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!!


Emergency Backpack – Be Prepared!

Hello all!

This write up is going to be more about being pre-cautious and making sure to be prepared for things that could go wrong. Being able to survive major events can come down to some clean water, a first aid kit, and/or charging your phone to get a hold of help. Self defense becomes very important at the same time. Some type of emergency kit or bug-out bag could make all the difference! Some of my friends have asked me “Do you really need to spend the money on a what-if?” My response is always the same: It’s better to be safe than sorry!

This isn’t about being negative; it’s about being ready. For us, the chances are increased due to the fact that we are on the road and traveling; we would hate to be stuck on the side of the road in a foreign country with no cellphone reception, battery, first aid, food or water, for an indefinite period of time.

When we decided to start our adventure this year, I made a list and decided on what we needed to put in our emergency bag. Now keep in mind, your bag may differ because you might need something more or less for your family or pets, so please adjust as needed.

I’m going to run you through our bag setup and give you guys a breakdown of how we thought this through:

First, in a major disaster, people WILL go crazy. It’s just human nature. Everyone throws logic and consideration out the window and it really becomes a free for all. “Survival of the fittest”. Unfortunately, this is how it is. The best thing to do is stay inside. Food and water become the number one priority to staying alive. A few clean bottles of water, water purification tablets, or a life straw can help provide you with clean water. Plug your bathtubs, and fill them up because you don’t know how long you will have running water. Save your energy but make sure you have some canned food and dry food bars (MREs); this can help you get past those first couple of days till you figure out your next steps.

Second, if there is an accident or natural disaster, chances are you or someone you’re with be hurt. A solid, UNUSED, first aid kit is crucial. This First-Aid kit needs to be a different one than the one you already have in your house. Plenty of bandages, alcohol swabs, a tube of antibiotic cream, like Neosporin, and some basic pain and allergy meds go a LONG way. We threw in a mini sewing kit in case anything or anyone needs to be stitched up.

Third, chances are that there will be NO POWER! No power=no phone. We went to a camping store and bought a hand crank radio and a solar panel charger. This can charge batteries, cell phones, provide light with a small LED light, and the radio can let us know whats going on around us.

Fourth, take the weather into consideration. Getting sick from being too cold causes a lot of problems. Have a way to keep warm with extra socks, emergency blankets, lighters and matches with some kindling to build a fire.

Last but definitely NOT least, some sort of self defense. Decide what form of self defense article works best for you and your family, and of course, BE SMART ABOUT IT. On the road, we have a couple of knives in our emergency pack. It’s also important to leave nothing visible in the car and a steering wheel club on wherever you park your car.

So let’s get into our bag and see what we’ve got. See pictures below with some detail and scroll down farther to see an itemized list.

The most important items are described below:

Water. On top of 3 liters of bottled water (which we change regularly), we have some water purification tablets. The bottles are solid too, and can be reused to store water later.

Also, we have this awesome device called a life straw. This can clean up to 100,000 gallons of water! It comes with a plastic storage bag & straw.

Let’s move on to food. Here are some dry food packs, otherwise known as MREs, or Meals, Ready-to-Eat. Each package is 3 days of food per person. We packed three because these have a better shelf life than dog food for our dogs.

We also packed a couple of cans of chicken breast and a mixed seasoning jar. Don’t forget utensils and a can opener!

First aid kit. This is a basic box from Target, but we added several things that were needed, like Neosporin, Tylenol, Benadryl, sewing kit, extra different size bandages, extra alcohol wipes and more.

Hand crank emergency radio and a solar panel charger to juice up batteries or other accessories if need be.

For keeping warm and clean, we packed some underwear, socks,  and gloves.

2 emergency blankets.

Water proof matches and lighters to start a fire.

Hygiene pack; we put together some basics to keep clean. This fanny pack keeps it all together.

Here we have a 10X10 tarp and some paracord. The tarp and paracord can make a tent, create a dry surface, among many other things. Paracord can be used for hundreds of things; check out this link for some ideas.

It’s always a good idea to have a few flashlights on hand with some batteries. A couple of glow sticks don’t hurt.

A fixed blade knife with matches and a compass in the handle.

A swiss army knife can come in handy.

Small bungee cords and carabiner clips to tie things down or hook things on.

Don’t forget some duct tape and zip ties.

A pocket saw helps to cut some wood or anything that might come up.

An emergency whistle with water proof matches and a signal mirror.

In case of some gases or dirty air, these 3M N95 face masks are great!

Bandanas are a great a addition too; so many uses for bandanas here.

A multitool I got as a gift that found a perfect home in this bag.

We also packed a bag of cotton balls to help clean cuts or use as kindling to start a fire, as well as a few trash bags, zip lock bags, and some foil because these hardly take space and you never know if you need it.

Lastly, we put a note book and some pencils and sharpies aside so we can write down important things or take notes on something if need be. Don’t forget a pack of cards to help fight off boredom in case you are stuck somewhere waiting for help!

So thats pretty much it! Keep in mind a lot of these things are small and easy to pack. We packed this all into one big backpack; like those framed military bags. We picked it up from Big 5 Sporting Goods for $50.

This was definitely an investment (approx $550 for everything), and it took a few weeks to put it all together. We hope we NEVER have to use this emergency bag, but we sure do feel somewhat at ease knowing that we have this while we are on the road traveling through new places. We hope this helps you put together your emergency bag and we hope you also never have to use it, but as we always say “JUST IN CASE”. Consider it an insurance policy that doesn’t expire (except for the medicines and food that need to be changed every 2-3 years).

See below for an itemized list of what’s in the bag

  • 1 – 10X10 Tarp
  • 4 – Pairs of underwear
  • 6 – Pairs of long thick socks
  • 1 – solar panel charger w/rechargeable batteries and LED light ($90)
  • 1 – 25ft Paracord
  • 2 – 2pk glow lights
  • 1 – Red Cross crank radio ($60)
  • 1 – Large leather work gloves
  • 1 – head lamp light
  • 2 – flash lights
  • 2 – pocket lights
  • 1 – fixed blade knife ($20)
  • 1 – swiss army knife ($90)
  • 20 – AAA batteries
  • 4 – Carabiner clips
  • 4 – Small bungee cords
  • 1 – pocket saw
  • 1 – note book
  • 10 – pencils
  • 1 – pencil sharpener
  • 2 – sharpies
  • 1 – pack of playing cards
  • 1 – spice jar
  • 2 – N95 face mask
  • 2 – Bandanas
  • 1 – pack of cotton balls
  • 1 – pack mixed trash bags, zip locks, foil
  • 1 – Gorilla duct tape
  • 4 – packs of water proof matches
  • 2 – lighters
  • 1 – multitool
  • 1 – bottle of water purification tablets
  • 1 – emergency whistle
  • 2 – emergency blankets
  • 1 – Sawyer life straw water purification ($20)
  • 2 – cans of chicken breast
  • 2 – spoon/fork
  • 3 – Emergency dry food, 3 day supply each ($25)
  • 1 – first aid kit with extras ($20 + $20)
  • 1 – water canteen ($10)
  • 1 – Hygiene fanny pack containing:
    • 2 – toothbrush
    • 1 – razor
    • 1 – bar soap
    • 1 – chapstick
    • 1 – toothpaste
    • 1 – hand sanitizer
    • 1 – pack Clorox wipes
    • 1 – pack hand wipes
    • 1 – assortment female hygiene products
    • 1 – shampoo
    • 1 – conditioner
    • 1 – body wash
    • 1 – lotion
    • 1 – sewing kit
    • 1 – small flash light