Settled between the Sea of Cortez and the Sierra Laguna mountains on the Baja California peninsula, La Paz, Mexico offers a myriad of recreational activities on land and sea. You can enjoy a day at sea on a guided cruise for fishing or whale watching, then catch the sunset on the malecón (waterfront walkway) before dining on a chef-prepared dock to table dinner. La Paz translates as “The Peace” and this seaside village is true to its name offering a quiet and relaxing getaway.
Located 100 miles north of Cabo San Lucas, in La Paz you can take a break from the all-inclusive resorts and immerse yourself in an authentic travel destination. While it’s less touristy than Cabo San Lucas, La Paz is tourist friendly and a great opportunity to connect with residents, enjoy luscious local cuisine, and get out and explore the natural surroundings.
Get Up Close With Whale Sharks
Although you can view more than 20 species of whales—humpback whales, blue whales, sperm whales and more—many of which are visible on the Sea of Cortez year round, the best time for whale season is October through March when the whales migrate to the calm, warm waters near La Paz. Swim with the whales on a snorkeling tour or take a day cruise to watch the whales up close.
Explore the Sea of Cortez by Kayak
There are plenty of ways to explore the Sea of Cortez by kayak. You can rent a kayak for the day at one of the beaches in La Paz, visit nearby Balandra Beach and rent a kayak there, or take a boat ride to a protected, sheltered cove to explore the mangroves and shallow waters by kayak.
Or if you prefer a more adventurous outing, Sea & Adventures / Mar Y Aventuras will take you for an eight day, seven nights expedition, kayaking from 8 to 20 miles per day. You’ll spend five nights camping and two in a hotel. The tours start and end in La Paz and include sea kayaking, snorkeling, nature walks, fishing, and more.
Stand Up Paddle Board Through the Mangroves
If a stand up paddleboard is more your favored way to get around, tour companies will transport you and the stand up paddleboards (SUP) by boat to paddleboard among the mangroves. Mangroves are trees and shrubs that have adapted to the saltwater environment. Take a half or full day excursion that includes paddle board lessons and a chance to explore the pristine coastal waters of Baja.
Spend a Night Glamping on Espiritu Santo Island
At Camp Cecil base camp on Espiritu Santo Island, you can try glamping in a luxury tent. The tents include niceties like comfortable beds, linens, and lanterns, located on the beach. The on-site chef cooks your meals at the Espiritu Xantus Café, plus there’s a daily happy hour, sun showers, and compost toilets. The island is about an hour boat ride north of La Paz and is home to varied marine life like parrot fish, turtles, sharks, and the occasional whale and dolphin sightings. Spend your days kayaking, exploring the volcanic rock formations, fishing, or just relaxing beachside or in your tent.
Hike Around El Triunfo
El Triunfo is La Paz’s historic mining town where gold and silver were once. At one time the largest town in Baja California Sur, when the mines closed in 1926, residents left to seek jobs elsewhere. It’s worth a visit to hike the old mining grounds. You’ll see brick ruins and old smokestacks, the largest of which, La Romana, is 35 meters tall (and rumored to have been designed by Gustav Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower). Follow the rock lined path to the lookout for a spectacular view of the town and the surrounding mountains.
Play a Round of Golf
Enjoy year-round golfing with a view of the Sea of Cortez as a backdrop. There are a few courses to choose from that offer stunning views of the sea and mountains. The Puerta Cortés Golf Club is home to the only Gary Player Signature course in Mexico. When you’re not taking in the view, the course itself is challenging but fair and appeals to golfers of all levels.
In addition to the bounty of water activities in La Paz, you’ll want to go inland for recreation, too. Take a board and “surf” one of area's sand dunes. Similar to snowboarding, sandboarding is an extreme sport that involves riding a sand dune while either standing, sitting, or lying on a board. El Mogote is a sand barrier peninsula located just 20 minutes from La Paz. The steep hills of fine sand offer the perfect opportunity to try sandboarding.
Snorkel with the Sea Lions
Jacques Cousteau coined the Sea of Cortez the “aquarium of the world.” One of the most biodiverse on earth, the Sea of Cortez is rich with marine life and home to approximately 900 fish species and 5,000 species of micro-invertebrates. Espiritu Santo island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to a large year-round sea lion colony. Or visit Los Islotes, home to several hundred California sea lions. The sea lions are friendly to humans and you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with these gentle creatures.
Enjoy Dock to Table Dining
Prepare to experience fresh fish, caught that day, when you take your bounty from sport fishing to Sea Side, a beach-side open seating restaurant with a spectacular view, or into town at La Casita. The chefs will prepare your seafood in a variety of ways creating unique dishes like yellowfin poke, sea bass with tequila sauce, or fried yellow snapper served with asparagus and potatoes. If you don’t feel like working on a fishing boat for your dinner, step inside one of the many seafood restaurants in town like Mariscos Los Laureles.
Catch Your Dinner Sport Fishing
If you love fresh seafood, there’s nothing more rewarding than reeling in your dinner. Spend the day sport fishing with Mosquito Fleet or Coras Tours. The guides are experienced fishermen and will show you a variety of methods, both surface and deep sea fishing, to help you catch a grouper, dorado (mahi mahi), marlin, tuna, or other succulent fish. They’ll filet and pack the fish for you to take to a local chef to prepare for dinner that evening. While fishing, you might see dolphins, manta ray, sea lions, turtles, and more, so have a waterproof camera ready.
Take a Day Trip to Todos Santos
Founded as a Mission in 1723, Todos Santos is a charming town with galleries and shops that’s also popular with the surfers. You’ll find pristine beaches and cobblestone streets in this historically significant town. In addition to artisan craft shops, there are also art galleries, gardens, churches, yoga retreats, and farm-to-table dining. Experience the food, culture, beaches, and surf breaks just a little less than a two hour drive from La Paz.
Watch the Sun Set on the Malecón
No matter the time of day, you’ll want to spend plenty of time on the malecón: La Paz’s waterfront boardwalk. Stroll the 20-block-long boardwalk, rent a bicycle, stop at the restaurants and shops along the boardwalk, grab an ice cream cone or sit on a bench to watch the fantastic sunset over the water. It’s a safe, well maintained area that is wheelchair accessible. The malecón showcases sculptures by Mexican artists, most with a maritime theme.