The capital of Baja California Sur is La Paz. Despite the name, Baja California is a Mexican state in the Gulf of California. The city acts as an important commercial centre for the region.
The population has grown dramatically since the 2000s. The growth is mostly due to the high standard of living and quality of life in this part of Mexico. Workers migrate in high numbers to the Baja California Sur peninsula which runs parallel to the Mexican coast.
Around 10,000 years ago, Neolithic hunter-gatherers first inhabited la Paz. They left traces of their existence in the form of rock paintings throughout Baja California.
The explorer Fortun Ximenez navigated his ship into the bay in 1533. The native population killed him and his entire crew. Two years later, another Spaniard, Hernán Cortés, arrived in the harbour close to La Paz. He named it “Santa Cruz”. His attempts to start a colony failed. It took a few decades more before another Spanish ship arrived in 1596. The navigator Sebastián Vizcaíno gave the area the name “La Paz” meaning “Peace”.
Desert climate by the sea
La Paz has a desert climate. There is little rainfall, and the year-round average temperature is between 17 and 30°C. In the summer, it can reach at least 36 °C. From December to February it is much cooler. At night it can drop to 15 °C. During the day it is around 25 °C and still sunny. The bay offers a refreshing nighttime breeze and also acts as a barrier against storms in the Gulf of California. The Coromuel winds are a weather phenomenon unique to the La Paz region.
Occasionally, there are erratic, heavy rains. These downpours are short-lived and follow the pattern of the North American Monsoon, in August or September. Despite this, La Paz has an average of over 300 days of sunshine a year.
Natural thermal pools
Tourism creates most of the employment for this coastal community. Visitors flock to the city’s “Balnearios” or natural thermal pools. Other industries include pearl diving, silver mining, agriculture and fishing.
900 islands to choose from
The Gulf of California boasts a total of 900 islands and islets. Nearly a third of them are under UNESCO protection. The World Heritage Bio-Reserves and the Isla Espíritu Santo group feature in the Bay of La Paz. La Paz has three leading marine biology institutes. This area offers exceptional marine biodiversity.
Sailing holidays are increasingly popular with visitors because of the proximity of the United States. New marinas and luxury accommodation suggest that developers are drawn to the area.
Manuel Márquez de León International Airport offers flights to the most important cities in Mexico – Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Additionally, two ferry services operate from the port of Pichilingue. This little port outside the city connects the Baja California peninsula to the mainland at Topolobampo and Mazatlán.