11 Best Things To Do in La Paz Mexico

I stumbled into La Paz in Mexico by accident. I was tired and, after a night ferry from the mainland, a little less than fresh. But I forgot about my fatigue the second I saw the sea. The Sea of Cortez has long been declared (by none other than Jaques Cousteau) as one of the most biodiverse places on the Planet. Yes. The. Planet.

But it didn’t take me long to realise that the Sea of Cortez wasn’t the beginning, middle and end of this part of the southern Baja Californian peninsula. It was just one part of the myriad things to do. And in this article, I’ll share with you my 11 best things to do in La Paz.

1. Swim with the Sea Lions in the Sea of Cortez

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Swim with Sea Lions Sea of Cortez

If you do only one thing in La Paz Mexico, making it this.

Whether you’ve marvelled at the sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco or watched with amazement as they flat their paws…claws…flippers (what is the correct name, anyone?) at La Jolla beach in San Diego, nothing beats swimming with these smooth and graceful creatures in their natural habitat, around Espiritu Santo island.

Add in: a day out on the Sea of Cortez, lunch on a secluded beach and snorkelling opportunities and you’ll struggle to have a better experience in La Paz Mexico.

How to do it:

Chicalera Tours – this company would be my top recommendation for booking your tour of Espiritu Santo island. Unfortunately, I don’t have a website or booking link for you, just a Facebook page and a couple of phone numbers. Tel cel.6121554464, 612 1416019 tel. casa.6121286755.

Punta Baja – this is the second company I toured Isla Espiritu Santo with and, although a shade less fun than Chicalera, I’d still recommend them.

Sunrider Adventure Tours  – prefer to book online in English and pay in dollars?

You can read about my (two) trips and recommended tour companies in my related article Swimming with Sea Lions in Mexico – Isla Espiritu Santo Tour

2. Go Whale Watching

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Whale Watching

If we’re talking about a list of the best things to do in La Paz, surely whale watching has to beat swimming with the sea lions, I hear you cry?

Well: yes and no. Yes because…whales. Obviously. (By the way, it’s the gray whale that you can spot off the coast of Baja California. Not that you need to do much spotting – these mammals can grow up to 50 foot).

And no because, sadly for us snap-happy humans, whale watching is highly seasonal. Migrating from Alaska down to the warmer waters around La Paz, whale watching season is only three months long – from January to March. Sadly, I’ve never been in La Paz at the right time.

3. Stroll along the Malecón – morning, noon and night

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur Malecon pier

The malecón is both one of the simplest yet most rewarding sights of La Paz. A wide pavement that skirts the edge of the sea, the malecón is a place of cafes, bars, restaurants and excited Mexican children wobbling along on two wheels.

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur beach and malecon

By day you can cross the small slip of beach and pop into the sea for a quick cool down. By night you’re going to want an ocean facing seat (in a bar or one of the many free-to-use benches that dot the malecón) to watch the sun, which is going to set right in front of you.

After dark, the street sellers roll out their carts and friends, families, couples and solo travellers stay out on the malecón enjoying the cooler evening air. There’s a small pier that is worth a wander and if you’re really up for exploring, walk the malecón end to end (it’s around 5 kilometres/ 3 miles long).

As a solo female traveller, I felt entirely safe on the malecón after dark.

4. Hit the beaches of La Paz

Isla Espiritu Santo Tour Swimming with Sea Lions in Mexico view

The swatch of beach in La Paz itself is somewhat disappointing compared to the rest of the beaches that are accessible from the city. Partly because the beaches are small and partly thanks to the road just behind you. That said, I’ve have managed to spend more than one afternoon enjoying the proximity of the sea and the sand from within the city.

However, if you want to really see La Paz’s finest beaches, you should take a tour to swim with the sea lions (you can skip the snorkelling part if you aren’t so interested in the sea lions). Alternatively, head to Balandra beach.

Located about 25km/15 miles outside the city, it’s definitely one of the most popular things to do in La Paz. However, you’ll need to hire a car or line up a few buses. If you’re feeling particularly active, you can take a sea kayaking tour (don’t worry – you’re driven to the beach and sea kayak from there).

How to do it: Try SUP and/or kayaking at Balandra beach with Baja Desconocida – you can check reviews on TripAdvisor here. I booked my car through RentalCars.com – it’s a rental price comparison site that makes life a lot easier than comparing prices on individual rental company website.

5. Dine in style at the marina

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur marina

Is all this strolling, swimming, snorkelling and sea kayaking sounding a bit exhausting for you? Then why not flex your inner sloth and spend a long, lazy lunch or evening near Marina Cortez, a short walk from the centre of La Paz.

Wealthy yacht owners have always been a prompt for upscale restaurants to appear (for which I thank you) and the beauty is that you don’t need to throw down the price of a yacht to enjoy the restaurant facilities. Sunset is a great time to stop by, sip a cocktail as the sun sets and play ‘if I was a millionaire, I’d buy that one.’ (My chosen ‘one’ is above).

10 Best things to do in la Paz Mexico Malecon

6. Visit the Cathedral Nuestra Señora de La Paz

Whether you are an ardent visitor of religious building or just want to take a pretty picture (I fall into the latter category), the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz, located right in the centre of the city, is a beautiful thing to do in La Paz.

7. Explore La Paz’s museums and cultural corners

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur Cultural Museum

With all the lure of the sea, it’s easy to forget that La Paz has a cultural side. However, as the capital city of southern Baja California, La Paz is not short of cultural activities. I confess, the lure of the sea (and tacos) has always been so strong that I’ve never visited any of these attractions, but I stopped by the exterior to take a couple of pictures once, so that counts, right?

Here are some of the main cultural buildings La Paz:

  • Centro Cultural La Paz – picture above, this striking building has had a political as well as military past and can now be visited.
  • Museo de La Ballena – you can’t fail to notice this museum on the malecón thanks to the gigantic whale skeleton lingering outside. I’ve failed twice to visit. Let me know how it is if you go.
  • Museo Regional de Antropología e Historia) – the anthropology and history museum gives an in-depth look at Baja Califonia’s past from pre-history onwards.
  • Teatro de la Ciudad – for theatre performances (as the name suggests) but also apparently popular for the Day of the Dead (Dia de Los Muertos) celebrations in La Paz.
Things to do in La Paz - Casa de Gobierno

The picture above of the Casa del Gobierno. I can’t figure out (despite some Googling) whether it’s possible to go inside. I think it might now be a history library. If you know the answer, can you drop me a note in the comments below?

8. See the sculptures in La Paz

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur ocean pearl

Sculptures are to La Paz what street art is to Berlin and whether you set out to track them all down or not, you’re going to stumble across several of them regardless. And that isn’t a bad thing.

I don’t have a full list of the sculptures (nor pictures of them all) but here are the most popular, most of which are dotted along the length of the malecón.

  • Giant pearl (above)
  • Dove of Peace
  • Sirena with Dolphins (immediately below)
Things to do in La Paz Mexico Sirena con delphines
  • Old Man and the Sea
  • Jaques Cousteau
  • Jesus and the Seashell (immediately below)
Things to do in La Paz Mexico Jesus del Caracacolonjpg
  • Mermaid and the Dolphin (see further above)
  • And plenty of other sculptures of the local marine life (immediately below)
Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja whale

9. Get a picture in front of the La Paz sign

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur La Paz sign

This was a new addition since the first time I visited. In fact, trying to get a picture of it without someone in the frame took a couple of days’ effort. Tip: in the middle of the day, under the blazing Mexican sun, when all other sensible people are under shade or in the sea, is the ‘best’ time. At night, when it’s illuminated – good luck.

Another tip: if you’re heading through Baja California on a road trip, you’ll find similar signs in some of the major stops like Loreto.

10. Don’t miss the sunsets

Pictures of Sunsets

Yeah, I know I mentioned the sunsets more than once already but so stunning they are, they merit a mention all on their own. Up there with Hawaii, La Paz puts on some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. So much so that every time I’m there, I plan my days’ activities around it. Because where else would you want to be than sat on the malecón, cold beer in hand, watching the ret hot ball of fire sink behind the sea one more time.

11. Go swimming with the whale sharks in La Paz

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur statue
Mermaid and the dolphin sculpture

Another popular but seasonal activity from La Paz is going swimming with whale sharks. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting these bus-sized fish (yes, they are fish!) from Isla Holbox, Mexico. You can read about it here.

Want to go experience it from La Paz? The whale shark swimming season is from October to March. Check out La Paz Whale Sharks VIP Toursa firm favourite on TripAdvisor.

Tip: the middle of the season is when you’re more likely to spot them.

Tips for Visiting La Paz

In this section I’ll share where to eat, where to sleep and some of the best tours in La Paz.

Hotels in La Paz

Pictures of sunsets

Hotels falls into a few categories in La Paz – those in the town/centre and those that aren’t. The latter tend to be more resort-based, so make sure the place you book corresponds with the kind of trip you’re after. You’ll also find a handful of cheap, locally run guest houses and hostels if you’re on a budget.

Hyatt Place – a beautiful spot in the marina for a trusted brand that gets great reviews.

Costa Baja Resort & Spa – if you’d prefer a resort style stay right on the sea front.

Hotel Lorimar – just a block from the sea, this is a great budget choice for under $50 a night.

Hostel Casa Esterito – La Paz isn’t teaming with backpackers but there are enough to merit a few hostels. Casa Esterito is both cheap and has a perfect location.

Best day trips from La Paz

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur sealion

Here are a few alternative tours that look fun, all departing from La Paz Mexico:

North La Paz Self-Drive Discovery Tourhire a 4×4 and with a guide take to some of the coastal off-road tracks to explore North of La Paz. Having driven from the north to La Paz, I can tell you the sights (and the photos) will be beyond your imagination. For example, did you know that Baja California is home to the world’s tallest species of cactus, which has been know to grow up to 63 feet/ 19 metres?

Two-Night Glamping Adventure at Camp Cecil on Isla Espiritu Santo – a day-trip to Isla Espiritu Santo not enough? How about glamping under the stars? Adventure and romance rolled into one.

Rancho El Cajon – channel your inner cowboy with a horse riding experience just outside La Paz.

Where to Eat in La Paz

Things to do in La Paz Mexico Baja Sur tacos

Here are some of my favourite places to eat in La Paz Mexico.

Superburro – if you want a big plate for a low price and you want to eat with the locals, this popular local chain has what you need. Location isn’t ideal but cheap food rarely comes with a good view.

Rancho Viejo – is the exception to the rule above. Sea view, excellent Mexican food and cheap prices, this small restaurant doesn’t have all the signage it’s neighbours have and you’ll want some Spanish to work the menu but it’s also half the price. This is my favourite place to eat in La Paz.

La Fonda – a few dollars for a set menu breakfast including eggs, tortillas, salsa, fruit and coffee, served in a beautiful courtyard. What’s not to love?

Frida Cafe – popular with the locals, this cafe is open late and serves coffee as well as local food and alcohol. If you’re after a quick bite with some A/C and atmosphere, it’s a good choice.

Street food sushi – surprising (to me, at least), sushi is very popular in Mexico. It contains a little too much cream cheese for my liking but you can still get very good sashimi and nigiri and it’s great when you’re in need of a taco break. The best I found was a street food cart where they prepared the sushi fresh (from an ice box). It’s  past the marina and located in front of Argencia Arjona. Otherwise, closer to the centre, Sushi Zone is a fair choice.

Tailhunter restaurant – if you want a more Americanised version of Mexican food (I believe the owner is American), try Tailhunter restaurant. Split over 3 floors, this place is great for watching the sunset away from the crowds.

Toscana Pizza Gourmet – Mexican pizza is pretty darn good (says the person who has been to Naples and tasted the real deal) and this was a cute, romantic spot the first time I visited. It seems to have lost some of it’s popularity (judging by the chef and waitress who were sat chatting and eating when I turned up to an empty restaurant second time around) but the food was just as good as I remembered.

More Mexico Blog Posts

Blog posts and packing lists for planning your trip

And that is my guide to the La Paz. Have you been? Any other recommendations ? Let me know in the comments below.

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Balandra beach in La Paz Mexico Baja California

Photo credits: Whale

91 thoughts on “11 Best Things To Do in La Paz Mexico”

  1. Thanks for all the info on La Paz. I have decided to take my motorhome down and spend about 6 months to see and do everything in La Paz but also take my motorcycle across the ferry and check out some of the Mayan ruins on the other side of the water too!

    • Hi David, that sounds like an amazing trip! I have recently written about taking the ferry, which you might find useful: – have a great time.

  2. Hi, I was looking at the 4×4 tour you recommended, but it wont let me book as a solo traveller and I definitely dont want to pay for a spot I won’t use. Can you advise if it is possible to book this tour for one person? And if it is, how I go about doing so? Thank you!

    • Hi Nick, I’d recommend contacting the company directly if you’re trying to book online. I had a lot more luck in person, in country when booking for a solo traveller. Good luck and I hope it works out.

    • Hi Bill, everyone has their own sense of danger. I felt safe the entire time, even in TJ. If your view of TJ is based on other people’s opinions/the media, I’d check it out yourself for a few days first and then decide. If you’ve been to TJ and are still worried, why not hire a car from Ensenada instead? Have a great trip.

  3. Can someone recommend the best time of year to visit La Paz? I work for a US public school and our kiddo attends there so I’m pretty limited to a week during Thanksgiving, around 2 weeks at Christmastime or 1 week in late March. And, of course- summer from June to late July. What would be the best time to enjoy the city and beaches? I love all that the area has to offer so we’re not set one particular event. We would like to enjoy the beaches with the least amount of high winds. We’re from the High Rockies so our idea of warm weather is anything over 70 degrees 🙂 I speak fluent Spanish and plan to book a hotel/home as close to downtown as possible to enjoy the local atmosphere and walk wherever we can. Thank you for any ideas!

    • Hi Karyn, for some reason, I’ve always landed in La Paz in summer and I have to say it is almost too hot. I’d say your other times of year are better – La Paz is typically warm and dry year round, with temperatures only dipping to around late 70s in December and January. March will be a bit warmer. I hope that helps.

    • Hi Loretta, there are plenty of stores like 7-Eleven in La Paz which will have chocolate. If she’s after artisanal/good quality dark chocolate, I’d recommend Brussels ;p But more seriously, ask in 7-Eleven or your hotel and they may have more suggestions.

  4. Thanks so much for this information about La Paz! I have about 5 days – been considering La Paz or Todos Santos – from what I am reading, La Paz has more to do. What’s your opinion? Also, I am planning on renting a car and driving up from the Cabo Airport. I am a bit nervous about driving in a foreign country – never have before. Any things I should consider about car rental and/or driving in that area?

    • Hi Daryl, La Paz definitely has more to do and unless you plan of hunkering down with War and Peace or a bottle of Tequila, or both, I think you’d get a bit bored in Todos Santos for 5 days. In that time, you could visit both. As for driving, it seemed to me that Mexican drivers are very considerate and will let you in. I like using Sat Nav so I only have to concentrate on road, not just route. If your mobile/Google maps data doesn’t cover you for sat nav (GPS in the USA!), then try maps.me. Within 5 minutes of being on the road, you’ll be fine I think. Have a great time.

  5. Hi Jo,

    Currently planning a possible solo female trip to the area in March, my first ever solo trip, and your blog has been an awesome resource for me! La Paz looks like it’s making it’s way onto the lsit. Some things I’ve seen that I’m wondering if you’ve experienced or written about – whale watching guerrero negro and dunas del soledad? I can’t find much info on either from non tour companies or tripadvisors, I prefer going through bloggers. Thanks!

    • Hi Alicia, I was in Guerrero Negro (don’t know if you saw my Baja California itinerary post: I hope you find the information you’re looking for.

    • Hands down, best trip to whale watch is with Andiamo Tours. I have gone 3 times with them-all spectacular. You will go to Guerro Negro and San Ignacio. This trip is the “whole enchilada”. It is a small group tour with a mix of Mexican Culture, hiking, education, wonderful food, and of course, up close and personal encounters with the whales.

    • Hi Nancy, La Paz has its own airport, about 20-25 minutes from the malecon. If you can’t find the right flights, Los Cabos International Airport will be your next best option (about 2 hours 15-50 by car). Have a great trip.

  6. HI there, we are going to La Paz Jan 18-28, 2019 and are taking our little pooch with us this time. We have booked pet friendly accommodations, but are curious to know if pets are allowed anywhere for restaurant facilities, even on the patio?And are there any day excursions that are pet friendly? Thank you!

    • Hi Kathy, good questions and one of those where, if you don’t travel with pets, you don’t seem to notice whether animals are accepted. I would say that Mexico is very laid back and there is lots of outdoor seating so I think you’ll be ok (though can’t promise it/offer my own experience).

  7. This area looks amazing but I was wondering if this is a safe place to visit in Mexico at this time. Mexicans are not happy with American people at this time

    • Hi Cindy, I have written a couple of articles about safety in Mexico (linked in the post). A sense of safety is a very personal thing. I’ve met many USA travellers in La Paz who had a great time.

    • Hi Cindy, I spend a lot of time in Mexico and can tell you that the Mexican people in general are quite friendly to us. They may have a very bad opinion of our current administration, but that doesn’t translate to not liking us – unless, of course, we cheer-lead our government.

    • Hi Cindy,

      Unfortunately, Mexico doesnt get very good press recently and with the travel advisory not to travel to Mexico it puts many people in fear to travel here.

      Mexico is a safe place for tourist .As anywhere else, use precaution. Same goes for Mexicans or other foreigner’s questioning whether it’s safe to travel to US with all the shootings in schools, night clubs etc…

      Mexico is a big country with 36 states. USA has 50 and just about the same amount of violence if you compare it to the amount of population per capital. Would it make sense to you not to travel to California because there was a terrorist act in new york so now you’re afraid for your safety? Or would you not travel to Utah because there was a mass shooting at a bar in California recently?

      Just something to think about.

      Hopefully you can visit La Paz one day and enjoy all the wonders it has to offer. I am certain you will fall in love with the people, gastronomy, culture, sea life etc….

  8. Thanks for the tips. I was caught out as the wind came up and port was closed so diving was off the agenda. I tried your suggestion of Balandra beach and it’s a great spot. PERFECT for little kids as water is only knee deep, kids were having a blast. I second the recommendation of Rancho Viejo for tacos there are several in town, it where the locals go and that’s where I like Togo and avoid tourist places. I stumbled across a fancy restaurant and tequila bar that looked great called tres virgenes I didn’t try it was middle of the afternoon but it’s on my to-do list, thanks Stu…

    • What do you mean you didn’t try the tequila restaurant in the middle of the day? Surely that is half the fun of Mexico ;p Sucks that diving wasn’t an option but glad you enjoyed the beach.

  9. Thank you for your very informative blog. On my way to La Paz and wanted to say thanks for all the information. It has been a big help.

  10. Hi Jo,

    Great article! It’s been a bit of a struggle trying to find information that we might find interesting about La Paz, which is great as we realize that the city may be a bit of an “undiscovered gem” compared the rest of our usual Mexican vacation spots.

    What are prices like there…I know Cabo is more on the expensive side, but I would imagine La Paz would be a bit easier on the wallet. We are a couple going in La Paz in March and are thinking a couple of excursions, a couple of nice dinners out and we like to drink quite a bit. How much would you ballpark we may need for the week (not counting hotel, transportation).

    • Hi Julie, La Paz is a lot cheaper than Cabo. Still not as cheap as some places in Mexico, thanks to the location but eating locally and drinking the local beer should be affordable. It’s really hard to ball park because your idea of a nice dinner and drink quite a bit might be different to mine ;p Instead, check out numbero, my go-to for a rough idea of local costs:

  11. Hi! Next time you visit La Paz don’t miss Capuchino Café, actually neighbors of La Toscana. It serves a great variety of vegetarian and vegan meals including tasty tacos de falafel al pastor, black bean hamburgers besides craft beer and mezcal. Hope to see you around on your next trip to La Paz!

    • Hi again, Jamie @ capuchino.mx. You really are doing a wonderful – if a little irritating – bit of self-promotion for your café here. Personally, I’d rather eat my toenails than vegan food but each to their own.

  12. I love your site, and I am anxious to test out recommendations during my trip in two weeks. I love and miss being on water, and Sea of Cortez will more than fit the bill .Your tour guide suggestions are most helpful. Photos are fantastic. The area looks as
    alluring as I’ve heard it to be.My four night stay will be perfect. Thank you.

  13. I’d recommend Capuchino Café (Next to La Toscana) just one block away from the malecon. It serves vegetarian food, beer, coffee and a relaxed atmosphere to drink a beer or two. For those coming from Cabo, you can take a shuttle with ecobajatours, or hire a company to do a private tour for you such as RED Travel Mexico. Another recommended option is to rent a car, and drive for your self with the freedom to explore some beaches and as many stops as you want. For small towns, you can try Todos Santos.

    • Are you promoting your own company there, Jamie @ capuchino.mx? Suppose we’ll have to take your advice with a pinch of salt rather than a sprinkle of chocolate.

  14. Hi Jo,

    Great post! By far the best one I have come across on La Paz so far. May I ask, we plan on staying in La Paz and doing a lot of local stuff. We are not shy explorers, so do you suggest we rent a car while there? Is it needed? Or a bus/walkable city? (We are from NYC so we have no problems with that. )

    • Hi, it depends what you want to do – for day trips on the water and local sights, I don’t think you’d need a car. If you want to beach hop, you’d probably be better with wheels. The only other thing to consider is when you visit. If you’re going during the hottest months, a car does have the upside of a/c instead of a sweaty walk to dinner!

  15. Best restaurants, as of Spring 2018: Sorstis for fine dining. Their Sunday brunch is phenomenal, but dinners are pretty wonderful, too. For fine Italian food, reasonable prices, Il Rustico. For something very extraordinary, try Nim. All of these restaurants are in the central district, within easy walk to the bus station. And every one is worth the trip.

    For bus transport, check out bajaecotours … it’s a shuttle service around southern Baja, good prices, frequent and quality vehicles.

  16. My wife and I will be in Cabo this September and would love to take a side trip to La Paz. We are not familiar with the area, so we could use some references as far as taxi’s or bus service and where the best Mexican restaurants are. We recently spent time in Playa del Carmen and for the most part the food was not that good. We’re looking for authentic Colonial towns to possibly do a long term rental. Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you! Daniel Fayfar

    • Hi Daniel, check out Rome2Rio.com – it’s a brilliant resource for all modes of transport around the world and you’ll quickly find the local bus companies and you may even be able to compare prices. As the taxis, I usually just hired these from my hotel although most of the time I walked around La Paz. La Paz has some great places to eat but I didn’t find the same street food scene with taco carts that I found elsewhere in Mexico. Getting out of the old town definitely served up better food and asking my hotel for local recommendations also helped. Have a great trip.

      • I’m flying to Cabo for 2 nites and then driving to La Paz for 4 nites. I found your blog looking for ideas besides Isla Espiritu Santo (and stopping at Todos Santos on the way). I leave (only from San Diego) on July 10th. I am solo as well. I have saved your page so i don’t miss anything you’ve suggested. The sea lions changed me from a 3 nite in Cabo to only 2 nites then going to La Paz for more. I’ve swam with Manatees in Florida, dolphins in Roatan (also played with sloths and monkeys there!) so it seems right to swim with the sea lions in La Paz. I’m staying a little north at Hotel Cantamar in Pichilingue closer to Balandra. Hoping to also see some blue footed boobies!!
        I will try to get answers to those couple things you wanted to know!!

        PS. Your Bolivia comment killed me!!


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