Perhaps the most well-known attraction in La Paz is the Malecon. This is the five kilometer public walkway along the city waterfront. It is so alive with happy activity all day and late into the evening. It is the place where parents bring their children to learn to ride their bikes. It is a family friendly place with play structures and street vendors selling sweets and popcorn.
On Christmas Day we saw many kids out with their new bikes, streamers on the handlebars, training wheels, and exited new riders zipping back and forth across the Malecon with parents never far away.
The walkway is made of tiles in a ribbon mosaic pattern of light and dark.
All along the way are sea-themed statues depicting mermaids, dolphins and fishermen.
There is a statue of a pearl oyster open with a huge pearl of gleaming steel to commemorate an industry that thrived here for nearly 4 centuries before overfishing reduced the quantities so much that disease wiped out what remained of the industry.
Steinbeck’s novella “The Pearl” was inspired by a Mexican folktale that explores the nature of man from the perspective of greed and evil. Another statue depicts the old man of the sea looking out over Bahia de La Paz, and yet another is a larger than life size statue of a young fisherman with a throw net draped over his shoulder.
Cindy and I purchased a couple of used bicycles for transportation here in LaPaz and beyond. As the streets are wide and most are one direction, it is a very bike friendly city, but along the Malecon are the only actual bike lanes in the city. Parts of the bike lanes are in the street alongside the Malecon and at other spots, one of the lanes moves on to the walkway with a designation line painted and small metal bumps to divide it off from the walking area. Regardless, people tend to walk in the bike lane and bike in the walkway as everyone meanders along the Malecon. Dogs and especially pit bulls seem to be very popular in La Paz and are always to be seen on leash walking happily with their humans. Often we will see art shows and performers along the Malecon. One night someone set up a large screen close to the Navy Pier and a movie was being played for the public. To the Northeast, a sandy beach follows along much of the Malecon with random palapas scattered along it close to the few restaurants on that side.
On the Southwest side of the walkway and across the road are the many restaurants, tour companies and hotels which range from the laid back beach bar known as The Shack to the hip Tribu dance club that is very popular with young people who go there to drink, socialize and dance into the wee hours of the morning.
The street in front of the Malecon is the parade route allowing people on the Malecon ample room to view whatever event is taking place.
The time we have spent wandering the Malecon will be some of the most memorable moments in La Paz.