With the largest bay along the Gulf Coast, La Paz  is far and away the frontrunner in all of Baja when it comes to boating services and supplies. Even Cabo San Lucas  pales in comparison. There are numerous public and private marinas, boatyards, and marine supply stores, with new businesses opening and old ones upgrading all the time.
At the west end of the malecón, the Marina de La Paz (Topete 3040 at Legaspy, tel. 612/122-1646, www.marinadelapaz.com ) has completed numerous upgrades in the last decade: New docks and a new layout came in 2004, followed by a fixed breakwater system in 2005, and an additional 37 meters of fixed breakwater plus a new 50-meter dock for accommodating large vessels in 2006. Facilities at this floating marina now include a launch ramp, diesel fuel dock, grocery store with marine supplies, The Dock Café (tel. 612/125-6626, 8 A.M.–10 P.M. daily), water and electricity outlets, cable TV, laundry, showers, restrooms, wireless Internet, a chandlery, and boat and vehicle maintenance and storage.
Local nonprofit Club Cruceros de La Paz (no tel., www.clubcruceros.org , 9 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) has a clubhouse at the marina with a book exchange. It also provides incoming mail service.
Rates for one of the marina’s 150 slips range from US$22 per day for a 30-foot craft to US$103 per day for a 90-foot craft. Discounts also apply for stays of 4–21 days, if paid in advance. Showers cost US$1.50. Parking for slip clients is US$1 daily or US$25 per month. Prices include tax.
Well known on the yachting circuit, the marina typically fills up in the high season, November–May; check for vacancies before sailing in. A US$200 deposit will hold your space on the waiting list. Reserve online or by mailing a personal check.
Northeast of town, at Km. 2.5, the Marina Palmira (tel. 612/123-7000 or 877/217-1513, www.marinapalmira.com ) offers 186 full-service slips suitable for yachts up to 130 feet long and 12 feet deep. The marina recently reinforced its breakwater and launching ramp. There is free wireless Internet, and a free shuttle to downtown is available at various times each day. Guests can use dry-storage facilities, laundry, water, showers, bathrooms, a pool, hot tub, and tennis court. There are also a market, two restaurants, a bar, 24-hour security, parking for one car per registered guest, a public phone, marine supplies, a fuel dock with diesel and gas, and boat launch. You can charter boats here, with or without a crew. Monthly slip rates are US$13–28 per foot per month; electrical service costs extra. You can rent condos and hotel rooms at several resorts nearby by the day, week, or month.
Based at the Club Cantamar Resort and Sports Centre, Marina Pichilingue (tel. 612/122-7010, www.clubcantamar.com ) has 35 slips for boats up to 75 feet long. Water, electricity, and dry storage are available.
Farther out on the Pichilingue Peninsula, Marina CostaBaja (tel. 612/121-6225, www.costabajaresort.com , rooms US$140–330) can accommodate mega-yachts up to 220 feet in 250 slips. Liveaboards require special permission from the marina. Amenities include Internet, TV, and phone, and at-slip pump-out service, dry storage, restrooms and showers, parking, pool, and shuttle to La Paz. Some travelers who have used this marina report problems with black soot from the nearby oil refinery damaging canvas on their boats. A reservation form is available online.
Near the airport, Singlar Fidepaz Marina (Mexico 1/Constituyentes, tel. 612/124-2206), part of the Mexican government’s failed Escalera Nautica Sea of Cortez Project, was up for sale at last check.
If you’re hauling your own boat, you can use ramps at Marina de La Paz, Marina Palmira, and Pichilingue. Smaller boats and kayaks can launch from any of the public beaches.
Marina de La Paz is the one-stop shop in town for boating questions, services, and supplies; Ferretería Marina SeaMar (SeaMar Marine Chandlery, Topete and Legaspy, tel. 612/122-9696, 8:30 A.M.–1:30 P.M. and 3–6 P.M. Mon.–Fri., 8:30 A.M.–1:30 P.M. Sat.), across from the marina entrance, carries basic supplies.
López Marine Supply (Vista Coral Plaza, tel. 612/125-4160, 8 A.M.–5 P.M. Mon.–Sat.) accepts credit cards. Club Cruceros keeps a list of local marine service providers at www.clubcruceros.org/services.html .
If you like the idea of cruising but don’t have your own boat or any experience on the water, you might book a trip with Baja Coast SeaFaris (Dock B, Marina de La Paz, tel. 612/111-7335, www.bajaseafaris.com ). This company offers full-service charters with a bilingual crew aboard Tesoro del Mar, a Beneteau 50 that has space for six adults. Privacy is the distinguishing factor with this outfitter. All trips are private, whether for a party of two or six; pricing varies with the size of the group.
Multiday trips (3–5 days or longer) include stops at Espíritu Santo, Isla Partida, and Los Islotes  for swimming with sea lions, scuba diving, kayaking, tubing (for kids), sailing, beachcombing, whale-watching, bird-watching, snorkeling, or fishing. Rates are US$795 per night for two persons and US$165 additional per night for additional adults, US$115 additional per child. The price covers all meals, snacks, and cocktails while on board the yacht; a night of lodging on the final evening; and round-trip airport transfers. The boats are fully equipped with kayaks and other gear. Scuba diving and rental gear are also arranged upon request. Book well ahead (several months) for peak travel times. Miscellaneous taxes, permits, and island and port fees will add about 15 percent to the total trip cost.
Inquire about a 10 percent discount for families and special occasions like honeymoons and anniversaries. “Learn to sail” trips are another option. Deposits must be paid by personal check, money orders, or bank wire.
The owner of Baja Coast SeaFaris has compiled a thorough list of FAQs for novice and experienced sailors that covers topics related to cruising in Baja at www.bajaseafaris.com/cruise.html .
Baja Expeditions (tel. 612/125-3828, toll-free U.S. tel. 800/843-6967, www.bajaex.com ) offers custom-designed sailing charters aboard El Mechudo, a catamaran with four en suite cabins, which can accommodate up to eight adults for US$2,250 per day.