Wednesday, February 28, 2024

4-Day La Paz, Mexico Itinerary for Out of doors Fanatics – Bearfoot Principle

La Paz, Mexico looks like an off-the-beaten-track vacation spot, however outside fanatics have been coming to this beautiful capital metropolis for ages. Located on the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur, La Paz shouldn’t be solely house to Mexico’s most lovely seashores, however it’s additionally the right leaping level for thus many exhilarating adventures.

In simply 4 brief days, you possibly can swim with whale sharks and sea lions, soak in sizzling springs, bathe under waterfalls, surf some Pacific waves, and spend a day on the seaside.

This La Paz itinerary is predicated on my expertise road-tripping round Baja California Sur, with La Paz as my house base. La Paz was my final cease on a three-month journey round Mexico.

I shortly fell in love with the realm’s rugged magnificence and allure. Although Baja is understood to draw plenty of People (each vacationers and expats), La Paz itself feels thus far faraway from the craziness of vacationer hubs like close by Cabo San Lucas.

Town is Baja California Sur’s capital and its title means “the peace” in Spanish. Locals name themselves “pazians” (peace folks in English) and La Paz definitely exudes peace regardless of its dimension. Life is gradual, locals are heat, and pure magnificence abounds. I hope you take pleasure in La Paz as a lot as I did.

Uncover this better of the area with this 4-day adventure-packed La Paz itinerary.

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The place is La Paz?

La Paz is the capital metropolis of Baja California Sur and is situated on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula about 2.5 hours north of Cabo San Lucas. La Paz is on the Gulf of California facet the place the water is extra calm than the Pacific facet.

This La Paz itinerary works completely for folk flying into San José del Cabo because it begins and ends with adventures midway between Cabo and La Paz. It additionally works when you fly into La Paz or are arriving through automobile as a result of the day journeys are simply an hour or two away from La Paz.

Here’s a map of the route with the entire factors of curiosity for this 4-day La Paz itinerary.

Received further time to spare? Contemplate doing a full Baja highway journey – a very fashionable route for van lifers within the winter. You’ll be able to drive all thew manner down from San Diego to La Paz.

4-Day La Paz Itinerary

You’ll need a automobile for days one and 4, although you possibly can simply swap these outings for extra native adventures.

As all the time, be at liberty to regulate this itinerary as a lot as you’d like. On the finish of this information, I point out another issues to do in La Paz so you possibly can simply add or subtract no matter pursuits you most!

Day 1: Scorching Springs and Waterfalls

Day one adventures happen within the Sierra Laguna mountains close to the small city of Santiago, the place desert terrain meets crystal-clear mountain streams and piping-hot pure springs. 

Conveniently situated 1.5 hours from Cabo and a pair of hours from La Paz, so you possibly can both cease in Santiago throughout a drive between Cabo and La Paz or simply take a day journey from La Paz.

Many points of interest within the Sierra Laguna are on non-public property, most hikes aren’t nicely documented, and cellphone service is minimal, so it’s essential to plan forward. Additionally, you’ll need some water footwear or sturdy sandals and convey loads of water and a few on-the-go snacks!

Be aware: For touring in Mexico, I like to recommend the Grayl Ultrapress Air purifier water bottle. It permits you to safely purify water from the faucet (or from streams), so you possibly can keep away from shopping for and and utilizing so many plastic water bottles.

I like to recommend splitting your time in Santiago between the Santa Rita Scorching Springs and Sol de Mayo Waterfall hike. Each are situated on well-established non-public ranches which can be used to welcoming guests (although few worldwide vacationers make it to those spots).

The 2 ranches are about twenty-five minutes aside, and are each about twenty minutes from the middle of Santiago, on a dusty filth highway. You don’t want 4WD to drive on this highway however count on some bumps. We drove it in a Toyota Corolla rental automobile with no points.

Begin on the Santa Rita Scorching Springs, situated a five-minute stroll from the car parking zone of Rancho Santa Rita. After paying a small entrance payment to the rancher (carry money!), head down the pathway, passing the picnic tables. 

The new springs are situated throughout the small bridge. In entrance of the bridge, you’ll discover a refreshingly cool stream. Swap between the recent springs and the cool stream, and ensure to swim up the stream the place a small waterfall is situated.

Santa Rita hot springs in Baja, Mexico
Santa Rita Scorching Springs | Picture: Annie Blay

Subsequent, head to Rancho Ecologico Sol De Mayo, the place you’ll discover the beautiful Sol de Mayo Waterfall. After you park and pay the doorway payment, the rancher will direct you to the path. Catch gorgeous views of the river and waterfall above earlier than strolling about 10 minutes all the way down to the bottom of the falls.

Don’t miss swimming within the calm swimming pools beneath the waterfall and luxuriate in a snack earlier than heading again to Santiago, then to La Paz. Contemplate stopping at Los Barriles for a seaside dinner, or maintain your urge for food and luxuriate in considered one of La Paz’s eating places.

Sol de Mayo waterfall in Baja Mexico
Sol de Mayo waterfall | Picture: Annie Blay

Tip: Some fundamental Spanish goes a great distance in rural Mexico. Although you possibly can definitely discover Santiago and La Paz with out talking Spanish, I like to recommend memorizing a number of fundamental phrases and phrases forward of time. As all the time, present respect and gratitude to locals as you discover their non-public ranches.

Day 2: La Paz’s World-Well-known Seashores

No journey to La Paz is full and not using a seaside day. Most visits to La Paz focus on seeing Playa Balandra, which has been known as essentially the most lovely seaside in Mexico.

Playa Balandra in La Paz Baja
Playa Balandra

Whereas Balandra Seaside is definitely value visiting, I like to recommend planning on visiting different La Paz seashores as nicely, since Balandra can get crowded and has strict opening hours.  

As of November 2023, Playa Balandra usually opens from 8am-12pm, closes for an hour, after which opens once more from 1pm-5pm. Entry is restricted and guests are required to depart for the one-hour break every day at midday. 

Plan to arrive at 8am to make sure entry and take advantage of your time. Most La Paz eating places and occasional retailers aren’t open early, so make breakfast at your resort. Contemplate additionally packing a lunch since eating choices are very restricted round most La Paz seashores. 

Deliver a good solar hat, a packable seaside towel, and doubtlessly a pair of footwear to stroll in. At Playa Balandra you possibly can hike up the cliffs to see the bay from above, hire kayaks to discover the coves and mangroves, hike to close by Playa El Tecolote, and stroll to the well-known “mushroom rock”. 

After spending the morning at Balandra, head to a different close by seaside to take pleasure in lunch, lounge on the shore, and wade within the calm, shallow water. My private advice is Playa El Tesoro, a shocking seaside between downtown La Paz and Balandra with a chill, native vibe, and a seaside bar/restaurant. 

After a number of cervezas or margaritas, head again to city for dinner and a sundown stroll alongside the La Paz Malecon (waterfront boardwalk).

Tip: If you happen to don’t have a automobile, you will get to Playa Balandra through bus, DiDi, Uber, however make sure to work out your return journey forward of time. It’s also possible to e book a tour which incorporates mountain climbing, kayaking, and snorkeling.

shaded sitting areas and a few cars parked on Playa El Tesoro in La Paz Baja
Playa El Tesoro
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Get on the Water

Day 3: Swimming with Whale Sharks and a Sundown Hike

If you happen to go to La Paz between October and April, you’ll have the chance to swim with whale sharks within the Sea of Cortez. This once-in-a-lifetime expertise is facilitated by native ecotourism corporations and strictly regulated by the native authorities. 

Make sure you e book a whale shark boat tour with a good firm forward of time for the reason that quantity of individuals and boats is restricted every day. 

a woman snorkels with a whale shark
Snorkel with whale sharks in La Paz

If you happen to go to exterior of whale shark season or favor to swim with a distinct marine species, you possibly can go on a boat tour to Isla Espiritu Santo, which incorporates snorkeling with sea lions. Simply bear in mind that you could not leap within the water with the ocean lions throughout their breeding season, July by August. 

As well as, some tour corporations supply combo excursions that embrace swimming with whale sharks and sea lions in at some point!

Most excursions embrace lunch and return to La Paz within the early afternoon. Be certain to pack some reef-safe sunscreen, and I additionally advocate carrying a rashgaurd when you’re snorkeling to maintain the solar off your again.

sea lions on a rock in La Paz Baja Mexico
Sea lions on a tour from La Paz | Picture: Annie Blay

Seize an early dinner and an hour earlier than sundown, head to the Estación de Servicio Repsol gasoline station, only a few minutes north of downtown La Paz. The gasoline station is actually the trailhead for the Cerro de la Calavera hike.

There are a number of routes to the beautiful Cerro de la Calavera viewpoint, which overlooks the town and bay. Essentially the most direct route is what locals beneficial to me, and it takes lower than twenty minutes a method. Nonetheless, one other route recorded on AllTrails is 3.8 miles roundtrip.

No matter route you select, positive you may have close-toed trails footwear and water. A headlamp (or cellphone flashlight) may also be useful for the hike again down. When you attain the highest, make sure to watch the sundown and snap a number of pictures. 

Day 4: Exploring La Paz and Todos Santos

Spend your final morning in La Paz exploring the town. A few of the finest issues to do in La Paz Centro embrace:

  • Study in regards to the indigenous tribes of Baja California on the Museum of Anthropology and Historical past
  • Go to the Whale Museum
  • Take a look at Mexican folks artwork within the Museum of Artwork Baja California Sur (free)
  • Chill on the La Paz Malecon seaside
  • Seek for the town’s beautiful murals and avenue artwork
  • Wander by the Velasco Backyard and the principle sq. of La Paz
A beach near the Malecon in La Paz
A seaside close to the Malecon in La Paz | Picture: Annie Blay

Everytime you’re prepared, leap within the automobile and drive simply over one hour to the Pacific surf city of Todos Santos. If you happen to’re flying out of Los Cabos Worldwide Airport, pack your entire baggage within the automobile since Todos Santos is on the best way again to Cabo. In any other case, deal with it as a day journey.

Seize lunch at Alma y Many’s earlier than exploring the colourful streets of Todos Santos. Make sure you stroll a number of blocks away to the Lodge California, which can or could not have impressed the well-known Eagles track.

Wander by the close by Cielito Lindo Market, which options native artisans. Cease in native boutiques and surf retailers, and get a peek on the beautiful Iglesia Mision Todos Santos and foremost sq.. 

Subsequent, head twenty minutes down the highway to Cerritos Seaside, which is named one of many finest surf spots in Baja. The surf at Cerritos is usually appropriate for newbie surfers and surfboards might be rented proper on the seaside. 

a person riding a wave on a surf board in Todos Santos baja Mexico
Surfers at Cerritos Seaside | Picture: Annie Blay

If you happen to don’t surf, simply chill out on the seaside, seize a drink from the bar stall, and stroll alongside the miles-long sandy shoreline. 

In your manner again to Todos Santos, make sure to cease at 5 Tacos and a Beer for tacos… and beer! From there, you possibly can head again to both La Paz or Cabo. 

Hotel California in Todos Santos Baja
Lodge California in Todos Santos

Greatest La Paz, Mexico Motels

Since every day on this La Paz itinerary is packed stuffed with actions, you gained’t spend an excessive amount of time at your resort. However when you’re attempting to determine the place to remain in La Paz, listed here are my suggestions:

  • Lodge Posada Luna Sol: This budget-friendly resort is situated simply steps from the seaside in La Paz’s business zone.
  • Lodge & Suites El Moro: One of many highest-rated inns in La Paz, Lodge & Suites El Moro incorporates a water view, a beautiful pool, and respectable costs.
  • Orchid Home Baja: Within the likelihood you’re in search of a bit luxurious, don’t miss Orchid Home, a beautiful beachfront boutique resort in La Paz. 

Extra Issues to Do in La Paz, Mexico

When you have further time or wish to swap out sure actions, there are many different issues to do in and round La Paz. Listed below are another suggestions:

  • Go sandboarding on the Mogote Sand Dunes
  • Take a day journey to La Ventana, a country seaside city well-known for windsurfing and its sizzling springs seaside. Their Thursday Farmer’s Market is superb!
  • Hire a kayak on the La Paz Malecón
  • Go horseback driving by the desert at a neighborhood ranch
  • Go on a long-distance kayak journey
  • Take a day journey to Cabo Pulmo, among the finest scuba diving and snorkeling locations in Baja
a yellow kayak nose on a La Paz on clear blue ocean water in La Paz Baja, MX
Kayaking in La Paz

Get ready in your journey with these journey ideas

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Nicely, there it’s! As soon as-in-a-lifetime experiences, beautiful seashores, charming cities, and enjoyable actions all tucked into one 4-day La Paz itinerary. Get pleasure from this lovely a part of Mexico and make sure to respect native communities and clear up after your self wherever you go!

You will discover extra of Annie’s work over at Your Buddy the Nomad

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