La Paz

La Paz is the capital of South Baja California. It is affluent and charming. Many cruisers have left the US with plans of sailing the world and didn't make it past La Paz. It is well stacked with supplies and luxury items and prices are reasonable though not as cheap as much of Mexico.

The waterfront is beautiful and clean. It runs for 2 miles with a sidewalk the entire length. The bay is full of bird and sea life.

We arrived just before the November 20th Revolution celebration and we were treated to a good show.

The school kids from every school around paraded in school colors or traditional costumes. Wouldn't you lake to say you graduated from Mahatma Ghandi Prep or were a member of the fighting Ghandi's?!

The local service and military units had some sort of competition going on human pyramids. The military one is actually marching as they play on top.

The local costumes and dance is inspiring and the mood of the fiesta was very uplifting. It was a great welcome to La Paz. We are spending a month here to get some things taken care of on the boat and we have never been bored. I think La Paz would make a great vacation destination.

West of La Paz is Puerto Ballandra. boats often anchor here if they arrive to late to enter La Paz before dark. It is not a very comfortable anchorage and the little anchorage just before Pichilingue would be preferable. It is the home of the famous mushroom rock. It is a remarkably large rock on a tiny base. Unfortunately it fell over in a storm a few years ago so the stood it back up and cemented the base.

An hours bus ride from La Paz is Todos Santos. It is an artist community that has a lot of full time gringos in residence. It is the home of the Hotel California of Eagles fame, or so they claim. It is not easy to visit by boat directly but it is easy to visit by bus from Cabo or La Paz and it offers many galleries and shops where you can lighten your wallet and raise your waterline. It is worth a day trip.

If you arrive by boat you have the option of anchoring in the harbor or getting a slip in 1 of 3 marinas. The marina we chose (or they chose us) was Marina Palmira. It is a couple of miles north of town. It costs about $10 a foot a month with tax and power. They have a shuttle that will run you into town 4 times a day. Marina La Paz is on the southern side of town. It is owned by an American couple and it is host to the local cruisers club, Club Cruceros. It is the center of the cruising community and is about the same price as Palmira. It has cable TV but the harbor is poorly protected so it gets rolly when the wind blows. The last is Abaroa boatyard which is cheaper than the others but you get what you pay for. Palmira and La Paz are fully booked during the cruising season so it is best to make reservations 2 to 3 months in advance.

The above pictures are taken at Marina Palmira during a Northern blow. The first picture gives an idea of how rough it becomes in the anchorage and Marina La Paz. The second picture shows the waves coming over the protective reef. The third shows the breakwater at Palmira but we still got some surge in the marina during this blow.

La Paz is also a great place to get certain services done on your boat. It is difficult to get parts or supplies that are specific to fiberglass sailboats so bring what you need. La Paz has an excellent rigger named Jeffrey who can handle all of your rigging needs but it is best if you have the parts. He learned his trade in the US and he is very capable and very reasonably priced. I really can't say enough good things about Jeffrey and I feel very fortunate that I didn't get around to getting the projects done on my mast in the US. Please don't sail down the coast with an unsafe rig.

Shipwright carpentry is performed by 2 Americans, Pedro and another who's name escapes me. We had work done by Pedro and he was excellent and very reasonable but not very punctual. You have to stay on him. Stainless work is done at the Pepsi plant and they constructed several things for us including a custom bow roller for our Max anchor. The boat yards are not very experienced yet but if you know what you want they will perform the work for a very good price. You need to closely supervise the work.