With sun-soaked stretches of sand, crystal clear water, incredible snorkeling and world-famous surf spots, Mexico’s Baja California Sur beaches are absolute paradise. While many travellers opt to spend their time at one of the luxe resorts in Los Cabos, those in-the-know head off the beaten path up to Todos Santos and La Paz instead, which are less than a two-hour drive away and boast some of the country’s most jaw-dropping scenery. From palm tree-fringed sanctuaries to bumpin’ bars, here are some of the best Baja beaches that are well worth a stop.
WATCH: Highlights of Baja California Sur
Todos Santos beaches
Surfers can’t get enough of this Todos Santos beach, renowned for its forgiving swells which are great for all skill levels from expert riders to those catching their first wave. Operators like Mario’s Surf School offer board rentals and lessons, and there’s also a beach club with a restaurant, bathrooms and outdoor showers which makes it easy to spend a full day here. Crescent-shaped Cerritos beach has been earmarked for more development as it’s just 10 minutes south of Todos Santos, so be sure to visit before everyone hears about this gem.
Playa San Pedro Las Palmas
Las Palmas means ‘the palms,’ and that’s exactly what you’ll find in this spectacular, hidden cove. In fact, there are so many towering palm trees that you can see the huge grove from the highway, despite being nearly two miles away down a long, dusty trail. The slightly dodgy effort to get here always pays off, as visitors emerge from the jungle of leafy palms to find a glorious stretch of golden sand that squishes between the toes, and perfect surf waves lapping at the shoreline.
Tip: To get to Las Palmas which is just past El Pescadero, look for the km 57 road marker on Highway 19 and a couple of abandoned white buildings with a blue stripe. That’s where you’ll find an unassuming road leading toward the ocean, and you’ll be able to spot the palm trees in the distance which mark the beach entrance.
El Faro Beach Club
This happening beach club is owned by the Guaycura Boutique Hotel, but you don’t have to be a guest of the property to enjoy this spot. With a fabulous restaurant, spa, multiple bars serving up cool cocktails, plenty of loungers and an infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean, El Faro Beach Club is the ultimate place to unwind. At the end of the day, head to the neighbouring El Mirador Ocean View Restaurant to soak in incredible views of the sunset from high up in the hills.
This is another spot that can be a bit tough to find due to the long, unpaved road leading up to it, yet it’s extremely popular with the surf crowd and hippie types who spend weeks at a time camping along the beach during winter. Time your visit for the golden hour, when you can grab a cerveza from the on-site bar and enjoy the view from the comfort of a hammock.
Todos Santos hotels
Los Colibris Casitas: This property is an absolute gem thanks to its friendly, welcoming staff, unbeatable ocean views, beach access and infinity pool. Each of the well-appointed casitas are decorated differently, and range in size from sleek studios to two-level, multi bedroom villas which are great for groups. Click here to book
Operated by Todos Santos Eco Adventures, day trips like horseback riding, hiking, kayaking and boat trips are easily arranged, and guests can even enjoy whale watching from the comfort of their private patios.
Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa: With an enviable location in the centre of town, this historic, boutique property has plenty of space for guests to spread out. Huge rooms boast massive bathrooms and private balconies, while the rooftop pool and adjoining bar are rightfully popular thanks to gorgeous panoramic views of the town and vibrant foliage spread out below. Click here to book
La Paz beaches
Balandra is one of the most famous beaches in Mexico, and rightfully so. Located just a half hour drive from La Paz, its spectacular series of turquoise bays fringed with swirling white sand bars makes photographers swoon, while adventure seekers enjoy activities like hiking in the surrounding hills, kayaking, or paddleboarding through thick mangroves. Balandra is also great for families, with shallow, warm pools of water that are perfect for kids to splash around in.
Check out Trover for more cool spots to visit near La Paz:
La Paz’s boardwalk ‘Malecon’ winds along the coast, directly onto the beachfront which has a playground, piers and plenty of spots to lounge. The Malecon leads toward El Coromuel, which is just five minutes outside the city limits making this an easy beach break. Kids love the waterslide park, and thatched umbrellas scattered along the sand make it easy to get some relief from the blazing sun. The beach is easily accessed just steps from the main highway, and there are also public washrooms.
La Paz, Mexico hotels
Hyatt Place La Paz: This well-priced, waterfront property is built right on the marina a few minute’s drive from the city, making it an ideal location for yacht watching and boat trips (tours to swim with the whale sharks leave from right next door). Guests rave about the outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast and unobstructed views of the Sea of Cortez. Click here to book
Hotel Catedral La Paz: This historic property in the town centre is one of the best hotels in La Paz, Mexico, as it’s been beautifully updated with sleek, modern touches like the glittering rooftop pool and sun-soaked lounge area. Just three blocks from the Malecon, there are plenty of landmarks worth exploring within walking distance, including a beautiful cathedral across the street. Click here to book
Isla Espiritu Santo
This special spot is found in Isla Espiritu Santo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site about 25 kilometres from La Paz and accessed by boat. Part of the Sea of Cortez, day trippers sail past red desert limestone and white sand beaches en route to the islands, which are teeming with marine life like turtles, dolphins, manta rays and even sea lions that you can snorkel with at Los Islotes. Some tours stop at Corolito Bay, which has blindingly-white sand and warm, clear water in a protected inlet, making it the perfect lunch stop during a day of island-hopping.
El Cardonal Bay
This volcanic island is a juxtaposition where rugged, red rock cliff sides are pounded relentlessly by forceful waves on one side, while the other is edged by a serene turquoise bay perfect for an afternoon paddle. Along with being a great hiking and beach spot, El Cardonal is a favourite of wildlife watchers who might see endemic species like blue-footed boobies and the elusive golden eagle.
While there are many gorgeous bays throughout Isla Espiritu Santo, there’s just something special about pristine El Candelero Bay. Marked by a tiny, cacti-dotted island, the surrounding aqua-marine water proves too inviting to pass up, making the protected area popular with snorkelers who might spot turtles and bright schools of fish.
It’s also frequented by many boat tours that operate in the area, and their guests can while away the afternoon by taking a refreshing dip in the sea or floating around with a cocktail in hand.
Espiritu Santo accommodation
Camp Cecil: There’s camping…and then there’s glamping. The latter is how you’ll want to spend your time in Isla Espiritu Santo, by staying at Camp Cecil which is run by Todos Santos Eco Adventures. Accessed via a private boat ride from La Paz, guests arrive at Gallo Beach to find a row of beautiful white tents featuring comfortable king or twin size beds, and luxe touches like chandeliers and sprawling area rugs.
The all-inclusive set up means meals, nightly happy hour and activities like hiking, snorkeling with sea lions and water activities are included, so guests don’t have to worry about a thing from the moment they set foot on this secluded island. Top it off with sunrise SUP sessions or late night star gazing, and the experience is so special it’s safe to say you’ll be talking about it for years to come.
WATCH: Swimming with sea lions in Isla Espiritu Santo
Globe Guide explored Baja California Sur as a guest of the La Paz Tourism Board and the aforementioned properties. As always, hosts have no editorial influence on articles. This article is also presented by Trover.
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