This Mexican City Is A Great Spot For A Warm-Weather Winter Escape

For those of us who live in colder climates, winter can become a bit of a drag, especially once all the stress and fun of the holiday season ends and we're just powering through to springtime. That's when many of us dream of hopping on a plane and heading somewhere a little warmer to beat the winter blues for a while. With its charming city life, waterfront locale, and amazing cuisine, La Paz in Mexico makes for a great getaway when the weather back home gets too cold and bleak.

La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, the peninsula that runs parallel to the Mexican mainland. With a population of 250,000, it's big enough to have a distinct city vibe yet not so hectic that it will distract you from strolling its streets. This is especially true at the historic center featuring a cathedral or when people-watching on the Malecón, 3 miles of boardwalk lined with bars and restaurants. La Paz is also rich in culture, with its colorful street art and fascinating museums.

The Malecón is a great place to mingle with the locals; it is popular with joggers, skaters, and cyclists, and there are many small beaches and quirky works of public art along the way. After you've watched the sunset from the boardwalk, it's time to enjoy a cocktail and some live music as the thriving nightlife scene kicks into gear.

Things to see and do around La Paz

Situated near the tip of the Big Sur California peninsula and surrounded by the sea, La Paz is naturally a haven for water-based activities and beach-worshipping. Some of the absolute highlights involve getting up close with the marine life. You can take a boat tour to Espiritu Santo Island, a UNESCO world heritage site where you can snorkel and swim with friendly sea lions. The water is a bit chilly, but it is worth it for a chance to meet the social creatures as they frolic around you. The winter temperatures also attract whales to the peninsula for mating and calving their young, making it a great opportunity for whale-watching. If you're not content to look at the majestic creatures, you can hop into the water and swim with mighty whale sharks.

When you're done hanging out with sea creatures, you can head to Playa Balandra for a spot of relaxation. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, and only a limited number of visitors are admitted each day, which means the stunning golden sands and turquoise waters are never crowded. There are also some great beaches closer to town, such as Playa Caimancito or Playa las Conchas, which are great for swimming and watersports. Further afield, head to La Ventana Bay to try your hand at kitesurfing, which is at its best in the winter and early spring.

Try the local delicacies in La Paz

Mexican cuisine is often ranked among the best in the world, so a trip to La Paz would be wasted without checking out some of the local delicacies. The city's proximity to the ocean means that seafood lovers have plenty to enjoy. One favorite is chocolate clams, either eaten ceviche-style fresh out of the sea or cooked at one of the many restaurants that specialize in the fruits of the sea. If you're really into it, you can even eat them alive with a squeeze of lime and a nice cold beer. A more land-based regional dish is Machaca, dried and shredded beef often served for breakfast with eggs. There are numerous places to load up on this tasty and filling staple, such as Los Magueyes, a popular family-style restaurant not far from El Malecón. 

If you want a real culinary treat to celebrate your visit to La Paz, check out Nemi. This innovative eatery has been chosen as one of the best restaurants in Mexico for three consecutive years. Its chefs use the best seasonal ingredients to create beautiful contemporary Mexican dishes. The city also has plenty of more modest places, like Carnitas Los Yñiguez, a cool and shady outdoor spot serving delicious home-cooked carnitas. Whichever time of year you visit, you are guaranteed good eats in La Paz.