LA PAZ, Mexico
La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
I must start by saying, La Paz is in Mexico. So is Cuernavaca, so is Ciudad Victoria, so is Oaxaca, so is Morelia, so is Mazatlan, so is Acapulco. You would look long and hard not to find a beautiful cathedral in almost all Mexican towns. In La Paz, in the middle of town, you’ll find the Cathedral of Nuestra Senora de la Paz (the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz) near lots of art galleries and shops along cobblestone streets. Since La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, and also the largest city, you will find the Government Palace and the Legislative Palace. La Paz is a cultural center having a University, theater and a number of museums. The per capita income is among the highest in Mexico.
La Paz is located on the east coast of the Baja, along the Sea of Cortez, in a large, natural bay. Tourism is the first ranking source of income for La Paz, and because of its location on the bay and Sea of Cortez, fishing ranks second. Health care is perhaps the best in all of Baja.
North Americans have not overrun La Paz, and estimates of four thousand to nine thousand Expats are reported in the area. I tend to think closer to four thousand or under. The total population of La Paz is somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000. Whichever, it is a large city, but has managed to retain a small town feeling of original Mexico for the most part.
The weather in La Paz basically is nice – if you enjoy the hot, sunny climates with some evenings cooled off by the ocean breeze – and who wouldn’t enjoy that! The hottest months will be summer – July, August, and September…when you will definately appreciate the air conditioning. Because the Baja peninsula is getting pretty narrow at this point, tropical storms can sometimes affect the weather, but that season is only during the summer and early fall seasons. The mountain chains that run down the Baja are getting pretty gentle at this point, so the terrain around La Paz for the most part, is easy to travel – even good to bike and walk. Sunsets can be spectacular – but, again, so many places in Mexico can claim the same thing. Everyone enjoys the wide, beautiful malecon that runs for miles along the water. So much nicer than places in the States, where you have to fight to get to the ocean, through the mazes of huge hotels and resorts.
As in all big towns, you will find the large food markets plus chains you’d expect – from Soriana to Sam’s and Wal-Mart. But, for real bargains, the place to shop is in the native stores – get really fresh fish – the tastiest of vegetables – from the people who catch them or grow them.
Transportation to La Paz includes: Air, with the La Paz (PAZ) International Airport, just a few miles out of town; Highway, Mex 1 is the main highway that vehicles and buses travel south from the American border, with the “Green Angels” (read about them in my book, Retire In Luxury) patrolling the entire distance; and by Water – drive onto the Ferry for a trip across the Sea of Cortez to the mainland and Mazatlan and Tompo Lobompo. La Paz is about 100 miles north of Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja. You can also dock your own boat at one of the many, many facilities along the shore. Just about everything that arrives into the lower Baja comes by ferry from the mainland or down Mex 1. La Paz is a major port. The Baja peninsula is about one thousand miles long, running from just south of San Diego, California to Cabo San Lucas at the bottom tip.
The North Americans and Europeans who live in La Paz can choose to live comfortably and inexpensively or live a life of the rich and famous – It takes all kinds. But, an average Expat’s lifestyle on a modest income easily can include a nice home and a maid.
As a general rule, you will find living on the Baja cheaper than in the states, but usually higher than many other parts of Mexico.
To wrap up this blog, here’s another email from a very happy retiree:
Hi Barbie, Hope all is well with you and Dick.
Thought you would be interested to know, we have just spent eleven weeks in Ajijic, Chapala. What an amazing place, fell in love with it, weather fantastic every day we were there. You can at least plan a family reunion three months in advance and know what the weather will be doing!!!!!! Where can you hop on a bus and take a 20 minute ride to the next village for 7 cents one way? Cost of living we found extremely cheap compared to Canada. Found the Mexican people in the area so friendly and wonderful.
We had the pleasure of meeting a great dentist, doctor and rheumatologist during our stay, and were very impressed with their knowledge, care and the cost.
Through your contact, we met up with Charlie, (I have deleted Charlie’s last name – Barbie) what a great guy he is. He drove us to the south side of Lake Chapala to San Luis Soyatlan where he lives. We had breakfast together, then he drove us around the village and took us to see his house. What a great place he has which he pays $225 a month rent for. He gave us some very valuable information which we are very grateful for.
We arrived back in Canada this morning and are now making plans to move to Mexico.
Keep up the good work, your information has been so helpful to people like us.
La Paz article by Barbie