La Paz was inhabited by native Indians prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1535. Unfortunately the only trace left of these Indians is their magnificent rock art, which can be found dotted around the peninsula. On the 3rd of May 1535, the famous explorer Hernán Cortés arrived in the bay of La Paz and named the city Santa Cruz. In 1596 Sebastián Vizcaíno arrived and gave the town its modern name. La Paz is featured in the John Steinbeck novel The Pearl (1947) and mentioned extensively in his travelogue The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951).
La Paz has a desert climate and is typically dry, warm, and sunny with temperatures averaging between 24 and 33° C (75 and 91° F). Summer months (July–September) are typically between 34 and 36° C (93 and 97° F) and can be humid. The winter months (December–February) are the coldest with temperatures dropping below 15° C (59° F) at night, but mostly range from 20 to 25° C (68 to 77° F). Breezes from the Bahía de La Paz keep the temperature moderate. The bay also acts as a barrier against seasonal storms in the Sea of Cortez. La Paz averages over 300 days of sunshine annually. Rainfall is minimal at most times of year, although erratic downpours can occur. Rain tends to be concentrated in a short, slightly rainier season that peaks in August and September, following the pattern of the North American monsoon. The driest season occurs March through June, when the region can be completely free of rain. During the summer the cooling Coromuel winds, a weather phenomenon unique to the La Paz area, blow during the night from the Pacific over the peninsula and into the Bay of La Paz.
As with most of the Gulf of California, the temperature of the water changes substantially over the course of the year, with temperatures around 20° C (68° F) during winter and around 30° C (85° F) during summer months.