Nestled in a protected bay off the Sea of Cortez, La Paz draws visitors from all over the world. Here are a few quick tips and fun facts you should know about this laid-back coastal city before your cruise.
Location: La Paz is located in Mexico on the southern end of the starkly beautiful Baja Peninsula, about two hours north of San Jose del Cabo and four hours south of the town of Loreto.
Famous For: Every winter, visitors travel to La Paz from around the world for a chance to snorkel with the 40-foot long whale sharks. Deep-sea fishing and kayaking are also top activities here, as is diving with hammerheads, though their numbers have sadly decreased.
Language: Spanish, of course, but many La Paz locals speak English. A large ex-pat community means English is frequently heard around town.
Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time or GMT -6.
Climate: La Paz has a hot desert climate cooled somewhat by sea breezes. The hottest months are late May to early October, with average highs above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The coolest months are late November through February, when highs typically stay below 80 degrees.
When Should I Go: From late November to March, Gray whales and the awesomely huge but surprisingly gentle whale sharks are top draws in La Paz. Kayaking is excellent in La Paz between July and September when the water is at its calmest. Late summer and fall are prime time to hook marlin, tuna, dorado and wahoo. And if you’re in a party mood, cruise to La Paz in February to experience their Carnival.
Cruise Lines That Sail to La Paz, Mexico: This port is one of the off-the-beaten-path ports that attract smaller ships with cruise lines like Princess, Azamara, Oceania and Crystal.
Travel Documents: Valid passports are best when cruising to La Paz. U.S. citizens can travel into Mexico by sea with a passport card, but it isn’t accepted for air travel.
From Port to Town: Ships dock in Pichilingue, about 10 miles from La Paz. There are free air-conditioned buses that transport passengers from the docks to La Paz, and there are taxis at the terminal as well.
How to Get Around: Once in town, it’s easy to stroll to many of the best sights. La Paz has a central square, Plaza Constitucion (also called Jardin Velazco), for strolling, but best of all is meandering down the Malecon, the seawall promenade along the bay.
Money Money Money: The Mexican Peso is the official currency. The U.S. dollar is widely accepted, though change may come in pesos so having bills in small denominations is a good idea.
- Most city shops and restaurants accept credit cards, but street vendors do not.
- ATMs can be found at several banks along the Malecon but not at the cruise terminal.
What's Good for Kids: Some kayaking tours are family friendly and pre-teens and teens will get a thrill snorkeling with whale sharks. La Paz beaches attract all ages; Balandra Beach has stand-up paddleboarding—popular with older kids and teens. Away from the water, El Serpentario Reptile Center & Cactus Nursery is a good bet for families, a short taxi ride from the Malecon or central plaza.
What's on: Check out this full calendar of La Paz events.