(continued from previous post)
Well, New Year’s Day has come and gone and it’s time for me to get back to work. The extended Christmas holiday season in Mexico ends on January 6th, Three Kings’ Day, so things fully return to normal Monday morning.
In my last post, I ended with the question that’s the basis of this blog: “Why La Paz?” Specifically, I was referring to our decision to settle in La Paz instead of Los Cabos. In most future posts I’ll focus on the bigger question of why La Paz rather than other expat communities in Mexico or elsewhere in the world. But today I’m going to focus on why we moved north, rather than south, when we left Todos Santos.
Reason # 1: By day, La Paz is a modern city with all the conveniences and services you would expect. At night, the city’s Bayfront Malecón hosts visitors and locals alike as they enjoy a downtown free of timeshare salespeople and aggressive street vendors.
The municipality of La Paz has an estimated population of 300,000 people, making it slightly larger than the municipality of Los Cabos. However, Los Cabos has more than 15,000 hotel rooms, many times the number in La Paz. Visiting cruise ships can add another 10,000 “day trippers” to the streets of downtown Cabo San Lucas. That’s a lot of people! La Paz, on the other hand, has the feel of a community much smaller than it really is, contributing to its “hometown” feel.
Reason # 2: The city of La Paz is not only the municipal seat, but it’s also the state capitol, so there are more government services available here than anywhere else in Baja California Sur and the many government jobs contribute to a high standard of living in La Paz and the highest average monthly income of any city in Mexico!
Reason # 3: As we got to know both La Paz and Los Cabos, we felt that the expat community of La Paz was more stable and connected. During the summer of 2009, we met many La Paz expats who owned local businesses and spent the majority of their year south of the border. In Los Cabos, we got the feeling that even the expats were just “long-term tourists” whose roots were still firmly planted north of the border. In the fall, when we had to choose, La Paz just seemed more like “home” than Los Cabos.
Reason #4: In the course of a year, far more Americans and Canadians visit Los Cabos than come to La Paz (see #1, above) but when we looked at the reasons for these visits, our choice was easy. People often visit – and return – to La Paz because of the many eco-tourism opportunities. Sailboating, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and hiking are very popular activities and the Sea of Cortez and her nearby islands provide endless opportunities to explore new adventures. The seven local marinas are proof that many current residents who sailed into the Bay of La Paz decided this was where they wanted to stay! By comparison, many (most) visitors to Los Cabo go for the party atmosphere and the nightlife. In fact, when we go to Cabo, we enjoy those activities, too. But we always breathe a sigh of relief when we see the lights of La Paz on the horizon and know we’re alomst “home.”
I apologize if this post comes across as “Cabo bashing” but we sincerely prefer La Paz over Los Cabos and these are some of he reasons why. And for my Cabo friends, I promise that in some future posts my attitude will switch from “Why La Paz?” to “Why, La Paz?”