As the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja Caliornia Sur, La Paz is the perfect place to experience Baja history, contemporary Mexican culture, and the Sea of Cortez, all in one trip. This city of 226,000 holds the greatest concentration of people in Southern Baja—a marked contrast to the sparsely populated towns that dot the rest of the state.
Here, you can shop for travel and home supplies; enjoy music concerts, festivals, haute cuisine, and fine art; study Spanish; explore hidden beaches and deserted islands; and dive some of the most exciting underwater terrain along the entire Baja Peninsula.
Walk along the waterfront promenade, known as the malecón, at sunset to get a feel for the place. Then venture in a few blocks to find restaurants, shops, galleries, and clubs; or head north a few miles to the beaches along the Pichilingue Peninsula.
La Paz History
Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes sailed to La Paz in 1535 and tried to colonize the native people, but it would take nearly two centuries for the efforts to succeed. The Jesuits arrived in the 18th century and established a mission for a short period of time, until the Pericu rebellion of 1734. La Paz became the municipal capital of Southern Baja in 1829, and U.S. troops occupied the city briefly during the Mexican-American War from 1846-1848. The city became a pearling center after the war and emerged as a tourist destination in the 1950s when the city became a duty-free port. Today, La Paz is an important center for local commerce and education, as well as a point of connection with mainland Mexico. It is also a growing hub of environmental conservation activity, given its location on the Sea of Cortez.