We got to La Paz right before Thanksgiving 2022, and it was absolutely packed to the gills. All the docks were full, and we and countless others had stories of being laughed out of marina offices when inquiring about a slip. We had hoped to get a slip for a few weeks to take the bus back to California for a brief holiday visit, but it was completely impossible.
Still, La Paz was amazing – in the end, rather hard to leave. Cruising is about novelty and exploration for us, but it was nice to leave a place when it was feeling so sweet to be there. We never truly tired of La Paz. We left mid-January 2023.
Anchoring in La Paz
We anchored several times, as we came to and from Pichilingue, Isla Espirtu Santo, and Isla Partida:
- 24°09.258′ N, 110°20.063′ W – 100 feet of chain in 19 feet of water
- 24°09.618′ N, 110°19.869′ W – 80 feet of chain in 18 feet of water
- 24°09.259′ N, 110°19.830′ W – 90 feet of chain in 13 feet of water
There are several main anchoring areas, and we tried three: in front of Marina La Paz, across the channel from Marina La Paz (and down towards the Navy base), and across the sand bar.
Marina La Paz has a great dinghy dock (approx $30MX per day or $600MX per month), so being close to it is desirable – with the drawback that pangas will pass close to your boat and their wake will… well it will wake you up if you’re a late sleeper.
At the dinghy dock, you can get water right at the dock, but if you walk up to the Ahoy laundromat, the alley next to it has great filtered water.
The tides are quite strong, and the protection from the wind is pretty minimal compared to anchorages in the area. Make sure to set well, we saw several boats pull up anchor and drift during our time there (including a neighbor, who got back in time to move) before we bumped hulls.
Eating in La Paz
While not the best city we have ever explored for eating, it took nearly a month for us to feel like we had checked all our interested spots off the La Paz list. Some of our favorites…
- Maria California, for their stewed shrimp enchiladas with poblano and cafe de olla
- Nomada Fresh & Organics, for their mole and their turmeric latte
- Doce Cuarenta, for the best Euro-style coffee in La Paz and yummy little cakes
- Las Tres Virgenes, for the atmosphere, cocktails, and grilled octopus
- La Mentita, for their poke and very good smoothies
- La Parilla Norteña, for the parillada mixta (mixed BBQ with chorizo, carne asada, and chicken)
- El Canton Chilango, for blue corn sopes
Activities in and near La Paz
La Paz was particularly good spot for biking, so we biked all over the place! The Malecon has a huge bike path which is quite rideable, we biked out to Hotel Cantamar for my birthday weekend, then out to Playa Tecolote to meet up with some friends, and got all around town on our bikes. The bike culture is fun, and there are lots of great bike shops and places to get bike repairs done.
We went swimming with the whale sharks, but that will have to be its own post – it was exhilarating!
We took countless long walks around town, our favorite area was near the Cathedral, which had many of the best restaurants and shops, and very good street art. There were regular holiday street festivals leading up to Christmas, including with child pageants, live music, and small food vendors. The Malecon had a big installation of lights and Christmas-themed picture frames.
The World Cup (boo FIFA) was going on during our time in La Paz, and we caught some of the games at local restaurants and bars.
Projects in La Paz
Maintenance in exotic locations!
- Ayala’s port tank shook out some sediment on the trip up from San Jose del Cabo, so step 1 was flushing it, adding vinegar, and then running enough water through it until the water from the tanks consistently came out clean.
- Our last bottom job was sometime back on Terminal Island, so our hull had gotten a little fuzzy. We have a goal of getting the hookah necessary to dive it ourselves, but that was not to be had in La Paz, and the very strong currents pushed us towards getting a diver. We got Jose from Muy Pronto Diving out the day after we called. Charles picked him up from the dinghy dock, and when he hopped back into the dinghy afterwards, he was dripping brine shrimp!
- Ayala’s port winch had started making a screeching noise. Charles took it apart planning to do a complete service, but before removing the center spindle noticed it was all very clean and had a good coating of grease everywhere. He scrubbed some green corrosion off the very top of the spindle, put a light bit of lubricant on, and re-assembled it. That completely cleared up the problem.
- The foresail was getting increasingly challenging to roll up, and I was needing to use a winch to get it rolled up (Charles could still do by hand in most conditions). We have a Schaefer 2100 roller furler, which is basically a “no maintenance” device, so we determined it was time to tighten the forestay. Our good friends on Trouble came over to help us wrangle the sail and take the furler apart. One screw on the drum was stubborn, we had to drill it out and replace it, but once we got it apart the forestay tightening went fast. We broke one more screw putting it back together, but our favorite local boat shop Lopez Marine had the exact thing we needed and we got it replaced before sailing again. Our subsequent sailing showed that this was exactly what we needed and now everything is perfectly smooth.
- The Electroscan had started showing more warnings – amps low – and overall seeming less happy. We did the Treatment/Electrode Cleaning from the manual, recommended every 6 months.
- We initially mounted Starlink on the middle rail on our stainless steel arch, about 2 feet above the deck, but consequentially below the solar panels. We found that it worked as long as our nose was not pointing within 15 degrees of North, because then it would just point into the solar panels. and lose signal. It worked while moving (since we are mostly going south), but on anchor became inconsistent. We had concerns about mounting it on the same level as our solar panels for fear of shading (and solar keeps us moving!), but decided to give it a try and put it at the top of our arch. It has since worked excellently, and there has been no shading.
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