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. 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. While the city is no Cabo San Luca, there are plenty of things to do in 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. The city is a short two-hour flight from San Francisco or a three-hour drive from San Jose del Luca International Airport.
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.
Walk along the Malecón
Among the top things to do in La Paz, 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 a must-see while in La Paz.
Snorkel with Whale Sharks
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, merely sailing the Sea of Cortez is an exciting activity while in La Paz.
Interested in camping on the island? Click hear to find out more about glamping on Isla Espiritu Santo.
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 beaches available with a short drive from La Paz.
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.
Dive the 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 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 diving and snorkeling with the friendly sea lions on Los Islotes, north of the island.
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 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.
Make sure to check the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de La Paz built by the Dominicans in 1861, the Museo de la Ballena, the Museo de Antropologia y Historica, the Tamal Gallery, the Calle de 16 Septiembre, and the Palacio de Gobierno which features local artists.
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.
Start or improve your Spanish comprehension with classes at Se Habla…La Paz 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!
Taste Top Seafood
With such a 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.
Find the Best La Paz Hotels
While La Paz doesn’t have the same range and choice of accommodations than Cabo, there are still plenty to choose from. You can choose between the downtown area, the Malecón waterfront, or one of the resorts at the edge of town. We stayed in a Airbnb in front of the Malecón and loved it!
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!
This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a percentage if you make a purchase using these links – at no additional cost to you. Our opinion is our own and is not impacted by these affiliate links.
ZeWanderingFrogs.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.