Where to Find Adventure in La Paz
PHOTO: Los Islotes sea lion colony in La Paz, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
Jacques Cousteau famously called La Paz, Mexico, the “aquarium of the world,” and that’s definitely not overestimating the destination’s potential to wow visitors with its teeming sea life. Whether you want to swim with a whale shark, kayak or scuba dive the Sea of Cortez, La Paz offers a myriad of thrilling water sports for the adventurous traveler. Its reefs overflow with marine life and the warm, turquoise water begs visitors to jump in and explore.
La Paz is gaining notoriety as a “must-visit” destination for those looking for the ultimate water experience. With a new highway providing faster access to the region, La Paz is now just a two-hour drive from Los Cabos and, unlike the luxury resort locale, La Paz has the small town charm with numerous amenities for the experienced traveler.
Situated between the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean, La Paz is home to more than 20,000 marine species. Its year-round calm and warm waters make the area an ideal destination for aquatic adventure enthusiasts. Here are five of the area’s most popular activities.
Swimming With Whale Sharks
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea and they make their annual return to La Paz in early winter to feed on plankton and enjoy the warm waters until late spring. Of note lately is that approximately 40 of them have been staying year-round, according to tour operators in the area, due to changes in ocean temperature, making swimming with these gentle giants a year-round opportunity – however that may not last.
Diving is a year-round activity in La Paz. Los Islotes and Isla Espiritu Santo offer some of the best diving in La Paz. Los Islotes is inhabited by colonies of sea lions and Isla Espiritu Santo is an island with dozens of bays, artificial reefs and an abundance of marine life. Another wonderful experience is visiting the Barco Hundido Salvatierra (the sunken ship Salvatierra). Located in the San Lorenzo canal, about 12 miles from La Paz, this artificial reef is covered with black coral and inhabited mollusks seeking food on the ship. It is also an important site for viewing tropical fish species, such as barracuda, grouper and parrot fish.
La Paz has a wealth of large, deep-sea fish, including a variety of species of marlin – striped marlin, blue marlin, black marlin – as well as dorado, roosterfish and tuna. Fishing is one of the most popular activities for visitors to the region.
Stand-Up Paddleboarding and Kayaking
While sea kayaking used to be all the rage, up-and-comer stand-up paddleboarding is also enjoying sweeping popularity in the region. Whichever one is your passion, you can enjoy the serenity of the sea as well as the beaches near the city where you can view the most spectacular scenery and coastline vistas. Visitors can also paddle close to the sea lion colonies for an extra thrill and watch as they play in the water or take a lazy afternoon nap on the beach.
Windsurfing and Kite Surfing
La Ventana is a mecca for water sports and is just a 40-minute drive outside of La Paz on the Sea of Cortez. Like La Paz, it is known for diving, kayaking, surfing and sport fishing, but its location causes a natural wind tunnel, which also makes this area ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing. Although there is generally wind year-round, the official windsurfing season is from November to March.
More by Janeen Christoff
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