La Paz, Baja California Sur

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La Paz
Boardwalk of La Paz
Boardwalk of La Paz
Flag of La Paz
Coat of arms of La Paz
Coat of arms
La Paz is located in Baja California Sur
La Paz
La Paz
Location of La Paz in Baja California Sur
Coordinates: 24°08′32″N 110°18′39″W / 24.14222°N 110.31083°W / 24.14222; -110.31083Coordinates: 24°08′32″N 110°18′39″W / 24.14222°N 110.31083°W / 24.14222; -110.31083
Country Mexico
State Baja California Sur
Municipality La Paz
Founded May 3, 1535
named La Paz 1596
 • Municipal president Lic. Esthela Ponce Beltran (PRI)
Elevation 27 m (89 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 215,178
 • Urban 215,178
  Data source: INEGI
Time zone MST (UTC−7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC−6)
Source: Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México

La Paz (About this sound la ˈpas , Peace) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. The city had a 2010 census population of 215,178 people,[1] but its metropolitan population is somewhat larger because of surrounding towns such as el Centenario, el Zacatal and San Pedro. Its surrounding municipality, which is the fourth-largest municipality in Mexico in geographical size, reported a population of 251,871 persons living on a land area of 20,275 km2 (7,828 sq mi).[2]


La Paz was first inhabited by Neolithic hunter-gatherers at least 10,000 years ago who left traces of their existence in the form of rock paintings near the city and throughout the Baja California Peninsula. On May 3, 1535, Hernán Cortés arrived in the bay by La Paz and named it "Santa Cruz"; he attempted to start a colony but abandoned his efforts after several years due to logistical problems.[3] In 1596 Sebastián Vizcaíno arrived, giving the area its modern name, La Paz.

From January 10, 1854 to May 8, 1854 it served as the capital of William Walker's Republic of Sonora. The project collapsed due to lack of US support and pressure from the Mexican government to retake the region.


The Bay of La Paz, as seen from the International Space Station. El Mogote peninsula is to the center left.

La Paz has a desert climate. The climate of La Paz is relatively consistent with generally little rainfall, with a year around average temperature of between 17 and 30 °C (63 and 86 °F). Summer months (July–September) typically see highs between 34 and 36 °C (93 and 97 °F) and dew points of 21–23 °C (70–73 °F).[4] The winter months (December–February) are the coldest with temperatures dropping below 15 °C (59 °F) at night, but mostly maxima are from 20 to 25 °C (68 to 77 °F). Breezes from Bahía de La Paz moderate the temperature. The bay also acts as a barrier against seasonal storms in the Gulf of California.

Rainfall is minimal at most times of year, although erratic downpours can bring heavy rains. Rain tends to be concentrated in a short, slightly rainier season that peaks in August and September, following the pattern of the North American Monsoon. The driest season, where it is common to have no rain, occurs March through June. La Paz averages over 300 days of sunshine annually and an average of 3148 sunshine hours.

During the summer the cooling Coromuel winds, a weather phenomenon unique to the La Paz area, blow during the night from the Pacific over the Peninsula and into the Bay of La Paz.

As with most of the Gulf of California, the temperature of the water changes substantially over the course of the year, with temperatures around 68 °F during winter and around 85 °F during summer.[5][6][7][8]

Average Sea Temperature
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
68 °F

20 °C

66 °F

19 °C

68 °F

20 °C

72 °F

22 °C

75 °F

24 °C

79 °F

26 °C

82 °F

28 °C

84 °F

29 °C

86 °F

30 °C

84 °F

29 °C

79 °F

26 °C

72 °F

22 °C

Climate data for La Paz (1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 35.2
Average high °C (°F) 23.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 17.4
Average low °C (°F) 11.2
Record low °C (°F) 2.0
Average rainfall mm (inches) 14.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.8 1.1 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.2 2.1 4.1 4.1 1.5 0.8 1.8 18.2
Average relative humidity (%) 66 60 58 55 55 54 58 61 63 63 64 66 60
Mean monthly sunshine hours 200 234 271 292 332 322 287 258 257 272 233 190 3,148
Source #1: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (humidity 1981–2000)[9][10][11]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1961–1990)[12][a]


The population of La Paz has grown greatly since the 2000 census; in 2010 it was 215,178.[13] This growth is largely because the city enjoys one of the highest standards of living and quality of life in Mexico, with average wages in the range of US$27 per day, when compared to the country overall where minimum wages stand at closer to US$4.25 per day. For this reason many workers migrate to La Paz and other areas in Baja California Sur, to enjoy a better life without leaving the country while still able to remit portions of their incomes to their families in their home states.

Eco-tourism is by far the most important source of tourism income in La Paz as people come to enjoy its marine wonders, as well as its diverse and often unique terrestrial species endemic to the region. Tourists also visit the city's balnearios. There are some 900 islands and inlets in the Gulf of California with 244 now under UNESCO protection as World Heritage Bio-Reserves and the Isla Espíritu Santo group, which borders the northeast portion of the Bay of La Paz and are considered the crown jewels of the islands of the Gulf (also referred to as the Sea of Cortez/Mar de Cortes), the primary tourist destination of the area. Its diving, snorkeling, and kayaking are considered world class.

La Paz is also favored by water enthusiasts for its marinas, boat yards, marine supply stores and cruiser club activities. The surrounding waters provide adventure for experienced boat captains and their customers. Novice captains enjoy the nearby island coves for day and overnight trips. A wealth of experienced sailors and boaters willing to share their expertise are readily available.

Industries include silver mining, agriculture, fishing and pearls. Tourism is also an important source of employment for this coastal community.

Along with the area's marinas, new developments are emerging because of the proximity to the United States (the municipality is a two-hour flight from Los Angeles), the mild weather, the city services, and the peaceful atmosphere.[citation needed]

When Aero California existed, its headquarters were in La Paz.[14]


Jesús del Caracolon the boardwalk of La Paz.

La Paz is served by Manuel Márquez de León International Airport with flights to the most important cities of Mexico: Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey. Airlines flying into La Paz include Aeroméxico Connect, Volaris and VivaAerobus. Two ferry services operate from the port of Pichilingue outside the city, connecting the Baja California peninsula to the mainland at Mazatlán and Topolobampo, near Los Mochis.


Running along the coast in front of La Paz is a 5 km long Malecon Road. The main purpose of this road is to allow easy movement across the city. However, it quickly became the focal point of tourist related activities with a large number of bars, restaurants and shops opening along its length. Since 2004 extensive development has taken place which included a large sidewalk which offers safety for large numbers of people to walk along the coastal front of La Paz.

In September 2011, a bicycle lane was added to the Malecon road, providing cyclists protection from cars and pedestrians.[15]

La Paz is served mainly by two highways; Mexican Federal Highway 1 that links the south of the state from Cabo San Lucas to the north of the peninsula to Tijuana, and Mexican Federal Highway 19, that connects La Paz with the population of the south pacific towns such as Todos Santos and El Pescadero. It is also served by two secondary roads, the Los Planes highway (286) that connects La Paz with towns such as La Ventana, Ensenada de los Muertos and Los Planes. The other is the Pichilingue highway which links La Paz with its maritime port.


Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1960 24,253 —    
1970 —    
1980 —    
1990 136,759 —    
1995 154,314 +12.8%
2000 162,954 +5.6%
2005 189,178 +16.1%
2010 215,178 +13.7%


La Paz is the state capital and center of commerce, as well as the home of the three leading marine biology institutes in Latin America (UABCS, CIBNOR & CICIMAR), largely because it sits on the Gulf of California, which is home to exceptional marine biodiversity. It also supports several other university-level institutes of learning, such as the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur.

Popular culture[edit]

John Steinbeck visited La Paz in 1940. He describes the town in his 1947 novel The Pearl and mentions it extensively in his 1951 travelogue The Log from the Sea of Cortez.[18]

The city is also the setting of the 1967 Scott O'Dell children's novel The Black Pearl, chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 1968.,[19] where La Paz is the home of the main character.

Sister cities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "La Paz". Catálogo de Localidades. Secretaría de Desarrollo Social (SEDESOL). Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  2. ^ (in Spanish) Los Municipios con Mayor y Menor Extensión Territorial Archived 2007-03-03 at the Wayback Machine., Instituto Nacional Para el Federalismo y el Desarrollo Municipal, SEGOB (Mexico.) Accessed on line 15-II-2008.
  3. ^ Chapter 2, vol. 1, History of California, Theodore Henry Hittell, San Francisco: N. J. Stone & Company, 1897.
  4. ^ "La Paz, Baja California Sur Travel Weather Averages". Retrieved 16 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Gulf of California - A Physical, Geological and Biological Study" By Rebekah K. Nix
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-12-21. Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  7. ^[permanent dead link]
  8. ^
  9. ^ "NORMALES CLIMATOLÓGICAS 1951-2010". Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. 2012. Retrieved 1 March 2017. 
  10. ^ "Extreme Temperatures and Precipitation for La Paz (DGE) 1940-2010" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "NORMALES CLIMATOLÓGICAS 1981–2000" (PDF) (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2015. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "Station 76405 La Paz, BCS". Global station data 1961–1990—Sunshine Duration. Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 3 May 2015. 
  13. ^ 2010 census tables: INEGI Archived 2013-05-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-03-27. p. 46. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "MEXICO: Baja California Sur". 2012-01-08. Retrieved June 1, 2012. [permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-15. Retrieved 2014-09-15. 
  18. ^ Steinbeck, John (2000). The Log from the Sea of Cortez. London: Penguin. pp. 84–105. ISBN 978-0-14-118607-8. 
  19. ^ Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922-Present Archived 2008-02-18 at the Wayback Machine., ALSC, American Library Association. Accessed on line 15-II-2008.


  1. ^ Station ID for La Paz, BCS is 76405 Use this station ID to locate the sunshine duration

External links[edit]