Have you heard of La Paz? It's a seaside destination on the Sea of Cortez that sits along the eastern side of the Baja California Sur. It's a part of Mexico where marine life thrives, home to more than 900 species of fish and 5,000 species of micro-invertebrates - coined the Aquarium of the World by Jacques Cousteau. And it's also a part of the world I know very little about. So when the La Paz Tourism Board invited me to spend a few days in the region, I jumped at the chance. The trip was a wonderful whirlwind - I got to experience the best of La Paz in a few days, and I quickly learned that if you're into beaches, snorkeling, diving and/or marine life, this place is a goldmine that flies under the radar.
HOW MANY DAYS IN LA PAZ?
Three to five days. You can experience most of La Paz in a few days, making it the perfect long weekend destination, especially if you're traveling from California. Stay longer for a more relaxed experience, but if time is tight, three days is plenty of time to see the best beaches, explore the Sea of Cortez, eat at the best restaurants and catch a handful of solid sunsets.
We found the boho vibes of Tulum in Todos Santos.
THINGS TO DO IN LA PAZ
Playa Balandra is a remote shallow bay in the Sea of Cortez that is home to several stunning white sand beaches. It can be accessed by land or sea, but it's a more unique experience to explore by boat.
ESPIRITU SANTO ISLAND
A boat trip out to Espiritu Santo Island is an essential day trip when in La Paz. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where marine life thrives thanks to its protections as an ecological reserve. Highlights on the island include the shallow beaches of Ensanada Grande, the sandbar at Partida Beach and the soaring rock arches along the island's coast. Epiritu Santo is also home to Los Islotes, one of the only places in the world where visitors can snorkel with sea lions. We visited with On Board Baja.
Todos Santos is a vibrant little town located about an hour from La Paz. The charming streets are lined with colorful flags, shops, galleries and cafes - the most picturesque street being Calle Centenario.
Whale watching season is January through April when the gray whales migrate through this stretch of the Sea of Cortez. It's one of only a few places where whales will actually swim up to the boat. And it hppened to us on our boat ride back from Playa Balandra when gray whale swam along side us, as well as a pod of dolphins.
A gray whale swam up to our boat on the ride back from Playa Balandra. Photo by @johnrickalmonte.
PLACES TO STAY IN LA PAZ
Upscale boutique hotel bursting with colonial feels, located in the heart of La Paz. Baja Club Hotel houses 32 guest rooms and suites, a spa, rooftop sunset bar, restaurant and gorgeous brick-backed swimming pool.
Casa Francisco is a spacious rental that offers up four bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen and a gorgeous plunge pool that sits in a private outdoor patio. Design is minimalist chic - clean lines, very modern. The townhouse is located in downtown La Paz, an ideal location for restaurants, shopping and sightseeing.
Luxury boutique hotel located right on the beach at Punta Lobos in Todos Santos. The property interior exudes upscale retro feels with its colorful tile and decor selection, and exterior design is minimalist whites and neutrals. Rooms are spacious and luxurious - lots of character and color. Hotel San Cristobal's on-site restaurant Benno serves both Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine.
Beautiful upscale resort located a short drive from the town of Todos Santos. The property has all the feels of a desert boho oasis, a bit of Amangiri and Joshua Tree all rolled into one. Paradero offers a selection of stunning suites, the Ojo de Agua Spa, the Half Moon Infinity Pool and on-site bar and restaurants.
Villa Monarka is a dazzling three bedroom villa, a posh stay for a group holiday. The design of the space is beautiful - high ceilings with wood beams, brick relief walls, tiled floors, modern bathrooms and a private plunge pool.
Loved the riad vibes of Baja Club Hotel.
WHAT TO EAT IN LA PAZ
Awesome rooftop restaurant and bar that offers views of the water, and good energy. Menu includes tacos, sliders and solid cocktails.
Popular seafood spot on the Malecon that serves up everything from fresh clams to pretty gnarly fish tacos. Great lunch option when in town.
Jut a few minutes from Todos Santos town, Rancho Corazon is the ultimate boho escape - all the Tulum feels without the crowds. It's an oasis of palm trees that is home to two outdoor restaurants, a bar and infinity pool. Guests can dine at DUM or Pecado under large white dreamcatchers that hang from the palms, or buy a $25 day pass for the pool and spend the day lounging in a white hammock or white sun bed. The space is stunning.
Casual dining on the Malecon that serves up a delicious selection of cocktails, as well as fusion dishes including ceviche tostadas, salads, rice noodles, tacos and more. We opted for the six-course Omakase menu.
Origen specializes in seafood with offerings that include fresh oysters, ceviche, shrimp tacos, seafood risotto, paella, sashimi tostadas and more. Located right off the Malecon.
Fish taco feast at Bismark.
Soft shell grab at DUM.
GETTING TO AND AROUND LA PAZ
La Paz is a 2 hour 15 minute drive from the Los Cabos International Airport that connects Baja to dozens of destinations, most within the Americas. All major car rental brands are available at the airport, or you can pre-arrange transfer to La Paz with your hotel or a local tour company. Once in La Paz, everything in town is pretty walkable. For boat trips out into the Sea of Cortez, we used On Board Baja, and they were amazing!
Afternoon strolls around town. OUTFIT DETAILS: Target dress linked here.
I'll take one of each, please.
The shallow water at Playa Balandra literally sparkled in the sunlight.
Thank you to the La Paz Tourism Board for sponsoring my trip in this post! xx