If you are planning a trip to Baja California Sur, you will want to spend at least a few days in its capital city which is blessed with incredible natural wonders and a vibrant city center.
I have lived in La Paz for about 5 months in total and explored as many places as I could and in this post, I will share all the most amazing things to do in La Paz Mexico plus useful practical tips to live the best vacation ever.
Baja California Peninsula is one of the most exciting Mexican States, so different from any other place in Mexico with a truly magical landscape that you can’t take your eyes off of.
Picture neverending roads among red rocky desert dotted with green cactus among red boulders rolling into the intense blue of the ocean.
Driving around Baja California is one of the most incredible experiences in Mexico.
I have done that twice and in both cases, after exploring all the things to do in La Paz, I rented a car and traveled set off on a road trip in Baja California Sur.
➢ Do I need travel insurance? Yes, you do! Whatever it is the way you love to travel, either by car, tour, or bus, always make sure you get
Before doing that, though, make sure you spend some days in La Paz because, I assure you, there is plenty to see and do, incredible restaurants to try, and gorgeous hotels where to stay and have the best vacation in Mexico ever.
In this post, I’ll tell you a few things to do in La Paz, Mexico. But before that, here’s a bit of background for those of you who don’t know much about the city of La Paz.
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Where is La Paz Mexico?
Overlooking the Gulf of California, La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur state, which is located in northwestern Mexico, with the Pacific Ocean to its right and the Sea of Cortez to the left.
The city is on the southern coast of Baja California Sur.
For a wanderlust like me, that basically means dramatic landscapes, white sand beaches, tons of natural habitations, fascinating remnants of the Colonial era, and much more.
La Paz Mexico is usually seen as a port city for tourists going to Los Cabos, but you shouldn’t make the same mistake.
When I’m done telling you the top 25 things to do in La Paz, you will be surprised it has so much to offer.
So get a coffee, sit back and read on 🙂
Top 25 things to do in La Paz Mexico
The absolute must-do when you visit La Paz Mexico is swimming with whale sharks. It is in fact a very popular tourist activity in La Paz because seeing these incredible creatures from so close is a unique magical experience that everybody should do at least once in their life.
Despite their size, these giants of the sea are extremely gentle and friendly, and seeing them for the first time is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
La Paz is definitely one of the best places to swim with whale sharks.
You can find lots of tour operators here who will take you out across the Sea of Cortez on a Panga boat and find you the perfect place to swim with whale sharks.
They also provide you with the gear for it, so all you need to do is absorb the experience, although it would be much better if you have your own snorkel.
INSIDER TIP: Make sure you ask for a wetsuit when you book your trip if you tend to get cold because, at that time of the year, it will be.
Mind though, swimming with whale sharks is available between December through April every year when these majestic creatures come near the bay of La Paz for feeding with plankton and krill.
The city of La Paz is home to tons of beautiful beaches, so a trip here would be remiss without at least a few visits to some of them. It’s definitely one of the top things to do, so I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list.
There are many beaches ideal for swimming, spending a day chilling on the white sand and enjoying watersport activities.
Since La Paz is more of a commercial port, the beaches closer to the town are not really so good for swimming, even though you will enjoy a nice walk on the Malecon (the promenade on the beach).
But if you want to go there for swimming/water sports, you should drive a little further to Playa Caimancito o playa las Conchas, the best beaches close to town.
However, if you want to see one of the best beaches in Mexico, you must drive all the way to Playa Balandra ( or take the bus) and enjoy a full day at this spectacular beach.
You can kayak, paddleboard, or just relax and enjoy the spectacular views.
Read my post on the best beaches in La Paz Mexico for more details.
3. Go hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains
Baja California is renowned for its travel and adventure opportunities, and one of the top things on the list is the hiking experience of the region.
With so many amazing trails to choose from, it’s a favorite hiking place for many.
I’d recommend the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains if you’re looking for a fun hike while staying in La Paz.
Nestled in the southern desert region, the area is filled with hot springs, secret lakes, palm trees, waterfalls, and river canyons.
So, if you have ever imagined what it feels like to find an oasis in the desert, you will get to experience it firsthand here.
4. Swim with sea lions at Isla Espiritu Santo
Another of the most exciting La Paz things to do is joining a boat tour to Espiritu Santo.
The Espiritu Santo island is one of the most gorgeous natural habitats in the Sea of Cortez near La Paz Mexico.
Since it’s a UNESCO-declared biosphere reserve, there’s no development and wildlife truly thrives on this beautiful island.
Among the rich marine life found here, the sea lions are one of the most attractive aspects of the island.
A boat ride to Espiritu Santo Island takes about an hour, but when you get there you will be rewarded with a swim with the friendly sea lions.
Plus, the amazing volcanic rock formations and the landscape of the island and its surrounding region are a sight to see!
Usually, tours to Isla Espiritu Santo include a stop to a nearby island after swimming with the sea lions, where you can enjoy a delicious meal and swim in the chill waters.
This is an activity that you can do all year round but keep in mind that in the winter season from December through March the water is very cold. So make sure you wear a wetsuit if you can’t bear cold water.
5. Visit the Museo de la Ballena (Whale Museum)
Yup, you heard it right. Whales are one of the most popular things in La Paz Mexico, so much so that the city has a museum dedicated to them!
The Whale Museum of La Paz is definitely a bucket list-worthy item for every nature lover visiting the city.
Here, you will get to know a lot about the behavior of whales, their habitat, all the history of the various species of the world’s largest fish like gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales, and also about dolphins, manta rays, and sea turtles.
But that’s not just it, things get even more interesting. You also get to learn things like their relationship with the local community of La Paz. J
Just make sure to go there between Monday and Saturday from 9 to 14, because the museum remains closed on Mondays.
6. Go on a whale watching trip
Although you may need to drive a little far, all the way to Lopez Mateo, whale watching is one of the most incredible activities to do in Baja California.
Grey, blue, humpback whales travel all the way to the Baja California coast to find food, give birth, and mate as they find here the perfect environment for their activity.
Mind that whale watching season is from January through April.
When I lived in La Paz I went on a whale watching tour uncountable times. The closest place to La Paz to see the whales is Alfonso Lopez Matteo, where you can see the gray whales, the friendliest ones, that will come by your boat and let you pet them. A magical experience indeed.
If you manage to get all the way to Loreto you can see the blue whales, the biggest animal alive on earth. They nest in one of the bays near Loreto in the Sea of Cortez and there are tours available that you can book directly with local travel agents.
However to go to Loreto you should consider a 3-day trip.
But while you are there you will want to stay longer and see more! So you will end up extending your stay in Baja because you will simply fall in love!
And that’s the only danger when it comes to traveling to la Paz Mexico. The thing is the Sea of Cortez is magical, full of sea life and dramatic landscapes. You can’t get enough of it!
7. Kitesurf in La Ventana Bay
Another great adventurous activity in the city is kitesurfing. If you’re up for an unforgettable experience, kitesurfing is a surefire way to get your hands on one. The best place to go kitesurfing during a trip to La Paz is definitely La Ventana Bay.
The small town of La Ventana is only a 1-hour drive from the city and is exclusively known for its kitesurfing experience.
With its perfect location to make the best use of air currents flowing between Caravlo Island and the bay, La Ventana has become a hub for kitesurfing.
The best time to go kitesurfing in La Ventana Bay is between November and March.
Many professionals come here during this time of year, so you can take lessons if you haven’t tried your hand at kitesurfing before, and you can also participate in the competitions that take place here.
Even if you don’t feel like kitesurfing, you can just rent a car and go on a short road trip. The trip itself makes it worth it, but once you are there you will also enjoy the tranquil laid back life.
Have a walk on the beach watch the kite surfers floating above the water and have lunch in one of the cute local cafes.
8. Visit one of the ranches and go horseback riding
Visiting La Paz gives you the opportunity to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities and horseback riding is one of them.
La Paz Mexico is universally praised for its breathtaking landscapes and scenery. One of the top ways to make the most of this is to go horseback riding through the region.
You will find a few great ranches (ranchos) in La Paz that offer a guided tour of some of the best trail rides in La Paz.
Horseback riding on the beach is another top activity in La Paz, so you can try out that as well.
Luckily, it’s fairly easy to get going, because you don’t need to take any courses or have any certificates to go horseback riding here.
Just visit a ranch and you’ll be good to go.
9. Go kayaking
The calm waters of the sea of Cortez, are perfect for kayaking.
Whether it is just a couple of hours or a multiday tour you can enjoy incredible experiences paddling around the multiple islands including Espiritu Santo island swimming in hidden bays among sea lions and wealthy marine life.
And if you do it during the winter from December through April you will be able to paddle around whales and see them from a close distance.
You can find many local travel agents and kayak rental companies that will be happy to organize your kayaking tour.
10. Take kayaking day trips from the Balandra Beach
Kayaking trips are a must-do in La Paz, so if your trip is a short one and you can’t manage to go anywhere else, you can still get your chance at going on a kayaking day tour while you are visiting Balandra beach.
because you just CANNOT miss Balandra, one of the top natural wonders in Mexico.
When you are in Balandra Beach you can rent a kayak to set out for an adventurous trip. You will find plenty of kayak rentals here. You can also join a kayaking tour.
The tours offered by many tour operators on Balandra Beach are some of the best experiences in La Paz, and I wouldn’t recommend skipping on them.
11. Sandboard at the dunes of El Mogote
When it comes to exploring the desert region around La Paz, sandboarding offers a great unique experience.
So, if you’re an adrenaline junkie seeking a new kind of adventure, this might just be for you.
El Mogote is one of the best places in Mexico to try sandboarding on the dunes.
You can take a tour here, and trust me when I say this, it’ll be an unforgettable tour because sandboarding down the massive sand dunes is a different experience entirely.
12. Try one of the cute cafes in La Paz
Although it may sound obvious, I really had to include it in the list of things to do in La Paz Mexico, simply because being a digital nomad and always in search of good coffee and good wifi, the first thing to do when I visit a place is hunting for a nice coffee shop.
And La Paz is certainly not short of those. Unfortunately, the WIFI is not so reliable but the coffee is top-notch.
My favorite one is Doce Cuarenta, Starbucks style but with its own personality, great coffee and delicious bakery, and a lovely internal garden.
The WIFI is not so good but if you are on a vacation you don’t need it.
When you go back from a tour, or if you are looking for a breakfast place this is a great option.
13. Explore the Museums in La Paz
Although some of the most popular things that make La Paz an interesting Baja California Sur destination are pretty much natural wonders and outdoor activities, the coastal town itself has a special vibe and it offers cultural attractions as well.
The street art of La Paz is just as much an essential part of town as its cultural landmarks. Almost every street of the city features artworks created by local artists.
In fact, most of the art on the streets of La Paz is an effort to preserve the culture of the city and paint subjects that represent the city the most.
That’s the reason why you will see most of all the colorful underwater world in giant-scale painted on the walls of La Paz Mexico, embellishing the otherwise grey buildings of the city center.
You can check out the street art in all of the streets, especially in the city center, main market, and the parks.
Another great way to enjoy street art is by taking a walk along the Malecon.
You can also book a guided tour to La Paz street art where a local guide will share the deeper meaning and history of the various spectacular murals.
15. Watch the spectacular sunset from the Malecon (During the day and night)
The Malecon, which is the beach promenade, is quite a popular spot for locals and tourists alike to take long walks early morning and during sunset and exercise.
It has a special vibe and a place of enjoyment.
During the day, you will find people walking, running, and biking along the Malecon. Yes there is a cycling lane running beside the pedestrian side.
Come sunset time, it becomes the perfect spot to watch the colors of the setting sun illuminate the sky over the sea.
In La Paz, I have seen some of the most beautiful sunsets ever. It’s just magical.
Among the cultural landmarks of La Paz Mexico, you can visit the Catedral de Nuestra Senora, situated in the main plaza, also where the Art Museum is located.
The cathedral building dates back to 1861. Constructed by the Jesuit missionaries of the time, it’s an imposing structure and worth seeing.
The Cathedral is just as interesting on the inside as well. Besides the architectural beauty, you can also check out many religious performances and live music that takes place here.
Catedral de Nuestra Senora is the first thing that catches your attention when you arrive at the square, so finding it isn’t very hard either.
Visiting a commercial port town and not trying out its fresh seafood would be a golden chance missed. During your trip to La Paz, don’t forget to sample the exquisite seafood the city has to offer.
Chocolate clams are the most popular, so street vendors and local restaurants sell them alike.
I recommend trying out the clams, but La Paz has some of the best seafood restaurants in Baja California Sur, so feel free to try out as many dishes as you like, you won’t be disappointed.
La Paz has lots of variety when it comes to the dining experience of the city.
From Italian to Argentinian, and of course traditional Mexican cuisine. You will find plenty of specialties in every part of La Paz, and many street vendors are pretty great too.
Fish tacos are another highly recommended item from the La Paz cuisines but don’t hold back on any other dishes either.
Fortunately, trying out the different eateries in La Paz doesn’t put a hole in your wallet, so you can hit as many places as you like.
Even vegans and vegetarians find so many different amazing dining options.
See below for some restaurant suggestions.
19. See the sculptures of La Paz
La Paz has so many awe-inspiring sculptures all around it that you can admire. It’s because many organizations work to bring more flair to the traditional charm of the city, and these sculptures play a big role in doing that.
You will encounter lots of these sculptures going about the various parts of La Paz, but most of the famous sculptures are located along Malecon.
There’s also a dedicated center for artworks called the Governor’s Palace, which is a historical building where you can visit exhibitions and see potters, glassmakers, and local artists displaying their talent.
20. Take a tour to another popular destination in Baja Peninsula
Even though you will love La Paz, there are many other pretty cities that you should visit while you are there.
So you can either go in one day on your own, take an organized tour, or just go for a couple of days and visit the pretty Mexican Pueblo Magico Todos Santos or the popular San Cabo Lucas.
Both cities also have lots of amazing day trip opportunities which I will talk about in another post.
21. Experience the nightlife
La Paz doesn’t have many nightclubs, but that doesn’t mean the nightlife here is any less fun than Cabo San Lucas.
Instead of all-out parties, the nightlife in La Paz entails romantic live music and great dinners with views of the ocean.
You can also hit some of the bars and clubs on Malecon, where mariachi bands or modern music bring the night to life and many locals are also found here to meet and chat with.
The nightlife of La Paz is something you wouldn’t want to miss out on, so make sure you try out some cocktails while you’re at it!
22. Explore the Old Town
The rest of La Paz is charming, but the Old Town holds a special place among its attractions in its own way.
The whole area is popular with locals, so you will meet families walking by and elders sitting on the numerous benches chatting.
The Old Town is located around Revolución de 1910 and Calle 5 de Mayo, making it incredibly convenient to take a short walk around the whole area on your own.
But you can also choose to go on a guided tour. Either way, it’s definitely worth exploring.
Besides finding all the main landmarks of the city you can check out the coffee shops, bakeries, colorful markets, and interesting shops.
23. Go paddleboarding
Paddleboarding, just like kayaking is one of the most popular water sports activities in La Paz. Local outdoor shops offer incredible experiences.
You can rent a paddleboard and go on your own or you can join tours that take you to the most beautiful bays of the Sea of Cortez, including Isla Espiritu Santo.
24. Scuba Diving
If your priority is exploring the underwater world and you are a certified scuba diver you should definitely join a diving trip to Isla Espiritu Santo where your experience swimming with the sea lion will be much more amazing than if you were snorkeling.
Being completely immersed in the water for 45 minutes with those playful creatures, besides all the colorful sea life that populates the Sea of Cortez is an experience of a lifetime.
Things to do in La Paz Mexico FAQ + Practical Tips
The word “La Paz” translates to peace. So I’d say yes, La Paz is definitely a safe destination for travelers if you stay in the central or the commercial areas.
The streets of La Paz are lit and active even at night, and the people are used to tourists being around almost all the time, so you won’t be attracting any special attention to yourself either.
However, it’s still important to look out for yourself just like you would anywhere else in the world and use the same precautions that I mention in my post on how to stay safe in Mexico.
Make sure never to leave your stuff unattended in public places, carry only the things you would be needing and leave the rest of your valuables back in your hotel room.
Also, don’t go to deserted areas at night.
With just a few common-sense precautions like these, it will be less likely that you have any safety issues in La Paz.
It absolutely is! Even though the majority of travelers visiting Baja California Sur through water only pass the city to get to Cabo San Lucas, La Paz is still a city with so much to offer.
In fact, many of the travelers who visit Los Cabos and Todos Santos end up taking day trips to La Paz to experience many popular activities exclusive to the city.
So, if you’re looking for lots of watersports, adventure, history, and a sleepy-but-fun vacation to a city with the best beaches and fresh seafood, La Paz is a great place for it.
There is a lot to love about La Paz and that’s why I have chosen to extend my stay every time I went there.
✔ La Paz is a tranquil, but by every definition captivating, tropical paradise on the southern coast of Baja California Sur.
✔ It’s not a resort town like Cabo San Lucas, but the old-world charm of La Paz is very unique and makes the city a loveable place in its own way.
✔ The seafront promenade called the Malecon,
✔ spectacular beautiful beaches
✔ colorful cityscape with incredible artwork by various local artists
✔ lovely bars and restaurants overlooking the sea,
✔ La Paz offers some best snorkeling in Mexico
✔ The shallow waters of many La Paz beaches allow for great family beach trips, and many watersport activities and boat trips are also popular here.
✔ Moreover, the surroundings of La Paz Mexico make for amazing adventures like hiking in the mountain ranges, off-roading, sandboarding, and riding bikes.
✔ Last, but not least, is the undersea charm of La Paz. Because of its rich marine life which consists of more than 20,000 unique species of aquatic creatures, including whales, sea turtles, and sea lions, divers and snorkelers find amazing experiences in La Paz.
That’s why the sea of Cortez is also known as the aquarium of the world!
You can swim with whale sharks during peak season (January through March), visit the Los Islotes sea lion colonies, and even watch the whales visiting Magdalena Bay.
Downtown La Paz has so many charms of the city, including
The La Paz Cathedral, one of the city’s most famous attractions, is also downtown.
Although La Paz isn’t like other famous Colonial cities of Mexico in terms of having a downtown filled with picturesque views and lots of historic architecture, La Paz downtown is still quite interesting and pleasant to walk around watching murals, checking out shops, and bars, museums and trying the delicious food.
The overall cost of your trip to La Paz would depend on your travel style, but if you compare it with many other destinations in Mexico, La Paz is still a relatively cost-effective city.
Despite being a small city, La Paz has something for everyone.
If you’re on a budget, you can find plenty of pocket-friendly lodgings here, but La Paz has upscale hotels and luxury accommodations as well.
With so many different restaurants, things to do, and popular sites, the average expenditure of a vacation in La Paz can be incredibly great value if you know your way around the city.
A car will come in handy in La Paz, but it’s not a necessity, depending on your lifestyle.
In fact, most of the attractions within La Paz are just a short walk away and taxis/buses also take you there, and for the beaches like Playa Balandra and Playa Tecolote that are a bit farther away, you can use public transport like cabs and buses.
Most people stroll around the city, especially along the Malecon and marina, so a car would only take away some of the fun from your trip.
But if you fancy a ride, another fun way to explore La Paz is by renting a bike or scooter.
However, if your goal is to explore the regions around La Paz, renting a car in La Paz Mexico would be a better option for it.
The rule of thumb to visit La Paz is going crazy and having tons of fun doing the many things it has to offer.
Apart from that, there’s not much for you to worry about. However, some practical tips never hurt, so here are some of those:
- First and foremost, staying hydrated is important. But your body might not respond well to the tap water of La Paz, so make sure to get bottled water or use a water filter to purify the water before drinking it.
- Even though Baja California Sur is generally very safe, it’s still better to check out the Mexico safety guidelines issued by the travel advisory and practice common precautions like avoiding night driving and deserted areas.
- To ensure your vacation in La Paz is fun-filled and memorable, make sure to pack well. The items you will need here include swimsuits and flip-flops for the beautiful beaches, running shoes if you plan on strolling a lot in the city and to go hiking/exploring the desert region around the city, some sunscreen to protect your skin against La Paz sun, and a jacket if your bucket list includes romantic evenings and boat trips on the bay.
- Exploring the surrounding regions of La Paz is definitely a must-do during your trip to the city. Almost all the roads in these regions are in great shape, so a car rental would be perfect for it. You can also go off the road, but make sure your car rental service is okay with that beforehand.
- If you’re going to La Paz, take a flight to Los Cabos. Since Cabo San Lucas is a more popular destination on the Baja California Sur, you will find cheaper rates on flights going there and getting to La Paz afterwards is no issue at all.
- Lastly, learn some common phrases in Spanish. Knowing a little bit of the native language will always come in handy, no matter which destination of Mexico you’re planning to hit.
For more tips read my post on Mexico Travel Tips
Where to stay in La Paz
The best places to stay in La Paz include:
- Costa Baja Resort – upscale sea front hotel
- Baja Club – spectacular modern hotel in a charming historic building
- Hotel Casa BO – cute minimal boutique hotel
- Hotel La Concha Beach Resort – low key beachfront hotel
- Hyatt Place La Paz – renowned luxury brand
- Hotel Catedral La Paz – iconic mid range hotel in the heart of La Paz
Where to eat in La Paz
Now you know all the top things to do in La Paz, Mexico! Keep in mind that some of the activities aren’t available during summer, while some can’t be experienced during winter, and plan your trip accordingly based on the kind of activities you want to try in La Paz.
Also, if your vacation is short, it might not fit all of the top things to do in La Paz, so take your picks wisely. Enjoy!
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 knowing 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 World Nomads or SafetyWing which I have used alternatively depending on my needs of the moment.
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 usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options 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 flaunt expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keep 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 which 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