There are so many things to do in La Paz Mexico, but I confess I prefer the ones that keep me outside and on the go. When one talks about La Paz, they usually think of La Paz, Bolivia. I have never been there, but I can tell you that there are plenty of active things to do in La Paz Mexico!
So, where is La Paz, you ask? La Paz is in the Baja in Mexico. That covers a lot of territory, and when one says the Baja, the usual place that comes to mind is Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip. I’ve been to Cabo San Lucas, and there is a lot to do there, but it is very touristy, with many bars and clubs, loud music, and mucho partying. La Paz, on the other hand, is a non-touristy small city, very family oriented, with incredible nature at its fingertips. La Paz is on the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, while Cabo San Lucas straddles both the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.
I’m an uncomfortable vacationer. To me, a vacation means you relax, you lie in the sun, you take a dip in the pool, have a cocktail, and maybe read a book. It drives me insane. I can make it for about 10 minutes, maybe 20 if I swim, but I cannot just relax by a pool on the beach. I want to be out there, seeing things, experiencing nature, examining the tide pools or the mountain streams. There are too many things to do in La Paz Mexico to just hang by a pool!
- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Yes, Whale Sharks are big. They can be 40 to 60 feet long, as big as a city bus! They are the largest fish in the ocean, and they are part of the shark family, they are not whales. I imagine long ago an animal as large as a whale shark would be considered a whale just on pure size. They come in droves to La Paz because of the food source. They eat mostly krill and plankton, it’s strange how the largest creatures in the ocean often survive by eating the smallest. The whale shark season in La Paz is approximately October through March. I was just there, March 10-16, and there were plenty of whale sharks filter feeding, and plenty of food in the water.
My favorite operator in the area is Red Travel Mexico, a company that contributes to the ecology and science in the area. Booking a trip with the whale sharks is amazing. One of the best things is they are careful in La Paz, they only allow 14 boats in the zone at a time, and each boat may stay for two hours. Red Travel Mexico zealously follows these rules which respect the sharks and their environment. Swimming with the largest fish in the ocean is a humbling experience, the larger sharks are so huge it is difficult to take it in. La Paz has mostly younger, smaller sharks, but I saw several large ones in the water as well! Whale Sharks look like they are moving slowly, but you have to work hard to keep up with them. They are truly gentle giants, without an aggressive bone, or rather cartilage, in their bodies. To see these magnificent animals up close, to look them in the eye, is at the top of my list of active things to do in La Paz Mexico!
2. Going to Espiritu Santo, a Unesco World Heritage Site, is a fantastic thing to do in La Paz Mexico.
What is a World Heritage Site? The definition is “A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.” Thank you, Wikipedia. The island is considered the most beautiful and diverse island in the Baja, with numerous bays and white sand beaches, snorkeling areas and dive spots. The island is not inhabited, but tent camping is permitted, and is the best way to really experience the island. There are 10 trails to follow, and wildlife is bountiful, birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, they are all on the island to see. The views from the island are remarkable. Definitely one of the best things to do in La Paz.
3. Speaking of Espiritu Santo, there happens to be a small island just north of it called Isla Los Islotes. This is absolutely one of the best things to do, because it is home to a Sea Lion Rookery! You can snorkel with the sea lions, see the marine life under the waters, and possibly see dolphins, orca, and humpbacks in the area! You can dive it too. Sea Lions are so fun to snorkel with! They are playful, and so fast you cannot believe your eyes. The pups are happy to mess with your fins and your cameras, so keep a grip on them! Sea Lions love to put my GoPro in their mouths, which makes for an interesting video. The only time when access in the water is not permitted is during the Sea Lion’s mating season, which is June 1st through August 31st. Tour operators will take you to see them, but you cannot get in the water with them for obvious reasons. Red Travel Mexico has a lovely day trip to see the sea lions and snorkel with them. After, we enjoyed our own private beach and a lovely lunch prepared on the beach. Now, that was my kind of relaxation, having a great lunch and exploring a deserted beach. What a day!
4. Balandra Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, and it is listed as one of the best beaches in the world. Balandra Bay has been protected, and it retains its pristine condition. This is an area of hidden beaches surrounded by mangroves where you can snorkel or kayak. The water is crystal clear and smooth as a lake, and the water is mostly shallow so you can walk from one beach to another. Be sure to shuffle your feet, of course, you don’t want to disturb the baby stingrays. Kayaking the area is an amazing bird watching experience with over 500 species known to seasonally inhabit the area. Red Travel Mexico has bird specialists on staff with all the passion and knowledge a birder could want. We saw Blue Herons, Brown Pelicans, Frigate Birds, Sea Gulls, and Egrets.
5. El Carnival and El Carnivalito! Carnival is the equivalent of New Orleans Mardi Gras and Rio’s Carnival. I missed the Carnival on my March trip, but I did arrive on the very day of El Carnivalito! Having experienced a lively Carnivalito on the Malecon, I must list it as an active thing to do in La Paz. El Carnivalito is the Carnival celebration for the children! It happens after the celebrations of the traditional Carnival. My hotel was on the Malecon, or boardwalk, on the ocean front of La Paz, and there was music, elote, masks, bubbles, balloons and children in costume, dancing and having a marvelous time! I took a long walk and enjoyed the families and children, the music and the floats. What a colorful and glorious day! The weather was perfect, and it was a joy to see the children in their costumes. It was a moment of being present for me, where all the world was forgotten except the joy and the feeling of wonder that children always have. It is something we adults need to keep, and never lose.
My photos will tell you more than I can, but I can tell you the dates for Carnival in La Paz for 2020: 2020 – February 19 to 25. So make those plans and remember, the Carnavilito for the children takes place after Carnival, so make sure you double check the dates!
I hope I have given you the best active list of things to do in La Paz Mexico! These activities sure pleased me, and everyone else on the tours of La Paz. Confession: I enjoy La Paz more than Cabo San Lucas, but perhaps we should keep that a secret! I don’t want to hurt Cabo’s feelings! My opinion is that Cabo San Lucas is for vacationing, and La Paz is a place to really travel. Don’t miss your chance to go, I’m sure we’ll be offering a trip next year! Our trip to the Baja was epic last year as well!