La Paz Guide & Directory
Fondo Mixto de Promoción Turísta de la
Ciudad de La Paz
Introduction to La Paz: The History
Paz, capital,of the state of Southern Baja California, is located on the great
Bay of La Paz. There, semi-hidden by that small peninsula of capricious shape
called El Mogote, La Paz reflects its image on a silken ocean which seems to
be on fire every late afternoon due to its incomparable sunsets.
La Paz (the Peace) received its name in the
16th century for its peaceful
It was the town which most resisted the conquerors. It is said it was
established at least five times. The first expedition for such purpose was
headed by Hernan Cortes. On May
1535, he arrived at a bay he named Santa Cruz (Holy Cross). The Spanish
conqueror intended to establish a colony, but had to withdraw after a year of
failures and misfortune.
The expedition of the famous navigator
Sebastian Vizcaino, who abandoned his endeavors after two months because of a
tremendous scarcity of food, arrived in 1596. He supposedly called the
settlement La Paz.
April, 1683, Admiral Isidro de Antondo y Antillon made a new attempt at
colonizing it. This was one of the most serious attempts of the Spanish crown
at conquering California. With a well equipped expedition and with the help of
Jesuits Eusebio Francisco Kino, a royal cosmographer, and Matias Goñi, they
attempted to establish themselves in La Paz. Drought, the hostility and
vengeance of the natives that had been massacred by the Admiral, turned this
expedition into a total failure. Six months thereafter, the Spaniards had to
leave in search of a more appropriate place in which to establish a colony.
They settled San Bruno, where they
until May 1685.
On November 4, 1720, Jesuits Juan de Ugarte
and Jaime Bravo arrived on their way from Loreto which had been established in
1697. These two priests established the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de la Paz
Mission. This mission was not definitive and in 1749 they had to close it
because of its lack of inhabitants.
1811, soldier Jose Espinoza who had come from the San Antonio mine came to
establish himself in
La Paz, since thanks to his services, he had been granted the land where the
city is located. Finally, a permanent settlement had been established. Until a
hurricane devastated Loreto in 1829, it had been the capital of Baja
California. The capital was moved to San Antonio, and finally, in 1830, to La
The protection of its bay allowed La Paz to
achieve a rapid development for cargo and supplies, especially during the
second half of the 19th century, at the beginning of the exploitation of the
Triunfo and San Antonio mines.
Presently, La Paz is one of the most beautiful
cities of Mexico's northwestern region. The city has traditionally been
acknowledged as a favorite for tourist beach destinations, for its excellent
possibilities for sports fishing, for its magnificent natural beauty, and for
its geographic location. La Paz is a privileged place for all
who love nature. Many call it the "world's capital of ecotourism." La Paz is
the center of ecotourism, since its location insures rapid and easy access to
any other part of the state. Besides, La Paz has highly specialized
eco-tourist guides, there being tours to the Laguna and San Francisco mountain
ranges, to sites of rupestrian paintings, missions, the whale sanctuary at
Magdalena Bay, to desert areas, places where wild animals and plants can be
studied, etc..., all along the State of Southern Baja California.
Nevertheless, La Paz is much more than just a
natural beauty. It is also a modern city and as such, it has all the necessary
services. It has a variety of first class tourist services as well as
excellent hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, R.V. parks, marinas, travel
agencies, car rental offices, scuba diving and sports fishing, an
international airport, a wharf for ocean liners, a ferry terminal, passenger
theaters, to name just a few. Many stores, boutiques, and bazaars where all
types of national and imported goods can be acquired are located in the
"golden zone." A busy day, full of fun in La Paz may include: Ocean and sun in
the morning, a walk down the malecon (boardwalk) and shopping in the
sunset dinner in one of the fine restaurants in La Paz. You can end the day
relaxing in some of its romantic bars with live music or perhaps in a disco.
La Paz is a city which traditionally has
distinguished itself for its cultural vocation. This is attested by the
existence of sound higher education institutions such as the Autonomous
University of Southern Baja California, the Regional Technological Institute,
the Pedagogic University, the State School of Music, and several high level
scientific research institutions. Therefore, frequently, conventions and
congresses are held in La Paz. The city's best hotels have modern facilities
to serve such purpose.