See why this low-key coastal city is a great choice for an off-the-radar Mexico getaway

Samantha Schoech

La Paz, Baja Sur’s state capital on the edge of the Sea of Cortez, is a slow-paced city best known for fishing and the teeming ocean wildlife. The empty jewel-like beaches nearby and the laid-back pace make it a welcome respite from the go-go rhythm of the big resort towns.

Hotels

Costa Baja Resort. This hotel, 10 minutes outside the city center, is La Paz’s answer to the mega beach resort. But while it has the amenities—pools, spa, multiple restaurants, and a golf course—it feels relatively small and quiet. And the water views are spectacular. $$$.

Seven Crown Malecón. Modern and rather corporate-looking, this hotel has the advantage of its location overlooking the malecón in the center of the city. $.

Hotel Posada Luna Sol. Small and friendly, this 20-room hotel in the center of town has simple rooms (including some for groups and families) and spectacular sunset views from the rooftop terrace. $.

Restaurants

Taco Fish La Paz. Come for the best fish tacos and ceviche in town. Stay for the football; there’s always a game showing on TV. $.

Las Tres Virgenes. Try upscale takes on local favorites like the Pismo clam tostada or the grilled baby octopus at this elegant courtyard restaurant. No website. Reservations recommended; $$; (+52) 612/165-6265.

Maria California. A huge menu and huge potions make this lively meandering restaurant a breakfast destination. Enjoy live music and local art while you make your way through plates of classic Mexican dishes. $; (+52) 612/140-0342.

Things to do

The Whale Museum. Opened in February 2016 and dedicated to the gray whales that live and breed in the local waters, the museum has large gallery spaces with models, mounted skeletons, audiovisual displays, and multilingual presentations. There’s also a section dedicated to local turtles, plus a cafeteria and gift shop. $$.

Visit Espiritu Santo. This pristine island is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of La Paz’ gems. A number of operators run activities here. We loved swimming with the whale sharks on