La Paz, Baja CA, is situated 100 miles Northeast of its kin, Cabo San Lucas, close in proximity but a world away. Unlike Cabo, La Paz is not known for the hustle and bustle and is considered a low-key city that moves at a slower pace while adorned with the finer things in life. Culturally it has more connectivity to its roots and less influence from larger metropolitan cities, which is exactly the attraction to this locale. It’s a place that eases you into the lifestyle and incorporates you into the culture.
While any research into fishing in La Paz will ultimately lead to the same conclusion – which is that La Paz is a world-renown fishing destination offering access to an array of prolific gamefish. It’s equal parts fishing adventure, backdrop, people, food, and experience that make a fishing destination worth the time, effort, and investment. Here are some tidbits on experiencing La Paz.
GETTING TO LA PAZ
Ideally, the best way to get to La Paz is to go from San Diego and more specifically, the CBX (Cross Border Express) Tijuana crossing. For those that aren’t familiar, the Mexican government has made a turnkey entrance for passengers on the U.S. side to access their Tijuana airport as they offer an array of regional flights that aren’t available in the U.S. The process is surprisingly easy and often void of long lines and a redundant process of checking in and checking out which we’re accustomed to. It truly is turnkey and before you know it, you’ll be awaiting departure with a Tecate Beer in hand. From CBX Tijuana you can fly directly to La Paz.
LA PAZ SEAFOOD SPECIALTY: CHOCOLATÉ CLAMS
As Americans we have a preconceived notion of what Mexican cuisine is but regional it’s as diverse as fish species are in the ocean. One thing that we don’t regularly have access to when we think of Mexican cuisine which is a regular occurrence in La Paz is the Chocolaté, or the Chocolate Clam.
Native to the Sea of Cortez this shellfish, noted for the color of its shell is a local delicacy and can be found at most locations focused on seafood in this area. Whether it’s having it in a ceviche style dish or baked, it’s an item not to be missed while in La Paz.
THE BOARDWALK (MALECÓN)
The Malecón runs along the protected Bahía De La Paz, on one side a white sand beach, on the other side aligning the Malecón is an array of restaurants bars and eateries gifted in conjuring artisan dishes but specializing in local seafood. On any given night, an unplanned walk on the Malecón into one of these restaurants can turn into a night to remember with locals and tourists visiting from around the world to enjoy their amazing food.
LA PAZ DOCK CULTURE
There’s something about a great dock and marina, it’s a vibe and something to get excited about as a fisherman. It starts with simply peering into the water and considering the variety of species and life available at a most elementary level. In La Paz, the dock experience is worthy of a fisherman’s attention as much as the offshore adventures awaiting. In the evening a stroll on the dock can provide as much entertainment as any fishing adventure. Colorado Snapper, an assortment of grunts and smaller reef fish, toro (Jack Crevalle) frequently come to life to investigate what’s on the menu of the protected inshore habitat. If that doesn’t get your heart pumping then you’ll surely be daydreaming of yourself on board one of many immaculate Vikings and luxury sport fishers that call this marina a seasonal home.
LA PAZ FISHING HIGHLIGHT: AMBERJACK (PEZ FUERTE)
A common occurrence in the lower Sea of Cortez, the Pacific Amberjack is the king of the reef and can reach 130 pounds, however, 80-pound Amberjack are a regular occurrence. This species seldomly gets the recognition it deserves as a gamefish, found in many environments from the shallows to its more common habitat of deepwater pinnacles, this gamefish is a must-target while in La Paz. As its name and reputation proceed, Amberjacks will test your ego, strength, ability, and tackle. They will regularly take live bait or a vertical jig and is not a pursuit for the faint of heart. Pound for pound of the toughest game fish in La Paz and the Sea of Cortez. The Amberjack is a continual culprit of broken hearts and egos on fishing trips.
LA PAZ ECOTOURISM: WHALE SHARKS
It doesn’t matter how experienced, how versed you are in and or around the ocean, seeing a Whale Shark is something that will always captivate and demand our respect. It’s one thing to see a Whale Shark from above in the safety of the panga, it’s a complete other story to get in the water and have eye to eye contact with the largest fish in the ocean. The sheer astonishment of the shark’s size contrasted with their diet of tiny krill and plankton can only truly be appreciated once you are underwater with them. It’s an eating machine, a continual filtration system made by nature.
La Paz is one of the premier locations to witness these gentle giants and you can secure arrangements in several locations around the bay to make the short boat ride to observe and swim with them.
While La Paz has no shortage of attractions on and off the beaten path, the truth is the fishing is still what keeps bringing us back. Whether it’s inshore or offshore that grabs your attention, there is truly something for everyone. The ease of travel, the food, and the people are just the icing on the cake.