La Paz, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, is a wonderful destination to explore. Below, we reveal eight good reasons why you should holiday in La Paz, Mexico.

 

La Paz, in Baja California Sur, has a world of experiences on offer. Whether you’re looking to unwind on a white-sand beach (La Paz means ‘peace’, which says it all), explore charming towns, taste delicious regional food or go scuba-diving among ancient reefs, there is something for everyone in this city and indeed the wider region. Adding to the appeal of this authentic, diverse and beautiful corner of Mexico are the welcoming and friendly people, making it a safe place to explore. Read on to discover the eight best things to do in La Paz, Mexico.

Tortugas Todos Santos la paz baja ca
holiday in la paz Ballena Puerto Chale

1. To witness incredible marine life

La Paz is the gateway to the Sea of Cortez, home to an array of marine species. There is a reason that production companies come to Baja California Sur to film content for world-class wildlife documentaries. The wildlife abounds, in many cases benefitting from legal protection that allows them to flourish. You can go swimming with magnificent whale sharks or friendly sea lions, or watch migrating whales, which gather here at certain times of the year, many returning to areas where they were previously nearly hunted to extinction. You can also witness the truly spectacular sight of mobula rays leaping high above the water’s surface, flapping their winglike fins in an impressive ritual marine biologists believe may be to attract a mate. Watching the sea pop with hundreds of rays moving in chaotic coordination is a very special, life-affirming experience. We also recommend chartering a private yacht or catamaran for a day, or even a few days, and sailing through the Gulf of California, named “the world’s aquarium” by renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau.

Aguachile de Camaron la paz baja ca

2. To feast on gastronomic food from the region

There is an exciting food scene in La Paz, and you can expect to enjoy simple but sumptuous farm-to-table dishes, influenced by the desert and the sea, and plenty of fresh seafood and spices on a holiday in La Paz, Mexico. Make sure you try all the classics, such as shrimp tacos, lobster empanadas, campechana (a traditional shrimp cocktail and Mexico’s answer to ceviche) and chocolata clams (named for the colour of their shells), served simply with a dash of lime and, for those preferring a little more spice, hot sauce. We also suggest heading to the market to pick up a bag of nopal (pickled cactus leaves) to graze on as you explore. All these culinary delights can be washed down with a ballena-sized (meaning whale-sized) bottle of Pacífico beer.

3. To relax on glorious beaches

Some of the most idyllic stretches of beach surround the city of La Paz. The Baja California Sur coastline is wild, pristine and less built up than elsewhere in the country, with long sandbanks and turquoise waters backed by desert. One of our favourite beaches is Balandra, a stunning and secluded sweep of white sand, lapped by the gin-clear Sea of Cortez. Only 30 minutes from the city along the scenic coastal highway, it is easy to reach and there are plenty of other little coves to stop off at along the way. There is a curious mushroom-shaped rock at Balandra about which local legends flourish, and a lovely walk up to a viewpoint above the beach, from where you can enjoy the sweeping vistas of the sparkling lagoon and headlands beyond. Another great spot is Playa El Tecolote, which faces Isla del Espíritu Santo (or Holy Spirit Island) and has a couple of cocktail bars on the beach, exuding the laid-back vibe for which the region is famous.

Playa Balandra, la paz bcs mexico

4. To immerse yourself in nature

With its mountains, valleys, beaches and aquamarine lagoons of the Sea of Cortez, the Baja California Sur peninsula has some dramatic and beautiful scenery. This landscape of contrast is perfect for photographers looking to hone their skills. It’s also an incredible setting if you’re looking to surround yourself with nature. We can arrange for you to go on a sea-kayaking adventure where you glide past dolphins, stopping off at deserted isles and sleeping on secluded beaches at a private camp. At night, you will be blown away by the magnificent starlit skies overhead and the Noctiluca scintillans, a species of submarine plant that becomes bioluminescent when disturbed, illuminating the sea with flickering underwater lights.

 

Malecon from holidays in la paz

5. To soak up the atmosphere + watch sunset on El Malecón

The Malecón of La Paz is the city’s buzzing main sidewalk between the coast and the city, where locals and tourists alike gather to relax, people-watch or watch the sunset. We recommend either walking or cycling along the length of the boardwalk, which is adorned with interesting statues and public art. Stop off at some of the many street food stalls to pick up fish tacos and similar bites along the way. When evening falls, make sure you take the time to unwind at a cocktail bar and sip a Margarita as the sun dips behind the distant Baja mountains beyond the clear, calm waters.

lobo marino, what to do in la paz mexico

6. To go scuba-diving or snorkelling

La Paz and the state of Baja California Sur as a whole offer superb scuba-diving and snorkelling, including the opportunity to glide alongside larger marine creatures, such as spectacular queen manta rays or hammerhead sharks. There are some incredible wrecks to explore, such as the famous SS President Coolidge, an American luxury ocean liner that hit a mine and sank near the UNESCO-protected island of Espiritu Santo in 1942, and the nearby Million Dollar Point, where you can view the World War Two US Navy equipment that lies there. Our other favourite dive spots include Cerralvo Island, with its superb visibility, the Parque Nacional Bahía de Loreto, where you are likely to swim with sea lions and a kaleidoscope of fish, and Cabo Pulmo National Park, where you can explore ancient reefs (some of the oldest in Mexico) and spot sea turtles, several species of shark and even whales at certain times of the year. Today, Cabo Pulmo is a marine protected area with a interesting and positive story: the fishermen who once hunted sharks are now involved in the tourism industry that is protecting and conserving the sharks.

Baja buggies la paz baja california sur mexico

7. To embark on an adventure

La Paz has much to offer the more intrepid traveller. One of the best things to do in La Paz Mexico on dry land, is to visit its spectacular hiking trails on the Cerro de la Calavera headland and in the Sierra de Laguna or we can arrange for you to go horse riding through stunning scenery. Thrill-seekers might be keen to time their trip to the annual Baja 1000, an annual 1,000-mile off-road motorsport race that usually goes from Ensenada to La Paz, open to trucks, motorbikes and specially adapted Beetles called Baja buggies. On the water, there are ample opportunities for kite-surfing, surfing or wing foiling. La Ventana, with its calm water and consistent winds, is a particularly good spot for these adrenaline-pumping watersports.

what to see in la paz mexico, Todos Santos

8. To explore the charming towns of Baja California Sur

Beyond La Paz, there are several charming towns to discover on the peninsula. Undoubtedly our favourite is Todos Santos, an oasis in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. A popular retreat for artists, writers and creatives, this is a place to stroll around markets and cobbled streets lined with old buildings housing restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. It’s a surf and beach haven with a smattering of laid-back hotels. We also recommend paying a visit to its neighbour, El Pescadero, which offers a trendy taste of relaxed coastal life. To discover a bit about the history of Baja California Sur, we suggest spending a morning or afternoon in the small old mining towns of El Triunfo and San Antonio.

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Caroline Maber
Karen Chapman
Adam Fry

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