First time down?
Okay, so you're coming to the City of Peace and you're not quite sure what to bring or what to expect once here. Well I hope this small bit answers some of your question but chances are it will just raise more question.
Probably the number one thing is that you really are coming to a place that is different then all other areas of Mexico. La Paz is a great mix of old and new living side by side. There are still cobble stone streets in town leading right up to mega malls with ten theatres showing Hollywood's latest releases. You can have lunch in a rustic palapa style restaurant that evolved over the years from a street corner taco cart or you can pop in next door to the Internet Café and fire up your wireless laptop.
With the help of Andrea Tomba from Desea Baja Adventures we have put together a few tips for the would be visitor.
Info - Trip Tips
La Paz: Baja Sur's Capital, with 200,000 inhabitants, is both tranquil and charming, holding a truly authentic warmth that is Mexico. Translated as "The Peace", it's name speaks for itself, a place you can enjoy and relax and experience the most breathtaking sunset. Remember when you are booking your flight: you are flying to La Paz, Mexico, NOT LA PAZ BOLIVIA! Believe us, it has happened and usually leads to serious confusion at the airport .
International Airlines: La Paz has its own International airport serviced by Aero Mexico and Alaska Airlines. Direct service is available from Los Angeles on Alaska & Aero Mexico with about 6/8 flights weekly. Also from Los Angeles, Aero Mexico has direct service with one flight from Phoenix, and also from Mexico City. Another option is to fly into San Jose del Cabo International airport, operating a large number of charter flights and approximately two and half hours by car to La Paz.
Airport Fees: Please consult your travel agency when booking flights.
Airport Transfers: Taxis are available, however it is advisable whenever possible to arrange your airport to hotel transfers and back prior to traveling. Prices at the airport can be pricy.
Entry Regulation: Proof of citizenship is required. Passport is best; a driver's license is not sufficient. Pending on country of citizenship, a birth certificate may suffice. Please check with travel agent. You will be required to fill in a "Tourist Visa" upon entering the country. Do not loose this visa as you are required to hand this in when you leave the country, otherwise you will be subject to a fine.
Health regulations: No vaccinations are necessary.
Currency and exchange rate: Almost all prices in La Paz are quoted in pesos (N$) and it is considered easier and more appropriate to carry the local currency if you intend to spend money in the local stores. However, most shops will accept US$, but probably not at such a favorable rate.
Language: Spanish is the official language of Mexico, however English is widely spoken. Please do not forget that you are the visitor, and that, if anything, it is you that does not speak the resident language, not the other way around! Any effort that you make to communicate in Spanish, however bad, will always be appreciated with a smile!
Communications: The country and city code is (52-112). E-mail: There are various e-mail cafes in town.
Water: Bottled water is recommended for drinking.
Tipping: Customarily, a tip of between 15-20% of service fees is expected. Most people in the service industry in La Paz expect a tip, such as taxi drivers, bell boys, maids. However it is in particular customary to tip Boat Captains/guides, Dive Masters after each day's excursion.
Your first fishing experience?
Don't worry if you have no experience at all. Skipper will tie hooks, catch bait, and help you catch fish. If you release all of your fish or fish for certain species, make sure you communicate this to the skipper. Sometimes, the best bet is just tell the skipper you want to fish for whatever is best at the time. Also, don't be afraid to tell your skipper that you feel like shortening your day because you're uncomfortable, seasick or whatever. Your comfort and safety come first and the skipper will do all he can to cater to your needs.
Most fishing captains speak "Spanglish" and fishing English. However, like anyone else, some are more talkative than others. Be patient, it's amazing how far hand signs and a smile will go. They are going to do their best to find fish for you and are more than willing to help you out. Ask questions. Put yourself in their place. Any attempts to speak Spanish are appreciated.
Bringing your own car to baja:
Acquire full coverage insurance including bond.
When hiring a service or buying any product, verify the established conditions and require the corresponding invoice or receipt.
Don't drink and drive.
Always use your seat belt.
Obey all road signs and traffic laws.
Don't leave valuables visible in your parked car.
Always carry a valid I.D.
No policeman is authorized to accept money.
Traffic fines must be paid at the police station or by post mail.
On your trip through Baja California Highways, you will find military check points, they are for your own safety.
Never sleep in lonely places or the wayside, look for the nearest town.
Be careful at certain beaches there are strong currents, use life vests and don't eat or consume alcohol before swimming.
When buying any type of medication be sure there is no restriction for it's purchase.
Recommendation for viewing off-road racing:
Protect the vegetation in the area from where you watch the races.
Removing any plants from the soil, especially the cactus, is a federal offence.
Do not hunt or capture animals, do not destroy their nests or their burrows.
Carry plastic bags for the garbage that is generated, then deposit in trash cans.
Be sure your vehicle does not have oil leaks so you do not pollute, and if you require to do some mechanical repair do not leave the parts on the ground, take them with you.
Do not make campfires on you observation area. If it is necessary, do it in an open space, clean the soil of any vegetation in a distance of at least 3 feet and surround the campfire area with good size stones.
Just use dry branches round your campfire. Do not leave it unattended and make sure you put it out completely with plenty of water or covering it with soil.
Do not throw matches, cigars or any lit object.
When leaving take everything with you, and leave your observation area clean. Recycle paper and aluminium.
By getting to close to the routes, throwing objects or modifying them only puts your life and that of others at risk.
You can Be arrested for the following:
Drinking in public.
Disturbing the peace or being a public nuisance.
Nudity or immoral conduct.
Use, elaboration and sale of false documents.
Possess, bring or use any weapon.
Possess, bring or consume drugs.
Don't blame your morning rush to the pot on those tacos, better chance it was the mass consumption of spirits that did you in. Street stand tacos could be just what the doctor ordered.