La Paz's General Manuel Márquez De León International Airport (LAP; tel. 612/164-6307) is 18km (11 miles) northwest of town along the highway to Ciudad Constitución and Tijuana. Both Alaska Airlines (tel. 800/252-7522 in the U.S.; www.alaskaair.com) and Delta (tel. 800/241-4141 in the U.S.; www.delta.com) have nonstop flights from Los Angeles. Aeroméxico (tel. 800/237-6639 in the U.S., or 612/122-0091; www.aeromexico.com) connects through Tucson and Los Angeles in the United States, and flies from Mexico City and other points within Mexico.
Airport colectivos (175 pesos per person) run only from the airport to town, not vice versa. Taxi service (300 pesos, 600 pesos for a van) is available as well. If you fly to Los Cabos International airport in San José, there's a convenient shuttle (3 hr.; tel. 888/829-9925 in the U.S., 01-800/026-8331 in Mexico; www.shuttletolapaz.com) to La Paz bus station on the malecón for 325 pesos one-way.
Most major rental-car agencies have booths inside the airport. Budget's airport number is tel. 612/124-6433 or 122-3107 in town; you can contact Avis at tel. 612/124-6312, or 122-2651 in town, or Hertz at tel. 612/124-6330 at the airport, or 128-4865 in town.
From San José del Cabo, Hwy. 1 north through the East Cape is the more scenic route, passing through San Bartolo ★★, a mountain town where heavenly homemade macaroons made of thick, fresh-cut coconut, and pralines made from cajeta (goat's-milk caramel) will for some be worth the longer drive, about 3 1/2 hours. A faster route from the south heads north from Cabo San Lucas on Hwy. 19 through Todos Santos to San Pedro, where Hwy. 19 rejoins Hwy. 1 and runs north into La Paz, about 2 1/2 hours. From Northern Baja, Hwy. 1 south is the only choice; the trip from Loreto takes 4 to 5 hours.
Taking Your Car to the Mainland -- Those planning to take their U.S. or Canadian cars on the ferry to the Mexican mainland must obtain a temporary import permit. Additionally, every traveler going to the mainland needs a Mexican Tourist Permit (FMM), available upon your entry into Mexico.
Reserve your space on the ferry as early as possible and confirm your reservation 24 hours before departure; you can pick up tickets at the port terminal ticket office as late as the morning of the day you are leaving. The dock is at Pichilingue, 18km (11 miles) north of La Paz.
Buses to Pichilingue depart from the beach bus terminal of Transportes Aguila (tel. 612/122-7898) on the malecón at Independencia on the hour, from 7am to 8pm, and cost $2 each way.
The bus station is on the malecón at Álvaro Obregón and Cinco de Mayo (tel. 612/122-7898). The station is open daily from 6am to 10pm, and taxis line up in front. Buses to the beach at Pichilingue depart seven times a day from 8am to 5pm and cost 22 pesos one-way; buses to San José del Cabo leave from 6am to 9pm, and to Cabo San Lucas (236 pesos one-way) from 5:45am to 6pm. For schedule information all the way from Tijuana down the peninsula, check at the station or with Transportes Aguila (tel. 800/824-8452; www.autotransportesaguila.net).
Baja Ferries serves La Paz from the mainland Pacific ports of Topolobampo (6 hr., daily at 3pm from La Paz, at 11pm from Topolobampo) and Mazatlán (15 hr., Sun-Fri, alternating days from La Paz at 5 or 7:30pm and Mazatlán at 4pm). Tickets are available at the Baja Ferries office in La Paz, on the corner of Allende and Marcelo Rubio (tel. 800/337-7427; www.bajaferries.com) or by phone through their call center. The local office is open daily 8am to 6pm. They do not accept foreign credit cards for payment, so if you don't have a credit card backed by a Mexican bank, to buy a ticket, you'll have to make a deposit into the Baja Ferries bank account. This is easier than it sounds; go to the office, pick up a deposit slip, go to the bank and have it validated, and bring it back in exchange for your tickets.
Passengers pay one fee for themselves (Topolobampo 790 pesos, Mazatlán 890 pesos for a seat, half price for children ages 3-11, and an additional 770 pesos for a cabin with four beds and one bathroom) and another for their vehicles (1,050 pesos to Topolobampo, 2,462 pesos to Mazatlán). The 1,000-passenger ferries, which are accessible to people with disabilities, offer restaurant and bar service, as well as a coffee shop and live music, and a hot meal is included in the cost of the ticket. Cabins and bathrooms are very clean with good showers.
Buses line up in front of the ferry dock at Pichilingue to meet every arriving ferry. They stop at the beach bus station on the malecón at Independencia; it's within walking distance of many downtown hotels if you're not encumbered with heavy luggage. Taxis also meet each ferry and cost about $10 to downtown La Paz.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.