La Paz Mexico – The Complete Guide (All You Need To Know)
La Paz is one of the coolest yet most underrated beach towns in Mexico. It is located on the Baja California peninsula and is home to about 300,000 people. Although Baja California has so much to offer it is still a little off the beaten track. The region is perfect if you like to discover wildlife, such as whales, sting rays, sea lions, and dolphins. But also if you like to enjoy crystal clear blue water and long white beaches surrounded by forests of cacti. Welcome to the Mexican desert!
Plan Your Trip To La Paz Mexico
Getting To La Paz Mexico
They are multiple convenient ways to reach La Paz Mexico, by plane, bus, car or ferry. For instance, we once arrived from Mexico City at La Paz airport and once from Madrid at Los Cabos airport.
You can reach La Paz by overnight car ferry from Mazatlan which departs 3 times per week at 5 pm and arrives the next day at 5 am in La Paz. The trip takes 12h and you can choose between a cabin or seat starting at 1.500 pesos / 75 USD per person.
La Paz International Airport
You can fly to La Paz International airport from within or outside Mexico which is only a 20-30 minute cab drive from the city center. There is no public transport or bus line we know of to take.
Good to know is that you can’t take an Uber or Didi from La Paz airport, you have to take an official cab (300 pesos / 15 USD) for which you can buy a ticket in the arrival hall at the official taxi counter. It is possible and easy to take an Uber or Didi to the airport (200 pesos / 10 USD), just be aware that you might have to wait a bit if you want to take one early in the morning.
Additionally, it can be worth it to check out Los Cabo International airport which is a 4h bus ride or 2h car ride away from La Paz. We found a direct flight from Madrid to Cabo with Iberojet starting at 400 euros one-way which was very convenient and cheap.
Los Cabos International Airport
From Los Cabos International airport, which is close to San José del Cabo you can take a 40-minute bus ride to San José del Cabo (85 pesos / 5 USD) to catch the 3h Aguila bus (300 pesos / 15 USD) to La Paz. There is also a direct shuttle from Los Cabos International airport to La Paz (59 USD p.p.) that will take about half of the time which you can book here online.
What can cause a bit of confusion is that people are often only saying ‘Cabo’ which means either San José del Cabo or Cabo San Lucas. These are different towns and it is a 30-minute drive between them. The bus that goes from the airport to San José del Cabo also stops in Cabo San Lucas.
San Jose Del Cabo is described as more laid back while Cabo San Lucas is often compared with Cancun which means a lot of hotels, resorts and it is more of a party destination. We watched travel videos from the region and were amazed by the beaches and cliff formations.
Therefore, it looks like it might be worth it to check out both Cabos but the higher prices, touristy vibe and party reputation have pushed it further down on our travel list. When we go, we will link a travel guide with more details here for you!
Getting Around La Paz Mexico
In La Paz itself, it’s very easy to get around. If you are staying in the city center you can explore most things by foot, bike, buses, collectivos or Uber. While it can be convenient to explore more of Baja California we never had the need for getting a rental car.
Buses / Collectivos
You can catch inner city local buses or collectivos (10 pesos / 0.50 USD) to pretty much everywhere in town. But what makes it tricky is that there are no official bus stops, signs or schedules and as a result, it can be quite hard and time-consuming to find out which transport you have to take. The collectivos are old U.S.school buses that can be hot and crowded depending on the time of the day.
Uber / Didi / InDrive
If we didn’t know the bus route we used Uber or DiDi which is reliable, cheap and fast. A 15-minute ride is about 50 pesos / 2.5 USD. For going to Playa Tecolote or Playa Balandra we recommend the bus that leaves from the malecon as it’s way cheaper, just as fast and has a fixed schedule.
Just before we left we heard about a new app called InDrive. The way it works is that you offer a price for a ride you want to take. If a driver agrees to your offer you have a ride. Could be interesting for rides you can’t easily get on Uber or DiDi.
Where To Stay In La Paz Mexico
There are plenty of hotels, hostels and airbnbs in town fitting different budgets. We recommend staying in the city center because it is the most beautiful and easy to explore close-by attractions such as the famous beaches we cover later in this travel guide.
Bed & Breakfast
We stayed 5 weeks at Baja B&B which is only a 5-minute walk from the malecon, close to the main square and next to many restaurants, cafés and a bakery we will feature later on in this travel guide. Rooms including a kitchen start at 10.000 pesos / 500 USD per month in low season.
If you would like to have an alternative experience (and save on rent) we can recommend trying to get a pet sit via Trusted House Sitters. On our second trip to La Paz we looked after 3 cats for 2 months in the city center. Most importantly you should only do this if you love pets as the owners are putting a lot of trust in you. Use our friends referral link to get 30% off the membership!
In addition; you can also check out the Loco La Paz Ex-Pats facebook group for housesits. This group is very handy for connecting with people, and finding doctors, events, food options and news – just use the search icon in the group or post a question.
What To Bring / Climate
In general La Paz is safe and great to visit all year round. However, things to consider are the high season which are the coolest months (November to April) and the low season which are the hottest months (May to October) as well as the wet season (July to December).
We ended up staying twice between August and October in La Paz which turned out to be very hot and sunny almost all the time. Both times we had one week of rain that flooded the streets and caused a few hours of power cuts. It is also low season, therefore fewer people are around and cheaper prices but you will miss out on the whale shark season (October to May).
La Paz is in the desert and despite Mexico’s reputation, it can get surprisingly cool in the cooler months (November to April), especially at night and morning. Therefore, bring some long layers and a jacket but also all summer essentials.
During the hot months (May to October) you don’t need to worry about long layers at all – flip flops, swimwear, a cap or hat, sunglasses and sunblock will be your best friends.
If you are here during the wet season (July to December) it’s good to have mosquito repellent at hand. But you can buy it easily in any pharmacy and supermarket when needed.
What To Do In La Paz Mexico
1. Walk The Malecon
Strolling on the 5km long malecon, a waterfront walkway with a bicycle lane is one of the best things to do in La Paz Mexico. On one side you have the ocean, beaches, palm trees and benches, on the other side lots of restaurants, shops, and bars. Every few meters are statues, related to La Paz, its’ history, and its wildlife that are cool to check out.
Rent A Board Or Bike
At Harkers you can rent paddle boards, kayaks, and different kinds of bikes. You will also see many people skateboarding, rollerblading, running, fishing or playing volleyball. If you are more into calisthenics there is a free workout area close to Harkers with bars under palm trees – Allan’s favorite gym to go to.
The malecon really comes alive in the evening at sunset. We never got tired of seeing the sun drop into the ocean, listening to locals playing music, watching people work out or taking pictures with the statues. It’s the perfect time and place to enjoy Mexican life. Check out the Loco La Paz Ex-Pats facebook group for events or markets on the malecon.
2. Hike Up Cerro De La Calavera
At the right far end of the malecon are hills with some caves and cliff formations. It’s a nice and easy walk up (about 20 minutes) to Cerro de la Calavera, especially at sunset. To reach the spot you can walk the malecon all the way down and when you are at the base of the hill you have to look out for a path leading up to the caves. There are multiple small paths you can take to walk up. Enjoy the view!
3. Explore The City Center
The city center of La Paz is small and nice to walk through. You will find many restaurants, cafés and colorful street art. At the main square is a little park, with a typical Mexican bandstand (glorieta) in the middle and benches and shoe-cleaning stands around. There is also a La Paz sign in front of the church you can take a picture with.
Free Art Museum
Behind the art museum (free entry with modern and traditional art exhibitions) are street lamps that are lit up during the night. Therefore, I recommend checking out the center during the day but also at night. The square, church, and street art get lit up and create their own special atmosphere. You will also often see little food stands and musicians at the square around sunset.
Every Tuesday and Saturday from 8 am to 2 pm is the La Paz Organic & Arts market with lots of organic produce, (vegan) bakery goods, crafts and foods like hummus, tamales, and kombucha. We went there regularly to buy fresh greens.
Close to the square is the Casa Cultural El Huevo, a cultural center with different events and a free Spanish-English language exchange every Tuesday at 7:30 pm. If that’s not for you you should still check out the street that they are in. There are lots of nice little restaurants and bars with outdoor seating and colorful street art that are nicely lit up at night.
If you are looking for new and secondhand English and Spanish books I recommend checking out Allende books. We were able to get a discount on their secondhand books when handing in books we had finished reading. They are closed in August and September.
4. Enjoy Food And Drinks
There are lots of food and drink options in La Paz Mexico. Since I eat plant-based and we love healthy local food that is affordably priced our recommendations will include a lot of healthy and fresh options you should not miss out on trying.
You should definitely have a drink at Harkers at the malecon when you are in La Paz Mexico. It’s an awesome sunset spot, twice we saw dolphins jumping out of the water in the distance! While it’s great for drinks and watching the sunset we find the food a bit overpriced for what you get.
Harkers owns two buildings next to each other, both with a rooftop and colorful art on them. Both rooftops are connected with a rope which they use to move orders in a little wagon in between – fun to watch! On Thursday they usually have a live band playing.
In the bottom of the buildings are their own brewery and tour company. They offer tours of the region and all sorts of bikes, paddle boards and kayaks. A great place to check out prices and activities.
Seriously the best vegan burgers and wraps in town. I know the lovely owners Angie and Tyler from being a volunteer at their hostel in another Mexican beach town before they moved to La Paz and opened Planeta Veggie. They are the reason why Allan and I came to check out La Paz and Baja California twice so far.
Try the chickpea or green pea burger with a salad or french fries (140 pesos / 7 USD) or their falafel wrap (100 pesos / 5 USD). All of their burger patties are homemade and the ingredients are locally sourced which we really like. Don’t miss out on their sweets at the counter. Their homemade cookies (20 pesos / 1 USD) or snicker bar (35 pesos / 1.75 USD) are the best!
There is a little garden in the back to sit with a lot of shade, good wifi (digital nomads and laptops welcome) and a zero waste and bulk store in the front. Their 5-star reviews on facebook, google and happycow are supporting my slightly biased recommendation 😉
Close to the main square is Nomadas serving organic food with lots of vegetarian and vegan options and fresh juices. They have outside seating in the shade as well as inside with air conditioning. In their little shop, you can buy organic food products, cheese, eggs, and sweets.
My favorite dish is the buddha or Thai bowl with extra tofu (200 pesos / 10 USD) and Allan’s favorite is the omelet (130 pesos / 6.5 USD) with organic eggs and tortillas. They also have sourdough bread which costs extra.
They have good wifi and it’s no problem if you want to work there for a couple of hours. But the best place to work and have a cup of coffee is actually across the street at Doce Cuarenta.
Doce Cuarenta is a great place for having a coffee and working online. They offer all kinds of drinks – from cold brew coffee to chai to matcha latte (cold and hot) with various plant-based milk options, homemade (ice) teas, juices, and kombucha – and little snacks such as avocado on toast.
There is a nice terrace in the back and out front but the best wifi is inside if needed (about 150 Mbps). Allan and I spent hours there working online including video calls. In case of power cuts, they have a generator and therefore still wifi.
Pan D’Les Bakery
Next to Doce Cuarenta is the Pan D’Les Bakery offering homemade bread and (vegan) sweets. It’s run by a lovely old man and friendly staff. It also has a nice little outside seating area. Come early as it closes at 2:30 pm and sells out fast. If you are from Austria like me don’t expect too much from the sourdough bread (masa madra), it’s fluffy and white here and not how we know it 😉
Sweet And Fit
We came across Sweet and Fit when walking on the malecon looking for something sweet. Besides a savory food menu, they serve gluten-free, keto-friendly or vegan cakes and donuts sweetened with monk fruit. Interesting!
We tried the Ferrero rocher and snickers cake and were blown away, they tasted soo good. It’s made with tofu, nuts, dark chocolate and chickpea flour. It’s on the pricy side (100 pesos / 5 USD per piece) but if you look for a guilt-free ocean-view dessert you should check it out!
Expendio Café Batalla S.A.
If you love fresh coffee and have access to a coffee machine you should check out Expendio Café Batalla S.A. They sell whole beans or grind them up freshly for you. It is a local favorite and you will regularly see locals lined out the door to pick up their coffee. Make sure you order your coffee without sugar (sin azucar). You can say how much you want, they sell 1 kg for 240 pesos / 12 USD.
I love refilling my bags with nuts, seeds, and other goods in bulk stores. It’s plastic-free, usually not more expensive, often high quality and organic and I can get small amounts which are handy for traveling.
La Paz has a lot of bulk stores. There is a whole block of typical Mexican ones around this market selling legumes, nuts, seeds, and spices. Bring your own bags to avoid getting plastic bags, compare prices, and check out for bugs in the hot season (May to October).
My favorite bulk stores are Albaaka and El Cantil which are close to each other. They are fancier and have so many great things besides the basics. You can bring your own bags or boxes (they deduct the weight) or pick up free jars and donate them when you are done.
5. Visit Playa Balandra
Visiting Playa Balandra is one of the best things to do in La Paz Mexico. It’s easy to reach from La Paz city center and feels like sitting in a crystal clear aquarium with cool desert hills and scenery around. It’s also a protected area so no construction is allowed making it feel a lot more untouched than a lot of beaches around Mexico. Some even say it is the most beautiful beach in Mexico.
How To Get There
A 40-minute bus ride (60 pesos / 3 USD one-way) takes you from La Paz city center to Playa Balandra. The bus leaves from 8 am to 6 pm every hour on the hour from the bus station at the malecon and returns every hour from 10:40 am to 6:40 pm. You can buy a ticket only for the same day at the ticket counter at the bus station. There was always plenty of space on the bus, so we would buy the ticket 10 minutes before departure. For the ride back you can buy a ticket directly from the bus driver.
You can also come by car and park for free but it can be very busy as parking space is limited. The drive to Balandra itself is a highlight offering stunning ocean views alongside the malecon and up the hills into a forest of cacti. It fascinated me every time we went.
What To Expect
Good to know is that there is no entrance fee, restaurants, toilets, sun beds or buildings. So better come prepared or go to Playa Tecolote afterward where there are plenty of restaurants and bathrooms. People do sell fruits, snacks, and some drinks out of little moving carts. Collect and take back your trash, this is not a commercial beach with amenities.
What To Do
Come early to secure a spot under the free public wooden umbrellas or bring your own – there is otherwise no shade. Enjoy the crystal clear shallow water, fish, and relaxed atmosphere. You should also hike up the small hill next to the car park to see the famous mushroom rock formation and overlook the bay. It is stunning!
6. Visit Playa Tecolote
While you should definitely check out Playa Balandra we actually like Playa Tecolote better. It’s a long white strip of beach surrounded by rocky hills and cacti. We couldn’t decide what is better, the ocean or the mountain view.
How To Get There
To visit Playa Tecolote you can stay for 5 more minutes on the same bus that goes to Playa Balandra (60 pesos / 3 USD one-way from La Paz, a 40-minute ride) or come by car, there is plenty of space for parking.
If you are adventurous like us you can hike all the way from Balandra to Tecolote. It took us about 2.5h by following a path along the oceanfront. There is a detailed map of the hike here on All Trails. We got rewarded with lots of amazing views and discovered secluded beaches in between.
What To Expect
In comparison to Playa Balandra, you have a lot more amenities such as restaurants, bathrooms, umbrellas and sun beds for rent. You can decide to stay in the crowd or walk a bit further down the beach to be by yourself. There is no natural shade so it’s better to come prepared.
From the beach, you have a nice view of La Isla Espirutu Santo. The water is crystal clear and you will usually see a lot of fish. We even got lucky once and spotted dolphins in the distance and a sting ray jumping out of the water!
What To Do
I recommend going to the left far end of the beach close to the rocks. There is only one restaurant and it feels like a bay surrounded by hills. This end of the beach is much quieter and more relaxed. The restaurant area by the main car park can get really crowded and loud, particularly on the weekends.
We rented kayaks (300 pesos / 15 USD for 1h) to go to Balandra. Although we gave our best to make it into Balandra and back on time, we realized it will take longer than 1h so we just saw the entrance to Playa Balandra from the distance. It was still great kayaking along the coast and we highly recommend it!
7. Take A Tour To La Isla Espiritu Santo
This is the only thing from the list we have not done ourselves because we have been to La Paz twice not during the whale shark season. But if you are here at another time you should definitely check it out! From what we have seen and heard a trip to the island is an amazing experience and we will be back to do it one day.
What To Expect
La Isla Espiritu Santo is home to many sea lions, dolphins, whales, manta rays, and several bird species. Whale shark season is from October to May. You can snorkel with wild sea lions from September to May. October to May is also the best time for scuba diving. You have the chance to see whales, hammerhead sharks, and manta rays!
We have heard that the water can get very cold in winter, so be prepared. The water is warmest in the summer months but then you will miss out on the best wildlife spotting seasons. Bring biodegradable sunblock as you should always do while swimming in the ocean.
What To Do
We saw tours offered to La Isla Espiritu Santo including snorkeling with whale sharks and sea lions at three different spots. With the tours, you get a guide, lunch, snorkel gear, and pick up and the tour lasts about 6 hours. Do make sure to know what’s included before you book as whale shark watching and a tour to the island can be combined in one tour or done separately.
Where To Book
For booking tours we got recommended The Hook, Harkers, Ecobajatours, and Baja Desconocida Tours (offer smaller group sizes) which are all on the malecon in La Paz. We also saw advertisements at Playa Tecolote for 1,100 pesos / 55 USD which is cheaper than going from town (1,600 pesos / 80 USD) but then you have to go to Playa Tecolote by bus or car first and see what’s included.
8. Do A Day Trip To Todos Santos
Todos Santos is just a 2h bus ride from La Paz and a great place for a day trip. The town is located on top of a freshwater spring, so it is an oasis full of palm trees in the barren Baja Peninsula. Very unique!
Todos Santos used to be a sugar cane-producing town. But in recent years many artists and creative people have moved into town. Meaning that there are lots of galleries, great cafes, restaurants, and a pretty little historic center.
Although Todos Santos is close to the beach it is actually quite a long walk (30-40 minutes) from its city center. So if you don’t come by car be prepared to do a lot of walking. However, if you make it to the beach you will have it almost completely to yourself! We have been there twice and only seen three other people the whole time.
If you are planning to go make sure you are reading our top tips for Todos Santos here!
Now You Know Everything About La Paz Mexico
That brings us to the end of my top 8 things to do in La Paz Mexico! We have spent time in quite a few beach towns around Mexico and La Paz is definitely one of our favorites. Particularly if you want to work remotely, enjoy some wildlife, do some activities and enjoy Mexican life on crystal clear beaches.
Let us know in the comments if you end up going to La Paz Mexico, we highly recommend it and hope this travel guide has helped you plan your trip!
4 thoughts on “La Paz Mexico – The Complete Guide (All You Need To Know)”
Sooo interessant zu lesen und klare Sprache, hab fast alles ohne Übersetzung verstanden ☺️ und jetzt mag ich am liebsten auch dort überall hin!! 🤭😍 Und die Fotos – WOW 🤩 Gaaaaanz tolle Arbeit mit viel Herz! 👍🏻❤️
Vielen Dank! 😊 Das Schreiben hat auch sehr viel Spaß gemacht! ❤️
Macht richtig Spaß deinen Artikel zu lesen! Reisende bekommen sicher richtig Lust dorthin zu fahren! Bei den Fotos bleibt einem echt der Mund offen und deine Tipps sind total hilfreich finde ich! Bin total stolz auf dich 🤩😘
Vielen lieben Dank 😊❤️ Wir können La Paz wirklich sehr empfehlen!