There is no shortage of diverse and fun things to do in La Paz, Mexico. Operating as the capital for Baja California Sur, La Paz is the largest city in Baja Sur and only about an hour and a half drive from Los Cabos along the Sea of Cortez.
This gorgeous coastal city has everything from sun-soaked beaches, unforgettable wildlife encounters, great food, and fantastic outdoor activities. We originally planned to spend a few days here, but after discovering how many amazing things there are to do in La Paz, Mexico our trip was quickly turned into several weeks.
This post compiles what we believe are the top things to do in La Paz for first time visitors (including must-do activities like swimming with sea lions 🦭). Without further adieu, here are ten amazing things to do in La Paz, Mexico to help you make the most of your time in the city.
1. Explore La Paz’s beautiful beaches
La Paz is renowned for its pristine beaches. Whether you’re a beach lover or not, no visit to La Paz is complete without visiting a beach.
Most people choose to relax in the shallow turquoise waters of Playa Balandra (Baja’s most famous beach). However there are several other beaches to choose from.
You can hang out under a shaded palapa (palm umbrella or covered area) near the malecon, or drive about 30 to 40 minutes outside of the city to the popular local hangout Playa El Tecolote. There are also several beaches slightly closer to town like Playa Pichilingue or Playa Coromuel.
Each beach in La Paz offers a unique charm and picturesque scenery with different amenities. No matter where you’re going, be ready to soak up the sun, take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, and indulge in the laid-back beach vibes that La Paz is known for.
2. Snorkel with sea lions
By far one of the best things to do in La Paz, Mexico is swim with sea lions. This unforgettable underwater adventure will take you on a guided tour to Espiritu Santo Island. This protected island is where you can swim alongside these graceful marine mammals in the hundreds.
Los Islotes is a group of small rocky islands off the tip of Isla Espiritu Santo and home to the largest sea lion colony in the Sea of Cortez. Here, you will see a colony of over 1,000 sea lions gliding effortlessly through the water, showing off their acrobatic skills and sunbathing on the rocks.
Snorkeling tours leave from La Paz city center and the La Paz Marina north of town. You can learn more about the cost of the tour and what to expect here.
3. Scuba dive in Sea of Cortez
Another super amazing thing to do in La Paz, Mexico is to explore the depths of the Sea of Cortez. The Bay of California (aka Sea of Cortez) is often referred to as the “Aquarium of the World.”
This biodiverse marine ecosystem is teeming with vibrant coral reefs, tropical fish, and mesmerizing underwater landscapes. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, there are numerous dive sites suitable for all levels.
Dive In La Paz is an amazing scuba diving company that offers many types of tours for all skill levels. We didn’t have our certification, but it didn’t stop us from learning. We took an awesome introductory course for non-certified divers and had an absolutely amazing experience under the water!
You can’t go wrong diving in the Sea of Cortez any time of the year, but water clarity is the best time in late summer.
4. Sandboard on La Paz Dunes
Unleash your adventurous side and hit the towering Sand Dunes of Mogote for an adrenaline-pumping sand boarding experience. Located just 20 minutes outside the city, the sandy playground of Mogote dunes offers a fun experience and stunning panoramic views.
Strap on your board, slide down the sandy slopes, and feel the rush of excitement as you navigate the dunes. Taking a guided tour with Baja Desconocida will cost $75 USD per person and transportation and equipment is provided.
5. Swim with whale sharks
Immerse yourself in a truly magical experience by swimming with gentle giants — whale sharks. Each winter hundreds of whale sharks migrate to the warmer waters in the bay near La Paz, Mexico.
You can join a guided tour to get up close to these magnificent creatures. As you snorkel alongside them, marvel at their massive size and graceful movements. Don’t worry, these docile creatures pose no threat as they peacefully feed on plankton.
Swimming alongside these majestic creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed. Whale shark season is from November to April and tours will only run if there are enough sharks in the nearby waters. Expect to pay around $185 per person for this tour and a tour is required to swim with whale sharks!
6. Walk or bike the malecon boardwalk
Discover the beauty of La Paz’s waterfront by taking a leisurely sunset stroll along the La Paz malecon. This 5 km long seaside walkway is perfect for taking a stroll along the water, seeing the sights of the city, grabbing a bite to eat, or cruising on a bike ride.
There are tons of restaurants, shops, playgrounds, beaches (with palapas), and beautiful statues that line the malecon. We’ve been to several malecons in our travels through Mexico and La Paz’s is by far one of the best!
7. Shop for local goods at the farmer’s market
We love a good farmer’s market. It’s our preferred way of shopping as we travel in our RV. Mexico is filled with amazing markets to shop at and La Paz was no exception.
On Tuesday and Saturday mornings you can browse the small, but diverse La Paz farmer’s market which has stalls filled with fresh produce, scrumptious street food and handmade crafts.
Whether you come to fill your bags and stomachs with homemade goodies, people-watch, or practice your Spanish with the locals, the farmer’s market is a fun activity to start the day in La Paz. Don’t miss the hand-pressed blue corn tortillas, choripan sandwiches at the food stalls (near the back), or tamales. All of them were fantastic!
8. Eat delicious food
One of my favorite things about Baja, Mexico is its amazing food. There are so many different regional dishes, fresh seafood, and tasty tacos to eat on a trip to Baja. And La Paz’s size and location along the water make it a fantastic place to eat delicious food, particularly seafood.
Some must try items include chocolate clams, a large clam that is brown in color and normally served in ceviche style or baked with butter and cheese. We also recommend having a fish taco (our favorite is shrimp tacos or tacos gobernador). Mariscos el Toro Güero is a really popular spot to try seafood as well as TacoFish and Tacos de Pescado El Estadio.
If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience we highly recommend booking a reservation at Nemi. The chef worked in the Michelin star restaurant Pujol in Mexico City and has created an absolutely incredible restaurant in La Paz featuring local ingredients.
9. Enjoy the streets and art of La Paz
One of my favorite things about La Paz is how vibrant its streets are. The city has a bit of chaos to it (which we loved). Its bright colors, low hanging electrical wires, busy roadways, and packed streets reminded me a lot of the bigger cities in mainland Mexico like Puebla, Mexico City, or Oaxaca. There is street art everywhere and tons of vendors selling you different drinks, nieves, fruits, and other goods.
We highly recommend walking around the historic center to get a vibe for the city. It’s a totally different pace and feel than the malecon but equally amazing. There is a lovely park there with a great coffee shop Doce Cuarenta down the street.
10. Go for a hike
There’s a lot of great hikes to enjoy in La Paz Baja California Sur. Most are near the areas surrounding Tecolote beach and Playa Balandra (about 30 to 40 minutes outside of town). The most popular trail is a short hike to a vista point for Balandra Beach.
But you can also take a longer and more scenic trail from outside of Balandra Beach boundaries. The trail from Tecolote to Balandra Beach is about 4 miles roundtrip and is considered a fairly easy to moderate hike. Just make sure to start the hike early. The days get hot here!
Another really popular and unique hike is Cerro de La Calavera. This hike is around 4 miles round trip and is considered easy. At the end of the hike you’ll encounter unique rock formations in the pink cliff wall. It overlooks the bay of La Paz making it an absolutely fantastic spot to catch the sunset. There is a shorter hike to the cliff holes, that is on the side of the cliff. However, it’s super steep and sandy and may be out of some people’s comfort levels.
We absolutely loved exploring La Paz in Baja California Sur Mexico and cannot wait to return. It was a place we could easily see ourselves living and loved getting to feel the vibe of the city during our time there. If you found this post helpful, let us know in the comments below. We’d love any other recommendations for more things to do in La Paz if you have any!