La Paz is old; ancient by North American European standards. Founded by Cortes a bit past 500 years ago, it lies on the eastern shore of the Baja Peninsula. The easiest connection is by ferry from the main land with the remaining 10% of goods arriving via long haul truck from the US.
So it should not surprise anyone to discover there is one primarily commercial port. At a distance of ~10 miles it certainly is not the worst shuttle bus distance I have had to ride (Newark & Brisbane come to mind just for sheer irritation and lack of public transport).
Since 40% of the local economy derives its income from tourism I was surprised at the free shuttle bus service to town. (Narration was provided by one of the local university students. Marine biology apparently is the major ). Not that I didn’t use it but surprised that the cruise line didn’t take the opportunity to cage a few more $ from the passengers.
Cynical much am I?
One of the oldest buildings is the cathedral (1535). Resembling more the missions scattered along the California coast, it is a simple non-pretentious building from the outside. The building materials are stone, block, and red brick with large amounts of mortar in some areas. Eschewing my usual ban on other people’s religious institutions I even wandered as far as the entry.
The inside is plastered walls with beautifully carved figures in several wall locations along with wooden pews and the obligate stained glass windows.
There is a center square with bandstand, benches, landscaping and well tended flowers. The shops around the square are mostly single to two story buildings. Cafes, tourist shops and local businesses compete with a Starbucks packed with passengers desperate for their 30 minutes of wifi.
I didn’t stay in town all that long. Our stop today was only from 0800-1330 and I am just not willing to brave the water temperatures.