We Left a Part of Us in La Paz, Mexico

I’m writing this on my iPhone while sitting here at Claro Fish Jr on the corner of Nicolas Bravo and Mutualismo streets. It’s a perfect 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a light breeze. It’s our last day in La Paz before we get on the boat and cross the gulf to Mazatlan. This was the first place we ate at when we arrived to La Paz on Sunday Jan 22nd. We had been on the road for 3 days and anxious to get to the little beach town and have a fish taco (or 5). Across from us was a senior couple from Canada with their small wiener dog. There were some local families and some tourists. On the other side of the street was a small skate park and we could watch the local kids do tricks with their bikes. This is La Paz. Slow, breezy, locals and tourists having a meal together, children playing, friendly stray dogs, all with the backdrop of the beautiful bay and the Malecón (Boardwalk).

On our first day here, we stopped at Claro Fish Jr because it looked decent and not too flashy, but at the same time it wasn’t questionable. After being on a long road trip, we weren’t ready for hole-in-the-walls. Luckily, it turned out to be a great spot. The fish tacos were delicious and they have a salsa station where you can put as much avocado as you want. Yes, AS MUCH AVOCADO AS YOU WANT. This isn’t a “guac is extra” place!

One thing we had a love/hate relationship with in this restaurant was their waiter. For some reason we think his name is Ruben but we aren’t so sure. We would have asked him, but he never gave us a chance to say anything other than what we wanted to order. Ruben was an interesting guy. He would smile at us, but we just got that feeling that he didn’t like us. Not sure why. We always greeted him, tipped him well, and spoke to him in Spanish, but he wasn’t having it. He would even sweep the street out front and push the dirt under our car then throw water and get the Natmobile all splashed and dirty. WHY DON’T YOU LIKE US, RUBEN? Nat & Sam are nice, fun people! We decided he was our favorite waiter in La Paz. We will miss you and your RBF Ruben!

Claro Fish Jr is definitely one of our favorite lunch spots in La Paz. 2 crunchy fish tacos and a Pacifico with salt and lime. And all the avocado you want.

La Paz is a beautiful small beach town with so many things to see and so many restaurants to try. It was the perfect place to kick off our year long adventure through Mexico. Population is approx 215,000 , with 1/4 retired Americans/Canadians/Europeans, and 3/4 locals. The people here are so nice, and they are very patient with those who don’t speak Spanish. Life here is slow paced. Everything closes between 12-2pm for lunch. People take siestas by the beach. Almost every store and restaurant is mom and pop owned. People put out chairs and tables and transform their front patios into cute little cafés. That’s one of our favorite things about La Paz. Locals build extensions on their homes and open up little shops and restaurants. It’s so different than what we are used to in Irvine. However, a few minutes away from the Malecón, you will find a Walmart, a Home Depot, and a Sam’s Club. They also have a McDonald’s and a Burger King, and an always empty Applebee’s ruining the view. We wish they would take it away. Who needs a lame Applebee’s when there are so many other amazing, fresh restaurants?? Corporate America just trying to squeeze it’s butt into everything *EYEROLL*

One thing you MUST do if you are ever in La Paz is rent bikes from the little shop by the Malecón (it’s right across from Bank Santander) and cruise north until you get to Cocos y Piñas

Order a “coco tierno” (make sure you say “tierno”, it means soft). Quench your thirst with the most delicious coconut water right out of the coconut.

Then have the waiter split the coco so you can eat the fruit. Throw some lime and chamoy on it and dig in.

Chamoy is a spicy-sweet sauce made from picked fruits and and spiced with chile


La Paz is tiny, far from fancy, and still underdeveloped. Some streets are paved whereas others are still dirt roads. But you learn to appreciate the old broken structures, dirt sidewalks, and every pothole that comes out of nowhere. We even appreciate that while we were having a meal on a Friday at 3pm, the sewage company decides it’s the perfect time to empty the septic tank right across the street. Oh La Paz. It’s the little things that make us love you so much. We will miss each and every stray dog that came up to say hello.

More things to do:

Enjoy a luxury movie at Cinemex. Make sure you get your “Platino” tickets so you can enjoy the reclining leather couches. But instead of paying $21 USD per ticket like you do in California, you pay MXN $75! Approx $4 USD.

At Costa Baja Resort, go to restaurant Casa Club La Pintada and enjoy the view while chowing down on the most amazing chilaquiles.  

If you don’t have a car, take a taxi to Playa Balandra. This place is a hidden gem. When the tide is low, you can walk out into the water for a mile. Just take some water shoes and be careful not to step on the little crab houses!

Walk along the beach to Mushroom Rock
We spent Valentine’s Day on our own mini island

Go shell picking at Playa Tecolote early in the morning. You will find some amazing intact shells! But go early, because most shells will be picked up by other people.

Tecolote Beach
Pretending to be a mermaid
Favorite thing about Playa Tecolote: Off-leash dogs running around splashing in the beach
Our collection of shells from Tecolote Beach
You may spot Pookie but can you spot Chewie?

Go to The Dock for breakfast, then near the marina, ask a person with a sailboat to take you to see the Whale Sharks (January through April). Don’t accept the first price! Always bargain! Should’t be more than MXN $400 per person, including snorkel gear. We didn’t go; we got scared of the big fishies…

The Marina
Chilaquiles at The Dock

Take a book, your dogs, and head to the Malecón before sunset and enjoy the breeze, the view, and a Nutella Latte from Cinnarolls.

Other restaurants we recommend:

  • McFisher for fish tacos
  • Toro Guero: Seafood; ask for the fried Huachinango (wa-chi-NAN-go) If they bring you this red snapper any smaller than the size of a football, send it back and tell them not to cheat and to give you a large one (same price)
  • Bismarck-cito: Have some ceviche or a Coctél de Mariscos
  • Rancho Viejo for tacos (There’s 2, and both are 24 hours)
  • El Mesquite for steaks/burgers/wings
  • Il Rústico for amazing Italian food
  • El Buffalito for juicy burgers
  • Dulce Romero for a pastry or smoothie or both. Or even 4 pastries and a smoothie (“but it’s organic therefore guilt-free!” is what I tell myself to make me feel better)
  • Jiro Sushi. There’s a few of these around town, but go to the one on the Malecón for a big side of pretty view.
  • Rosticeria California MXN $145 (less than $10 USD!) for a whole roasted chicken, fries, tortillas, salsa, macaroni salad, and tortilla chips; enough for 4 meals.
  • Cervecería la México on the Malecón; this is the busier bar in town. Enjoy a beer in front of the beach
  • La Fuente Ice Cream shop: You can’t miss this little shop on the Malecon. It’s so colorful! You MUST have a Paleta (Chocolate, Fresas con Crema, and Mango are our favorites!)

And the road continues…

The road from Balandra and Tecolote to Centro

And here we are being cheesy because it was Valentine’s Day

Thanks for reading and we hope you book a ticket or drive to La Paz soon; you won’t regret it!!