Balandra beach in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico, is one of the best beaches in Mexico but there are a few things you should know before getting there.
And in this post, I will tell you all about it. Make sure you read it before planning your visit.
I visited Balandra back in 2017 for the first time and I was in awe. Fast forward five years I finally came back to La Paz and the first thing I did, after swimming with the whale sharks, was to visit Balandra.
However, things have changed a lot since then and access is now regulated. Therefore I thought I would write this post to explain how it is now to visit Playa Balandra so that you can organize your trip accordingly.
The day after I book my trip to La Paz in December 2022, Playa Balandra closed again due to gasoline spilling from a boat that went on fire.
You can imagine the ecological disaster. It’s just heartbreaking. But as I am writing this post from La Paz, the sea has been cleaned up, and speaking with a local guy that rents kayaks in Balandra I learned that Balandra beach has never been actually affected. It’s been closed for mysterious reasons apparently.
So if you are going to La Paz right now you can visit Playa Balandra, but you will need to respect a specific schedule.
In this post, I will tell you all about how to visit Balandra Beach and make the most of it.
Balandra Beach in a nutshell
Balandra beach or better known as Playa Balandra is a spectacular beach in Baja California Sur made of different half-moon-shaped bays of which only two are accessible by land.
They are separated by a small hill that makes an easy and short hike ( 200 mt) from where you will enjoy jaw-dropping views of both beaches and the overall bay.
In Balandra the water is very shallow which makes it somewhat difficult to swim as the water gets to your calves.
However, you will be able to walk from one bay to the other.
The highlight of Balandra, the main attraction is the mushroom-shaped rock on the north side of the bay.
In my opinion, the main attraction is the view from the hill, but hey, just my perspective. Everybody seems to be crazy about the mushroom rock 🙂
Balandra Beach Practical information
Where is Balandra Beach located?
Balandra is located 24 km north of La Paz, in Baja Californa Sur, Mexico
Balandra Beach’s opening hours
Balandra opens from 8 am to 12 pm and from 1 to 5 pm.
At 12 police patrols the beach and let everybody out. But you can go back in at 1 pm if you want. I will explain more about it in the next section.
Balandra Beach entry cost
Playa Balandra is free. No payment is required to access Playa Balandra.
How to get to Balandra Beach
There are different ways to get to Balandra. In my opinion, renting a car is the best way but it’s good to have options if you don’t feel like driving in Mexico. Let’s see them all.
Getting to Balandra by public transportation
There is a public bus that leaves every day from the La Paz Bus station. The first one leaves at 10 am and then 12, 2, 4, 6 pm (The last ones are useless because Playa Balandra closes at 5).
If you catch the 10 am bus, it’s kind of a hassle because it gets there at around 10.40, and then you will need to leave the beach at 12. Walk up to the checkpoint and wait for 1 pm to be able to go back in. It’s doable but somewhat annoying.
If you catch the 12 pm bus you basically get there right in time for the afternoon turn and you can stay there until 4.30, to catch the bus at 4.40
Getting to Balandra by DIDI/UBER
If you don’t feel like driving, taking a DIDI is the best way to go in my opinion. I suggest you get there around 8.20 so that the driver doesn’t have to stay in line. Or you can go much earlier and let him drop you off at the checkpoint. From there it’s a minute’s walk to the beach.
Getting to Balandra by car (best option)
This is the best way to get to Balandra. If you have been reading me for a while you should know that I love driving in Mexico because I love the freedom to move around at my own pace and stop where and when I want.
However, in this case, getting to Balandra beach, it’s even more advantageous because of the specific opening hours of the beach.
So you can leave at 7.30 in the morning and get there just in time for the beach to open.
But also you can check out all the other amazing spots on the way back. As there are many spectacular beaches near La Paz and with your own car you can check them all out in one day, or more if you have time
Once you get to the Balandra checkpoint, you will have to wait for your turn and some tips from the local staff, and then you can park the car in the parking lot by the beach. Very convenient.
Getting to Balandra by boat
Getting to Balandra by boat is another option as there are many boat tours that combine other stops with one on Balandra beach where you can actually visit other amazing beaches that you can see from Balandra that are only accessible by boat.
Getting to Balandra by tour
There are a few tours that you can join from La Paz that combine Playa Balandra with other beaches and attractions. Here are some interesting ones I have found.
👉 Balandra & Pichilingue: hike, kayak, and snorkel in paradise
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This 2-3 hours hike is quite an adventure but it will allow you to see Balandra and the surrounding area in a way that you could not do on your own.
You will get into the depths and heights of Balandra, where you’ll be able to learn about the local history and the animals of the region. The guides are marine biologists and bilingual, with years of experience guiding tours.
👉 City Tour & Beaches from La Paz
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This 8 hours tour is packed with many attractions and you will basically cover all the highlights of La Paz in one day.
It includes a walking tour of the historic center of La Paz and the popular Malecon, el Tecolote Beach and Coromuel beach besides Balandra, of course.
It’s the perfect tour if you don’t have much time and want to squeeze as much as possible in one day!
How to get from Cabo San Lucas to Playa Balandra
Getting to Playa Balandra from Cabo San Lucas is a long way but it’s doable in one day, especially if you have a rental car.
If not, you can always get the Aguila Bus to La Paz and get a DIDI from La Paz to Balandra. It’s a two-hour drive from Cabo to La Paz and another 30 minutes from La Paz to Balandra beach.
There are also tours from Cabo that include Balandra beach which could be a great way to see a lot in one day, with the guidance of a knowledgeable guide. Here are a couple of recommended tours.
👉 Balandra Beach tour from Cabo (A complete day in a Private Tour to Balandra Beach)
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With this tour from Cabo, you will visit Balandra Beach, Cerritos Beach, and Todos Santos in one day.
You will start on Playa Balandra early in the morning, continuing to Todos Santos for lunch and a visit to Bazar Bésame Mucho.
You’ll conclude your visit with time to relax at the popular surf beach Playa Cerritos before heading back to Cabo.
👉 Balandra Beach & City Tour La Paz & Todo Santos Hotel California
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Leave Cabo very early and enjoy the road trip along the Pacific coastline to the beach town of Balandra then head to La Paz for an included lunch and city tour.
On the way back to Cabo, explore the magical town of Todos Santos.
Things to do on Balandra Beach
1. Go on a short hike
My favorite thing to do in Balandra is hiking to the top of the small hill and enjoying the spectacular view of the entire bay. The color of the sea is hypnotizing with its nuances of blues and greens. It’s mind-blowing.
The first time I saw Balandra, it was allowed to stay until late and see the sunset. You could actually even sleep on the beach. Now you must leave at 5 so you will miss the sunset. However, you can enjoy spectacular views all day long. It won’t disappoint you.
2. Bask in the sun
Obviously, you go to the beach to relax and enjoy some peaceful time, and Playa Balandra is perfect for this.
The maximum number of people allowed is 400 per turn but it never reaches that capacity.
As you can see from the picture there were very few people on the beach and in the water, especially on the second beach which makes your relaxing job very easy 🙂
Keep in mind that on the secondary beach there is no shade so make sure you use reef-friendly sunscreen and/or a rash guard and a hat
3. Kayak or Paddle
There is a guy, Jorge who rents kayaks and paddleboards. It’s kind of expensive but it is what it is.
350 MXN per hour or 200 MXN 30 minutes.
The paddle is 300 per hour instead
If you have never paddled or kayaked this is the best place to learn as the water is very shallow and there is not much current, on a normal day.
4. Take pictures
If you are a photo freak like me, you will love Playa Balandra as one of the most photogenic spots in the area, with its crystal clear water and infinite shades of blue.
5. Soak up the mesmerizing views
No matter where you are in Playa Balandra you won’t get tired of the incredible views. It just makes you happy and incredibly grateful for being able to see this natural beauty.
It’s the most obvious but, you should know that the sea level in Balandra is very low, so in order to swim you will need to walk a long way into the water to find some decent depth to be able to swim.
Best hotels near Balandra Beach
Restaurants near Balandra Beach
In Balandra beach there are no restaurants nor do they sell any water or drinks. So make sure you take your own as you need to stay hydrated, but you are allowed to bring your own food, as long as you don’t litter.
However, you can get to the nearby Playa Tecolote for lunch during the break from 12 to 13 and then go back to Playa Balandra, or stay in Playa Tecolote for a while.
Things to know before visiting Balandra Beach
When is the best time to visit Balandra?
All year round is a good time to visit Balandra. However, keep in mind that the level of the water changes during the day.
For example, during the full moon, the water level is higher early in the morning and lowers during the day.
The overall water level will still make it swimmable but it will be difficult to walk all the way to the other beach. Other than that, you will still have a great time.
Playa Balandra Facilities
There are not many facilities in Playa Balandra. The present Government is not allowing any food or drink sellers for unknown reasons, but you can bring your own food. Just please DO NOT TRASH!
✔️ You will find some sunshades but no beach chairs
✔️ Kayak and paddle board rentals
Tips for visiting Balandra Beach
Because of the entry hours restrictions, you should arrive early in the morning so that you can make the most of your available time on the beach
Bring water and snacks
As I mentioned before there are no restaurants in Playa Balandra so make sure you bring your own water (a water bottle will help) and some snacks.
Click on one of the below water bottles to purchase your favorite one ⤵️
Put on plenty of sunscreen
The sun is hot even if it doesn’t seem so when the wind blows or when it’s cloudy. So make sure you protect yourself with reef-safe sunscreen.
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 | Face Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide for Sensitive Skin | With Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide, and Ceramides | 2.5 oz
✔️ 100% Mineral-based sunscreen, also known as a physical sunscreen, reflects UVA/UVB rays to help protect the skin. Developed with dermatologists by CeraVe Skincare.
✔️ Oxybenzone free, avobenzone free, and benzene free, this sunscreen contains physical filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
✔️ Formula is oil-free, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and suitable for sensitive skin
Wear a hat
As an extra way to protect yourself wearing a hat is a great idea. There are plenty of nice hat to choose from and very cheap. Here below I am including some cute ones I picked on Amazon. Click on the image to see the price.
Take time to enjoy Balandra
This beach is so beautiful that you will want to stay as long as you can, take a walk, take a swim, take pictures, meditate, read a book, whatever you like doing surrounded by such beauty. It’s priceless.
Leave no trace
Make sure you take your trash with you and leave the beach as pretty as you saw it when you arrived. Or if you see something that is not supposed to be there, please pick it up.
You should not, but sometimes currents bring stuff to the beach and it’s always a good practice to pick it up and trash it when you get at home. This way you will contribute to keeping this planet clean.
Balandra Beach FAQ
Why Balandra Beach is closed?
Balandra Beach closed for a while when there was an ecological disaster and a boat crushed in the sea pouring loads of gasoline. However, the beach is now open.
Can you swim on Balandra beach?
Yes, of course! You can swim in Balandra Beach but you need to keep in mind that the water is very shallow and even more during low tides. So if you want to swim for real you need to walk further from the shore.
Does La Paz Mexico have good beaches?
Yes, La Paz in General has great beaches and Playa Coromuel is the first best beach at walking distance from La Paz center, but there are many more further along the coast on the way to Balandra.
Is La Paz worth visiting
Oh yes, if you ask me. It’s one of my favorite cities in Mexico, not much for its colonial charm, which is not so prominent, but there is something about it that makes me come back over and over again.
I love the laid-back vibes of the city which feels more like a big town than a city, to be honest.
Everything revolves around the center where you can find delicious restaurants, coffee shops, colorful murals, and spectacular sunsets from the Malecon where people gathers all day long but most of all at sunrise and sunset, one of the best moment of the day in La Paz.
I also love all the amazing things you can do in La Paz, from water sports activities to hiking and mountain biking.
So much to do and see.
Are dogs allowed in Balandra Beach?
Yes, dogs are allowed, just make sure you bring a bag to collect their poo 🙂
How much time do I need for Balandra Beach?
It depends on what you want to do. If you want to kayak and enjoy the beach you can stay all day, if you just want to take a picture and go you can do that too.
There is no limit, besides the entry restrictions set by the CONAP. Keep in mind that the entry hours are from 8 to 12 and from 1 pm to 5 pm.
Balandra Beach: Final thoughts
Balandra beach is definitely a must-visit if you are traveling to Baja California Sur. So make sure you include it in your Baja itinerary but also keep in mind the opening hours and make sure you respect the environment.
Wear reef-safe sunscreen or rash guard sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from sun exposure.