We came to Baja California for the gray whales and expected to leave for mainland Mexico almost immediately. Unfortunately for our budget we couldn’t help but stay in Baja California Sur just a bit longer.
The drive to La Paz from Guerrero Negro was about 10 hours and again we took a night bus (saving time and money!). Pulling into town earlier than expected we didn’t want to call our host in La Paz at 7am so we killed some time tossing a Frisbee at the malecon (boardwalk)on the beach before finding food. Around 8am the streets started to open up and we ate our first street food breakfast, some sort of shredded beef stew with tortillas which was DELICIOUS. There is nothing quite like hot and spicy mexican food in the morning! Laura, our couchsurfing host and an amateur photographer picked us up at the bus station and plied us with another delicious breakfast of eggs and tortilla. She introduced us to La Paz with a walking and photo tour of the city before setting us free to explore on our own. Walking the malecon, we found a number of shops, overpriced restaurants and several adventure outfitters. With a healthy tourist population from all over the world, La Paz is filled with different activities, people and things to do.
On our way back to Laura we found ourselves in the middle of a political rally. Coming from DC, we know a political rally when we see one. Since my Spanish is very limited, Danny got the scoop on the situation and we found that it was a sort of State of the Union for Baja California Sur. We hung around for a while taking the scene in, but ultimately my slim grasp of the language got the best of me and we wandered away. A lovely sunset over the bay and we were home to our first shower since leaving the USA!
Laura recommended several places outside the city to visit, but virtually non were accessible by bus. Such is the story of the entire Baja Peninsula; most of the cool stuff is not accessible by bus. Sighing to defeat we planned to leave La Paz on Tuesday, however luck was on our side. On our gray whale tour we meet a lovely Canadian couple, Margaret and David, who were heading to a relatives vacation home in La Paz. They offered to let us crash with them in La Paz and luckily we were able to meet up. Besides being incredibly generous and warm people, Margaret and David were adventurous. Seemingly without limit, the four of us headed to the playas (beaches) north of La Paz on Monday and Cabo Pulmo on Tuesday, an amazing national marine park about two hours south of La Paz. Lulled into watching the desert scenery go by, we suddenly found ourselves at the point where the sidewalk ends. A bumpy gravel road (perhaps that is an understatement – we were so concerned about the undercarriage of the car that we checked it when we got out!) lead to a small cluster of homes and tiki huts (population 58) where a coral reef hugged the shoreline. This was Cabo Pulmo. We dropped out bags, grabbed our snorkels and hit the water to find….. disappointment. I don’t know if we were in the wrong spot or if it was just a bad day, but Cabo Pulmo was not the blooming coral reef I was expecting. Don’t get me wrong, the sea was a gorgeous shade of blue and green, and the beach was incredible and not very crowded, but the marine life hardly compared to what we had expected from a national marine park. We ended the day with a hot shower and a delicious meal.