La Paz combines the unselfconscious bustle of a small capital port city with beautiful, isolated beaches not far from town. Well on its way to becoming the adventure-tourism capital of Baja, it's the starting point for whale-watching, diving, freediving, sea kayaking, climbing, and hiking tours throughout the peninsula. Arrange any of those activities, plus beach tours, sunset cruises, and visits to the sea lion colony, through recommended tour operators Baja Expeditions (tel. 800/843-6967 in the U.S., or 612/125-3828;; Baja Diving, Obregón 1665-2 (tel. 612/122-1826; fax 612/122-8644;; DeSea Baja Adventures, Marina Palmira L3, Carretera a Pichilingue Km 2.5 (tel. 310/691-8040 in the U.S., or 612/121-5100;; Fun Baja, Reforma 395, on the corner of Guillermo Prieto (tel. 612/121-5884 or 125-2366;; or in travel agencies along the malecón. You can also arrange activities through agencies in the United States that specialize in Baja's natural history.

Most tour agencies offer city tours of all of La Paz's major sights. Tours last 2 to 3 hours, include time for shopping, and cost around $15 per person.

Historic La Paz

When Cortez landed here in 1535, he named it Bahía Santa Cruz. The name didn't stick. In April 1683, Eusebio Kino, a Spanish Jesuit priest, arrived and dubbed the place Nuestra Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace). It wasn't until 1720, however, that Jaime Bravo, another Jesuit priest, set up a permanent mission. The mission church stands on La Paz's main square on Revolución and Independencia.

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.