La Paz and Espíritu Santo Islands
Swim with playful sea lions, dive and snorkel the coral reef of Espiritu Santos Island, kayak among hidden sea caves, fish for marlin and tuna, hike to incredible lookout points, relax on beautiful beaches, watch for whales in the sparkling Sea of Cortez and enjoy the bars, restaurants and cafes along the promenade of La Paz, a wonderful setting for an enriching break.
With so much to do and see, visitors are spoilt for choice around La Paz. Located on the southern Baja Peninsula, La Paz, meaning ‘peace,’ is lapped by the cool blue and green waters of the Sea of Cortez, which Jacques Cousteau once named, ‘the world’s aquarium,’ owing to the dazzling abundance and variety of marine life swimming within its depths. A highlight of any trip here is taking a boat trip to the protected waters of Espiritu Santo Island, to see the rocky outcrop that is home to Baja’s largest colony of sea lions and if you fancy donning a wetsuit and snorkel, you can slide into the water to play alongside them. The coral banks off the island are great for snorkelling and diving and the shallow waters and inlets found here make it a fantastic location for kayaking and paddle-boarding. Alternatively, jump on a boat to try your hand at game fishing for tuna and marlin, or if your visit coincides with the whale migration season, from December to March, head out on a whale watching trip.
The old colonial town of La Paz is centred around the main plaza, with its historic cathedral and gardens, although we’d recommend heading to the malecon, the seafront promenade, strung with cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. This is a lovely place for a stroll and particularly good for enjoying the fabulous sunsets. As La Paz is a commercial port, there are few fine beaches close by, so we advise heading to the small offshore islands. The largest of these is Espiritu Santo Island, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in marine life and coral reef, where you have the chance to see sea lions, dolphins, manta rays, sea turtles and whales. Although there are no hotels on the island, visitors do have the opportunity for luxury ‘glamping’ on Espiritu. For beautiful beaches, great hiking and dive sites, we’d also suggest visiting Isla Partida, a much smaller island connected to Espiritu Santo by a narrow sandbar.
La Paz is the state capital of Baja California Sur and we think it’s a great destination for water and nature lovers, who enjoy marine life and outdoor activities. It is around a two to three-hour drive from San Jose del Cabo and a two-hour 30-minute flight from Mexico City.