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La Paz

Mexico's insider take:

Baja California Sur's capital city has a mainland Mexico feel, though new golf courses and marina developments are gradually gringo-izing its character. The city's seaside promenade on the Sea of Cortez's largest bay faces spectacular sunsets that bring out young couples, watchful grandmothers, and toddlers playing in the sand. Wandering around the Museo de Antropología, main plaza, and narrow streets lined with taco stands and shoe shops give you a real taste of Mexico. Cactus gardens, dusty pickups, and glimpses of the stark brown mountains are constant reminders of Baja's desert nature. The nearby Todos Santos islands lure kayakers and divers with their diverse wildlife; it's east to see why Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez "a marine aquarium." Cruise ships stop in on their way north to Loreto or south to Los Cabos; small luxury and adventure ships sail to isolated beaches and whale-watching grounds off Baja's shores.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.