Welcome to This Baja Life, our blog where we are sharing our experiences as U.S. expats living in La Paz in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Moving to Mexico may seem like a big leap to take, but once you’ve experienced all that Baja has to offer, there’s a good chance you will fall head over heels in love with this amazing place. We did!
To find out how, subscribe to our blog (enter your email in the sidebar of this page) and we’ll send you new posts about our adventures and experiences, as well as practical guides and how-to’s that will answer many of the questions we had when we made the move to La Paz. You can also follow us on our Facebook page here.
We are Jim and Rebecca MacDonald, two expats from northern California who decided to sell our house in San Jose, California, exit our (too) busy Silicon Valley lifestyle, and move ourselves and our two dogs to live full time in La Paz.
Since we made the move, we’ve fielded tons of questions from friends, family and visitors about our experience. To help answer those questions and more, we thought we would share our experiences and adventures buying a house, moving to and living in La Paz.
Following are just a few of the most common questions we often get about our move:
Where the heck is La Paz? La Paz is situated in the southern half of the Baja peninsula, which is directly south of the California U.S. border. It is the capital of Baja California Sur (the southern half of Baja) on the eastern side of the peninsula about two hours northeast of Cabo San Lucas. That means we get to enjoy the stunningly beautiful Sea of Cortez (also known as the Gulf of California), made famous by John Steinbeck in his book The Log from the Sea of Cortez.
Here’s a handy map you can use to locate La Paz:
What made you decide to move La Paz? The short answer: this view from our rooftop patio in El Centenario, a small community not far from downtown La Paz:
We often tell people the real reason: We watched one too many episodes of Househunters International on HGTV! It’s true. We had been visiting and exploring Baja for years from our time share in Cabo San Lucas. Each time we came to visit, we wished we could stay longer. (I also wanted a place we could drive to so we could bring our dogs with us on vacation. I missed them!)
Back home in California, watching yet another couple on TV find their dream home in a far-flung tropical locale, we realized we could finally follow that dream and live here full time, too. We started our search in Cabo, the town we knew best at the time…then someone suggested we check out La Paz for its gorgeous beaches, beautiful downtown malecon and laid back, peaceful lifestyle. (La Paz literally translates to “The Peace” in Spanish.)
In fact, La Paz beaches, like this one, often make the lists of the top 10 beaches in Mexico, with good reason!
We rented a car and drove the 2 hours north to La Paz, where we were welcomed by the real estate team of Robin Hodgson and Miriam Welldon at Vista Properties. They graciously showed us around town and shared their experience of moving here from Canada. Utterly charmed by La Paz and its residents, we soon returned on a second trip, and found our perfect home!
Is it safe there? We get this question a lot, and we understand why. The answer, in our experience, is absolutely yes, if you exercise the same common sense and precautions you would anywhere in the world. That includes being aware of your surroundings, respecting local laws, and not venturing into unknown areas late at night. In fact, we have been delighted by the very friendly and hospitable nature of the many people, both expats and locals, that we have met here. It’s a topic that deserves more discussion, and we’ll address it in more detail in a future post, but rest assured, the people who live here, love it here!
Can you own a house in Mexico? The answer is yes! We bought a house here, and you can, too. Whether you are thinking of buying a second home to escape the northern winters, finding a place to retire or just to come and get away from it all on vacation, La Paz has so much to offer. In fact, our experience with our realtors here was so smooth, we decided to join their team. You can check out our listings at www.bajalifeproperties.com.
Have questions? Leave a comment below, or get in touch with us at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.