Looking to break away from the tourist traffic in Cancun? La Paz, Mexico is home to several vast beaches tucked between hillsides and mountains that aren’t overpopulated with tourists. With beautiful views of the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean every evening, incredible seafood, Mexican cuisine, and tons of fun excursions, there’s something for the youngest to the oldest in La Paz, Mexico. If you’re looking for a scenic and adventurous destination to take the family to, then you need to plan a trip to La Paz.
Take a Trip to La Paz with Family
Transport to La Paz
Unless you plan on flying directly into the tiny La Paz airport, it is more than likely that you will fly into San Jose International Airport in Los Cabos. From there, it is a little over a two-hour drive to downtown La Paz. I know when you arrive in a new place after a long plane ride, you probably aren’t looking to sit down behind the driver’s seat. However, the drive from Los Cabos to La Paz was one of the most beautiful and peaceful I’ve experienced.Our flight landed in the early evening. When we began our drive, the sun was setting in between the gorgeous mountains, making them look as though they were on fire. The sky was bright orange and pink. We got to take in the earthy tones of the desert and cacti. Plus, it was a very smooth ride on what felt like a new road with freshly painted lines. It took us on a winding path through the mountains. Eventually, the mountains open up and reveal the shining Pacific Ocean. The beautiful juxtaposition of the desert and the sea is a large part of the heritage and art represented in La Paz.For that reason, I would actually recommend taking on the drive. Also, you can scan the ocean for whales breaching the surface if you’re driving during the daytime. It may take a bit of a trained eye, but we spotted multiple sprays of water or “whale blows” on our return home, and it wasn’t even whale season.
Spend a Night in Todos Santos
If your flight arrives in the evening, and you’re not up to a two-hour drive, it is highly recommended that you drive half the distance to Todos Santos and stay the night. You can save the second half of the drive for the next day. Todos Santos is one of Mexico’s 132 Magic Towns, recognized for its Mexican culture and heritage. Our family drove one hour to Todos Santos and checked into Los Colibris Casitas.
Los Colibris Casitas is a small hotel located on a cliffside overlooking the ocean. Our room for four was spacious and came with a kitchen and dining table. There is also Iker’s Colibris Cafe on the property for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We only had the opportunity to have breakfast there, and it was delicious.
Dinner at Dum
After checking into our hotel and changing clothes, we drove to Dum for a unique dinner experience. During the daytime, Dum serves as a day club with a pool and bar. Also, I was fascinated to learn that they have rescued animals and built out the property in an environmentally friendly way.In the evening, Dum has two different restaurants. One serves classic Mexican cuisine, and the other is run by a French chef who combines traditional Mexican food with French and other European elements. We had a unique, multi-course meal unlike anything I’ve had before. Our dinner included an amuse bouche, an appetizer of either truffles and gnocchi or aguachile, a salad, and an entree of either quail with mole sauce or the catch of the day. Additionally, they served multiple small dessert courses, including avocado ice cream as a palette cleanser, a corn-inspired mousse dish that was my favorite, and chocolate macaroons. Keep in mind the menu at Dum changes seasonally. Therefore, this may not be an accurate representation of what Dum serves year-round.
Surfing at Los Cerritos Beach
Before continuing your journey to La Paz, a brief stay in Todos Santos offers the perfect opportunity to visit Los Cerritos Beach. The kids or grandkids can take an excellent beginner surf lesson from Mario’s Surf School while you watch from afar in the warm sands and sunshine. Or if your family already knows how to surf, you can rent boards. This is a great way to relieve some excess energy before hopping back in the car.
Hotels in La Paz
After your brief adventures in Todos Santos, you’ve finally arrived in La Paz for the rest of your trip. Likely, you need a place to rest and recover for many more beach days and adventures to come. Of course, there’s a whole host of options to choose from in downtown La Paz, along the Malecon, or in the hills overlooking the ocean. Two hotels we had the luxury of staying at while in La Paz were Casa al Mar and CostaBaja Resort & Spa.
Casa al Mar
Casa al Mar is located right on the Malecon in the heart of La Paz. The interior resembles something you might see on the islands of Mykonos or Santorini, Greece, with its white walls, blue details, greenery, and flowers.
It is important to note that many of the rooms are multi-leveled. Additionally, I noted that the stairs did not have handrails. If you need a handrail or are uncomfortable with stairs, there may only be a few room options for you here. However, if that’s not a problem, then this hotel is a wonderful option.
These multi-dimensional spaces are fun and beautifully decorated. Our room had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a living space downstairs with a kitchen. Also, aside from the front door, there was a backdoor that opened up on a small space outside lined with decorative plants and rocks. Although we initially found this space irrelevant, it ended up being a great place to dump the sand out of our shoes after a beach day or riding ATVs through the sand dunes.
Perhaps the best part about this hotel, though, is its excellent location. Not only is it downtown along the Malecon, but it has an amazing restaurant next door, Central 1535. My family literally ate at this restaurant every morning. The menu had a decent variety, from Nutella pancakes to smoothie bowls and huevos rancheros. The food was absolutely delicious every time.
CostaBaja Resort & Spa
If you’re looking for something a little further away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, then check out CostaBaja Resort & Spa. Located about five miles from downtown, this is one of the nicest resorts in La Paz. Make use of the two pools, golf course, two restaurants, and a bar on the property.
Don’t miss out on a sunset dinner at the incredible El Cardon Restaurant. Placed upon the highest point of the Bay of La Paz, the view is incredible. It’s definitely one of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen, accompanied by amazing food. The menu offers oysters, salads, rich bone marrow, steaks, and their catch of the day. For dessert, we had a spherical dish that had layers of thick mousse surrounding strawberry ice cream within a soft shell, sitting in a pool of citrusy cream. Dipping my spoon and revealing the sweet layers within made this one of the most surprising and wonderful desserts I’ve had.
Activities in La Paz
There are so many wonderful activities in La Paz year-round. While you could easily spend your whole trip enjoying the beach and gorging yourself on the delicious food that abounds in La Paz, you could also easily fill your schedule with bucket-list activities!
The Malecon is essentially a walking path along the shoreline that extends from end to end of the Bay of La Paz. Go on a lovely walk by the ocean and learn a little more about the town’s history. There are various statues along the Malecon that reveal the history and culture of La Paz.
Additionally, I recommend exploring the town, not just the beach. There are many vibrant and beautiful murals throughout La Paz that represent its culture. You’ll likely come across the National Museum of Art and many wonderful places to shop or eat.
ATVs and Sandboarding
A trip to La Paz doesn’t just mean beaches and good food. If you or the kids have a sense of adventure, then there’s ample opportunity to have fun and gain new life experiences. For those that are comfortable and physically able, riding ATVs into the sand dunes on the outskirts of the Bay of La Paz is thrilling. The ride is rough but also beautiful. The route we took on our ATVs went on a long stretch of beach.
Eventually, you wind up in the sand dunes. You can hop off the ATVs and go sandboarding. It’s a ton of fun but also exhausting. If you cannot climb back the steep sand dunes, these activities may not be for you. Making the climb was exhausting even for the young ones in our group, but we kept sandboarding down the hill and making our way slowly back up. Although the steepness is daunting, you don’t have to fear getting hurt. The sand is soft and warm if you fall.
On the way back from the sand dunes, we got to speed along the completely empty beach again beside foamy waves as the sunset. The whole experience was incredible. Again, I would just like to say that these activities are not for everyone. You can also book an excursion in which they transport you to the sand dunes in a car if you’re not fond of ATVs. Additionally, you can drive out in that direction if you’d simply like to enjoy the beautiful and empty beaches on the opposite side of the Bay of La Paz from downtown. This would be a great area to have a picnic or go skimboarding.
Swim with Whale Sharks and Sea Lions
While their names may sound scary, they’re not really as dangerous as sharks and lions. Swimming with these creatures is a very fun, popular, and safe activity in La Paz. Whale sharks are beautiful and gentle animals that are truly fascinating to see in real life. Their sheer size is insane. You’ll have to see it for yourself during your trip to La Paz!
Beaches to Visit in La Paz
La Paz has beautiful, expansive beaches. One large stretch of beach that we loved on our trip to La Paz was Tocolote beach. We had an amazing lunch at a restaurant there and then kicked off our shoes to walk through the sand. This beach was dappled with tons of glittering seashells. The ocean was beautiful, and there was hardly anyone around. This is a great spot to set up camp for a beach day.
However, if the weather is windy and not very warm, Tocolote beach is a little exposed to the wind and cold. For that reason, I suggest going to Pichelingue beach if there is a lot of wind. Pichelingue is a beautiful little beach where you can have lunch and even rent snorkel gear.
Unfortunately, we did not get the opportunity to visit Balandra beach, but I wish we had! It’s a beautiful beach with turquoise waters and white sand. It’s in a little cove, and you can walk all the way from one side of Balandra Beach to the other through the water because it isn’t very deep. However, it is a protected area, so you can only enter and explore the area during specific time frames. Additionally, only 120 people are allowed per day. If you want to visit this beautiful beach, make sure to plan ahead!
If you don’t get the opportunity to formally enter Balandra Beach, you can also go on a 20 to 30 minute hike that takes you to an overlook of Balandra. This is what my family and I did. Of course, it was almost entirely uphill on rocky terrain, so this may not be for everyone. Still, it was a fun, casual hike. The view was beautiful, and the wind at the top of the climb was refreshing.
Where to Eat on a Trip to La Paz
If you’re planning a trip to La Paz, this may be the most important topic of all. Where can you get good food in La Paz? Well, practically everywhere! I never had a bad meal in La Paz. We took pleasure in eating fresh fish tacos and other Mexican cuisine every day.
You can find good fish tacos at many different shops and taco stands all around La Paz. Also, don’t miss out on the restaurants at the hotels I mentioned earlier, as they served incredible food.
This may have been my favorite meal in La Paz. Hambrusia is a taco place that offers a unique variety of tacos. They are categorized by protein type (such as fish, pork, beef, etc.) and have all kinds of interesting flavor combinations. You’ll want to order a bunch of different tacos and maybe even an appetizer to share, so everyone can enjoy a variety of what’s on the menu.
After numerous days of gorging yourself on Mexican food, it may be time to switch things up a little bit. Sorstis is an upscale Italian restaurant in downtown La Paz. They serve amazing eggplant parmesan, pizzas, pasta, steaks, and everything else you could want. Additionally, they have an assortment of absolutely decadent desserts that you’ll want to try. Also, they often have wonderful live music!
Hot Dogs Fried in Mayo?
Aside from sit-down restaurants, keep in mind that there are tons of little food stands serving up fast and delicious food. We’ve already discussed the fish tacos, but you can also find birria tacos and hot dog stands around La Paz. Some places take hot dogs to the next level, frying them in mayo and topping them with all the things you could possibly want, including bacon. From what I recall, these “Mexican hot dogs” are called jates. They were great for when we were in a rush.
Our trip to La Paz was one of the most action-packed and delicious trips we’ve ever been on. I went into this trip relatively blind, not realizing how beautiful and fun it could be. After many trips to Cancun and other parts of Mexico, La Paz is refreshing. This new environment taught me so many new things and gave me completely new experiences. La Paz should be on everybody’s bucket list, and I hope you start planning a trip to La Paz with your own family.