Our love affair with La Paz began as a great many love affairs seem to: unexpectedly.
We had arrived in the Los Cabos airport on December 30, 2010, happily planning on checking out the Cabos – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
We thought we’d spend time in both towns before heading north to cross over to the mainland of Mexico by Ferry from La Paz, bus around the Mexican mainland before heading back and catching our return flight back to San Francisco at the end of January.
Plans are sure fun, aren’t they?! And it sort of feels like making them is simply begging the gods to mess with ’em, doesn’t it?!
So, Cabo San Lucas! As Mikey said (and I have to put this in bold), “if it happened to slip into the Sea of Cortez, we woudn’t miss it” – cuz it held all of the appeal of a bland, rich, all-white, gated golf community for us, one that swapped out with a frat house at night.
San Jose del Cabo was better – we met some really nice people there.
Oh, and the election posters all over the place cracked us up
The tourist stuff there was toned down but it was still very much present and annoying to us, so we cut our planned stay there short and walked on over to the bus centre, booked us a few tickets and boarded the bus to get out of there.
The buses in Mexico are like the buses in Peru – that is, they are decked and tricked out. They are bastions of comfort that only increases in luxury with the amount you pay. But even at our economy level, it’s a pretty sweet ride. Like I said, we were planning on taking the bus through our entire trip– up to La Paz, crossing from there by Ferry to the Mexican mainland and then once on the Mexican mainland, we were planning to bus our way as far as possible along the coast.
So there we were, settling in on the bus, the kids on our laps, enjoying the ride.
The beauty of the desert, the mesas, cacti, the winding roads.
Those winding roads.
Those winding roads.
Those winding roads….started messing with Micah after a while and his food started… unwinding and before we knew it, he was puking his head off.
And that set off this chain reaction of puking in the bus – the guy across from us started puking and the people behind us were puking and it was just like some really bad B movie, only it was real and we were living (and smelling) it and our poor little boy was the star.
We couldn’t arrive in La Paz fast enough and when we did, we practically got out and kissed the ground.
Our grand plans for traveling around the mainland of Mexico were tossed because there was no way we could travel with the bus being our main source of transportation. Not after that PukeFest.
So we were in La Paz, in the bus station in the main part of the “downtown” area. It feels weird writing that, because I got the sense that the heart of the “downtown” is the boardwalk area that hugs the beaches, the Malecon. From the Malecon, it’s like restaurants, shops, bars, hotels cascade out until they’ve reached the outer areas, far from the ocean. The majority of the locals live away from the Malecon, but the Malecon isn’t some Waikiki-esque tourististic trap – there are far more Mexicans hanging out here than foreigners.
So there we were – in the bus station right across from the Malecon in La Paz.
Mikey had wanted to stay in this place he saw in Lonely Planet called the Yeneka Inn, so he stopped in and asked at a coffee shop where the Yeneka Inn was. The girl didn’t know. He dug up the address. She didn’t know. He pointed out that it was the SAME STREET we were on. She still didn’t know. So he gave up, we all walked outside and down the way a bit and whaddya know. There it was.
We stayed there for a couple of nights. We loved it, it was like some laid back love child of Burning Man and Sedona. Crazy, funky “found art” all over the place, weird, wild shit and then deeply groovy Native American and Mexican art. The kind of place where boots hanging on trees is just normal.
There was even a Ford Model T in the courtyard! Free Tequila shots at night too.
The owner was chillllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, like supremely relaxed – this big alpha guy who liked hanging out and talking to people, sharing space and art and a good time. You know the type. You have probably met him before too, and you also probably liked him.
But while there, we happened upon the California Pension just down the street.
The California Pension, or “Hotel California” as we liked calling it, was easily half the price of the Yneca Inn, and you could cook your own meals there in their large courtyard kitchen. Score and bonus score. We had to switch.
We thought it would make an awesome jump-off spot for walking around La Paz and exploring the area.
So we settled in, unbuckled our belts and started to make ourselves comfortable.
Aguila Bus Line: this is the line we took from Los Cabos to La Paz. It’s a very popular company, they have buses going everywhere for a reasonable price.
Yucca Inn: We stayed there in San Jose del Cabo. It’s clean, comfortable, good wifi and hot showers. Right in the older area, you can walk most anywhere. Access: it’s been a while but I remember it as being inaccessible on account of the few stairs down to some rooms and stairs up to others.
Yeneka Inn: crazy fun hotel in La Paz. Access: Rooms on the first floor are accessible, rooms on the second are not. You might want to check about door width because I remember some of the doors as being really narrow.
Pension California: “Hotel California” – economical, spartan hostel smack-dab in an awesome location – close to the stores, markets, the Malecon downtown, the bus center, everywhere. Access: it’s accessible! There are some stupid door things you have to step/roll over with some rooms or with some bathrooms, but if you have a portable mini ramp it should be okay.
** note: I’m not an expert on access – so I definitely advise you to double check on anything you read here – contact the hotels/hostels from the sites directly to be sure **