How to visit Balandra Beach, La Paz

Balandra Beach, La Paz – How To Visit One Of The Most Beautiful Beaches In Mexico

One of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, Playa Balandra is a popular stop in Baja California. This gorgeous crescent-shaped beach is sheltered from the waves and has tranquil waters that are perfect for snorkeling and kayaking.

The red-hued desert hills surrounding Balandra Beach are dotted with tall cacti and make for incredible landscape photos coupled with the aquamarine waters of the bay.

As someone who has seen a lot of Mexico beaches, I was still in awe when I first visited Balandra Beach. It’s that gorgeous! 🤩 Although there are many incredible beaches all around Baja California, there’s a good reason why Balandra takes the prize as one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

Want to learn more about the best beaches in Mexico? Check this article!

What to know about Balandra Beach

Some years ago, there was a plan to build a hotel near Balandra Beach, but it was a group of local people fought hard to defend this place from developers. Balandra has been since named a protected area and all developed is now banned.

Balandra Beach

Where is Balandra Beach located?

Balandra beach is located in Baja California just outside of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur State. Balandra Beach is located about 30 minutes from the city.

Many travelers come to La Paz specifically because of Balandra, although there are plenty of cool things to do in La Paz to keep you busy for a few days.

Balandra Beach Hours

Playa Balandra has a status of a Natural Protected Area. To minimize the impact on the beach, there is only a certain number of people allowed on Balandra.

Balandra Beach is open at 8 a.m. and currently has a limit of 200 people every three hours. The beach closes at 3 p.m. to protect the pristine waters of this place from over-tourism. This is the most recent information as of June 2021.

At the time of writing this blog post, there are still COVID-19 protocols in place which limit the number of daily visitors to Balandra to 400 people.

Taking a trip to Balandra from Playa Tecolote

You can also take a boat tour from the neighboring Tecolote Beach (Playa Tecolote) to Balandra.

The boat tour from Playa Tecolote costs about 300 Pesos per person and stops at the beach near Balandra where you can find el Hongo, not at Balandra Beach itself. This is a great alternative if you are visiting outside of opening hours and still want to check out Balandra Beach.

Balandra has no ATM’s and vendors here accept only cash, so you will need to bring some Pesos. Learn more of my Mexico travel tips to avoid the most common tourist mistakes.

How to visit Balandra Beach

How to get to Balandra Beach

Depending on your travel plans and your budget, there are a couple of ways to get to Balandra Beach from La Paz.

By car

The fastest and most convenient way to get from La Paz to Balandra beach is by car rental. Since Balandra Beach is open only during limited hours, visiting it by car rental allows you to maximize your time and arrive here early. It takes about 30 minutes to get from La Paz to Playa Balandra by car.

Find Your Rental Car

I recommend DiscoverCars rentals for renting a car for your trips around Baja California. This is a great car rental website where you can find dozens of vehicles at great rates. I have personally used DiscoverCars several times and always had a good experience with them. 😊

By guided tour 

Guided tours are an excellent option and are popular with travelers who want to learn more about Balandra Beach and surrounding areas. Guided tours depart from La Paz, and include other stops, so it’s a perfect way to explore the area if you don’t have a rental car. 

This private guided tour is a perfect way to explore Balandra Beach! Book it here.

By public transportation 

The cheapest way to get from La Paz to Balandra is by taking public transportation. The bus to Balandra Beach stops at Malecón and also makes stops at other beaches near Balandra. Keep in mind that this is the slowest way to get to Balandra Beach, and most likely will take a while.

The ticket costs 60 Pesos one way. 

Balandra beach hours 

Balandra Beach is one of the few beaches around Baja that has staff that watches visitors and also keeps tabs on how many people enter the place. To protect this beach from overcrowding and keep it pristine, local authorities implemented opening hours, so if you come outside of this time, you will be turned around by one of the staff members at the entrance to the beach. 

The Balandra Beach is currently open at 8 a.m. and closed at 3 p.m. If you arrive after 2 p.m., you will not be allowed to enter.

Best things to do on Balandra Beach 

Balandra Beach Mexico

Hike to the overlook

If you want to enjoy the best view of Balandra Beach, hike to the overlook on top of the hill near Balandra Beach. The trail is located just off the road leading to the main parking lot, and you can walk there after parking your car. 

It’s a gorgeous view, and I especially recommend doing it early morning, as it’s not too hot and you can enjoy the views of the various shades of water and dozens of boats moored in the bay. This is one of the most spectacular views in Baja California and I recommend you make your way up here. 

When you get to the top, you will see that there are several trails here. Continue toward the main overlook where you can get a panoramic view of the bay and get a glimpse of the neighboring beach that is less crowded than Balandra. 

This is somewhat a steep hike with a lot of loose gravel, so make sure you wear good hiking shoes, and not sandals or flip-flops. Put on sunscreen and wear a hat, because the sun can be very strong here. 

Rent a kayak

Kayaking around Balandra Beach is so much fun! Several vendors around Balandra beach can rent you a kayak so you could explore this gorgeous bay. 

How to Visit Balandra Beach

The mushroom of Balandra 

When I visited Balandra Beach, I was surprised that so many people come here to take photos with El Hongo De Balandra – a rock formation that resembles a mushroom and is located near the neighboring beach.

Many boat tours also stop near El Hongo, so if you want to grab a picture, you will have an opportunity. Be prepared to wait though, as there’s often a line here. 

If you are not taking a tour, visiting this famous spot is also possible from the neighboring beach located right next to Balandra.

All you have to do is cross the shallow waters and you will be there in no time!

GOOD TO KNOW: Do NOT climb this rock! Some years ago it had collapsed because too many people were getting on top of it to take photos and has since been rebuilt to its original shape. 

Catch some sun 

One of the best things to do at Balandra beach is … enjoying the sun! And the best time to do it is early morning before it gets too hot. There are also many palapas around the beach, and if arrive in the morning, you will be able to get one of them.

Take a refreshing swim 

The waters surrounding Balandra Beach are super shallow, so you can tread them for a while before it gets deep or even begins to get above your hips. Taking a swim here is incredibly refreshing, especially on a hot sunny day (which is the majority of days at Balandra Beach and the rest of Baja California). 

Best hotels near Balandra Beach 

There are a couple of hotels near Balandra Beach where you can spend the night if you want to be in the area. 

Hotel Catedral – One of the most popular hotels in La Paz with contemporary designs, Hotel Catedral is super popular with travelers. This hotel is located close to some of the best things to do in La Paz and offers breakfast, a nice pool, and great views. 

Costa Baja Resort and Spa – One of the best luxury hotels near Balandra Beach, Costa Baja boasts incredible views of the Sea of Cortez, as well as a spa, outside pools, and several restaurants. This is the best stay if you want to spoil yourself! 

Restaurants near Balandra Beach 

Balandra Beach has no restaurants or concessions stores, so bring some snacks. The closest restaurants you will find are located at the nearby Tecolote beach which is just under 10 minutes away by car. 

Playa Tecolote also has restrooms, rental gear, and boat tours of the area, so you can come here after Balandra Beach closes 

Things to know before visiting Balandra Beach 

Visiting Balandra beach is one of the best things to do In Baja California. It is a wonderful, white-sand beach with shallow waters that is unlike anything you have ever seen. Since it has become popular, local authorities put a limit on how many visitors can visit Balandra each day, so plan your trip accordingly.

Best time to visit Balandra Beach

The best time to visit Balandra Beach is early morning, before 9 a.m. This is the least busy time, and although there probably will be other people if you arrive by the opening time, Playa Balandra is still relatively uncrowded during this time and you will be in for a great treat when you come here. 

By 11 a.m. and noon, Playa Balandra becomes busy and it can also get pretty hot, especially in summer. You will have a much better experience if you come here early. 

Restrictions on Balandra Beach 

Balandra beach is currently open to 200 people every 3 hours. If you arrive when the limit has been reached, you will need to wait until the next window. There are no stores and restaurants on Balandra Beach, so make sure to bring your own water and snacks.

Tips for visiting Balandra Beach

Arrive early 

I can’t tell you enough how much of a difference this will have on your experience! When you visit Balandra early morning, you will be able to enjoy incredible crystalline waters and uncrowded beaches, before most people begin to get here. Trust me, getting up early is worth it!

Bring water and snacks 

Playa Balandra has a protected status and you will not find any restaurants, concession stores, or food vendors here. Bring water and snacks, as you will get thirsty and probably a bit hungry.

Pack in, pack out

This is self-explanatory, but if you bring any food and drinks, don’t forget to take all your trash with you when you leave.

Put on plenty of sunscreen

The sun can be brutal in Baja California and Balandra is no exception. Put on sunscreen when you come here to avoid sunburn. Remember to use biodegradable, reef-friendly sunscreen that will not hurt local ecosystems.

Wear a hat 

If you are hoping to spend some time in Balandra Beach, remember to wear a hat. The last thing you want to get is a sunstroke, and speaking from personal experience, it can be super unpleasant. 

Take time to enjoy Balandra

Arrive early and spend a couple of hours exploring Balandra and enjoy activities like hiking, kayaking, or paddle boarding. When crowds begin to arrive at 11 a.m., make your way out. 

Leave no trace 

Pretty please take all your trash with you! It’s incredibly frustrating to see people leave their garbage in places like Balandra, and although this beach has a designated staff, do everyone a favor and keep this place as pristine as you found it. 

Cabo San Lucas to Playa Balandra 

Many travelers begin exploring Baja California from Cabo San Lucas, a popular resort in Baja California Sur. 

Cabo San Lucas is about 135 kilometers away from Playa Balandra and while you technically make it a day trip from Cabo San Lucas, it’s better to spend a couple of nights in La Paz to enjoy some of the best activities in the area. 

If you are going to visit Balandra Beach from Cabo San Lucas, plan about 2,5 hours for driving each way plus 1,5-2 hours at the beach. 

Read my complete guide to the best things to do in La Paz. 

And don’t forget to stop at Todos Santos, a charming pueblo Magico located about halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. Todos Santos is a small charming town with interesting history, many great restaurants, and some of the best beaches in Baja California. 

How much time do I need for Balandra Beach?

If you want to enjoy Balandra Beach, you will need 2-3 hours for your trip, including travel time. Although some travelers come here just to take a few photos and leave, you should spend more time here enjoying this incredible place. 

Can I swim on Balandra Beach?

Yes! Balandra has nice shallow waters that are perfect for swimming. It’s also a popular area for kayaking and paddleboarding, however, you will need to wade through the water for a while before it gets deep enough.

Final thoughts on visiting Balandra Beach 

Balandra is one of the most spectacular beaches in Mexico. It boasts postcard scenery, tranquil shallow waters, and some great activities like hiking and kayaking.

Make sure to include Balandra Beach in your Baja California itinerary

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I might earn a small commission if you make a purchase through the links in this article. 

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