La Paz which means “peace” in Spanish is the state capital of Baja California Sur and the second largest city south of Tijuana on the Baja Peninsula with a population of around 300,000. As the region’s commercial, cultural and political center, La Paz is still a tranquil Mexican port town. Through the years it has preserved a sort of nostalgic “old Baja” atmosphere.
Though the area has fine beaches, La Paz is not known as a resort only location. Instead, the city has a provincial Mexican town atmosphere. It lies on a deep inlet off the Sea of Cortez, along the southeast end of the gently curved shore of Bahia de La Paz. The spectacular sunsets in La Paz are famous across the whole Mexico.
Surrounded by Sonoran desert, La Paz is set amongst ancient laurel trees, coconut and date palms. The city is laid out in the classic grid pattern with streets radiating from the city’s northwest and facing the waterfront – Paseo Alvaro Obregón. Running parallel to Paseo Obregón is the city’s lovely waterfront promenade. El Mogote, a flat deserted sandbar, sits just offshore. A few blocks inland in the main plaza, Plaza Constitución, with its pink quartz gazebo, tiled walkways and 19th century cathedral.
La Paz languished until the trans-peninsular highway was completed in 1973, and became the capital of the newly formed State of Baja California Sur the next year. Today it is a thriving regional center and outlet for nearly all trade between Baja and the Mexican mainland (thanks to the ferry links to Topolobampo and Mazatlan). Commercial fishing is a major industry as is tourism.
La Paz is arguably the ecotourism capital of Mexico. Within easy reach from La Paz are deserted beaches, calm bays, and ecologically pristine offshore islands including Isla Espíritu, Isla Partida and Isla Cerralvo. Further inland lie deserts, oases, and the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains (declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1994). The region’s complex wildlife, plant life, and geology is truly astonishing. An assortment of professional outdoor guides and outfitters provide excellent tour options.