After finishing up with CUBAR at Marina Costa Baja outside of town, we moved into town to Marina Cortez after the tropical storm rain blew through. Marina Cortez is right at the end of the Malecon, and at the beginning of the street for the Spanish school where we took lessons for a week. We wanted to be able to easily experience La Paz right outside our door rather than be beholden to taxis.
The marina itself had a lot of sport fishing boats as well as sailboats from the Baja Haha, nice wide cement docks and potable water, which we know we will not often find in Mexico at marinas. It was rolly though, which confirmed our decision to choose Costa Baja as the place to put the boat during hurricane season when we won’t be here. Construction is under way on a large condominium building overlooking the marina, so we did have that contend with during the day, but they always wrapped up by sunset at 6. It did freak me out a bit to watch the guys up on the structure with little to no safety gear.
On the weekdays our routine settled into me leaving for Spanish class around 7:30, meeting up with Larry in the courtyard of the Spanish school El Nopal when he arrived for his classes at 11am and then walking back to the boat by way of local shops like the tortilleria and panaderia (bread and pastry shop). It was about a half hour walk through local streets. After Larry finished class at 2pm we ran errands around town – a way of sightseeing – visited yet another dentist for my ongoing dental odyssey, or enjoyed tacos at a taqueria and relaxed.
We loved our Spanish classes and highly recommend El Nopal. The school is in a set of small buildings around a large courtyard. Our fellow students were a mix of expats and a few other boaters, and there was also a group of home-schooled Mexican children who were there for various subjects and had recess around us in the courtyard. We rotated through several teachers who concentrated on conversation mixed with grammar. It was a lot of fun to immediately be able to practice in our life outside of the school.
In our walks, and from friends, we learned that the sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner – not just cleaning and repair, but creating them in the first place. We searched out streets to walk on where the sidewalks were more consistent and we didn’t have to do as much climbing up and down steps or wading out into the street. The streets themselves also vary from paved (not that many) to dirt roads. There is no apparent zoning, so homes of various levels of sophistication are interspersed with businesses and even vacant lots.
While we were at Marina Cortez, we finally got around to assembling and testing our “surf landing” dinghy. This is one that is much smaller and lighter than our 12 ft Apex tender and it’s 30 HP outboard. The idea is that you can land your small dinghy on the beach and quickly drag it up out of the surf. On the way back, the theory is that you push through the surf, hop on board, start the engine and away you go. We have yet to test the theory…. Anyway, this is a 9 ft Zodiac air floor dinghy with a 3.5 HP Tohatsu outboard. We are still working out the best way to stow and deploy it. We will report on success (or lack of) in future posts.
There is always something interesting happening on the Malecon. One evening we were going back to visit at CostaBaja, and we encountered a Classic Car show crusing down the Malecon. It was cool, though it did slow things down a bit.
On our last night splurged at the restaurant Les Tres Virgenes, reputedly the best restaurant in town. The rain had disappeared so the courtyard was open where we could watch the grill chef at work, enjoy the perfect temperature and an amazing meal with an excellent bottle of Mexican wine and 3 courses for an extremely reasonable price.
We will back in the spring to sample more of local La Paz culture.