Less known than Cabo San Luca, this little gem sits on the Peninsula of Baja California Sur. Featuring a desert climate, La Paz offers a dry, warm and sunny weather most of the year. While the city is no Cabo San Luca, if you wonder what to do in Mexico, there are plenty of La Paz activities to choose from!
Of course, La Paz Mexico beaches are famous, but the quaint city, as well as the surrounding mountains, offer fun attractions for everyone, including the adventure travelers.
Visit La Paz Mexico:
Top Things to Do in La Paz Mexico
For those interested in Mexican culture, but want to be away from the hustle of touristy Cabo, La Paz is the perfect base for exploring Baja California.
Regardless of where you land, we recommend you rent a car as some of the top attractions are around La Paz proper. Having your own vehicle will give you the flexibility to explore at your pace. And because La Paz is no Cabo, it has also fewer accommodations so make sure to book your La Paz hotel ahead of time, especially in the high season. Many countries do not require a visa for Mexico but make sure to verify any visa requirement as well as insurance for Mexico prior to your trip.
Walk along the Malecón
Among the top things to do in La Paza Baja California Mexico, by both locals and visitors alike, the most popular is walking along the city front Malecón. Built along the Paseo Alvaro Obregon, the 5-km long Malecón is a favorite place for locals and visitors alike. Families stroll on a Sunday afternoon. Joggers run in the early hours of the day. Couples go on romantic walks into the sunset. In short, the Malecón is for sure one of the top things to see in La Paz Mexico.
Snorkel with Whale Sharks
What to do in La Paz Mexico for the adventurers? Swim with whale sharks for sure!
Among popular La Paz Mexico attractions, snorkeling with the whale sharks is a must-do between November and March. Find out about our experience snorkeling with the whale sharks in Baja California and start planning your adventure. Click here to find the best whale shark snorkeling experience in La Paz
Cruise to Espiritu Santo Island
Whales travel in the winter to the warmer waters of the Sea of Cortez and the Golf of La Paz. Whale watching cruises can be done for a day or as a multi-day cruise. Sails can also be taken to see the Espiritu Santo Island. Cruising is among the top activities in La Paz Mexico.
Once you are on Espiritu Santo Island, many boat excursions will let you snorkel with sea lions. A pretty cool adventure we had the chance to experience in the Galapagos!
Even if you are not going to the island, sailing the Sea of Cortez is one of the most exciting things to do La Paz Mexico offers.
Interested in camping on the island? Click here to find out more about glamping on Isla Espiritu Santo.
Sea Kayak at Balandra Beach
With so many best things to do in La Paz Mexico, you might want to take a break to relax. Especially with gorgeous La Paz beaches available with a short drive from the city. Balandra Beach is by far one of the best beaches in La Paz Mexico!
But after chilling for a while, kayaking is a fun activity worth trying. About 45 min north of La Paz, the small beach of Balantra is protected and free of motorboats. Rent a kayak for an hour or two, and discover the bay, reaching out to the sea or into the inland mangroves. During stormy days, the mouth of the bay can present challenges with strong wind, waves, and currents.
The mangrove area will offer an opportunity to see herons, egrets, and other birds. In any case, large groups of pelicans, frigates, and even blue-footed boobies are present in Balantra Bay. Stingrays sometimes flock the Bay so one should be careful stepping in the shallow waters. Another popular kayaking destination is around Espiritu Santo Island.
Other top La Paz Mexico beaches include Playa Tecolote and Playa El Tesoro (Tesoro Beach).
Have you been to Playa Balandra, La Paz Baja Mexico?
La Paz Diving: Sea of Cortez
Named the “Aquarium of the World” by world-famous Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the Sea of Cortez offers excellent diving spots. Reefs, and wrecks, and even a chance to see mantas, dolphins, and other large animals. Visibility for scuba diving in La Paz Mexico is best from May to October. Enjoy a day boat trip to Espiritu Santo island.
One of the best-preserved sanctuaries in the world, the island is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1995. A highlight when in La Paz, kayaking around the island is popular, as well as snorkeling and diving La Paz Mexico with the friendly sea lions on Los Islotes, north of the island.
When researching your La Paz Mexico diving center, make sure they follow the guidelines defined around the biosphere reserve.
Visit the Historic Center of La Paz
Visited by Hernan Cortez in 1535, the area had no population until 1811, even though a Jesuit mission settlement was briefly built and occupied from 1720 to 1750. The desert conditions and the Indian opposition made it hard to develop the land. Check our walk in downtown La Paz photo essay for more details.
The pearl diving industry helped La Paz develop from the mid-19th century to mid-20th-century and set the city as the capital of Baja California Sur since 1830. This commercial expansion brought the different architecture of the historical buildings in La Paz. La Paz’ historic area can be easily walked around, with very gentle hills. In addition to the Catedral and the Whale Museum, head to the Museo de Antropologia y Historica, the Tamal Gallery, the Calle de 16 Septiembre, and the Palacio de Gobierno which features local artists.
Visit the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de La Paz
Make sure to check the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de La Paz built by the Dominicans in 1861. The cathedral stands tall in the Jardín Velasco plaza and is hard to miss.
Check the inside as it is worth a short visit, especially as the entrance is free.
Learn about Whales at the Museo de la Ballena
With such an important impact on the local economy and history of La Paz, it comes to no surprise that a museum is dedicated to whales. There is a massive skeleton in the garden so you are sure to find it.
Most of the information is in Spanish but the exhibition is worth checking regardless of whether you speak the language.
Open hours are from Tuesday to Saturday (9 am – 6 pm), and Sunday (10 am – 6 pm). Tickets cost around 150 Mexican Pesos (US$7) but include a 45-minute English-speaking guided tour.
[April 2019 Update] It appears that the Museum is currently closed. Their Facebook page is still live and updated, so feel free to check with them before headed for a visit.
From the local artists featuring painting and jewelry to delicacies like spices and food, small shops here and there can cater to any shopper’s needs.
A visit to the Mercado Madero is a must – fresh juices, food, clothes, music and the perfect place to see locals going about their daily routine.
Take a Mexican Cooking Class
Not just a La Paz things to do Mexico, in general, a fantastic place for learning how to cook Mexican cuisine.
Buen Provecho cooking and culture classes in the village of San Bartolo, which is an hour and a half drive from La Paz or two hours by bus. Classes last 5 hours and are available from December to mid-March, for US$85 per class. Once a month, El Nopal Spanish Academy offers a lesson in downtown La Paz for US$20 per class.
Go Horseback Riding through Cacti
Rancho El Cajon is a 30-min drive north of La Paz as you drive by fields of cacti. An authentic Mexican ranch, the ranchers will only gather the horses for riding upon demand, letting them roam free most of the time on the property. The horses are full of characters but friendly and for all levels of riding experience. The rides go through miles of cacti and go by the ocean, giving the opportunity to visit small fishing villages and to gallop on the beach. A cowgirl at heart, horseback riding was one of my preferred La Paz Mexico activities
Start or improve your Spanish comprehension with classes and get you up and running in español as fast as possible while enjoying your vacation. It might not be the first things to Do in La Paz Mexico you have in mind, but that will be fun and make you interact with the locals – and that will be fun for sure!
La Paz might not be Scotland, but playing golf there is an option if you so wanted to. A mix of a desert landscape, coastal views, all under the warm Mexican climate.
Street Art & Sculpture
Though small, La Paz is packed with colorful street art, interesting statues and sculptures depicting some of what the city is famous about. Indeed, stroll the streets in search of the giant pearl, jumping whale, musicians, and more.
Taste Top Seafood
With such marine diversity, La Paz is an excellent place for fresh fish and seafood. Taste chocolate clams served fresh by the local fishermen on street corners – we bought ours right from our street, and I had to ask the vendor to show me how to eat them. Try a full lobster or sushi. All fresh and exquisite!
You can easily walk and explore La Paz by yourself, but we would recommend booking a tour for diving, snorkeling with the whale sharks or taking a boat trip to Espiritu Santo Island.
Have a sip (or two!) of Mexico’s popular drink! A mezcaleria would be the ideal place to do so, where you can try out different types of Mezcal.
Be Dazzled by the Sunsets
There is always something attractive about sunsets. And the sunsets over the Sea of Cortez are nothing short of gorgeous! Go on a romantic walk along the Malecon, relax on one the beaches, sip a cocktail from one of the bars. Whatever you do, make sure to take some moments aside to enjoy the red, yellow, orange, and all the colors in-between.
La Paz Nightlife
While a less active city than Cabo San Lucas when it comes to parties, La Paz still offers some cool evening experiences. Enjoy a cold cerveza with views on the Sea of Cortez, or listen to mariachi music in local bars like La Ksa del Mariachi. A few nightclubs on the Malećon can take you for a spin or two.
Attend a Festival
El Dia de los Muertos is the most famous Mexican celebrations and usually happens from October 31 to November 2 every year.
Day Trip to Todos Santos: Historic Plaza
A quaint town located about 50 miles south from La Paz, Todos Santos is famous for its historic plaza, and restaurants. Very relaxing!
Watch Sea Turtles around Todos Santos
Eggs are retrieved and protected to prevent birds, dogs, or cats to eat them. As they hatch, the baby sea turtles are released in the ocean. An emotional moment as the little creatures struggle to reach the water and start their adult life. Note that this is a seasonal event, so check Tortugueros Las Playitas for more information on the next sea turtle hatchling release.
Learn to Surf around Todos Santos Beaches
While you can simply watch the surfers taking in the waves, you can also give a try yourself. Several beautiful beaches are located within a 30-minute drive from Todos Santos, where you can enjoy the popular watersport. Note that all beaches are equal. Playa Las Palmas and Playa Los Cerritos are perfect for swimming. Punta Lobos is a good place for watching fishermen. Los Cerritos, la Playa La Pastora, and Las Pocitas are popular with surfers looking for impressive swells, especially the latter beach. You can also take lessons at Explore Baja in Todos Santos.
Day Trip to La Ventana: Kitesurfing
Feeling like flying in the wind? Learn to kitesurf or improve your riding skills with a day trip (or more!) to La Ventana. A winter kitesurfing destination, the warm conditions, strong winds, and chill atmosphere will make you want to come back for more!
Volunteer in a Conservation Project
With several national parks in the region, wildlife monitoring like the turtle hatchling release, whale shark initiatives, and bird projects, combine conservation engagement with destination exploration.
Where to Stay in La Paz Mexico
While La Paz doesn’t have the same range and choice of accommodations than Cabo, there are still plenty of La Paz Mexico hotels to choose from. You can choose between the downtown area, the Malecón waterfront, or one of the resorts at the edge of town. La Paz Mexico resorts are far and few but you can find several along the Malecón.
We stayed in an Airbnb in front of the Malecón and loved it!
Here are some of the other best hotels in La Paz Mexico that made our short list include:
- Bermejo Hostel & Backpackers – Click here for the latest deals
- Casa Juarez B&B – with an outdoor pool! Check the most recent prices
- Hotel HBlue – and a rooftop pool with stunning views over the city! Find their latest offers
- Or click here to find the latest deals on your La Paz Mexico hotel
Where is La Paz Mexico
Situated at the end of an extension of the Sierra Laguna, the city is circled by tall mountains bordered by the Gulf of California and the Sea of Cortez. Not to be mistaken with La Paz in Bolivia, we are here talking about La Paz in Mexico. The old city is in the Baja peninsula, the capital of the Baja California Sur – sometimes listed as La Paz BCS.
How to Get to La Paz Mexico
- By Plane
La Paz Mexico airport is Manuel Márquez de León International Airport (LAP) but Cabo is the other nearest airport to La Paz Mexico. Direct flights to La Paz Mexico from California are available, but flights to Cabo are usually cheaper as they are sponsored by the hotel industry of the resort town.
The city is a short two-hour flight from San Francisco or a three-hour drive from San Jose del Luca International Airport. Indeed, getting to La Paz Mexico by car from Cabo is probably cheaper than flying into La Paz.
- Driving to La Paz Mexico
Driving from Cabo to La Paz takes about two hours, and you have two different routes to choose from. The main road by Todos Santos along the Pacific Coast will take about two hours. Another route goes via Santiago and Los Barriles takes you inland for a three-hour ride.
La Paz Mexico Weather
The question when is the best time to visit La Paz Mexico can be tricky. In reality, La Paz can be visited any time but it really depends on why you want to do. February tends to be the coolest month, whereas August will be the hottest with high humidity. See below what the weather in La Paz Mexico looks like for your preferred activity.
- For the best weather overall: April to June
- Whale-watching season: November to March
- Sea turtles season: August to November
- Swimming in warm temperatures: August to October
- Busy touristy period: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, when Americans flock to Baja to escape the US winter.
- Shoulder season with warm weather and fewer crowd: November to March
- Kiteboarding La Ventana: November to March for the best winds
La Paz Travel Tips
- Flying into Cabo San Luca might be cheaper than flying into La Paz, as the tourism industry in Cabo is said to sponsor and cover some of the airlines in order to attract travelers with cheaper air flights.
- Driving around Baja California is easy as the roads are in good shape. Check with your car rental if you can drive on the dirt roads before off-roading
- Regarding Baja California travel advisory, the region has had some issues and a fair share of kidnapping in the country. Similarly, there has been a certain of crime in La Paz Mexico. But Baja California Sur is generally safe. It might be good to avoid driving at night though. Please make sure to check your government guidelines. They tend to be overcautious but they are still to be considered before traveling.
- The sun can be strong and hot. Sunscreen and proper hydration (think water, not Margarita!) are a must.
- Speaking about water, don’t drink tap water as your belly might not be used to the local variant.
- Bring proper clothes and shoes. In addition to flip-flops and swimsuit, pack closed-toe shoes like running shoes or low hiking shoes for exploring outside town, and a wind jacket for evening strolls or protection while cruising the bay.
- Read about La Paz before your trip to make your visit more knowledgeable and enjoyable.
- If you want to show your language skills, pick up an English-Spanish phrasebook and have it handy.
Did you go to this city and have other things to Do in La Paz Mexico to suggest? Feel free to comment and let us know!
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