If you’re hunting for the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico, then read on! Yep, this guide has all you need to know about the sands that fringe this city of the Baja California Sur. It’s your 101 for getting out of the traffic-clogged streets and topping up the tan in the company of sea lions and sea turtles.
The truth is that La Paz sits smack dab in the middle of one of the most beach-heavy parts of the Baja. There are oodles and oodles of fantastic beaches, coves, and bays, so you’ll need weeks to explore the lot. But there are some that stand out from the crowd…
Yep, most of the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico, string up the peninsula to the north of the city itself, glimmering under the foothills of the desert peaks. Others are on separate islands in the Sea of Cortez but should be easy to reach on day trips out from the La Paz marinas. Let’s take a look…
Playa Balandra is where the Baja California Sur does its best impression of the Caribbean. A horseshoe crescent of a bay that’s dashed through by talcum-white sands and glistening waters of turquoise blue, it would look right at home in the Bahamas. But, here it is, arcing through the Bahia Puerto Balandra north of La Paz under the gaze of the dusty desert hills.
Getting there takes about 30 minutes on the wild Baja California Sur La Paz-El Tecolote road heading north. There’s a decent-sized public carpark just behind the bay that’s totally free of charge. Then, you just trundle over the low-lying dunes to hop onto the sun-scorched beach itself.
With its uber-still waters and protected inlets, Playa Balandra has established itself as a mecca for SUP boarding and kayaking. You can take to the aqua to navigate the winding ocean channels spotting small parrotfish and zebrafish as you go. Braver explorers can even delve into the verdant Manglares de Balandra, a wild pocket of mangroves and waters that lies behind.
Bahia de Los Muertos
The Bahia de Los Muertos is also known as Bahia de Los Suenos. It’s to the south of La Paz, about an hour’s drive down the 286 highway through the scrub-covered ridges. The distance from the city and the remoteness of the beach mean that it’s often very empty, though there are always some people, since a single luxury hotel and its high-perched infinity pool also make their home here.
The beach itself runs for nearly a mile. It’s sandwiched between a rocky headland at its north end (where there’s a fantastic cantina serving crisp margarita cocktails) and a cluster of sand dunes to the south, now dotted with lanky palm trees that seem to creep from the desert into the Sea of Cortez.
There are some waves here, because the beach is a touch exposed to the open waters of the Pacific due to its south-easterly orientation. However, they aren’t usually too bad, and there are some snorkeling opportunities in the reefs closer to the shore. We also love lazing around and watching the boats mooring up for lunch before crossing the strait to Mazatlán and Sinaloa.
Isla Espiritu Santo
The Isla Espiritu Santo is known as one of the top snorkeling spots in the Los Cabos region. It’s also a diving mecca. And it’s a part of a protected marine reserve. And if those credentials make it sound like this is the sort of place where you’ll find some seriously spectacular beaches, then that’s because they are!
Yep, the Isla Espiritu Santo isn’t home to just one beach. It’s home to a whole bunch of them. Day trips are possible from La Paz and usually involve multiple snorkel pitstops and drop-offs on the sands. Our favorites are the rock-topped Playa Candelero on the northwest coast (smaller but home to a small eco camp) and the wide sweep of Playa de La Bonanza on the southeast coast (a glorious dash of two miles that has a steep drop off into the Sea of Cortez).
However, a visit to Isla Espiritu Santo isn’t only about the beaches. This incredible rock hosts myriad marine life. It’s a prime place to spot the rare Baja sealions, along with killer whales, humpbacks, sea turtles, groupers – the list goes on and on and on!
Go just a little further on the boat from the Isla Espiritu Santo and you’ll eventually come to the Isla Partida. It feels like a continuation of its big bro but is even more deserted and has even more secluded bays than Espiritu Santo. The best way to arrive is on an organized day trip from Los Cabos or La Paz. There are even overnight adventures on offer for those who don’t mind bedding down in campgrounds right on the beach.
Talking of the beach…this one’s home to unquestionably some of the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico. Check out the central bay of El Cardonal, which fronts a very shallow sandbar that helps the water take on a dazzling shade of perfect teal. Then you can head north to wide Playa Ensenada Grande, a well-sheltered lagoon that we think looks like something out of the Greek islands.
There are some other pitstops that you should drop by before departing the Isla Partida. A sea lion nursery awaits on the rugged rocks at the north end of the island. Inland, you can also visit the strange desert sand flats of the Laguna Seca. Finally, the beach at El Cardonal has a patch of mangrove forest that’s brimming with land-lubbing wildlife.
Playa El Tecolote
Playa El Tecolote is one of the more famous and built-up beaches in the region. That said, it still deserves a place on this list of the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico. Yep, it has the whole cocktail…white sands, sky-blue sea waters, calm shores for snorkelers and swimmers. On top of that, it actually has cocktails themselves, courtesy of a run of bars and cantinas up and down the strand.
It’s a roomy beach – a whopping 1.2 miles from one end to the other, no less! That means you’ll have oodles of space to spread out and chillax, even if you’re coming with the whole family in tow. There are ample opportunities for watersports, too, what with jet ski rentals and kayak outfitters dotting the edge of the ocean.
The eastern end of Playa El Tecolote bends around a small patch of rock reef (a snorkel hotspot) into a few other bays that you can hop to in search of even more seclusion. They all offer the same still waters and dramatic views of the wonderful Isla Espiritu Santo in the distance.
Playa El Tesoro
If you’re looking for one of the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico, but don’t want to venture too far from the city, Playa El Tesoro could be precisely what you’ve been searching for. A little more than 20 minutes’ drive up the coast highway from the Zona Central, it’s a lovely little dash of white sand beneath brown-paper hills.
It’s made its name as something of a family favorite. The reason? The waters are very calm. They are tucked deep into the bay of La Paz itself and have even more shelter from high peninsulas on the top and bottom ends of the beach. Adding to that is an extremely shallow sand shelf that means the little ones can paddle around without going too deep.
There is one fantastic bar and eatery on offer at Playa El Tesoro to boot. Cue Restaurante El Tesoro, an open-air cantina that covers all the bases with its mix of ceviche salads, fish tacos, and evening cocktails. Oh, and anyone after some more peace and quiet might prefer to push on one more bend in the coast to Playa Paceno, where the crowds really do start to thin out.
Playa El Coromuel
Finally, Playa El Coromuel takes us even closer to La Paz itself. Yep, this one’s a mere stone’s throw from the outskirts of the town. You can even walk there if you can handle the heat – it’s about 20 minutes by foot from the Marina Palmira. However, we’d recommend a car, especially as there’s lots of on-site parking just behind the beach.
What awaits is a full-service beach with a backing of salt-washed cafés, bars, and eateries. It’s a cracking option for families, what with palapa rentals on the sand in front and a dedicated pier with watersports outfitters at hand. For lunch, you can retire to the shade of one of several establishments – we particularly loved Clams & Beer, for their, well…clams and beer!
The good news is that Playa El Coromuel is just the beginning of a stretch of about three or four beaches that lie really close to La Paz. They each have little boating marinas and Mexican restaurants, and all sit within an easy drive of town.
The best beaches in La Paz, Mexico – a conclusion
If you’re on the hunt for the best beaches in La Paz, Mexico, you’re not going to be disappointed. Nope, this town is fringed by some of the most breathtaking corners of the Mexican Pacific. It’s got bays that look like something out of the Caribbean and others that host amazing marine life like the local sea lions. We’d say that Playa Balandra is the must-see of the area, though trips to the Isla Espiritu Santo and its near neighbors are also the stuff of bucket lists.