The Three Best Daytrip Beaches from La Paz
Looking at images of La Paz and seeing the stretch of beach along the famous Malecon pedestrian walkway, but no swimmers or sunbathers?
That’s because the very best beaches are just a short drive outside of La Paz’s city center! Roadtrip!
Which ones do you choose if you’ve only got a week to soak up the sun? That depends on what you’re into and how many people you’d like to share your beach day with!
Read on to find your Baja California Sur beach break paradise:
1. Cerritos Beach (1-hour drive from La Paz)
Looking for adrenaline and adventure on the water, or just like watching fit water folk doing their thing while you relax and read a book? Cerritos is your spot!
This long and very wide, slightly curved beach is on the Pacific Ocean side of the Baja Peninsula and is a popular middle-ground meet-up between Los Cabos and La Paz.
Bringing together the energies of both these incredible Baja California Sur cities, you can play a game of frisbee with your friends or meditate to the setting sun as easily as you can join a group of people enjoying fresh ceviche and cold cervezas.
Probably the main reason for Cerritos’ popularity is the fact that any level of surfer can find their perfect wave amongst the cascading rows - you’ve got shallow white-water breaks for the beginners backed up by fast and heavy surf for the pros. Oh, and behind them all, whales regularly cruise the coastline from November to March!
If you’re brand new to the sport or just rusty, surfing lessons can be booked ahead of time or also once you’re there. The Trip&homes Experiences team works with professional instructors who will have you up on your feet by the end of your session; they do the hard work by reading the waves and getting your timing right. Standing up is the easy and fun part - that’s all yours! Boogie boards can also be rented at various locations across the beach if you’re more of a belly-down wave rider.
The only choice on this list with services available such as restaurants and
bars with bathrooms and change rooms, Cerritos Beach is definitely worth the 1-hour drive from La Paz!
2. Balandra Beach (40-minute drive from La Paz)
I’d lose all credibility if I didn’t include Balandra Beach on a list itemizing “best beaches around La Paz”!
Literally voted 'The Most Beautiful Beach in Mexico' not once but twice, this shallow-water bay nestled amongst towering mountains and desert cliffsides is the pride and joy of the city. Because of its notoriety, it is one of the most heavily visited beaches, especially on holidays or weekends. For full tips on this beach and how to best plan a visit check out this full Balandra Beach visitor's guide.
Pro Tip: Balandra is not just a single beach but actually a bay comprised of many separate beaches and a section of mangroves. This is why I think the BEST way to take in this natural wonder is by booking a private boat tour. Your guides will point out the unique geological features, such as the famous Hongo de Balandra or “Mushroom Rock”, and you'll get away from the main beach crowds.
Enjoy the emerald blues and greens of the water from the fine white sand on the less-visited south side of the bay. From here, the only sound you will hear is the soft lapping of the waves - ultimate serenity.
As a protected natural area, there are some rules to be respected in order to preserve this pristine bit of paradise for generations to come: avoid walking up the dunes or interfering with the coastal vegetation, which are important defences against erosion, and don’t pack out any shells that you may find along the white sand beaches (that’s home for a hermit crab!).
3. Playa El Saltito (30-minute drive from La Paz)
A deserted pebble beach visited mostly by small groups of locals picnicking together
and maybe even camping out for the night, this wild side of La Paz is reserved
for those who seek it out!
Mountains melt away to become a sloping hillside legitimately lush with endemic
cacti and desert shrubs (“lush” is not a word you’d think would apply to desert
terrain but, there it is!) The desert, in turn, gives way to the fairly deep beach that
eventually drops off into turquoise waters. No rocks or seaweed blemish the
coastline here. Just glorious sand and sea.
Just off the beach, two rocky islets jut up and out of the water, providing a home and nesting ground to many sea birds, and even a lounging pad for the odd sea lion! Bring a snorkel and mask with you, and circumnavigate the larger of the two for some of the richest and most colourful snorkeling you’ll find swimming from any beach around La Paz.
There is literally nothing but nature at Playa El Saltito, so make sure to bring your own lunch and plenty of cool drinks to pass a full day here. The dirt road leading down to the beach normally does not require a 4x4, however, double-check with the Trip&homes team that there hasn’t been a large rain recently (flowing water down the hillside can cause loose sand to build up that normally isn’t there).
That’s my top 3, happy travelers! Whichever you choose, there are no bad days at the beach in Baja!
By: Terri Lynn Manna