We have been in La Paz for nearly a week now, ensconced at the newest downtown marina, Marina Cortez. It is possible to anchor out in the bay, but we decided to treat ourselves to a little luxury for Christmas.
La Paz is a beautiful city. Unlike more well-known cities such as Cabo, Cancun or Mazatlan, no cruise ships stop here. No one tries to sell you Jello shots or cheap trinkets – this is just an authentic Mexican city with a stunning natural setting. Palm trees sway, flocks of green parrots fly overhead, and colorful tropical fish can be seen from the dock. The downtown area is located right along the bay, which is bordered by the Malecon, a wide waterfront walkway with benches, sculptures, and beach access.
The first thing we did when we arrived was head straight up to Rancho Viejo for tacos asada. Rancho Viejo has been a fixture in La Paz for over 20 years, known for their masterful handling of beef.
Another one of our favorite places to eat is the loncheria (basically a lunch counter) at the Nicholas Bravo Mercado. Antojitos (literally “little cravings”), which include savory empanadas, tostadas, sopes, burritos, and tacos can be had for $15 pesos a piece, which is less than a buck. Both of us can have a killer lunch for about $3.75 – at that price why would you cook? We don’t – we have been there almost every day for lunch.
In addition to the loncheria, there are fruit and vegetable sellers, fish mongers, and carnecerias in the mercado. There are modern supermarkets in town as well, but the market is closer, and you get a better experience!
Shopping for everyday items can be quite interesting and is entertaining in itself. When our starting battery began to fail, we started the search for a new one. Local yachties pointed us to a marine store catering to gringos. We were shocked at the price, and by doing a little leg work, and asking around (which with my limited Spanish and most folks limited English can be comical) we found our way to Hector’s shop. We knew we were in the right place by the sign out front…
Hector told us that the batteries he sold weren’t really very good, but he could get us a good one. He made a few phone calls and asked us to come back in an hour. We did, the battery was there, and we paid 1/3 of the price it went for at the marine store. Turns out Hector used to live in Arizona and drag race a 1968 Chevy Nova – he and Dan had lots to talk about!
If you need a snack while shopping, the city abounds with small carts selling all kinds of tasty treats. One of my favorites are churros – basically deep-fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar – they come with a big smile too!
We will be sad to leave, and I must admit we have looked into the price of small houses to buy or rent someday…
We will stay here through Christmas, then plan to spend a few days in the islands north of here before crossing over to Mazatlan on the mainland.