How to visit Balandra Beach, La Paz

Balandra Beach, La Paz – How To Visit One Of The Most Beautiful Beaches In Mexico [2023]

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One of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, Balandra Beach (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.

Years ago, there was a plan to build a hotel near Balandra Beach, but a group of locals fought hard to protect this place. Balandra has been since designated a protected area and all developed is now banned.

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.

Keep reading to find out at how to get to Balandra Beach La Paz, and make the most out of your visit.

What makes Balandra Beach so special?

Balandra boasts shallow clear waters and sits in the bay sheltered from the Sea of Cortez. 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.

Learn more about the best beaches in Mexico 😊

Where is Balandra Beach La Paz?

Balandra beach is located in Baja California just outside of La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur State.

Spending a few days in the area? Check my complete guide on the best things to do in La Paz.

How far is Balandra Beach from La Paz?

It takes about 30 minutes to get from La Paz to Balandra Beach by car.

You can visit Balandra Beach from La Paz by car or by public transportation.

How to get to Balandra Beach from La Paz

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

By car

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Balandra Beach from La Paz is by car rental. Since Balandra is open 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 Balandra Beach by 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. 😊

Renting a car in Cabo San Lucas is your best bet. Cabo is the largest city in the region that has many car rental offices and a good selection of vehicles.

Check my complete guide to renting a car in Mexico to avoid mistakes and have a safe trip

By guided tour 

A guided tour of Balandra Beach La Paz is an excellent option if you don’t have a rental car and don’t want to use public transportation. You can take a guided tour of Balandra Beach from La Paz or from Cabo San Lucas, and have a professional guide accompany you and provide an overview of the area.

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

By bus

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. 

By taxi

If you don’t have a car rental, you can visit Balandra Beach Uber or taxi from La Paz. Uber is a safer and more affordable option, and you will probably pay between 150-200 Pesos one way depending on the time of your trip.

Keep in mind that getting back to La Paz from Balandra by taxi can be a bit tricky, as you are not likely to find Uber or taxi readily available near the beach. If you take a taxi to Balandra beach, be prepared to take a bus later and have enough cash on you.

Balandra beach hours 

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.

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. Local authorities implemented opening hours to protect this beach from overcrowding and keep it clean, l If you come outside of this time, you will be turned around by one of the staff members at the entrance to the beach. 

Balandra Beach La Paz: current restrictions

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 Beach.

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.

Tecolote Beach to Balandra Beach

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

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.

Balandra Beach La Paz: Best Things To Do

Balandra Beach La Paz is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico located in Baja California

Hike to the overlook

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

It’s a gorgeous view, and I suggest doing it early morning, as it’s not too hot and you can enjoy the view 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 if you can, you should 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.

This is somewhat a steep hike with a lot of loose gravel, so 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. 

The mushroom rock is one of the top tourist attractions near Balandra Beach La Paz

The mushroom of Balandra 

When I visited Balandra Beach, I was surprised that 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, however, it’s also possible to visit it by wading through the shallow water from the neighboring beach. Be prepared to wait, as there’s often a line of people waiting to take photos with this famous rock formation.

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). 

Balandra Beach La Paz Hotels

There are a couple of hotels near Balandra Beach where you can spend the night if you want to be in the area. This is a great option if you have a car, and don’t have to rely on taxis or public transportation, as you will be away from downtown La Paz.

  • 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 La Paz

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 La Paz 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.

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.

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, 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. 

Tips for visiting Balandra Beach La Paz

Located just outside of La Paz, Balandra beach is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Baja California.

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. Playa Tecolote has restaurants, but make sure you are prepared to enjoy Balandra.

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 want 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. The shade is very limited on Balandra Beach! While there are few palapas but they fill up very quickly, so you will need to bring your umbrella or a good hat.

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 

Take all your trash with you. It’s very 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. 

Balandra Beach La Paz: FAQ’s

Located just outside of La Paz, Balandra Beach is a must stop on your Baja California itinerary. This beach boasts crystal clear shallow waters that are perfect for swimming and kayaking on a hot summer day.

How to get from Cabo San Lucas to Playa Balandra  

Cabo is about 135 kilometers away from Playa Balandra. While you can 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. 

Don’t forget to stop at Todos Santos about halfway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz. Todos Santos is a charming town with rich history, great restaurants, and some of the best beaches in Baja California. 

Is Balandra Beach safe?

Yes, Balandra Beach is absolutely safe. The water off Balandra Beach is shallow and has no currents, and you have to wade through the water for a while before it gets deep.

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 you swim at Balandra Beach?

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

Balandra Beach La Paz: final words

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. Don’t forget to include Balandra Beach in your Baja California itinerary.

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