During the holidays, instead of fiction, I’m sharing some of the traditions and experiences I’m having while visiting my mother in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. She’s lived here for a bit over 19 years, and we’ve visited her almost every year, beginning with her very first Christmas here, and while the city has changed, and she’s moved house a couple of times, and we lost my stepfather last year, we still embrace the combination of our old family traditions with the new ones we’ve learned here.
Today, I want to tell you about getting to La Paz. When we lived in California, we could fly to LAX and then take any number of airlines into La Paz, but now that we live in Texas (and there are fewer US-based airlines who land in La Paz at all) we fly to Los Cabos – that’s the collective term for the region at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula that includes Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – rent a car, and drive up the Baja on old Mexico Highway 1.
There’s another, faster highway, but Route 1 twists and turns up into the mountains along the gulf coast, skirting through East Cape, where we always stop at Los Barriles for lunch at Roadrunner Café. Los Barriles has a huge ex-pat population – mostly folks from the US and Canada – and the prices reflect that, but the food and service at Roadrunner are usually good, and there are clean bathrooms.
From there, we go through San Bartolo, El Triunfo (home of a piano museum), and into La Paz, around the bay to Chametla, where one of our favorite cafes is, and then into El Centenario, where my mom actually lives. These are their own towns, but they’re still part of the greater La Paz municipality.
A good portion of the trip is pigtail turns and switchbacks through the mountains, and we often have to stop while cows or goats cross the road, but it’s also beautiful, and it feels like a transition from home to vacation.
It’s a three-hour drive, but it’s worth the slightly longer trip.
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