A weekend of whales, white sand, and wonderful food can be yours in this Baja California destination
Just a two-hour drive north of Cabo San Lucas, La Paz sure feels like a lifetime away. The city, perched on the eastern coast of Baja California Sur overlooking the Sea of Cortez, easily balances Mexican hospitality and authenticity: you’ll find crystal clear waters, white sand beaches and abundant wildlife-watching attracting many visitors, but you’ll also have the chance to explore a destination bustling with locals happy to share their city with you. A weekend is not enough to time to truly experience La Paz, but even a 48-hour getaway will have you planning your next visit.
5:00 pm – Check in to Costa Baja Resort & Spa
A 10-minute drive from downtown La Paz, Costa Baja Resort & Spa offers you the best of both worlds: luxurious accommodations right on the beach, but just a quick taxi ride away from the city’s booming dining scene and nightlife. Check in, take a dip in the oceanside pool, then get ready for a night on the town.
[caption id="attachment_2209" align="aligncenter" width="300"] COSTA BAJA RESORT[/caption]
8:00 pm - Mezcal at La Miserable and Dinner at NIM Restaurante
An intimate spot just off La Paz’s charming malecon (the waterfront boardwalk), La Miserable is the place in town to sip through some pre-dinner mezcal. If you’re unfamiliar with the spirit, ask the friendly staff to put together a flight for you to compare and contrast. Then head around the corner to NIM for dinner – Chef Cristina Kiewek has created a menu of internationally-influenced seafood dishes with a focus on fresh flavours. Snag a table in their beautiful courtyard, and order up one of their signature jalapeño margaritas to start. If you’re looking for a post-dinner nightcap, Elbuen Bar boasts a list of unique cocktails and an excellent playlist.
[caption id="attachment_2211" align="aligncenter" width="300"] La Miserable[/caption]
10:00 am – Hit the Farmers Market
On Saturday mornings, the block of Calle Francisco I. Madero just north of Calle 5 de Mayo comes alive with produce vendors and artisans selling their wares. It’s mainly for the locals, but you will find some nice handicrafts and a bite or two. Then pop into Café DoceCuarenta, located on the same block, for excellent coffee and baked goods. In the back, you’ll also find some great design-forward gifts.
12:00 pm – Explore the Museo de la Ballena and the Malecon
Whale-watching is one of the most popular activities in La Paz. Throughout the year, visitors to the Sea of Cortez can see humpback whales, blue whales, grey whales, whale sharks and pilot whales! The city’s Museo de la Ballena (Whale Museum) is a great place to become acquainted with these majestic creates, and do a little research prior to your outing tomorrow! Afterwards, stroll the waterfront malecon and work up an appetite before lunch.
2:00 pm – Lunch at Bismarkcito
Right on the malecon, Bismarkcito is a top spot for a casual seafood lunch. Along with that Baja classic, fish tacos, make sure you order the chocolate clams. Named for their brown shells (and not their flavour!), the clams are a specialty of the region.
4:00 pm – Relax at Costa Baja’s Beach Club
Add a little relaxation to the weekend at Costa Baja’s own Beach Club. La Paz is famous for its spectacular sunsets, so catch the end of the day’s sunshine with a dip in the ocean, then retire to one of the loungers in the infinity pool with a refreshment to watch the sun go down.
8:00 pm – Dinner at Steinbeck’s
Tonight’s dinner is just a short walk from your room. Steinbeck’s – named after one of La Paz’s most famous residents, author John Steinbeck, is the place for an indulgent dinner. Along with steaks and fresh seafood prepared on the mesquite wood grill, the restaurant also has a fantastic wine list. Make sure you sample a glass from Mexico’s foremost wine-growing region, Valle de Guadalupe, at the top of the Baja peninsula.
8:00 am – Whale Watching (or Whale-Swimming!)
This morning you’ll need to get an early start to head out onto the Sea of Cortez to spot some whales. From December through to June, you can join a tour by an operator such as Cortez Club and see humpbacks and grey whales in the waters close to La Paz. If you’re lucky enough to visit between October and March, you can actually swim with the whale sharks (technically a gentle shark and not a whale). If you have more time, a day trip to Isla Espíritu Santo is a must – you’ll be able to swim with the sea lions, snorkel over coral reefs, and have lunch on the white sand beaches.
[caption id="attachment_2210" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Snorkeling with whale sharks with Cortez Club[/caption]
1:00 pm – Visit Todos Santos
After checking out of your hotel, drive south-west an hour to reach Todos Santos, a village designated a “Puebla Magica” (magical town) by the Mexican government. This colourful spot is a great place for a traditional Mexican meal. Hotel California might not really be the inspiration for that famous song by The Eagles, but the shaded courtyard inside is the perfect spot for a lazy lunch and a michelada or two, accompanied by some live music. After lunch, take a walk around the town, which is chock full of small art galleries, leather-craft shops and boutiques.
5:00 pm – Start Planning Your Return Trip
It might be time to head home, but there’s no better way to spend your last couple of hours on vacation planning your next trip!