The beach along the malecón
in La Paz is narrow and the water is shallow — not good for
swimming.  But within 20 minutes of the town are beaches of
greater charm and a few of magical splendor.  The first one we
visited was Pichilingue — not a spectacular beach in itself but
featuring a big palapa-roofed restaurant next to the water with sublime
seafood.  I had some stuffed clams there that were memorable — Nora gave a very high rating to the piñadas.

Adults can sit in the shade of the palapa roof, eating and drinking
exceptionally well, while their kids frolic in the ocean, which makes
for a pleasant afternoon.  Harry and Nora went kayaking and Lee
made friends with a panga captain who offered to take us on a tour of
Espíritu Santo island for a price far lower than we'd pay if we
arranged the trip in La Paz.  We checked on this back in La Paz,
found he was right, and came back the next day to sign up for the

On a different day we spent an afternoon at Balandra beach, which was
truly breathtaking.  It curves around a shallow bay, which you can
walk across to visit the famous mushroom rock, an iconic landmark of
the area.

There's a reproduction of it in the central square of
La Paz, across from the cathedral:

Smaller reproductions can be
bought as souvenirs, though I really can't imagine who would buy such a thing:

Some American tourists in La Paz told us
that the rock had actually toppled off its stem a few years ago and had to be
bolted back together — which turned out to be true.

For previous Baja California trip reports, go here.

[Original photos © 2007 Harry Rossi]