La Paz and Cabo San Lucas may only be a couple hours away by car, but they offer two very distinct Baja experiences and a suitcase full of possibilities for visitors. -By Jason Sanford
Americans are already familiar with some of the irreplaceable pillars of Mexico: the hospitable locals, eternal summer weather and seemingly never-ending supply of cold cervezas—but what many don’t realize is the awe-inspiring escape that awaits those who venture down to the southern end of Baja. A diverse mix of captivating natural scenery, thrilling water sports, downtown shopping and nightlife, and an unmistakably laidback vibe that awaits those who spend their visit in La Paz or Cabo San Lucas, allowing them to choose exactly how much or how little they want to do on their getaway. And both cities feature posh world-class resorts that redefine what a few days in Baja really means by offering a rich well of indulgent, memorable possibilities.
The Inimitable Peace of La Paz
La Paz fuses all the luxury of modern Baja with old-school fishing village ethics, and whether one seeks world-class snorkeling or world-class snoozing on the beach, there is no place quite like it.
Located along a beautiful, sheltered bay that keeps the weather temperate and largely safe from tropical storms, La Paz is the picturesque, romantic Mexico that Americans dream of running away to. It’s a haven for those who love to eat well, live well and slow their lives down to the refreshingly casual pace of Baja, and just like its neighbor to the south, there is plenty to do and to see in the capital of Baja California Sur.
La Paz is a town magnificently poised for all sorts of water sports and land activities, and visitors will find no shortage of ventures to set out upon. It offers a diversity of possibilities unmatched in Mexico, including a breathtakingly beautiful ecological reserve (don’t forget the fins and snorkel) at nearby Isla Espíritu Santo, unmatched saltwater fishing that may just land you dinner, and some new, jaw-dropping golf courses to challenge your backswing.
Dubbed “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez that surrounds La Paz is an eco-tourist’s dream, as many of the world’s rare marine animals call the area home. This unique gathering of sea life makes snorkeling, diving and dog paddling natural pastimes in the pristine green waters, and the fact that it’s always warm and crystal clear never hurts either. The waters off of La Paz’s shore are teeming with life and feature an impressive amount of marine biodiversity to check out, making it a perfect place for sea lovers. All you need is a snorkel, a kayak or a good pair of board shorts to enjoy the beauty of the water.
La Paz’s location not only opens up a world of aquatic adventures, but also offers plenty to do on land. Its unique location between the wide expanse of the emerald green sea and the stark contrast of the arid, rocky desert offers visitors a chance to head inland to camp, hike and explore the less-traveled parts of lower Baja.
La Paz is indeed considered a resort town, but feels nothing like it, as it boasts a peace and quiet found nowhere else along the Baja coastline. And one place that seamlessly melds relaxation with its luxurious setting is the gorgeous new CostaBaja Resort.
With more than 550 acres of beauty and 115 comfortable, stylish rooms at its disposal, CostaBaja raises the bar of Baja accommodations. Boasting its very own marina, a private beach club, a challenging golf course and manifold ways to pamper yourself and unwind, CostaBaja epitomizes the coolest place to drop anchor in La Paz, and endlessly tempts visitors to stay and laze the days away.
An ideal start to living the good life is by spending at least an hour in good hands at the Espíritu Spa at the resort, which will refresh the senses and make guests feel like royalty as they indulge in one of the many massage treatments. No matter which type of massage therapy is chosen, guests must be forgiven if they never want to walk away from the magical, healing hands of the masseuse. Touted as the first of its kind in La Paz, Espíritu Spa is a sensuous experience that lets visitors indulge in a Swedish, deep tissue, sports, hot stone or couples massage, as well as a multitude of available skin and facial treatments. Body wraps, full-day spa packages and romantic couples packages are also available for those who seek a next-level experience of comfort and pampering without leaving the resort.
Naturally, those feeling ambitious will have plenty of options around CostaBaja, whether it’s swimming with the sea lions and other amazing marine life at nearby Isla Espíritu Santo, shopping for that perfect gift and strolling along the Malecon boardwalk downtown, or choosing from an encyclopedic tequila selection at the resort’s very own Steinbeck’s restaurant.
No matter what kind of Mexican getaway you’re looking for—rest and relaxation or day trips ’till you drop—La Paz answers the call and promises a memorable experience. Largely overlooked by those who have never been, those who love its incredible solitude can still revel in this picturesque locale.
Exploring Your Very Own Cabo
Before it became “Cabo” it used to just be Cabo San Lucas, and then as people began to discover its excitement and nonstop energy, it quickly developed and so did its reputation as a first-rate vacation destination.
Cabo is now as well known for its lively social life as it is for itsspectacular year-round weather and gorgeous beaches, but it is often overlooked for its great sport fishing, world-class diving and its bevy of other outdoor activities for adventure-seekers to partake in. It has also gone to great lengths to become a golfer’s paradise and now boasts some of the most acclaimed and beautifully challenging courses in North America to enjoy.
And while the warm days keep explorers busy and joyfully exhausted, the fun after the sun goes down is what sets Cabo apart. The local nightlife is considered among the very best in the country—and why not—as old-school discos and local watering holes mix it up with extravagant clubs and sleek lounges along the playa. Whether you like salsa, cumbia or anything else, the beats will keep visitors on their feet, shaking what they got.
Cabo is known for its shimmering beachside resorts, and Esperanza, an Auberge Resort stands out amongst a crowded field with its well-appointed amenities and spectacular dining and relaxation opportunities along the corridor. The resort features 57 rooms that all boast an endless ocean view, along with the one of the top spas in Latin America, according to Travel and Leisure. The resort offers many distinct dining options, the centerpiece of which is the beachside restaurant carved into the bluff overlooking Punta Ballena, a major whale-watching point. And if visitors can’t get enough of the resort, there are numerous distinct ownership offerings available along the property as well—ranging from one to four bedroom residences—making longer stays in Cabo that much more enticing. After all, what could possibly be better than living right on the water in such a lively, vibrant locale?
Southern Baja offers countless breathtaking opportunities to get out and work up a sweat, and with incredible hiking, fishing, golfing and sailing, those craving the active lifestyle are in exactly the right place for a challenge. Then again, Baja California Sur is a foremost destination for good old-fashioned R&R, so declining a cold Modelo and getting out of the chaise lounger may be the toughest challenge of all. LBM
For more Information visit: visitloscabos.travel; vivalapaz.com; visitmexico.com; costabajaresort.com; esperanzaresort.com