Since our Spring here in Toronto has dawned a little rainy and cold (er – do I see snow in the forecast later this week? Noooo!), I though I might brighten up the week with some more images from our Mexico trip this past December/ January.
After travelling in Michoacán and seeing the Monarch butterflies, we flew up to La Paz in Baja California Sur. Prior to this trip, the only thing I knew about Baja was that it was where Dylan and Brenda travelled in the 1990s version of 90210 because the drinking age was lower than in California. I seem to remember they drank a lot of tequila and Brenda’s dad had to drive down and get them. Yes, it’s fairly embarrassing to admit but I always thought “Baja” sounded so exotic. Am I the only one?
Neil deliberately chose La Paz over Cabo San Lucas as it is less touristy and definitely not resort after resort (not our thing). We arrived fairly late in the day (our flight had to go through Mexico City with a fairly long layover) but were immediately charmed by our hotel – the Hotel Mediterrane.
A tiny hotel, with just 9 rooms (each with a unique design and decorations), it’s steps from the beach yet set back enough that it’s beautifully quiet at night. All the rooms are set around a tranquil courtyard.
Bonus? Free wifi (we actually found this all over Mexico – we didn’t have to pay for internet ONCE, even at the Intercontinental – take note greedy North American hotels), so of course I tweeted our safe arrival and that we were heading out to eat. Habanerogal just happened to tweet back that we needed to check out El Rancho Viejo on the main drag and I noted that name, figuring that we would look for it the following day. The boardwalk at night is pretty…
And lo and behold, what should we come across but El Rancho Viejo! Not a tourist in sight, but lots of locals (always a good sign) so we made a beeline for a sidewalk table and ordered some guacamole. We pretty much ate guacamole at every place we ate in Mexico – it’s interesting to see the different takes on this.
The next morning, we headed downstairs at the Mediterrane for breakfast. The food comes from the upscale La Pazta restaurant, attached to the hotel. It’s a mix of Swiss and Mexican food (of course – one of the owners is Swiss). Neil ordered the Rösti:
The boardwalk has some interesting sights in the day time…
We loved how the beach was so empty, not that we are beach people but loved the lack of crowds.
The lack of crowds, on the other hand, is also extremely sad. During our 2 weeks in Mexico, I would estimate we saw less than 200 non-Mexican tourists. Yes, you read that right. No, we were not in the usual tourist haunts or in resort land but we weren’t that far off the beaten path. Of course, when you go on Trip Advisor to check the location of your hotel in Chihuahua and there’s a US State Department Warning, it’s a bit off-putting. And there’s tons of press about bad things that happen to folks travelling to Mexico. But at no point in our travels did we feel unsafe or threatened. We felt nothing but welcomed and nothing but appreciation from those people whose businesses we were frequenting. Exercising common sense and caution, as one should when travelling in any foreign country, served us well. /rant over/
After a long jaunt all over town, we ended up…. at El Rancho Viejo. Around 2 in the afternoon, we weren’t really that hungry but needed “something” so went back for more guac and tacos..
I love all the condiments they serve with your tacos…
I ordered a single chicken taco..
Later that night, we headed out again and it took all our strength to NOT go back to El Rancho Viejo. Their menu is extensive and we did toy with the idea but in the end, we went for a pizza. As you do… Tucked a block away from the beach, we followed our noses to Il Rustico Trattoria. Apart from the enticing smells of a wood-burning pizza oven, we were lured in by other diners. There is nothing more intimidating than eating at an empty restaurant and we faced this numerous times throughout our trip. We sat in a window table and believe we singly attracted at least 10 other diners that night, because they looked in and saw people eating delicious food. It always helps!
We had a giant caprese salad…
And a Quattro Stagioni pizza…
And shared a bottle of wine. Very un-Mexican of us but sometimes, you can’t go past a decent pizza, you know? Would highly recommend this place should you find yourself in La Paz and need something that doesn’t involve tortillas, avocados and limes
Our final breakfast in La Paz needed to set us up for a long long day of travel – a 7 hour ferry ride to Topolobampo.
Neil ordered the huevos revueltos with the ubiquitous refried beans…
I ordered the Mediterrane’s version of an Egg Mc Muffin.
Now THAT’S a breakfast sandwich!
Our less than 48 hours in La Paz were filled with great food – not something you might expect at a little beach town. But check out those street candies at the top of the post – when a town has that for sale on the street, you know you’re in for some good eats!