A sea lion (Zalophus californianus) swims above baitfish at the Los Islotes sea lion colony near La Paz.

©Brent Durand/Getty Images

La Paz

At first glance La Paz is a sprawling, slightly dingy city, but after an hour or so you'll discover there's a lot more to it. Laid-back, old-world beauty can be found on a stroll along the waterfront malecón or in the older architecture around the Plaza Constitución; chichi restaurants, cafes and bars cunningly hide in between the cracks. It’s a surprisingly international town – you’re as likely to hear French, Portuguese or Italian here as English or Spanish, and yet paradoxically it’s the most ‘Mexican’ city in all of Baja. Its quirky history includes American occupation and even being temporarily declared its own republic.


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