- Art Galleries
- Diving and Snorkeling
- Eco Tours
- Family Fun
La Paz Art Galleries
Besides a rich colonial history, La Paz boasts a hip contemporary art scene, with a handful of galleries showing the works of local artists. Find a list of current galleries in the La Paz directory.
La Paz Beaches
The Bay of La Paz has a number of attractive beaches within the city limits. But the prettiest and most secluded are along the coast on the Pichilingue Peninsula, a half-hour drive from downtown.
La Paz has many beautiful beaches, but two of the most visited are Balandra and Tecolote. The calm shallow waters of Balandra make this beach great for relaxing and swimming. Take a short walk to El Hongo, the famous mushroom shaped rock formation. Tecolote is a pristine beach with restaurants, palapas and gear rental. On weekends, the locals enjoy family barbecues and the beach can get crowded. But if you visit during the week you will have the place to yourself.
- Playa Palmira – Close to downtown La Paz, but losing its sand space to resort developers.
- Playa Coromuel – A good alternative to Playa Palmira with a small beach, restaurant, and bar.
- El Caimancito – Comes complete with an aquarium and its own rock reef for snorkeling.
- El Tesoro – Palapas are guaranteed, a good experience at the restaurant–not so much!
- Punta Colorada – An isolated swimming cove down the dirt road from El Tesoro.
- Playa Pichilingue – Come to camp on the beach and dine on the shellfish at the restaurant.
- Playa Balandra – Popular for its snorkeling and famed Mushroom Rock, this beach has calm waters and great views if you scale its rock cliffs.
- Playa Tecolote – Two restaurants, gear rental, boat tours, and a gentle slope into the water make this beach a La Paz favorite.
- Playa El Coyote – Here at the end of the road you’ll find gray or brown sand and rocky stretches.
- Mogote Peninsula – An 11-kilometer stretch joining the main Baja Peninsula on the north side of Ensenada de La Paz, the area is now part of a US$240 million real estate development project.
- Espiritu Santo – Outdoor adventurers will revel in the many opportunities here for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, and soaking in the gorgeous bay views.
La Paz Boating
Anyone who is traveling Baja by boat is bound to end up in La Paz eventually. It has the largest marinas and the best marine services for miles around. Many public marinas are full-service operations with fuel,convenience stores, Internet, swimming pools, restaurants, laundry, showers, TV, restrooms, and more.You may have to plan ahead to get a spot in the high season at the most popular marinas.
Don’t have your own boat? Book a guided trip to nearby Isla Espíritu Santo and Isla Partida. Barely divided by a sand bank at low tide, these two uninhabited islands are a protected natural park and in recent years, they were declared a World Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO. This water sanctuary, home of thousands of marine species, is a scuba diving and snorkeling paradise. The white sand coves and turquoise waters make the islands a great kayaking and camping destination. Once on land, hike along the canyons and cliffs to enjoy the desert landscape and spectacular views. One of the highlights of the trip for most visitors is the unique opportunity to swim among the large community of sea lions in Los Islotes.
La Paz Camping
Campgrounds are few and far between in the vicinity of La Paz, as new real estate developments take shape. Try Oasis RV Park or Casa Blanca RV Park for proximity to city attractions. With a permit, you can camp on Isla Espiritu Santo. Beach camping is an option at Playa Tecolote, where there is fresh water. Find a complete list of area camping facilities in the La Paz directory.
Day Trips from La Paz
La Paz makes a good home base for trips to the East Cape and Todos Santos.
Thirty minutes from La Paz, Ventana Bay has near-perfect conditions for kiteboarding and windsurfing in winter months. El Norte winds blow strong from January through April, and the exposed beachfront camping is not for the faint of heart, but the scene is outdoorsy, communal, and fun. When the winds die down, as they occasionally do, it’s time for stand-up paddling, scuba diving, and maybe even an excursion over to the Pacific side for a day of surfing. There are a handful of inns and restaurants in the neighboring villages of La Ventana and El Sargente. Search the La Paz directory for listings.
An hour from La Paz on the Pacific coast, Todos Santos has world-class surf, a thriving artist community, boutique accommodations, an organic farm market, and several restaurants serving creative Baja cuisine. Follow Mexico 1 south to Mexico 19.
The East Cape is located 120 kilometers south of La Paz, along a stretch of the Transpeninsular Highway that winds through the mountains and then meets the sea near Buena Vista and Los Barriles. Enjoy sensational sportfishing, diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing and hiking. There are two ways to reach the East Cape: Take Mexico 19 south to La Paz, continue east toward San José and then north along Mexico 1 to Santiago and La Ribera (approximately a 2.5-hour drive). Or drive north along Mexico 19 leaving Todos Santos and bear right at the intersection with Mexico 1 to wind through the mountains and along the scenic road as it descends toward the Sea of Cortez (approximately a two-hour drive).
Head to the small agricultural community of Santiago for access to Cañon de la Zorra—a 60-foot waterfall, where you can take a dip and put your head under a 90-degree waterfall. A mask and snorkel add to the fun, especially when you see what looks like gold dust at the bottom of the pool.
Turn west off Mexico 1 to enter the town of Santiago. Just before the Pemex gas station, take a right away from the town. Follow the signs to the Ecological Center. If you get confused, just ask for directions. It’s approximately six miles to the main gate (where there is a small entrance fee) and a one-mile drive thereafter. At the end of the road, park your car (in the shade) and walk eight minutes to get the falls.
More than 100 years after silver was discovered in the southern Baja mountains at San Antonio, silver and gold were discovered in a nearby mountain area, soon to be called El Triunfo (The Triumph). By 1865, this once-sleepy cattle ranch became a boom town of approximately 10,000 people. It was, at the time, the largest settlement in all of southern Baja. After 60 years of mining, El Triunfo finally closed its operations in 1926. The tall chimney and surrounding brick buildings just off the south side of the highway are the remains of the old smelter. Don’t miss the piano museum. A pizza or a sandwich from the recently opened restaurant El Triunfo Cafe will make this day-trip even more enjoyable. From Todos Santos, drive north on Mexico 19 for about 30 minutes. At the intersection, bear right on Mexico 1 heading south toward the East Cape and back to San Joseé del Cabo. Mexico 1 will pass right through the center of town approximately half an hour later.
This is a small Indian pueblo in the Sierra de La Laguna mountains about 40 minutes south of Todos Santos. Here, potters make clay pottery in brick pit kilns, and you can buy directly from the manufacturer. From Todos Santos, take Mexico 19 south toward La Paz. Just before passing the Migriño Bridge at Km 100, pull over to the right near the Baja Adventure ATV rental stand. Here you can either drive your four-wheel-drive vehicle to the town or rent an ATV. Do not attempt this drive with a Volkswagon Beetle, as you will get stuck in the deep sand. Take the dirt road to the dry river bed and pass under the bridge and toward the mountains. There are many paths you can take. Shortly after passing through an opening in a fence, bear to the left for another few minutes and, at the fork in the river, take a right. You will see a building on your left, go toward it but take the narrow road to the left that goes uphill. A lush oasis will be on your right below as you ascend toward the town. There are no restaurants in La Candelaria, so bring your own food and drinks.
Diving and Snorkeling
La Paz is an access point for some of the most exciting diving in the Sea of Cortez. Boat rides are long, but well worth the trip. You can circle underwater mountains in search of whale sharks, hammerheads, and other pelagics; visit a sea lion colony; explore the wreck of the Salvatierra, or brave fast currents for a chance to see a giant manta cruise by overhead. There are dives for all levels, and at least half a dozen reputable shops from which to choose.
Snorkeling trips typically take passengers by motor boat to Isla Espiritu Santo, where they can hop in a kayak, or simply get dropped off at a remote island beach for the day. Bring a picnic lunch, or plan to camp for a few days.
Find operators and guides in the La Paz activities directory.
La Paz is a center for marine biology research, environmental awareness and conservation efforts. From whale shark research to fishery management to sea turtle protection, there are many opportunities to engage in sustainable tourism and make a difference in the local community. Most eco-oriented trips head to Isla Espiritu Santo and neighboring islands in the Sea of Cortez for combination kayak/snorkeling day-trips and overnight camping adventures.
Search the La Paz activities directoryfor guides and organized eco-tours.
Family Activities in La Paz
La Paz is a great place to enroll the kids in a Spanish-speaking school while you enjoy a sabbatical or other extended travel experience. Trips to nearby beaches and islands will interest children of all ages. The Acuario de las Californias is a great place to get acquainted with the local marine life. Search the La Paz activities directory for family-friendly activities.
Golfing in La Paz
Kayaking in La Paz
A number of adventure travel services in La Paz offer kayak rentals for paddling along the shore of the Bay of La Paz and guided trips to a string of protected islands in the Sea of Cortez. The beaches are pristine and the marine-life is abundant. You can do an island trip in a long day, starting from downtown La Paz with a guided tour, or by heading to Playa Tecolote on the Pichilingue Peninsula and hiring a panga driver to take you there with kayaks in tow. But the best way to enjoy the experience is to stay overnight and camp. This requires some planning ahead, as you need to obtain permit (http://www.inah.gob.mx/) and there are no services on these uninhabited islands. Search the La Paz activities directory for tour operators.
La Paz Nightlife
A distinctly local nightlife prevails in La Paz. You might gather for cocktails in a rooftop bar, listen to a Norteña band, or find a pooltable and cigar bar. Search the La Paz activities directory and the La Paz Restaurants Listings.
La Paz Shopping
Residents of more remote Baja towns come to La Paz for supplies, as it is well connected with the mainland. You can find artesanias, apparel, household goods, sporting equipment, English language books, supermarkets, and more. Search the La Paz directory for listings.