La Paz serves as a vital commerce center for all of Southern Baja. Its many shops and department stores cater not only to local residents but also to those of towns as far away as Todos Santos and the East Cape.
The result is a greater variety of items at competitive prices. Two large shopping centers were in the works at press time, which promise to bring high-end department stores and boutiques similar to the Puerto Paraíso Mall in Cabo San Lucas.
The two Sears (16 de Septiembre at Esquerro, tel. 612/125-9373, Forjadores, tel. 612/121-3843) used to be home to Dorian’s, La Paz’s largest department store.
The original La Perla de La Paz, a good bet for housewares and the like, never reopened after a fire in 2006, but it does have an annex that is open for business across the street (Arrival at Mutualismo, no tel.).
For clothing at discounted prices, try MAS (Madero at Degollado, 9 A.M.–9 P.M. daily). Next door, DAX (Arreola at Zaragoza, tel. 612/125-2480, 8 A.M.–9 P.M. Mon.–Thurs., 8 A.M.–10 P.M. Fri.–Sat.) has a pharmacy, cosmetics, and toiletries. And next to DAX, Solo Un Precio (“Only One Price,” Madero btw Tejada/Arreola, 8 A.M.–9 P.M. daily) is the Mexican equivalent of the dollar store. Everything in the store is 10 pesos.
For everyday needs, La Paz now has a Walmart and Home Depot.
One of 28 Segusino (Álvaro Obregón 2140, Loc.1, tel. 612/125-1703, www.segusino.com) furniture stores has opened in La Paz, selling beautiful contemporary and rustic Mexican furniture. With headquarters in Puebla on the mainland, the company advocates a fair trade approach in choosing its materials.
La Paz has about 20 up-and-coming fine-art galleries, representing mostly contemporary Mexican artists working in a variety of media and styles. Housed in a restored colonial building, Galería Galería (Revolución 590, at Juárez, tel. 612/125-6973, 9 A.M.–4 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) is both a working studio for local artists and an interior design store. Attend a workshop or simply browse the shelves for the perfect something to accent your home. Next door is a new children’s library. Both are reportedly funded by Christy Walton of Walmart.
Near the post office, Galería de Arte Tonantzin (Constitución 320 btw Serdán/Revolución, 10 A.M.–2 P.M. and 5–8:30 P.M. Mon.–Sat., cell tel. 612/154-8136) has contemporary works from Latin American artists. Call or stop by for a schedule of music concerts.
Several tourist-oriented shops line the malecón between the bus terminal and the Applebee’s. They sell handicrafts, T-shirts, jewelry, and postcards. La Antigua California (Obregón 220, tel. 612/125-5230) has a good selection of arts and crafts made primarily in mainland Mexico. México Lindo (Álvaro Obregón at 16 de Septiembre), next to Carlos’n Charlie’s, is another option.
The government-run Casa de Artesanos Sudcalifornianos (Paseo Obregón at Bravo, tel. 612/128-8707), next to the Tourist Information/Tourist Police office and skate park, stocks artesanías from all over Southern Baja.
You can watch artists at work when you visit Ibarra’s Pottery (Prieto 625 btw Iglesias/República, tel. 612/122-0404, 9 A.M.–3 P.M. Mon.–Fri., 9 A.M.–2 P.M. Sat.) The outdoor store contains several aisles of plates, mugs, pitchers, vases, pots, and the like—mostly in bold patterns and colorful designs.
Artesanía Cuauhtémoc (Abasolo btw Jalisco/Nayarit, no tel.), in a white building near the CCC (Centro Comercial California), has Oaxacan-style textiles, including rugs, blankets, and table linens.
Artesanías Colibri (Paseo Obregón btw Muelle/Arreola, tel. 612/128-5833, 10 A.M.–1 P.M. and 3–8:30 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) carries a good selection of artesanías, rustic furniture, and decorating accessories, plus cute clothes for babies and kids.
Bargain-hunters in search of clothing, housewares, or leather goods might check out the Mercado Municipal Francisco E. Madero (Revolución de 1910 at Degollado). Santander (Serdán and Degollado, tel. 612/125-5962) has saddles, guitars, and huaraches.
Next to Allende Books, Las Manitas ARTesanias (Independencia at Prieto, 10 A.M.–4 P.M. daily and by appointment) serves as the gift shop for guests at El Angel Azul. It carries clothing, sculptures, jewelry, and a variety of handicrafts.
Deportes Ortiz (Degollado 260, almost opposite Pensión California, tel. 612/122-1209) carries basic camping, diving, and other sports gear, plus some athletic apparel.
La Paz has a wonderful English-language bookstore, Allende Books of La Paz (Independencia 518, btw Serdan and Prieto, tel. 612/125-9114, www.allendebooks.com, 10 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon.–Sat.). Open since 2007, it’s located in the same historic building as El Angel Azul B&B and carries maps, dictionaries, cookbooks, history books, and contemporary fiction. The store also holds occasional events such as book signings, children’s story time, and book club meetings.
Librería Contempo (Arriola at Paseo Obregón) carries Mexican newspapers as well as a few American magazines.
© Nikki Goth Itoi from Moon Baja, 9th Edition