LA PAZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO SHINES AS A BUCKET-LIST DESTINATION FOR 2014
West coast residents can enjoy a world-class vacation without straying too far from home in the coming year
LA PAZ, MEXICO (December 20, 2013) – La Paz
, Baja California Sur, Mexico has the upper hand when it comes to “off-the-beaten path” activities, offering visitors an unspoiled location, experiential adventures, and enriching cultural experiences. The authentic Mexican town is an under-the-radar gold mine for travelers, and more accessible than ever for West Coast residents with Aeromexico’s direct route from Los Angeles.
While in the past cities like Paris, New York, and London were favorites among travelers, a 2013 study conducted by MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index indicates modern travelers have taken an exotic turn, giving way to a new list of must-see bucket-list destinations for 2014. La Paz, with it’s near perfect weather, pristine beaches, and off-the-radar atmosphere, fits the bill.
Tucked away along the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, La Paz has managed to escape the crowds and become an oasis not only for travelers seeking rest and relaxation, but also for the adventurous vacationer in search of bucket-list worthy experiences.
For The Adventurer
Adventure is a big draw for experiential travelers who look to connect with the essence of their destination. Dubbed, “The Aquarium of the World” by renowned marine biologist Jean Jacques Cousteau, the waters surrounding La Paz have one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems whose exceptional number of fish species-891, 90 of them endemic-has earned the area a World Heritage Site distinction.
Visitors can dive deep into the culture and right into El Bajo, a popular dive site known for schooling hammerheads, amber jacks, tuna, and giant Pacific mantas; or explore Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO protected gem that boasts approximately 23,800 acres of untouched ecosystems.
From mid December to late March visitors can experience the migration of gray whales, which swim approximately 5,000 miles from the Artic and North Atlantic to mate or give birth in the shallow lagoons of Magdalena Bay-approximately two and a half hours from La Paz. For adrenaline junkies looking for some action, a whale shark encounter is the perfect end to a dive trip. These gentle filter feeding giants, weighing in at 79,000 pounds, are the largest fish in the world and can sometimes surpass 40 feet in length.
Approximately 45 minutes south of the city, travelers can visit a 124-acre cactus sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the dozen species native endemic to Baja Sur region. North of the city, trails lead hikers to secluded and pristine beaches, showcasing one of the most impressive sights in La Paz-the juxtaposition of the sea and desert.
If you are traveling with kids, Los Islotes, a colony of approximately 500 Californian brown sea lions, is a must-see. The playful pups are a fun and special treat for snorkelers and even the most seasoned divers.
Surrounded by the Sea of Cortez, La Paz is home to miles of virgin coastline, with dozens of white-sand beaches whose calm, crystalline waters are perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, paddle boarding and swimming.
El Tesoro, a bay beach surrounded by mountains, is the perfect beach for kids as it boasts calm and shallow waters, and also features a small playground and restaurant. Coromuel, the first beach on La Paz’s scenic road, is where many families spend their weekends. The beach, lined with palapas (tiki huts), offers Jet Skis for rent and a variety of equipment for water sports.
La Paz’s most famous beach, Balandra, is the ultimate place for relaxation and known worldwide for its spectacular views of white-sand mountains and the bright blue sea. Balandra’s waters are so shallow and calm bathers can walk to the other side of the bay. Balandra is also home to El Hongo, La Paz’s signature mushroom-shaped rock formation.
The century old buildings, bustling boardwalk and rich history of La Paz offer a educational and cultural component to any family vacation. The Regional Anthropology and History Museum located in the heart of the city displays an interesting collection of fossils and cave paintings that give insight to the daily lives of the town’s first dwellers.
For The Foodie
For those who live to eat, La Paz has a number of restaurants ready to satisfy the even the most discerning palates.
Stroll down the Malecon (boardwalk) to find an array of colorful choices. For starters there is El Bismarkcito, a local favorite popular for its fish dipping sauce, and shrimp tacos. A block away from the boardwalk, travelers can spot the fisherman delivering his catch of the day to El Empanada, a friendly spot famous for its chocolatas, or chocolate clams, a delicacy harvested from the waters of the Sea of Cortez whose peculiar name stems from their brown-colored shells.
Local chefs like Cristina Kiewek, from CostaBaja Resort and Spa’s resort award-winning restaurant Azul Marino, have created menus based off traditional Mexican recipes with an added global flare.
Kiewek’s newest venture, Nim, situated in downtown La Paz, has been well-received since it’s opening in in October. Built on an old historic home with large open spaces and ample natural light, the restaurant boasts a variety of international plates such as New Orleans style oysters, Vietnamese pho, Mediterranean Carpaccio, Moroccan lamb and traditional crowd-pleasers like guacamole and Mexican sopes (hand-made, thick corn tortillas with meat toppings).
Nim’s sister restaurant Azul Marino offers its guests a gourmet atmosphere, and the best Asian-fusion in town (think melt-in-your-mouth summer rolls and yellowtail tartare with hints of ginger!).
Pichilingue, a five-minute drive from El Tesoro, is home to two famous seafood restaurants, Restaurant Playa Pichilingue and Luna Bruja Restaurant. Its shallow, calm waters are perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding, a great way to feel less guilty after indulging in all of La Paz’s delicacies.
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