Catedral de Nuestra Senora La Paz // © 2010 Mexico Tourist Board
When the five-star luxury CostaBaja Resort & Spa open in La Paz this November, La Paz will find itself under the spotlight like it has never been before. It is safe to say that some well-heeled travelers will be making their way to La Paz for the first time. They will be coming for CostaBaja’s marina, villas and new Gary Player golf course but, sooner or later, it will sink in that they are only minutes away from a historic colonial city with a bracing seaside location. La Paz is awash with local color, sporting an array of shops and markets, museums, galleries, restaurants, theaters and nearby beaches.
Here are a few cultural highlights of what La Paz can offer the curious visitor.
One of the city’s most appealing sights is its long beachfront promenade, which in Mexico is called a malecon. The 3½-mile malecon is especially popular at sunset, when La Paz residents take a social stroll along the seawall to catch up with their neighbors and enjoy the live musicians and vendors set up along the promenade.
La Paz’s Catedral de Nuestra Senora de La Paz dates from 1861. It’s located on the western side of the city’s spacious central square, the Plaza Constitucion, which is worth a trip in itself. The cathedral is built of rose-colored stone in an architectural style reminiscent of California mission architecture. Visitors can take a peek inside to see the cathedral’s neoclassical details, collection of 18th-century paintings and a statue of Our Lady of the Pillar.
Clients can drop into the Regional Museum of Anthropology and History for an overview of the region’s history. You will see artifacts from the region’s early inhabitants, the Comondu and Las Palmas Indians, and view photos of cave paintings and Pre-Colombian rock art from the region. Visitors get an idea of Baja California Sur’s history, through Cortez’ discovery of the region, the mission era, mining booms to the Mexican-American War.
One of the major attractions for visitors to La Paz is the chance to observe migrating gray whales. January to April is the optimum time to see these creatures in the waters of Magdalena Bay. A visitor can amplify their experience by dropping into La Paz’s Museum of the Gray Whale, part of a cluster of cultural venues in Centro Cultural Profesor Jesus Castro Agundez. Housed in a geodesic dome, the Museum of the Gray Whale has a variety of exhibits focusing on the migration of the gray whale to the waters off the coast of Baja California Sur. The piece de resistance is a 40-foot skeleton of a gray whale.
La Paz offers the unexpected in the form of the Regional Museum of Telecommunications. In the beautiful natural setting of Baja California Sur, it might come as a nice change of pace to stroll among the museum’s exhibits of radios and televisions. You can also view oil paintings and read short bios of communications pioneers, such as Samuel Morse, Thomas Alva Edison, Guglielmo Marconi and the Mexican innovator, Juan de la Granja.Getting to La Paz
La Paz, the capital city of Baja California Sur, is 136 miles north of Los Cabos. With the completion of a major new highway, it’s now a 2½-hour drive between the two destinations. La Paz’s General Marquez de Leon Airport receives international flights from Alaska Airlines, Aeromexico and Volaris as well as flights from regional carriers.