Story and photos by Emily C. Sims
Note: This is part 2 of a planned 4-part series on La Paz. If you missed part one, click here.
Mexican stereotypes annoy the hell out of me. Whether you are stereotyping the country as a whole or the people from it, you are leading me to believe that you are a douchebag. We’ve all hard it before–if you go anywhere in Mexico, you’re going to die in a gang war. You’re going to be kidnapped. You’ll be forced into drug muling.
Are there parts of Mexico where things like this can happen? Yes. Are there parts of the U.S. where things like this can happen? Yes. When people visit the U.S., they don’t assume the entire country is Detroit; why do we assume that all of Mexico is Tijuana?
I heard many of these fears expressed as I geared up for my recent trip to Mexico. Family members worried for my safety, and based on the only media reports we see of Mexico, I understand that. But just like in the United States, there are many parts of the country that are safe and welcoming, and one such place is La Paz.
The city of peace and abundance on the Sea of Cortes
I spent three gorgeous days in the city of La Paz in Baja California Sur. La Paz is a quiet, unassuming city situated on the unbelievably beautiful Sea of Cortes. Much of my time was spent on the Costa Baja resort, but I also spent quite a bit of time in town as well. Not once did I second guess myself as I was walking alone, not once did I worry that I was unsafe or vulnerable. Here’s a fact that really caught my attention: If La Paz was a city in California, it would be the third safest city in that state.
Lela Sankeralli, a Canadian marine biologist I met during my stay, described La Paz the best: “As beautiful as the ocean is, as beautiful as the sea life is, so are the people.” I couldn’t agree more. Every person I met in La Paz was friendly, laid back, and easy to talk to.
If, however, you would be more comfortable staying on the resort for the duration of your visit, you’ll find plenty to keep you entertained, and you’ll always be safe. At Costa Baja, you will see men in red and white uniforms standing at all of the entrances and exits. (To be honest, I’m not really sure if they were security guards or lifeguards, but they looked pretty official. I mean, they were wearing hats.) Costa Baja has plenty to keep you occupied–a pristine private beach, two pools, a spa, restaurants, and its very own marina. I definitely recommend chartering a boat with Fun Baja Tours to go to Isla Espiritu Santu, where you can relax on secluded white-sand beaches and swim with playful and friendly sea lions.
Make no mistake: La Paz is not Cabo, it is not Cancun, and most importantly, it is not Tijuana. It is a city unto itself, comparable to none, and an ideal vacation destination for those looking for a quiet getaway. If you want to drown in tequila shots, go to Cancun. If you want to experience the joy of Mexican culture and the peace of the sea, come to La Paz.
Disclaimer: The Tourism Board of La Paz paid for my travel and accommodations. However, the opinions expressed here are my own.
Emily is an ex-teacher, ex-obituary writer, and ex-yuppie. In her free time, she volunteers for Wings of Hope and is a writer and amateur photographer. Emily has lived all over the United States and France. She currently resides in Las Vegas.