Thursday, May 14, 2015

Doing the La Paz Waltz

When people find out you're sailing to La Paz, most of them will comment: "Don't get stuck in La Paz".  After 7 days in La Paz, we weren't sure if people were saying not to get stuck literally or figuratively. La Paz is a great town for provisioning, getting projects done and having a great time.

I have a good friend from college who's lived in La Paz for years and was able to put us in touch with resources to get our outboard fixed (for the last time!), provision, have new cockpit cushions made and buy new bimini fabric all in the span of a week.

Looking to get things done in La Paz? Here's a few resources you might not find in the guidebook.

OUTBOARD HELP:   Head to Club Cruceros next to Marina de La Paz for morning coffee and ask for Jimmy. Everyone will know "outboard Jimmy". Our outboard went from limping into La Paz to going fast enough to pull the kids wake surfing in Agua Verde! 

SAILS AND REPAIRS:  Find my friend Doug from Snug Harbor some, he's known as Snuggie Dougie. Nicest guy in the world, years of experience and can help point you in the direction of any other needed assistance. His sail loft is right outside the Marina de La Paz across the street (blue steel doors) to the right of El Cayuco Mariscos.  Just pull on the little bell handle and someone will come to the door.

Me and Snuggie Dougie

FANTASTIC TACOS: Walk straight out of Marina de La Paz, across the street and in to El Cayuco restaurant before 1pm for the best tacos. These tacos (or empanadas, which are Mexican "hot pockets" filed with goodness) are 13 pesos! The best part, you have an entire salsa bar that features about 7 different salsa's, fried peppers, onion rings, coleslaw and other slaw type treats. We ate lunch there all but one day. Feed a family of four lunch for under $10 USD.

El good, so cheap!

BEST HAPPY HOUR: Head down the malecon and on your right hand side not too far from Marina La Paz is the best happy hour in town. The Shack features 15 peso (about $1 USD) mugs of cold beer or 20 peso fresh squeezed margaritas. The Shack is close enough to the Marina that you can bring your VHF and call over all your friends.

FANTASTIC ICE CREAM AND RESPADOS: Walk down the malecon a little ways and on your right hand side you'll see a few different ice cream spots. The "best" in town (and the second one you'll come to walking away from Marina La Paz) has a painted tree out front with huge polk-a-dots, hard to miss. Respados is Mexico's version of a  "shaved ice" only better. You have to try one!!

FABRIC AND CUSHIONS: We took the opportunity to have our cockpit cushions completely remade with new foam and fabric. The best place to go will require a car or taxi. Head toward the foothills (it's a 10 minute drive from the Marina La Paz) to Tapiceria Macias.  We replaced our two bottom cockpit cushions (new foam and Sunbrella fabric) plus bought fabric for a new bimini top all for $300.

GROCERY:  There's plenty of places to buy groceries in town.  We did our provisioning at Chedraui, but there is also a Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Soriana and a bunch of other Supermercados to choose from.

CHANDLERIES: There's about 6 chandleries in town and shouldn't be hard to find. If you need to find anything marina related, head to Club Cruceros in the morning for coffee and ask...someone will alway know where to find what you need.

WIFI: Don't expect to pick up good wifi in Marina La Paz. Want good wifi? Head over to 5th street coffee, about two blocks from the Marina.  They have a really nice air conditioned lounge upstairs with couches and tables.

Cuttin' a rug with Snuggie Dougie

FRIDAY ENTERTAINMENT: My good friend Mike (featured above) and his band usually play (during season) Friday nights at El Cayuco (same place with great tacos) from 6-9. Doesn't matter what type of music blows your hair back...they play it all.

THE LA PAZ WALTZ: There's a not-so-fun phenomenon that takes place in La Paz in the afternoon referred to as the La Paz Waltz. This is caused by the incoming and outgoing tidal current swinging the boats to and fro in the anchorage and causing them to reset their anchors 4 times a day. When the wind is blowing in the opposite direction of the tide, this gets even more interesting as all of the boats scoot around their anchors in different directions and sometimes even make contact. What makes this daily event even more nerve-racking are the dozen or so derelict boats that are left to break free at any moment. While we were there we heard at least 3 different radio reports of boats coming loose and dragging through the anchorage.

Maybe it was the time of year, but it seemed that for every salty sailor with decades of experience under their eyepatch was a complete idi-yacht (yes, I just made up that word).  Our favorites:

FIRST RUNNER UP: The dude who drops anchor in the middle of the channel and stays for a few days. Even after attempting to tell him he was anchored in the channel he wasn't moving.

WINNER: The guy who anchored next to us and within 20 minutes dinghied over to tell us that he was late for a dentist appointment and that if his boat started to drift, to feel free just to hop on his boat and take up chain.  Sure enough within two hours, the girls were on deck screaming that his boat was headed straight for us. After turing on our engine and avoiding a collision, Phil hoped on the other boat and took up chain.  Pro Tip: When you drop your anchor, sit on your boat to see where you settle...or if you can't, anchor way the hell out of everyone's way.

HONORABLE MENTION: The guy who rolls in to La Paz and is scoffing at the rest of us for making "hurricane season" plans. He would chuckle and ask why we were all making "such a big deal about hurricanes".  This dude scares me. How do you sit in La Paz where there are remnants of boats from those who lost their lives in last years hurricane and not take it seriously?

We had a great time in La Paz, but as always, we were happy to head out and get cruising again!


  1. Great post, nice to see Mike performing.

  2. This is just so cool. One of those posts that make you jealous because you haven't been there yet.
    Love this! I read it twice.
    I stumbled across this when I searched for "Doesn't matter what type of music blows your hair back...they play it all.

  3. We want to get new interior cushion covers made (the foam is fine) and are trying to decide if we should wait until Mexico or fork up the money and do it before we leave. Think it's worth it to wait? -

    1. Hey there!
      The upholstery job in Mexico was "okay". What we really needed was new foam. For the small amount that we paid we were happy. We reupholstered all of our interior and exterior cushions before we left for cheap. We first found fabric off of Then we Yelped an upholstery shop. Stay away from anything "marine" as it increases the price 10 fold. Check out our interior pictures..that was all reupholstered, as was the exterior plus throw pillows made for about $1000, and they turned out gorgeous!