Poised near the bottom end of the Baja California peninsula, this Mexico port offers a refreshing old-school take on the Baja experience. Rather than spring break frenzy or movie-star glam, the emphasis is on good old-fashioned outdoor fun: desert mountain biking and hiking, water sports, and seaside golf courses. The city on the Sea of Cortez is included in some (but not all) of the major Mexican Riviera cruises.
What We Love
Playa Balandra: Half an hour north of the city, this incredible white-sand strand is set on one of the most beautiful bays in Mexico. Nearby Espiritu Santo island is a haven for marine wildlife.
Whale Sharks: Several local outfitters organize daytrips to swim or snorkel with whale sharks, those gentle giants of the deep, in the Sea of Cortez.
Best Known For
Water Sports: Just try to resist sea kayaking and sailing, snorkeling and scuba in a body of water so rich in marine life that Jacques Cousteau dubbed it "the world's aquarium." Offshore, the scattered Islands of the Gulf of California World Heritage Site flaunt warm waters and spectacular underwater scenery.
Desert-Meets-the-Sea Golfing: With Paraiso del Mar Golf Course and CostaBaja Golf Club, La Paz offers two incredible links that combine desert scenery and spectacular ocean views.
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Who It's Best For
Adventure Enthusiasts: How many outdoor sports can you try in one day? La Paz is the place to set a new personal best.
Aficionados of Old Mexico: La Paz is seaside Mexico the way it used to be: laid-back, friendly, muy bonito, and a little edgy.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It Gets Hot: Summer temperatures often rise into the triple digits for days at a time. On the other hand, winters in La Paz are sublime.
Keep It Casual: Fine dining options are limited. But if you dig tamales, enchiladas, and fish tacos, you've hit the jackpot.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.