LA PAZ how I love you.
A good friend and former co-worker of mine has been telling me about the wonders of La Paz for many years and Tyler and I finally were able to experience this joyous place recently when we travel there for some good friends’ wedding.
It wasn’t the first time we choose to depart out of the Tijuana airport for a Mexican flight – the Mexican airline Volaris is a great option when traveling to any destination in Mexico and it’s a lot more cost efficient to fly domestic. It’s the only airline that I’ve ever seen that regularly has site-wide sales on all flights – if you time it right, booking a flight on Volaris is kinda shopping on black Friday, without the crowds. However, it was the first time we crossed into Mexico using the new CBX bridge, a $120-million, 390-foot sky bridge, that opened in December 2015. The bridge links Tijuana’s airport with a satellite terminal in Otay Mesa. Round-trip bridge tickets are $24 each and are most beneficial on the return leg of the trip because they allow you to completely skip the United States entry lines.
The flight to La Paz was only about an hour long and is quite beautiful – the flight path goes south over the Baja peninsula and if you are lucky enough to score a window seat on the right side of the plane, offers some incredible views. When we landed in La Paz, we jumped in a shuttle with the rest of the wedding guests. We drove through the downtown part of La Paz (past many american chain stores like Walmart & Costco – great opportunity to pick up supplies if needed) and then drove for about an hour through rugged dessert to get to a secluded bay with crystal clear waters called Bay of Dreams. Our friends rented out Gran Sueno in it’s entirety so the only people there was guests of the bride and groom.
Here are some of the highlights of our time in La Paz:
Even though La Paz is just an hour flight away from San Diego, watching the sunrise over the ocean in La Paz makes you feel as if you’ve traveled all the way to the east coast or the Caribbean. This is because La Paz faces East towards the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Us West-coasters are pretty accustomed to beautiful ocean sunsets but the ocean sunrise phenomenon is quite the treat!
Tip➝ if your room faces the ocean, leave your blinds open and the sunrise will naturally wake you up.
2) Open Water Swimming
The bay is about a mile end to end and has some THE healthiest reefs I’ve ever been fortunate enough to see with my own eyes (including Tulum, Mexico and St. Maarten & Anguilla in the Caribbean). On both Friday and Saturday morning of our trip, Tyler and I met our friends Topher & Katie for early morning swims (after caffeinating, of course) in the bay. The water temp was a dreamy 70 degrees which made lovely swimming conditions and just a little
chilly refreshing for everything else. Instead of the usual black line that we stare at when pool swimming, in La Paz, we saw tons of fish and even a few stingrays on our swims!
Tip➝ I love that the two Jolyn swimsuits I brought on the trip were functional for all my activities including open water swimming, beach volleyball, and stand up paddle PLUS there are no weird tan lines that come with most “active” suits.
3) Stand Up Paddle
The bride and groom kindly rented out all of the beach toys for the entirety of the trip, including stand up paddle boards! Because the water was so clear, it felt like we were paddling on top of an aquarium. Since we were in Mexico, we made sure to bring the proper hydration supplies to enjoy out on the water!
Tip➝ Fill a mesh bag with brewskies or other cold beverages and attach to leash loop on the surfboard. You should NEVER be going to speed in Mexico so the drag won’t bother you at all. Alternatively, pack hands-free neck koozies available at your local bass pro shop. #classy
4) Beach Volley
A beach isn’t really a beach if there’s no beach volleyball! Lucky for our group, a beach volleyball court was situated perfectly between a long row of chaise lounge chairs and palm trees. As much as it pained me, I couldn’t really get too down on the beach volleyball action because of my recovering knee injury but Tyler and I did get into some serious pepper
Tip➝ For the non-volley people: pepper is “when two players face each other separated by a distance of 5–20 feet (2–6 meters). Distances vary based upon the players’ preference. Player 2 starts by hitting or tossing a volleyball player 1. Player 1 then passes the ball back to player 2 starting the drill.
5) Horseback Riding
The bride grew up horseback riding so she made sure the guests got the chance to ride if they wanted. A friend and I took off for a 30 minute jaunt to one side of the bay and back and even splashed around in the water a bit on the horse. I could certainly tell we were in Mexico when we were allowed to ride horses without helmets, shoes, and without signing any liability releases. All good though, our childhood horseback riding lessons came in handy!
Tip➝ although it may be tempting, don’t go horseback riding without pants or at the minimum, boots. Stirrup on skin contact ins’t recommended and I had quite the bruise to prove it!
6) Mexican brew sipping & pool side relaxation
With the ocean being as gorgeous as it was, most guests, including us, spent a majority of time there. However, when the bride and groom hosted an open bar the day before the wedding up at the main pool, people were drawn to the pool like limes to coronas.
Tip➝ On this trip, my drink of choice was sipping (slowly) tequila. It would take me close to an hour to finish a single shot (longer that it would take me to finish a margarita and without all the sugar). I was able to wake up early every morning for sunrise + ocean swims w/o a hangover. Score!
On Saturday morning, the bride and her wedding party paddled out for a pre-wedding pow wow on the water. I had just finished swimming and decided to swim out to say hi. The bride was so chilled out and happy, exactly the way you should be on your wedding day!
Here’s a little sneak peak of the incredible wedding photos captured by the pro, Topher Riley.
Photo Credit: underwater swimming, stand up paddle, beach volley: Topher Riley