Last month I wrote about one of the worst nights I’ve spent while out on the road: A drunken, violent bout of body-wrenching food poisoning shared amongst six grown men in a back alley Mexican motel room on the outskirts of La Paz.
After such a horrendously messy and miserable event the city was going to have to “WOW” me to bring me back into its good graces.
So what was the result?
Well, the video below should pretty much speak for itself.
As you can see, not only did La Paz fully redeem itself, but it blew past every expectation I held for the city, and it actually raced towards the top of the list for my favorite cities on the globe. Yes, I said it. La Paz is now up there with my favorite cities on the globe.
So how do you go from last to first with a guy who has passed through hundreds of cities around the world?
You supply an endless bounty of fresh seafood, order up a week of desert sunshine, provide one dollar Pacifico’s at a beach bar overlooking the water, and spend a day diving the waters around Isla Espiritu Santo, a marine preserve teeming with such varied forms of marine life it’s sure to gobble up even the lengthiest of camera batteries.
Now to put what I’m about to say in perspective, remember that I have dove in locations around the world from Borneo to Australia, Hawaii to Thailand, and Nicaragua to Vietnam. With that thought in mind, the amount of marine life I witnessed in the waters off of La Paz was literally like nothing I’ve ever seen in other parts of the world. Sure, I’ve seen bottlenose dolphins, and manta rays, and parrot fish, and sea lions, and large schooling bait balls of sardines, but I’ve never seen them all in the same place at the same time. Add on top of this that I finally got to swim with whale sharks after striking out in Hawaii and Thailand and the entire experience went from “mind-blowing” to “pinch-me-this-is-just-too-much”.
Seriously, where else on the planet can you expect to swim with bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, manta rays, and whale sharks, all within the span of less than 30 minutes? Then to be able to go to shore and feast on chocolate clams, fresh lobster, raw oysters, shrimp tacos, and exquisite ceviche accompanied by refreshingly cheap beer, and La Paz has the makings of a diver’s dream destination.
It’s a desert outpost where urban luxuries fuse with fishing village charm, and empty white-sand beaches hide behind every turn in the coast. From the manicured golf course and protected harbor of Costa Baja, down the pedestrian walkways of the seaside malecon, and out towards the mountains that mark the path to the Pacific, La Paz would claim its superiority over Los Cabos if it weren’t too humble to do so. A city of just the right size, with just the right weather, and a level of safety and security which ranks as one of the highest in Mexico, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that it’s one of North America’s most desirable retirement destinations and a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts. I myself would retire in La Paz, but as we all know, there are a few more miles to tread, and a few more borders to cross, before I settle in for that lengthy siesta and am content to call it a day.