Yes, There are Mangroves in La Paz!
When people think of the desert they don't often think of mangroves. Yet, lining the La Paz bay are numerous swaths of this lush green super plant.
One of the largest sections of mangroves is just a short paddle across the channel from the La Paz waterfront, where it feels like you enter an entirely different world. The soundtrack of the Malecon - the passing cars playing music, kids laughing, and the buzz of the waterfront bars and restaurants - it all falls away and you are absorbed by an enveloping silence punctuated only by quiet birdsong.
Floating in on crystal waters, it can feel like you've discovered the pearl of La Paz; a secret hidden away in plain sight. You wouldn't be completely wrong, either. Many longtime residents of this capital city of almost 300,000 report having no idea that the mangroves are even there! It's a shame, as it's a heritage that every paceño and paceña should be proud of, enjoy, and protect (the term for local men and women born and raised in La Paz)
Mangrove trees pack a lot of punch in the fight against global warming. They absorb and process more carbon than any other flora on the planet. Even the Amazon rainforest can't claim better.
Locally, they also act as nurseries to many species of fish, protecting them through the most dangerous early years until, as juvenile individuals, they are strong enough to move out into more open waters.
All the leafy greens that line the bay and the El Mogote peninsula, protecting us against erosion and storm surges, may look alike, but there are actually three different species of mangroves that have been identified in La Paz: white mangroves, red mangroves, and black mangroves.
The white mangrove grows the furthest back from the water line and doesn’t have any visible aerial roots. The red mangrove has many long “prop roots” that arch away from the plant and seem to form legs upon which it stands. Finally, the black mangrove has numerous little stubby roots that grow up and out of the sand (scientific name: pneumatophores).
The four different types of mangroves that can be found in Mexico are all listed as threatened today. Urban development and agriculture are the greatest threats to their survival. So, visiting the three we are lucky to have right here on our doorstep should only be done in a responsible way!
One way is by taking a kayak tour into the channels of the El Mogote mangroves (only when the tide is high enough, to ensure you aren't walking on or scraping along the sandy bottom with the delicate roots and new seedlings trying to grow up). Your guide will point out the different species of mangroves, explain how they all manage to live in salt water(!), and together you can spot and identify the many bird species that shelter in the safety of the dense branches.
On your way there and back, you have to cross the channel of La Paz Bay, where the water is a little deeper and where you'll have the best chance of running into one of our famous pods of resident dolphins! The Trip&homes Experiences Team can arrange this eco-friendly guided activity for you. Or, if you'd prefer to have this experience on a stand-up paddleboard, check out Baja SUP Paddle Board La Paz.
Thank you for reading, and if you’d like to know more about the unique flora that can be found around La Paz, let me know in the comments and perhaps we can talk cacti next!
By: Terri Lynn Manna