There are several supermarkets in La Paz. The two largest are the "CCC" markets (Centro Commercial California) - the smaller of the two is at the corner of Abasolo and Colima at the south end of town (on the right as you enter La Paz on Route 1), while the larger one takes up a full block at Catolica and Bravo east of the downtown area. There is a new Aramburo's on Forjadores just south of 5 de Febrero; this is about the size of the smaller CCC.
These supermarkets accept Visa and Master-Card. I usually use the cards only for large purchases since they must carefully consult the "invalid card" book, and then make certain that the card impression made it through all copies of the charge form. This takes some time. If you do use your credit card, be sure to sign the form exactly as your credit card is signed on the back - e.g., if a full name appears on the back of the card, then do not sign with just an initial.
The CCC markets gladly accept U.S. dollars, and their rate of exchange is consistent with the most current bank rate. They will accept dollars well in excess of the amount of your purchase, giving the change in pesos. This is about the most convenient way to exchange dollars for pesos in La Paz.
There is beer sold in every grocery store. However, if a good supply is needed and the price is important, the "depositos" are the place to go. Usually, a deposit is required to get the process started. Once you have a carton of empty bottles to return, these are taken back to the Agencia (deposito) and exchanged for a carton of full bottles. In Summer, 1993 the cost on the exchange was 27 pesos for a carton of 20 (not 24) bottles of Pacifico or Corona (about $0.35US per bottle at that time). The Agencia carrying these brands is located on Abasolo just north of the Volkswagen agency (on the west side of the street at the south end of town).
The propane supply is located about five miles south of La Paz on the road to Cabo San Lucas. It will be on the left as you are driving south. I don't know the hours (probably closed from 1-3PM, at least). Propane is subsidized by the Government and so the prices are quite low.
There are several department stores in town, with Dorian's being the fanciest (three floors with escalators connecting them). La Perla and La Joya are a couple of the others. They are all located in the downtown area.
These are mostly located along Abasolo/Obregon/Malecón (i.e., along the main street next to the water). Most will have fixed prices, while a few may bargain.
"Artesanías Cuauhtémoc" (sometimes referred to as "The Weaver's") is a very interesting stop on the main north/south street (Abasolo) just south of Nayarit (between Nayarit and Jalisco - one block north of the CCC-Colima). A number of large hand looms are in operation in the back, while in the front showroom many fine pieces of woven goods are available. Look for a white building with blue lettering on the west side of the street.
Most banks will exchange $US for pesos, but they tend to get crowded after 10AM. I usually try to stop at Banco Serfin about 9AM before the crowd gets large (I believe they open at 8:30AM). Sometimes a bank will have only one teller set up to do exchanges - check the designations over the tellers cages. There is a "casa de cambio" just off the Malecón on Juarez (I could be off by one block). It is located in back of the travel agency on the corner - first block south of the Los Arcos hotel.
The CCC supermarkets will accept dollars (including travelers checks) for more than the amount of the purchase, and provide change in pesos. They usually offer an exchange rate which is as good as at any bank.
As of November '97, Larry Miller at CIBNOR in La Paz is maintaining an updated list of ISPs in Baja California Sur. You may check his list by clicking here.
There are a number of Internet service providers operating in La Paz. Here is a list of those I am aware of.
(Note that most prices will not include the 15% IVA tax.)
- The first commercial ISP I became aware of in La Paz was Cromwell Electronica:Cromwell Electronica Allende No. 1201 Phones: 2-09-34 and 5-38-80 http://www.lapaz.cromwell.com.mx/ firstname.lastname@example.org (Jaime Valenzuela A. - General Manager) 20 hours of access per month: 190 pesos/month PC usage in the office: 30 pesos per 1/2 hour
This group is planning on extending their services to the Cape area in the near future.
Another ISP is a biology research facility which has had Internet connections for several years, and is now making these available for a fee. I do not know the fee schedule.Centro Investigaciones Biologicas Noroeste (CIBNOR) http://www.cibnor.conacyt.mx email@example.com (Larry Miller)
- The University in La Paz also offers Internet connection facilities. I stopped there in September, '97 to help a friend open an account, and obtained the following information:Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Sur Redes y Telecommunicaciones Phone: 1-35-21 (Voice/FAX) firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.uabcs.mx 10 hours/month: 120 pesos/month (extra hours: 10 pesos/hour) 30 hours/month: 190 pesos/month (extra hours: 5 pesos/hour) Unlimited: 290 pesos/month Annual fee: 120 pesosNote: Since the university is non-profit, these prices are not subject to the IVA tax.
- Baja Net is an ISP which started operations in November of 1996. They maintain an "Internet Cafe" - something which might be of interest to the traveler. I stopped by their office in January '97 and can report the following:Baja Net S.A. de C.V. Madero 430 (About 2 blocks north of the plaza and across from the Aramburo Supermarket with the large cow over the entrance.) Phone: 5-93-80 http://www.baja.net.mx email@example.com Remote access services: Plan 1: 20 hours/month - 150 pesos/month Plan 2: Unlimited access - 300 pesos/month Email services: Personal address - 100 pesos annually Cruisers address - 50 pesos annually + 5 pesos/message received Printing services: Laser B&W at 600DPI (letter size) - 2.5 pesos Color proof at 360DPI (letter size) - 10 pesos Internet Cafe (a dropin site): PC for 1/2 hour - 20 pesos (20% morning discount for students) The coffee is free! (ftm: They have four PCs in their office, offering a number of standard applications (word processing, spreadsheets, etc.), as well as Internet access.)
- An email provider is operating out of an office on the Malecón. You can arrange to send and receive email at their office.OMNI Services S.A. de C.V. Alvaro Obregon 460, Office 204 (Upstairs) Phone: 3-48-88 FAX: 2-55-15 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org WWW: http://www.mexonline.com/omni1.htm To send an email message: 10 pesos To print a received email message: 2 pesos
- The university in La Paz, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC), also offers Internet connections. I have been unable to connect to their WWW site to obtain any information - one user mentioned to me that this was the least expensive of the providers in La Paz.
There is one local TV station in La Paz, and there are 2-3 other stations which air rebroadcasts of satellite transmissions from Mexico City. The channels are:Ch. 2 Mexico City Ch. 6 Mexico City Ch. 10 La Paz Ch. 12 = Ch. 2 (at least since Fall, 1990)
There are no local broadcasts in English on either TV or radio. On Sundays there will be U.S. movies shown on Ch. 10. However, recently these have tended away from subtitles in Spanish to dubbing in Spanish.
For those anxious for U.S. news there is KNX (1070 AM) in Los Angeles. This news-oriented radio station comes in rather well after sundown.
"The News" is a daily English-language newspaper published in Mexico City, and is available at a number of stands in La Paz. The local newspaper, "El Sudcaliforniano," contains an English-language article each Saturday (entitled "BCS Today" and written by Jane Firstenfeld). This article contains some general information on goings-on about La Paz, as well as a synopsis of the weeks local news.
La Paz has two movie theaters in the downtown area, and there may be others which have sprung up in the general area. The theater (actually a dual theater) on Revolucion just south of the central plaza often shows U.S. movies with Spanish subtitles.
- From the road which enters the grounds of the Hotel Palmira (north side of town) and then continues up the hills to a large apartment development and a section of expensive houses with a tennis club.
- From route 286 as it descends into La Paz from the mountains to the east.
Several places for dining, which are not tourist oriented:
- Antojitos Carin (formerly Coco's)
- Open only for breakfast (6AM-11AM). Located on Colima about three-four blocks east of the CCC supermarket, and on the north side of the street.
- Mariscos Mar de Cortez
- Seafood under a palapa roof on 5 de Febrero. It is on the north side of the street about five blocks east of Abasolo.
- Esquisito Hotdogs
- My favorite vendor is located at Abasolo and Encinas. He operates out of his driveway after sundown. This is on the southwest corner across from Agencia Arjona. The hotdogs are wrapped in bacon and supplied with any number of toppings ("con todo" for the adventurous). He also makes a fine hamburger.
- Hotel Plaza Real
- The dining room in this downtown hotel has excellent meals at reasonable prices. It is open early (7AM) for breakfast. The clients do not normally include the foreign tourist crowd. The location is one block off the Malecón.
- Bismark II
- An extensive menu of excellent food. Tends to be rather expensive. Located at the northwest corner of Altamirano and Degollado to the east of the downtown area.
- Jardin de Plata
- Located in El Centenario (several miles north of La Paz on Highway 1), this restaurant offers excellent Italian cuisine (the restaurant is operated by an Italian family). I consider this to be the finest restaurant in the La Paz area. It is located on the right-hand side of the highway leaving La Paz, and is just north of the second speed bump in Centenario. (They even have a website at: www.jardindeplata.com.mx/.)