From sand and surf to whale watching and tequila tasting, there are so many things to do in Baja California Sur that it’s difficult to decide what to leave out of your Baja California itinerary.
In this post, I have highlighted the best ones to make sure you don’t skip the unmissable spots to visit in Baja California Sur.
Mexico Baja California Sur covers the southern half part of the Baja California peninsula.
The Pacific Ocean on the west coast, the Gulf of Baja California on the east, and the central mountain range in the rocky desert make California Baja a haven for outdoors lovers and offer amazing contrasts of colors that photographers will love to capture. I know something about that! 🙂
With beautiful beaches, top-notch resorts, and warm weather, Baja California Mexico is an ideal vacation destination both for adventure seekers and beach lovers.
While most tourists prefer spending a few days in All-inclusive resorts in Cabo San Lucas, I enjoy being on the road and I have rented a car twice to drive around the beautiful endless roads among cacti and rocky deserts and along the beautiful turquoise coastline.
I have been in Baja California Sur twice for a total of 6 months and here is a list of my favorite things to do in Baja California.
Whether you are a first-time visitor to Baja California or a returning traveler, I hope you can make good use of this list of the best 51 things to do in Baja California Sur.
➢ Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens, I am covered. I have been using Safety Wing, and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet, you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.
Top things to do in Baja California Sur
Admiring the Arch of Cabo San Lucas
I know it’s a classic and maybe a very touristy thing to do, but it’s really a beautiful iconic place to visit. How to do it, just go to Los Cabos Marina and you will be approached by vendors who sell your tickets to the fisherman boat that can take you there.
The tour can last from 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on whether you want to get off on the near love beach, another iconic spot, or you just want to get close to the arch to get back.
In case you want to see the Love beach you just need to tell the boat captain and he will pick you up at the established time.
Keep in mind that most of the time in that area the sea is rough and it’s difficult to get on and off the boat. If you have kids, just forget it. It can be really dangerous. Just check the sea condition before deciding.
One of the most underrated Baja California destinations is Loreto. It is a cute small town and among the so-called Mexican Pueblos Magicos with beautiful hotels, colorful restaurants, and an active downtown area.
Stroll around the plaza and enjoy the quaint vibes of the town, where a community of expatriates and locals strive to keep the town pretty and safe.
There are so many activities to do in Loreto that you could stay for a month and enjoy the amazing surroundings. I will tell you all the things that I did and love in Loreto as follows.
Browse through international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Hiking at the Tabor Canyon Trail – Loreto
Tabor Canyon trail is a 3hrs long hike from Loreto of moderate difficulty and is one of the locals’ favorites. You will walk through boulders and will enjoy amazing views including a waterfall. Make sure you bring a camera with you and wear sunscreen lotion. The sun is quite strong.
Strolling on the White Sand Beaches of Isla Coronado – Loreto
During my road trip in Baja California Sur, I spend 5 days in Loreto doing tours from there. One of those tours was to Coronado Island.
The boat ride in itself is incredible with sea lions and cute dolphins.
However, the beach at Isla Coronado is incredibly beautiful, untouched, and empty, with amazing views of the turquoise sea. Definitely, a must if you are in the area.
Going for a Trip to San Javier Mission – Loreto
Located in Baja California in Mexico, San Javier Mission is a popular Spanish missionary church in the middle of the Sierra de La Giganta mountain range.
In fact, the road trip in itself makes it worth the visit. You will get incredible views of the rocky desert.
The town is nestled in a green valley with tropical vegetation, like an oasis in the desert. I would go for lunchtime and eat in one of the restaurants nearby, not much for the food, but so that you can mingle with the locals.
Visiting the Jesuit Missions Museum in Loreto
Loreto was the first settlement founded by the Jesuit Missions when they have been brought by the Spanish conquerors. The museum documents their history and what happened in Baja California Sur after their arrival.
You will see sacred documents, archeological remains, weapons, paintings, and other items that might interest a history lover.
It’s a really short visit and it costs 20 pesos, but you will also appreciate the ancient building of the mission.
Watching the sunrise in Loreto
If you are an early riser, but also if you are not, you should go for a walk or a run to the Malecon when you are in Loreto and wait for the sun to rise.
It’s an amazing view at the best time of the day, where the town still sleeps and you can appreciate the magic light and the few people exercising along the sea promenade.
Take a whale watching tour in Loreto (only from December through March)
One of my favorite things to do in Loreto was taking the blue whale watching tour. The Blue Whale is the largest animal on earth, reaching a maximum confirmed length of 29.9 meters (98 ft) and weighing up to 199 tonnes.
With the boat tours from Loreto, you will reach a bay where they normally hang out and you can easily see them rhythmically coming out of the water to breathe and diving back in sticking their tail up before completely disappearing in the ocean.
It’s such an incredible experience and you never get tired to watch them.
But this tour is full of surprises as you will also most likely encounter dolphins on the way to the whale site. We did and they were hundreds of them, flipping around and chasing the boat.
I have never seen such an incredible show. Indeed one of the most memorable moments of my life on the road. You don’t need to book the tour in advance.
You can get to one of the local travel agents once you get to Loreto and ask when they have their next tour. Or you can book in advance should you have little time.
Go see the cave paintings in the San Francisco mountain range – Loreto
I told you there are so many things to do in Loreto. This hike will take you north of Las Gigantas mountain Range which you will admire during the transfer to the San Francisco mountain range, where you can admire some cave paintings that abound throughout this area.
Most of the knowledge acquired about the history of this comes from the accurate interpretation of these cave paintings.
So a knowledgeable guide will take along the steps of the ancient tribes that inhabited the area before the Spanish conquerors arrived.
The tour lasts around 3 hours, half of is spent walking to the caves and back and the rest transferring from Loreto on a van.
Watching the Sunset at La Paz Malecòn
La Paz Malecon is known to offer some of the most breathtaking views of the sunset when the sky gets the most incredible hues of yellow, pink, and orange. I am not sure why but the Sunset in La Paz is one of the most remarkable I have ever seen.
Read about the best hotels in La Paz
Taking a walk in San Jose del Cabo
I have been in San Jose del Cabo, in the very south of Baja California sure, for just a shortstop but it was enough to appreciate the quaint historical center with its colonial architecture, the old church, and the small cafes and art shops around it.
If you happen to go on a Saturday night you will enjoy the art exhibition on the street, music, and good food.
Bird watching at San Jose del Cabo estuary
This is a stunning sanctuary situated between the Marina and San Jose del Cabo. It’s a protected area that is home to incredible wildlife and indigenous bird species. If you are a nature lover, go for a relaxing sunset hike or kayak journey in this place, and watch the fauna in its peaceful habitat.
Swimming at the Balandra Beach
Balandra Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and definitely the most beautiful in Baja California. Mainly appreciate the breathtaking views that you can have from a small hill in between the two bays that form Playa Balandra. You can easily climb up and enjoy the incredible sights.
Even better if you go at sunset. From the main beach, you can swim or rent a kayak and a paddleboard and explore around the bay.
Or you can just relax on the beach and swim by the shore, or walk up to the other beach. Tides change but if you get stuck on the second beach you can always walk around the hill. The sea there is calm and very swimmable when it’s not too low. Otherwise, you will need to walk far from the shore. It’s basically like a natural pool with incredible views all around you.
Learning Spanish in Cabo or La Paz
Learning the Spanish language in Cabo or La Paz, depending on where you stay longer, is a great idea if you stay for a longer time.
Learning the language of the place you are traveling is always a smart thing to do, as it connects you with the local people, and their culture, and will help you understand many aspects of the country, besides staying safer. You will also have the chance to mingle with other learners.
Sea Kayaking in the Baja of Mexico
Kayaking is a fine pursuit that allows you to get up close to the marine environment. While you share the waters with marine life with no disturbance to them, you let yourself immerse in the landscape with all the 5 senses.
In Baja California, there are many places where you can go kayaking, besides Playa Balandra. From La Paz, there are different tours, and so in Loreto, and San Jose del Cabo.
Playing Golf at the Palmilla Golf Club
Golf lovers will enjoy playing in the Palmilla Golf Club, for its 27 holes of amazing golf and spectacular views of the ocean. It has been called the “Grand Dame of Los Cabos golf.”
It’s actually the first Jack Nicklaus Signature design in Latin America, masterfully conceived to be amazing and challenging at the same time. Its unique design and diversity suits golfers of all levels.
Whale Watching in Baja California Sur
If you love wildlife you must get to Baja California in winter. It’s the time when whales migrate from Alaska waters to get to the protected bays along the Baja California Pacific coast and the Sea of Cortez.
Here you will find the best whale watching in Mexico.
You can see Grey Whales, Humpback whales, and Blue whales (that I talked about earlier).
Humpback whales are mainly seen from Cabo Pulmo or Los Cabos and Todos Santos, while you can see the Grey Whales further north on the pacific coast.
My favorite place was Adolfo Lopez Mateos only 1 hour from Loreto or San Ignacio further north, a great place where to camp as well.
Visit Todos Santos
Todos Santos is one of the Mexican Pueblos Magicos and there is indeed a lot of Magic indeed. The tiny historical town will take you back in time, with its pretty colonial buildings art shops, and amazing restaurants.
Organic food is a big thing in Todos Santos and many restaurants pride themself on offering gourmet international cuisine using only local organic products.
Food lovers will have a blast in Todos Santos. But also you can enjoy amazing sunsets from the beach and incredible hiking tours to the nearby Sierra de la Laguna.
Spend a few days in Cabo Pulmo
If you listen to my advice and rent a car you must get to Cabo Pulmo, as there is no other way to get there. Cabo Pulmo is a laid-back tiny town on the southern coast of Baja California Sur, in a protected marine park where divers and snorkelers will find the time of their life exploring the underwater world.
The town lies on two unpaved roads only, with a few restaurants and hotels, and private homes.
You can arrange your boat tours right there. I went on a snorkeling tour but we also saw humpback whales and it was an incredible sight a few feet from our boat.
It was actually the highlight of the tour as it was super cold in the water and I didn’t enjoy the snorkeling that much because of that.
If you get cold easily make sure you get there in the summer but be aware that at that time of the year there are no whales. In Cabo Pulmo, you will also enjoy the deserted beaches and birdwatching.
Splurge in one of the amazing luxury hotels in Los Cabos
Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa is also a stunning property located on a beautiful beach in Los Cabos. There are so many amazing places where to stay in Los Cabos. You can also use the below map to select your favorite one by price and location.
Swim with the whale sharks from La Paz, Baja California Sur
Swimming with whale sharks is an amazing experience that you should have if you happen to be in La Paz in the right season.
These gentle giants of the sea are hanging out just off the coast of La Paz from December through the beginning of April only. If you are in Mexico in the summer you can go swimming with whale sharks in Cancun then.
The tour is a half-day tour and you can only stay in the water with them for as long as 15 minutes but multiple times They do that not to disturb them and leave space for other snorkelers.
Life Jacket is mandatory and it’s provided. Keep in mind that the water can be cold at that time of the year. So make sure you rent a wet suit if you think you will need it.
You don’t need to book your whale sharks tour in advance in La Paz.
Just go to the Malecon and ask the fishermen out there. Or they may approach you first sometimes. The tour should cost anything around 60 USD. Have fun!
Baja California Sur FAQ
Is Baja California Sur Safe?
The short answer is yes, Baja California is very safe. Keep in mind that there is no place in the world where you don’t need to be careful. So also make sure you use some common sense rules of safety in Mexico and you will be fine.
When is the best time to visit Baja California Sur?
Baja has two seasons, summer and winter. Although the place remains warm for most of the year, winters may get cold and chilly.
If you are interested in whale watching, then the best time for you would be December to March. However, if you are more inclined towards diving, May to October is the best time for you.
Transportation to Baja and Within Baja
While planning your trip, you will find numerous flights to Baja California from different international destinations. Los Cabos International Airport and La Paz International Airport are the major airports.
You may also find ferry services from Topolobampo or Mazatlan. Reach Pichilingue and take a public bus or taxi from there to reach Baja. Once you reach Baja California, you can travel around the place in a local bus or car rental.
Now that you know all about the best things to do in Baja California Sur, you will easily find out that there are so many sightseeing opportunities that make it a unique place for locales as well as travelers. Besides that, there are loads of hidden gems that you can explore to know at their best.
If you have any questions please let me know in the comments below. I’ll be happy to help.
✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨
👉 Do I Need Travel Insurance to Travel to Mexico?
I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.
🚰 Can I Drink Tap Water in Mexico?
No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.
🚗 Is It Safe to Drive in Mexico?
The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I recommend Discover Cars because the site offers the option to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.
Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.
📱 Will My Phone Work in Mexico?
It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!
🤕 Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?
The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.
Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.
Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:
💉 Do I Need Any Vaccine to Travel to Mexico?
No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico
🇲🇽 Do I Need a Visa to Travel to Mexico?
If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.
Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.
It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa
💸 Where Do I Find the Best Travel Deals for Mexico? 💸
A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:
👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia.
👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals