Is La Paz Mexico safe? I just moved here and here’s my experience
La Paz solo travel: how safe is it for tourists? I recently moved to Baja California Sur for the summer and here’s what I think about safety in La Paz Mexico.
Since I have a 9-5, those destinations are a bit complicated for me. I always just have 4 days of travel so Baja California is always ideal for me! Glad you are here!
How is La Paz right now? Is it safe to visit La Paz? How’s your current experience there? I hope you can share some insights! I supported your coffee fund because I really want to thank you for all the honest posts! Gracias!
– Helen Jolly, USA
Thanks for the coffee! I really appreciate it! I just moved here two weeks ago with my dogs and we’re having a blast! I’ve been to La Paz many times for short visits but this is the only time that I decided to base myself here.
I’ll be staying here for a few more weeks but I will share with you my initial experience about La Paz solo travel safety. If you have any questions that weren’t answered in this post, please feel free to contact me and I’ll update this article.
Good luck and I hope to meet you if you decide to go to La Paz!
Is it safe to visit La Paz Mexico?
ABSOLUTELY! La Paz is safe to visit and I actually feel very comfortable here. I can walk everywhere even in the middle of the night. Of course, as a female traveler, I still get attention but please note that I am a person of color and fluent in Spanish – our experiences might be different when it comes to getting attention.
A friend of mine who also lives in La Paz is American and when we are out, she gets a lot of attention from being blonde. Again, the attention I am talking about is not to a point where she gets attacked – they don’t even talk to her! She just gets the look and sometimes makes her very uncomfortable.
Is La Paz safe for tourists?
Numbers online say La Paz is not a very safe city and is at medium risk. However, as always, all my solo travel safety tips are based on my personal experiences. The goal of this blog is to always share genuine experiences so what’s written in this article is very personal.
Like in many destinations in Mexico and all over the globe, there are petty crimes in La Paz like pickpocketing and bag snatching – but in a very subtle way.
It’s really strange how many articles I read online painted a picture of La Paz as a notoriously dangerous city but when I came here, I did not feel that way.
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La Paz solo travel guide: safety in Baja California Sur
La Paz solo travel: personal experience
As I said, this is not my first time visiting La Paz. I’ve been here a couple of times because I personally think that Baja California is such a great place to live in!
I rented an apartment in La Paz for $650 USD. These days, I have to rent a house because I am constantly moving with two big dogs.
My Asian ethnicity is not usually super visible to most Mexicans (like where I lived in Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, Mexico City, and Guadalajara) but here in La Paz, everyone knows I am Asian at one glance!
It’s really very surprising for me because I never get this comment especially I speak Spanish fluently.
People on the streets would be like: “Thailand, Korea, Japan…???” and so on. When I say, “Philippines,” they say, “ahhh, Manny Pacquiao!!!”
Since Mexico is a boxing country like the Philippines, Manny is a very famous icon in Mexico. Some even talked to me about Imelda Marcos!
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The people of La Paz are very warm and friendly. What I’ve observed is not everyone is as chatty unless you start the conversation. It’s probably because I always walk around with my dogs.
In Mexico, people are afraid of dogs so they tend to shy away from people accompanied by dogs. Not to mention my dogs are not small!
My landlord and his wife are both Mexicans and are super friendly. They check in on me all the time. They also picked us up at the airport since I have two big dog crates.
They also helped me with COVID vaccinations in La Paz. As a temporary resident in Mexico, I can get a vaccine all over Mexico. They gave me all the information and I’m scheduled to have my vaccine next week.
Literally living next to me is a French girl. Below my apartment is a lesbian couple. I was so surprised to be in a compound full of women and some of them are foreigners!
When we move abroad, having neighbors like this usually gives us the confidence to live in a certain country.
This definitely made me feel comfortable about living in La Paz Mexico. It’s not that important to many of us but for me, I always need to know who my neighbors are.
Is it safe to walk alone in La Paz Mexico at night?
Before paying the downpayment for my apartment, I already know the area a little but I still asked the landlord about safety. Mexicans are usually honest about safety so when I asked if it’s okay to walk at night (I don’t really want to spend a lot of money on Uber as much as possible), he said that it’s one of the safest neighborhoods in La Paz.
And he’s right! Even if I am walking around without the dogs, I feel very safe. The streets are super well-lit and there are always a lot of people around.
FYI, my walks from my home to the Malecon of La Paz take 30 minutes. For the duration of that walk, I never feel very paranoid even if it’s almost midnight.
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In these walks, I also see a lot of white people around. I am in a posh community though the house I rented is not that big. I was just lucky to have found this Airbnb which happened to be in an upper-class neighborhood.
All streets of La Paz also have bike lanes. They love biking and exercising here! Since it’s too hot, you will always see people biking and jogging from 9:30 PM until midnight so there’s a lot of movement at night – you’ll never feel alone and unsafe.
La Paz Mexico COVID travel restrictions
Actually, when I went here, I did not look up the current La Paz travel restrictions. The day I arrived here, there was a 5:00 PM lockdown on bars and restaurants in La Paz.
La Paz has been suffering from increasing COVID cases so their lockdown restrictions in Baja California Sur have been very strict since 2020. It’s not as lax as Sayulita Puerto Escondido, or Puerto Vallarta.
See also: Is Sayulita, Mexico safe for tourists?
Last Saturday (July 17, 2021), the Baja Sur government moved the lockdown to 8:00 PM which is great news. Beaches still remain closed and you can only go to the Malecon (exclusively to exercise) from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM.
At the beginning of August 2021, they put the alcohol/liquor ban to 10:00 PM so we can say that things are getting back to normal in La Paz.
Since I was coming from a city without a lockdown (PV), I’ve been getting things done in La Paz, especially with work! I never thought I’d love to be in a lockdown. It makes me feel so productive!
Best things to do in La Paz Mexico for solo travelers
#1: Espiritu Santo Islands tour
This is on the top of the list of things to do in La Paz! The Espiritu Santo Island is a boat tour that will take you to swim with the sea lions, have lunch on a secluded beach and even visit Balandra Island! It’s actually strange that La Paz is on lockdown and the beaches are closed but the boat tours are still allowed!
I have a trusted boat guy that always brings me around these islands. You may use the code PSIMONMYWAY to get a 10% discount below.
#2: Walk the Malecon
La Paz’s Malecon is one of the longest strips of malecones that I have been to in Mexico. Here, you will see rows of restaurants, shops, and a great view of the ocean. The famous thing to do here is to take a picture with the letrero (big letters) that says LA PAZ.
You can also visit the Malecon Kiosko but remember that the Malecon is barricaded at the moment and is only open at certain hours.
#3: Rent a bike
La Paz loves bikes!!! There are literally biking lanes everywhere and the cars prioritize bikers and pedestrians. Going around La Paz on a bicycle is the best way to explore La Paz and at the same time, have some regular exercise! I have some great biking companies to recommend so get in touch for recommendations!
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#4: Visit the La Paz Museum
While I am here, there’s a Frida Kahlo exhibition in La Paz and surprisingly, museums are open despite the COVID restriction lockdown. The La Paz Museum is home to some great artworks in the country.
Additionally, it’s too hot in La Paz right now so spending a few hours inside the museum can be a cooling activity!
#5: Go day drinking!
Since there is an 8:00 PM lockdown, day drinking is a very popular activity in La Paz. But please note that there is a current rule that you can’t only order drinks in bars and restaurants.
You have to order food as well. This has been a problem for me since I can’t go bar hopping as everyone requires you to order food. But still, day drinking in La Paz with the view of the Malecon is a great activity especially now that the bars are closed in the evening.
La Paz solo travel accommodations
I know I said that I rented an apartment in La Paz but since you are traveling solo, I highly recommend you to stay in hostels! You don’t really want to be spending all day in accommodation by yourself. Staying in hostels is the best way to meet people.
La Paz is cheap (compared to Cabo) and you can definitely find boutique hotels with pools but would you like to do that if you’re traveling alone? Go out and meet some people!
I’ve stayed in hostels in La Paz in my previous visits and here are the ones I loved:
Hostel Casa Esterito: dorms from $14 USD
This hostel is only two blocks from the beach and has a great 6-bed dorm for only $14 USD! Currently, La Paz is not on 100% capacity so you’ll definitely stay in this hostel dorm like it’s a private room.
This hostel has a free bike rental but you won’t really need it since it’s close to everything important.
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Bermejo Hostel: privates from $30 USD
Now, I understand that some of you may not be comfortable staying in hostel dorms, especially during COVID. Bermejo Hostel has the most affordable private rooms in town and they are highly rated for cleanliness and staff-friendliness!
Even if you are staying in a private room, you can still socialize in this hostel’s common areas.
La Paz solo travel safety tips and advice
No stoplights in La Paz
… but I feel safer without the stoplights! Cars automatically stop for you when you are about to cross the streets. Everyone drives slow because not all the main avenues have stoplights!
The streets of La Paz prioritize bikers and pedestrians, it’s such a great city to walk in!
Men in cars will honk at you
This is super annoying! I feel very safe walking around La Paz but men in cars always honk and whistle! This is not even a subtle car honk but a really annoying one. Sometimes, it freaks me out, especially if I am caught off-guard.
Then you realize, they are honking is their way of expressing that you are good-looking and that you are getting attention. They don’t really mean harm. If you get invited to jump in, say no unless you know the person.
They can be really friendly but you still don’t know their humanity so don’t ever jump in cars with boys you don’t know! And seriously, I said men because women don’t really honk at men walking on the streets.
Men in cars will stop and talk to you
But really, don’t worry. They are harmless. Just don’t jump in the car with them. I have to be honest with you though – I’ve joined some joy rides but only if I felt good.
There is always that feeling of chemistry (romantic or not) that will make you say, “sure, these people are harmless.” I just don’t really recommend it if you don’t speak Spanish. They might get the wrong message.
In the evenings, take cash from supermarkets
Supermarkets in La Paz have ATM machines inside and they close at 11:00 PM. In any case that you need to take cash in the evening, you can go to any Chedraui and Walmart to take money out.
It’s always the safest option! If you have a Mexican bank card, you can also take cash from the counter but you have to buy something in order to withdraw money.
Public transport in La Paz is safe
Sometimes, when I don’t want to walk 30 minutes from my home to the Malecon (or if I am without the dogs), I take the bus. La Paz has a very efficient bus system and it only costs 10 pesos ($0.50 USD) per ride!
The busses are always full of locals. I don’t think I’ve been on a bus where I saw foreigners. It’s spacious and there’s enough social distancing.
I always chat with locals while on the bus and they always give me tips! In fact, I learned the bus routes because of chatting with random passengers.
Police are everywhere in La Paz
Because of COVID, La Paz is swarmed by a lot of police officers. Even the National Guards are here! There are also tourist police that is always around. These are the ones whom you should ask for help in case of an emergency.
Get travel insurance
I hate it when people travel without insurance! I only pay $40 USD per month for mine and it covers COVID. At these very trying times, you should not go anywhere in the world without travel insurance.
We’re not invincible anymore. Make sure you do this before leaving your country – you don’t want to spend big bucks on Mexico in case of an emergency.
How to meet people in La Paz Mexico
Go to La Miserable mezcaleria
La Miserable is a super cool hang-out for young people. It’s a very small place and the bartenders are very friendly. You can sit there by yourself and just chat with them while having drinks!
There are also traveler musicians who play here on the weekends. They are very interesting people to talk to and practice your Spanish with!
Bumble or Tinder in La Paz Mexico
Honestly, everyone who appears on Bumble and Tinder in Mexico is in Los Cabos. It’s just a 2-hour drive away but it’s so surprising how most people on the radar are from there!
Well, most of the people on these dating apps are looking for a romantic date but I sometimes end up with matches with who I get along and become friends!
Couchsurfing hangouts in La Paz Mexico
If you are not comfortable with dating apps, Couchsurfing is very active in La Paz. You can only access the hangouts via a mobile app. Every now and then, people post about having coffee, going on hikes, or day drinking on hangouts.
You can join these hangouts or even make one yourself! You’d be surprised how many solo travelers like you are also in La Paz. I love this app so try it and let me know about your experience!
Practice your Spanish with everyone
Be chatty. Whether you are in a bar or a street food joint, just keep talking in Spanish. Mexicans love it when foreigners try speaking in Spanish. The conversation will go on and on if you initiate the conversation in Spanish.
You’d also be very surprised how a lot of people in La Paz can speak decent English, but not all. La Paz is a famous destination with Americans so they are very used to tourists here! The city’s income is also dependent on tourism so they do everything for people to have a good time here.
I recently became friends with the hotdog man at the corner of my house and we’ve chatted a lot about his family and how he started his small food truck. It does help if you already have prior knowledge of Spanish. Just don’t be afraid to engage because Mexicans are friendly!
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