable courses. In fact, its abundance of elevated tee boxes, wide fairways and slow greens won Costa Baja Golf Club acclaim as one of the top ten golf courses in Mexico in 2012 (It was ranked 7th best by Golf and Spa).

Additionally, Costa Baja Golf Club has a grass driving range, practice putting greens, a short game area, and a golf store. Players can also enjoy drinks and dining after the round at La Pintada Restaurant overlooking the Sea of Cortez. The restaurant offers a mix of Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as refreshing margaritas. Individual or group lessons can be booked with one of Costa Baja’s experienced professional instructors.

Golf in La Paz

Spectacular Sea of Cortez views are par for the course at La Pintada Restaurant.

To ensure that the course and its amenities meet exceptional standards, Costa Baja is managed by Troon Golf, the most renowned golf management company in the world.

The course is a key component of the magnificent 550 acre Costa Baja development, which also includes a private white sand beach, a double-basin marina, a full spa, superb restaurants, and luxurious residences. The resort’s design seamlessly blends in the existing landscape, and like Player’s design, shows great respect for the environment.

Golf in La Paz

Costa Baja is the first Gary Player signature golf course in Mexico.

Costa Baja is strategically located between beautiful beaches and the city of La Paz. It’s a short drive from downtown, and the best bet for visitors is to rent a car from National Car Rental, which has an office conveniently located on the Malecon near the major hotels. Once you’ve got the clubs in the trunk, proceed down Paseo Alvaro Obregon (the street parallel to the Malecon walkway) toward the beaches. The scenic drive takes you up and down eroded hills on a panoramic highway with impressive views of the ocean. It’s about a 10 minute drive from the Malecon to Costa Baja.

For many years golfers have visited Los Cabos for a chance to play at acclaimed courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, and other legendary players and designers. Now they are also coming to charming La Paz to experience the only course in Mexico of its kind: the Gary Player Costa Baja Golf Club.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Experience Whale Watching Season in La Paz

Whale watching season in La Paz

As fall arrives so do the gray whales. Every year they travel thousands of miles south in what is known as the longest mammal migration on earth. This amazing journey starts in the Arctic region and continues along the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States, finally ending in the warm lagoons and bays of Baja California Sur, where the whales mate and give birth to their calves.

Once in the shallow and warm waters of these natural sanctuaries, the whales can be approached by boats and seen at relatively close range. The Cortez Club is one of the premier outfitters in La Paz, and has years of experience providing whale watching trips to one of these remarkable sanctuaries: beautiful Magdalena Bay, located on the Pacific side of Baja Sur. The 50 kilometer long bay is surrounded by mangrove swamps, white sand dune shores and a line of Islands that create a safe enclosure away from predators, making it an ideal spot for the whales.

A day trip with The Cortez Club features transportation from La Paz to Magdalena Bay, breakfast and lunch, a knowledgeable guide and a two hour boat tour for $180 U.S. dollars per person. The Cortez Club also offers customized packages, which may include longer whale watching expeditions, as well as other activities such as camping, kayaking and snorkeling. The whale watching season extends from December to the beginning of March.

Whale watching season in La Paz

There’s nothing quite like the sight of a breaching humpback whale.

If you want to stay closer to La Paz, the bountiful waters of the Sea of Cortez offer plenty of opportunities to encounter a variety of marine species. It is not uncommon to come across pods of dolphins, giant Pacific manta rays, fin whales, humpback whales and enormous orcas in the waters around Isla Espiritu Santo.

But perhaps the most impressive species you can see up close and personal are whale sharks, the largest fish on the planet. Between the months of November and April, a school of whale sharks congregate near El Mogote, the strip of land located across the city’s bay. These impressive fish average 25′ in length and feed on plankton. They are gentle and move slowly allowing for swimmers to get very, very close. The Cortez Club offers an unforgettable whale shark experience for only $55 U.S. dollars per person, with tours leaving from their strategic location at Playa Caimancito.

Whale watching season in La Paz

Whale sharks may be the world’s largest fish, but don’t worry: they only eat plankton.

Looking for VIP treatment? The One Baja is a charter yacht company that provides you with modern boats, delicious meals and superb service. Why not travel in luxury on your way to swim with the whale sharks: with your family and friends aboard a 50′ Samurai yacht? The vessels can accommodate up to 12 guests.

The One Baja experience is an all-inclusive one that can be customized to suit your needs. Their skillful captain has more than 25 years of experience, and will take you to the best spots to witness whale sharks in their natural habitat. The attentive crew prepares delicious meals using only the freshest local ingredients (make sure and savor their legendary breakfast burritos with homemade tortillas and fresh salsa). Lunch entrees include grass-fed filet mignon, freshly caught local fish, sushi or chicken. The boat also features an open bar with an assortment of soft drinks, Mexican beer, and tequila, rum or vodka cocktails.

Whale watching season in La Paz

The One Baja offers whale watching excursions aboard a 50′ Samurai yacht.

Guests aboard the luxurious yacht may take full advantage of the boat’s “toys” to indulge in kayaking, water skiing, snorkeling, inflatable tube rides and wake boarding in the pristine waters of the Sea of Cortez. To provide the ultimate in worry free service, The One Baja trips include photo and video services to help you preserve special moments.

The season is nearly upon us, so make plans to come swim next to the whale sharks in Bahia La Paz, or visit the gray whales at their breeding ground in Magdalena Bay. Whichever you choose, it will be a magical and unforgettable experience.

 

Ready to experience whale watching season in La Paz? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Visit the Home of the Twin Dolphins

Have a Baja Moment! Visit the Home of the Twin Dolphins

Looking for an unforgettable getaway? Come and experience luxury by the Sea of Cortez at Villa Mirasol. This stunning vacation rental is located at Bahía de los Sueños (Bay of Dreams), a private community only 45 minutes from La Paz. The secluded Villa is the ideal place to disconnect from everything. It’s nestled on a white sand beach far from the tourist crowds, and features enough high-end amenities to make your feel as if you’re truly in paradise.

Visit the home of the twin dolphins.

For a luxurious beachfront getaway, visit the home of the twin dolphins.

A distinctive statue of twin dolphins welcomes new arrivals to Villa Mirasol, which has been tastefully decorated, and mixes comfort and luxury with Mexican style furnishings handpicked from Guadalajara. There are five spacious bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, and the villa can accommodate a maximum of sixteen guests. For $1,000-$1,200 a night U.S., it’s an  excellent bargain compared to rates offered by the area’s better hotels.

The master bedroom strategically sits alone on the second floor for complete privacy and incomparable views of the Sea of Cortez and the desert hills. It features an entertainment system, walk-in closet, and an ample shower with amazing views of the Bay of Dreams.

Visit the home of the twin dolphins.

Villa Mirasol features elegant, Mexican style decor.

Villa Mirasol’s large and inviting rooms in the indoor living spaces are closely connected to the outdoor areas, and ideal for entertaining . Additionally, the modern kitchen is equipped with everything you need to prepare fresh meals, although for those who want the ultimate luxury treatment, it’s also possible to arrange for the villa’s private chef to delight you and your guests with his mouthwatering Mexican creations. Other amenities at Villa Mirasol include a home theater, air-conditioning, satellite television, and Wi-Fi service.

Outside, sit under the huge palapa with your favorite book, dive into the Villa Mirasol’s fabulous infinity pool, or unwind in the eight person Jacuzzi. Massages may be also be arranged.

Visit the home of the twin dolphins.

The villa’s outdoor patio is the perfect place to enjoy a Baja sunset.

Villa Mirasol’s most amazing feature is its close proximity to the beach. Guests may take full advantage of the villa’s privileged location and experience seaside adventures such as snorkeling. The area is well known for the amazing snorkeling opportunities around the rocky edges of the Bay, with good visibility and warm waters year round.

The villa is also close to Isla Cerralvo and its very productive fishing grounds. Local captains are happy to pick you up in a panga for sportfishing trips, and afterwards, you can cook your catch on the outdoor gas grill and sit under the villa’s palapa for a delicious dinner in the company of friends or family.

Other popular activities in the area include spear fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, and horseback riding. Relaxing on the sand is a more laid-back option, as is swimming in the crystal waters of the Sea of Cortez.

Visit the home of the twin dolphins.

The expansive pool area also offers amazing views of the Bay of Dreams.

Getting to Villa Mirasol is easy. It’s a short drive away from the airports in Los Cabos and La Paz, chauffeur service is available for those who prefer to arrive in style. So start planning your luxury getaway. The ultimate beach paradise awaits you at the home of the twin dolphins.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Snap a Turtle, Save a Turkey

Have a Baja Moment! Snap a Turtle, Save a Turkey

This Thanksgiving, many people will be bypassing a traditional turkey dinner in order to join a sea turtle monitoring project off the coast of La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico. RED Sustainable Travel’s “Snap a Turtle, Save a Turkey!” tour, selected as one of National Geographic Adventure’s 10 Adventure Trips that Give Back, will combine a hands-on sea turtle conservation experience with photography workshops taught by award-winning travel photographer Kristen Gill for an unforgettable Thanksgiving Day.

The guided trip by one of Mexico’s leader in eco-adventures, RED Sustainable Travel, is guaranteed to provide participants with a unique look into Baja’s  natural environment, a hands-on understanding of sea turtle conservation, and an opportunity to discover some of the most beautiful areas of the Baja Peninsula.

Snap a Turtle, Save a Turkey

Daily photography workshops guided by Kristen Gill will help teach hands-on camera instruction and give participants an opportunity to improve their outdoor photography skills. All levels of photographers are encouraged to participate in the workshops, and take advantage of the opportunity to snap some up-close photos of sea turtles and other marine wildlife.

The five-day trip departs from La Paz on Nov. 27 and concludes on Dec. 1, with an itinerary that includes upgraded camping accommodations, land and boat transportation, daily meals and drinks, as well as participation in both the sea turtle monitoring and photography workshops. The trip also includes a truly authentic culinary experience, courtesy of a Thanksgiving dinner consisting of locally caught seafood prepared by chefs who have cooked alongside Rick Bayless, star of the PBS cooking show One Plate at a Time.

Aside from the photography workshops and sea turtle conservative efforts, participants will enjoy ample time to relax on Baja’s beaches, hike the many sand dunes, and join friends and family for sunset happy hours.

So if this is the year you long to do something different to celebrate Thanksgiving and help give back to the community, RED Sustainable Travel’s “Snap a Turtle, Save a Turkey!” adventure might be the perfect opportunity for you and your family.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Have a Baja Moment! Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Baja’s beauty lies within its unique geographical features and the quality of its people, and few outdoor adventure tours show off these natural resources better than the kayak and whale watching trips offered by the premier ecotourism activities provider in La Paz, Mar y Aventuras (Sea and Adventures).

Mar y Aventuras has been providing clients with unforgettable and personable experiences since 1993. Owners Mary Harter, a wildlife biologist, and Ricardo Amador, a local adventure guide, both share a passion for conserving the natural wonders of Baja. Their goal is to help others discover the beauty of the peninsula through close encounters with wildlife and active learning experiences and adventures that make  little to no impact on the environment.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Mar y Aventuras’ goal is to showcase the natural wonders of La Paz and the Sea of Cortez.

Mar y Aventuras allows you to choose from a variety of custom options that fit your skill level and personal preferences. So whether you’re an experienced kayaker, or this is your first trip, the company can provide a tour tailored to your specifications.

Fun day trips

It is always a good time to stop by their office and take a day trip. Travel to El Mogote, a peninsula located right in front of La Paz Bay, and kayak through a mangrove community while bird watching and enjoying the amazing views of the city. Or, explore the nearby beaches starting at Tecolote and stop for a lunch break after snorkeling hidden coves.

For a more intimate encounter with nature, Mar y Aventuras also provides trips to Isla Espiritu Santo to swim with the large community of sea lions and snorkel its colorful reefs. Also, from October through May, schools of whale sharks visit the bay, and you can treat yourself to the rare opportunity to swim and snorkel beside them.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Swimming side by side with whale sharks, the world’s biggest fish, is an unforgettable experience.

Quick getaways

If you have a little bit more time (between 2-5 days), Mar y Aventuras has two luxurious beachside base camps at the most exclusive locations in Baja Sur: in the protected sanctuary of Isla Espiritu Santo, and on the secluded dunes of Magdalena Bay.

At the lovely uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo, you can paddle around white sand beaches and eroded cliffs, swim and snorkel among friendly sea lions, hike dry arroyos bounded with impressive fig trees hanging from huge boulders, and view a wide variety of cacti.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Mar y Aventuras trips include guided hikes with information about local flora and fauna.

Every year, between the months of January and March, the warm waters of Magdalena Bay become the breeding grounds for enormous Pacific gray whales. Mar y Aventuras will transport you by motor boat from their base camp to get a close look of these magnificent mammals.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

For an up-close encounter with an enormous gray whale, book a whale watching tour with Mar y Aventuras

The camping facilities feature walk-in tents, cots, a fully-equipped kitchen, portable toilets, and even fresh water for showering. Delicious meals are also included, and are prepared on-site using the freshest local ingredients (accommodations can be made for those with food allergies or restrictions).

The company proudly practices low-impact camping etiquette, and helps other conservation groups in the area maintain the sites in their pristine natural state. And in case anyone grows tired of “roughing it,” the owners of Mar y Aventuras also own the charming Hotel Posada LunaSol, located in La Paz near the capital city’s historic Malecon.

Expeditions

Designed with the most adventurous spirits in mind, Mar y Aventuras expeditions take you island hoping between La Paz and Loreto or on a comprehensive trip around Espiritu Santo Island. The length of the trips varies between 7 to 10 days, during which you will kayak along pristine shores, camp on beautiful beaches, visit fishing villages, explore the landscape, and discover unique snorkeling destinations.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

The turquoise waters off the uninhabited island of Espiritu Santo draw kayakers from around the world.

With your safety in mind, Mar y Aventuras constantly ensures that their equipment is maintained at the highest quality standards. They also make sure their knowledgeable and friendly staff are trained and certified by the American Canoe Association, and as emergency first responders. The majority of the staff members are people who grew up in the area, and their love for Baja and its incredible beauty and bounty comes from first hand experiences, from years spent living the coastal life and enjoying the activities from which they now earn their living.

Discover Eco-Friendly Adventures in La Paz

Mar y Aventuras provides delicious meals on their outdoor adventures.

This combination of superb service, astounding locations, and local knowledge is why Mar y Aventuras stands out from other outfitters. That and the fact they offer unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime adventures.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Caffe Milano Brings a Taste of Italy to Downtown La Paz

Have a Baja Moment! Caffe Milano Brings a Taste of Italy to Downtown La Paz

The La Paz dining scene has seen significant growth in recent years. Nowadays, in addition to the standard array of seafood and traditional Mexican restaurants, residents and visitors to Baja Sur’s capital are able to choose from a variety of internationally representative culinary options. Caffe Milano is one of the brightest lights in the the city’s new look dining scene, and this charming establishment dishes up generous helpings of authentic Italian cuisine.

Set in downtown La Paz, Caffe Milano boasts a warm and colorful atmosphere.

Set in downtown La Paz, Caffe Milano boasts a warm and colorful atmosphere.

The restaurant is conveniently located downtown in a restored house on Esquerro Street, just off the city’s bustling Malecon. From the sky blue door to the colorful tile floors and high vaulted ceilings, Caffe Milano offers an aesthetically pleasing fine dining setting. The Italian-style eatery is open every day but Sunday, and reservations are definitely recommended.

 

Daily restaurant operations are overseen by owners Michele Milano, who is originally from Italy, and his wife Lei Tam, also known as Caffe Milano’s chef. The two have created a delicious Italian-based menu that showcases homemade breads and pastas, as well as tasty sauces, polentas, risottos and organic salads. My personal favorite is their incredible Gnocchi with red wine oxtail ragout.
 Lei Tam, Caffe Milano's talented chef.

Lei Tam, Caffe Milano’s talented chef.

Chef Tam is always searching for the freshest local ingredients, and the restaurant’s proximity of the Sea of Cortez ensures an abundance of delicious seafood. The restaurant also prides itself on its Mexican accents, evident in the superb Fileto de Ricciola, a generous yellowtail filet topped with eggplant jalapeno sauce, as well as the Mexican Huitlacoche, made with black risotto and tender octopus.
Caffe Milano's specialties include homemade pastas and fresh local seafood.

Caffe Milano’s specialties include homemade pastas and fresh local seafood.

But don’t just settle for what you see on the menu. Chef Tam’s exciting and creative specials have proved quite popular, and visitors to the restaurant can watch her and the well-trained kitchen staff as they prepare each dish.
All salads at Caffe Milano are made with fresh, organic ingredients.

All salads at Caffe Milano are made with fresh, organic ingredients.

Caffe Milano also benefits from attentive, knowledgeable, and experienced waitstaff, and the restaurant’s front-of-house team provides consistently accurate information about food preparation, as well as excellent wine pairing advice.

 

This combination of great service, delicious food, and a welcoming ambiance has helped to distinguish Caffe Milano as one of the signature restaurants in downtown La Paz, and it’s certainly the perfect place to enjoy generous portions of authentic Italian cuisine.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Budget Friendly Hotels in La Paz

Have a Baja Moment! Budget Friendly Hotels in La Paz

For many, traveling to Baja is synonymous with adventure, but the peninsula’s better known resort areas also offer ample opportunities for relaxation and the enjoyment of some of life’s simpler pleasures. This summer in La Paz, for instance, your options include scuba diving or kayaking in crystal clear waters, savoring fresh and delicious seafood in stunning seaside settings, or watching one of the world’s more colorful sunsets. Best of all, you don’t need to break the bank. Baja Sur’s capital city offers some extremely affordable, budget-friendly accommodations.

Budget Friendly Hotels in La Paz

Seven Crown’s Malecon location boasts a sleek minimalist design and superb views of the waterfront.

Seven Crown Hotel – Malecon

One of the two Seven Crown Hotels in La Paz is strategically located across from the city’s famous oceanfront promenade, El Malecon. The six story high hotel stands out, not only for its affordable rates, but its hip modern design and outstanding views of the bay. Seven Crown’s Malecon location has 46 standard rooms and 9 ocean view suites, all decorated in minimalist style and equipped with amenities such as air-conditioning, cable television, wireless internet and room service.

In addition to the great location and modern facilities, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, El Aura, is well known for its delicious international-style cuisine. The sleek C.I.D. bar, meanwhile, makes the best tamarind Margaritas in Baja. Seven Crown Malecon also offers complimentary parking and access to a state-of-art business center.

Budget Friendly Hotels in La Paz

Seven Crown’s colonial-style downtown location features a serene courtyard swimming area.

Seven Crown Hotel – Downtown

The newest addition to the Seven Crown family is their downtown location. Maintaining a minimalist modern design on the inside, the Hotel’s façade preserves the architectural details characteristic of La Paz’ historic buildings. Seven Crown’s downtown hotel is located in the heart of the city, a short walking distance from sightseeing destinations like the Malecon, and many of the city’s finest restaurants and cafes. The new hotel features 56 rooms and suites, an onsite bar, a swimming pool and relaxing garden area, and free parking.

Seven Crown hotels are among the only lodgings in the city that cater to business travelers. Both locations offer conference rooms and business services to facilitate your time away from the office. Seven Crown has a third location in downtown Cabo San Lucas.

Budget Friendly Hotels in La Paz

For charming, budget friendly Baja accommodations, it’s hard to beat Posada LunaSol in La Paz.

Posada LunaSol Budget Hotel

If you want to experience traditional Mexican charm in a quaint, quiet neighborhood, then Posada LunaSol is an excellent choice. The affordable inn is the dream of Ricardo Amador and Mary Harter, two adventure guides who love to share their passion for the natural beauty of La Paz. The couple started with a few rooms to provide lodging to their sea kayaking and whale watching clientele at Mar y Aventuras (Sea & Adventures). Now, the colonial style hotel has 17 spacious rooms decorated with vibrant murals and Mexican handicrafts.

Posada LunaSol has many types of accommodations, ranging from standard rooms with one king bed or two queen beds to full kitchen suites, as well as pet-friendly cabanas. All rooms have air conditioning, cable television, a safe deposit box,  and are non-smoking. Posada LunaSol also boasts a 3rd floor common terrace with partial views of the bay, perfect for morning meditations or afternoon siestas.

Additionally, the lovely little inn offers complimentary Wi-Fi, guest access to computers, a common lounge area with a refrigerator and stove, secure parking, and of course a knowledgeable staff eager to share their local knowledge.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Have A Baja Moment! Summer Adventures in La Paz

Have A Baja Moment! Summer Adventures in La Paz

With summer heating up, the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez surrounding La Paz are the ideal spot for a great vacation adventure. This unique and rich marine ecosystem, home to more than 5,000 species, has been referred to as “The World’s Aquarium”.

This natural playground is where The Cortez Club has been providing seagoing enthusiasts with fun activities and unforgettable memories since 1995. Nestled on the rocky point of Playa Caimancito, the Cortez Club is an international diving and water sports center, and offers a wide variety of fun-filled, water-based adventures.

Scuba diving

The Cortez Club offers many options for beginners as well as advanced divers. Among the most popular sites are the Salvatierra wreck, where the cargo ferry Salvatierra sunk in 1976 after hitting a rock. It is considered one of the best places for novices, and the hull of the boat has formed an artificial reef that attracts many marine species.

Summer Adventures in La Paz

Experience wreck diving in La Paz with the professional staff at The Cortez Club

For advanced divers, El Bajo is a seamount home to schools of hammerhead sharks and tuna, as well as green morays, octopuses, and mantas. San Rafaelito, meanwhile, is a premier night diving location, and the perfect spot  to observe coral heads and small caves where huge parrot fish rest.

In addition to the scuba diving trips, The Cortez Club also has a variety of PADI diving certification courses, and the  theoretical portion of your requirements can be taken before your arrival in La Paz. However, if you prefer to take care of all coursework during your vacation, The Cortez Club boasts a staff of dedicated instructors committed to making your diving experience safe as well as exciting.

The dive center is designed to streamline the experience for guests. It has its own private boat ramp and jetty, a fleet of boats, gear rental, a dive store, and of course a multilingual staff. The Cortez Club can also provide photography and video services to help capture your adventure.

Snorkeling

With waters reaching nearly 80 degrees in August, the Sea of Cortez is a pleasant snorkeling ground. The Cortez Club offers trips to Punta Lobos at Isla Espiritu Santo, home to a large sea lion colony. Visitors can experience an up-close-and-personal view of these friendly creatures and admire the beautiful natural reef growing near one of the peninsula’s most magnificent uninhabited islands.

Water sports

If you want to stay above the surface, The Cortez Club offers kayak, sailboat or wave runner rentals. You can also learn how to sail, windsurf or water ski with the help of their knowledgeable onsite instructors.

Summer Adventures in La Paz

A close encounter with a friendly Sea Lion is one of the more memorable moments you can enjoy during your trip to La Paz.

Sport Fishing with the Mosquito Fleet

La Paz is also a renowned sportfishing destination, and The Cortez Club has its own fleet of boats and experienced captains ready to take you to the best fishing grounds in the area. The Mosquito Fleet has a long tradition. It has served visiting  fishermen well since 1984, and caters to all budgets with a variety of boats, from 22 ft. open pangas to larger and more luxurious cabin cruisers. Some of the larger fish you can reel in during the summer season in La Paz include dorado, yellow fin tuna, blue marlin, and wahoo.

Summer Adventures in La Paz

A Mosquito Fleet cabin cruiser can make your next fishing trip a more comfortable adventure

Spear Fishing

Spearfishing is a challenging year round activity that can prove enormously satisfying to those with the proper training, and The Mosquito Fleet  is one of the few places in Baja to offer spearfishing instruction. Courses are structured on three levels, to provide expert instruction to both beginners and more advanced undersea hunters.

Vacation Rentals

After long days of adventure on or under the Sea of Cortez, it feels great to relax in a spacious, beautiful vacation rental. Here are a few of the best beachfront lodgings located near  The Cortez Club:

La Concha Condominiums are conveniently located next to the Cortez Club and are only a few minutes away from downtown La Paz. The units feature king-sized beds and amazing views of the bay.

Summmer Adventures in La Paz

Relax after your sea adventure in one of the beachfront properties at La Concha Condominiums.

In the nearby Costa Baja Complex, you can choose from one or two bedroom condos, as well as a three bedroom villa overlooking the beach and the double-basin marina. When you are not out playing with The Cortez Club, rest amidst the expansive accommodations, or enjoy more laid-back activities at the tennis courts or the private beach club.

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CostaBaja Marina

Playa de La Paz is an exclusive beachfront development within easy walking distance of The Cortez Club. The residences include two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, plus a dinning area, kitchen, and a large terrace perfect for relaxing with cocktails and enjoying stunning views of the Sea of Cortez.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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