The Other Baja: La Paz

A days-long road trip down the length of the Baja California peninsula to the Tropic of Cancer is worthwhile. But a new direct flight makes the venture much more accessible.



Remote sandy beaches on the Sea of Cortez
Remote sandy beaches on the Sea of Cortez

On the inaugural AeroMexico flight from Los Angeles to La Paz, near the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, the landscape is a captivating sight for nearly the full flight. Above the edge of the continent, thousands of feet in the air, I can see the pavement and asphalt mazes of Los Angeles melt into green-lawned suburban expanses, then shift dramatically south of San Diego, just beyond the Mexican border. Instantly gone are the networks of roads and the green sprawl that wouldn’t be so green if not for sprinkler systems. Baja is truly a desert, spare, striking, and beautiful. It wasn’t that long ago that the western United States was Mexican territory, and the contrast in terrain is more easily noted from a height than from any car or train. It makes a fine point of the effects of human boundaries and manipulation of the terrain.

Ten minutes or so beyond that striking border between the landscaped and the natural, still riding the outline of the Pacific Ocean, a second body of water emerges, the blues and greens of the Sea of Cortez. From the plane, the entire breadth of the peninsula is visible.

This flight is the first of the twice-weekly (Thursdays and Sundays) LAX-LPB (La Paz’s El Alto International Airport) flights, and in an inaugural flight tradition, the first passengers were treated to a show: Water cannons flanked the runway and we ended our flight under the arch of a water salute.