Hidden in the deepest corner of its charming bay, La Paz possesses an enviable geographic location providing an ideal starting point for innumerable natural history land forays. Here, the peninsula collides with the sea, allowing wildlife lovers the opportunity to observe nature in its pristine natural environment.
The surrounding desert is an intriguing, unique and extremely beautiful ecosystem full of endless surprises. Over centuries, its flora and fauna evolved endemic characteristics due to their relative isolation. Strange looking valleys of sentinel-like cardon, primitive cirios, elephant trees and thorny chollas make for some of the 4,000 different plants that form the spiny green carpet on the sandy earth. Many resident birds and migratory species are found here as they winter and pass by on their migration to southern locations. Hawks, wrens, woodpeckers, the great roadrunner, the Xantus Hummingbird and the Gray Thrasher are common sights. Desert Bighorn, foxes, coyotes, pumas, desert mice and squirrels are abundant.
Thousands of years ago, a primitive tribe of hunters and gatherers created countless rupestrian paintings in caves and gorges depicting life size human figures, hunting scenes, families, animals and even what appear to be extraterrestrials. The largest concentration of this spectacular prehistoric art is found in the Sierra de San Francisco and Guadalupe, however, hiking through the numerous ravines and streambeds of the south allows visitors to discover many of these astonishing sites
near La Paz.
Just south of the city, at the edge of the Tropic of Cancer, stands the Sierra de la Laguna. This mountainous mass, declared a biosphere reserve in June of 1994, rises to an altitude of almost 2,200 meters, encompassing an extraordinary Darwinian paradise of birds and endemic plants. Its climate and vegetation change dramatically relative to the elevation. From sea level to 400 meters, the xerophilous brushwood prevails; from 400 to 1,200 meters, the driest of the semi-arid climates predominates, with the characteristic semi-deciduous forest, scattered with plants not found in other parts of the peninsula. From 1,200 meters to the highest peaks, the temperate climate and the abundance of rainfall favor the undisputed kingdom of pines and piñon oaks. As you ascend the sierras, the landscape transforms radically, with sudden streams flowing into crystalline pools.