Swimming with whale sharks to discovering gigantic sculptures and wall filling murals. Nestled on the Sea of Cortez, La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur, may be lesser known than the tourist destination of Cabo San Lucas, 160 km (100 miles) south. However those who choose La Paz Mexico travel, find a laid back, authentic setting filled with opportunities for ocean adventures and a vibrant art and culture scene.
After three visits to La Paz Baja California Sur, we have compiled an ultimate one week itinerary. You will find the best things to do in La Paz Mexico, including special hidden gems, often known only to locals.
A rental car is not required for this 7 day guide to La Paz Baja California Sur. We flew from Canada to San Jose del Cabo. In advance, we booked a private shuttle through our quaint La Paz hotel.
La Paz has an airport, currently with arrivals only from other Mexican cities.
No time to read this now? Not sure if La Paz Mexico is the right destination for you? Click on our video below. Our guess is the sea lions and whale sharks will convince you.
One Week Hidden Gem La Paz Mexico Travel Itinerary
Above is a map we have created which includes many of our suggested La Paz activities. A larger map of La Paz will be available when you check in at Posada LunaSol.
Day 1 – Arrive La Paz – Posada LunaSol, Restaurante La Costa
Welcome to La Paz Baja California. The first question is where to stay in La Paz Mexico? Our last three visits to the Baja peninsula, including our astounding Gray whale watching adventure, we chose the quaint and reasonably priced Posada LunaSol (The Sun and Moon Inn).
Located in a quiet, safe neighborhood, one-half block from La Paz Bay, and a short walk to the Malecón, the waterfront boardwalk, the need for a vehicle is minimal. The cozy atmosphere, traditional colonial decor and vibrant mosaic tile create a genuine Mexican setting.
With more than a dozen restaurants within a three block radius of Posada LunaSol, there are no shortage of dining options when visiting La Paz Mexico. For dinner on this first evening, take a short walk to Restaurante La Coste and dine under the palapa roof.
Or watch the sunset hand off to moonlight as your toes sink in the beach sand of La Paz Bay. We recommend the mixed seafood or shrimp soup, the snapper or stuffed fish fillet.
Day 2 – Malecón sculptures, KM-O restaurant, Cathedral Nuestra Señora de La Paz, Anthropology and History Museum, Estrella del Mar
Wake up to the smell of fresh corn bread wafting from the breakfast area. The Posada LunaSol provides ‘continental breakfast’ for all guests. Each morning expect to be greeted in the courtyard by smiling staff, who have freshly prepared three types of egg dishes, baking, fresh papaya, pineapple, melons and of course coffee.
Clearly they set the standard high for continental breakfast for all hotels in La Paz Mexico.
Start your La Paz Mexico vacation by strolling on the seaside Malecón. As pelicans dive relentlessly in La Paz Bay, gaze at the statues along the walkway.
Stop for coffee at KM-O Restaurant and Bar. Grab an outside table for people watching and excellent free WiFi.
Turn right off the Malecón on to Cinco de Mayo (Calle 5 de Mayo). Watch for the Dove of Peace sculpture as a landmark for your turn.
After two long blocks, Velasco Garden (Jardín Valesco) is on the right hand side. Should you need some shade and a bench for a rest you will find it here.
Across from the park, in the location where the Jesuits founded the mission in the eighteenth century, towers Cathedral Nuestra Senora de La Paz (Our Lady of Peace Cathedral). The interior is adorned in baroque style altarpieces from other abandoned missions.
Continue on Cinco De Mayo for three blocks to the Anthropology and History Museum. The admission is 45 pesos. Should you wish to take photos an extra 45 pesos is charged. We delegated one person as photographer.
Giant dioramas, photography, sculptures, diagrams and fossils make this one to add to the list of what to do in La Paz Mexico. Unfortunately all of the information in the museum is in Spanish only.
Dinner tonight is a few blocks from the hotel on the west end of the Malecón beside the sea at Estrella del Mar. If weather permits, the outdoor seating provides a beautiful view.
Day 3 – Swim With Whale Sharks, La Fuente Ice Cream, Seis O Traditional Bakery, Bandido’s Grill
When your hotel is co-located with an adventure company, the convenience cannot be overstated. Posada LunaSol and Mar Y Aventuras (Sea & Adventures) offer sea kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching and perhaps the best of all things to do in La Paz Mexico, swimming with whale sharks.
What happens when you are in the water with the largest fish in the world? Having gone swimming with the plankton feeding giants twice, I confess to squealing through my snorkel each time.
Whale shark season La Paz runs from approximately October to March. Access to the whale sharks is thankfully strictly regulated. Small numbers of licensed La Paz Mexico tours are allowed into the bay each hour.
It is important to understand that when you book a whale shark tour your group may need to wait to access the bay due to the restricted access. Leave this day flexible for varying departure times.
Be sure to book your whale sharks La Paz swimming well in advance of your arrival.
Returning to Posada LunaSol, change out of your swimming gear and head toward the Malecon. A trip to La Paz Baja California Sur would not be complete without a stop at La Fuente Ice cream shop.
We recommend choosing the refreshing Pitaya flavour made from the red fruit of the local Pitaya cactus. Watch for the white trees painted with vibrant polka dots.
After all that whale shark swimming you deserve another treat right? Head back toward the hotel and continue three and a half blocks from Posada LunaSol on Calle Topete to find a hidden gem of La Paz.
Between the streets of Calle Sinaloa and Calle Nayarit, you will find a traditional bakery (panaderia tradicional) that has been serving the community for more than fifty years. Oscar, who began by helping his Dad at the age of 10, and now does all of the baking.
The price is standard at 5 pesos per piece or 50 pesos per kilogram. We left with a bags bursting with Oscar’s delicious baking, fresh from a massive stone oven. Apparently so do others as the bakery sells 1200 items per day.
We asked, with the help of our local guide, when the bakery was open. Oscar replied, “Anytime during the day. Knock on door or shout Oscar.” We would suggest late afternoon when we found the gate open.
What does SEIS O stand for you ask? The six children born to Oscar’s parents whose names all begin with the letter ‘O’.
Dinner tonight at nearby Bandido’s Grill on the corner of Topete and Antonio Navarro. Burgers and steaks are cooked on a grill housed under the hood of a 1971 Chevy Blazer. Well you don’t see that every day! I ordered vegetarian tacos.
Palm trees wrapped in green lights, wear bandannas as if they are about to rob the patrons. Bandido’s Grill opens at 5 pm and is closed on Wednesdays.
Day 4 – Snorkeling with Sea Lions Los Islotes, Kayaking Espiritu Santo Island, Anzuelo
Today is a full day of adventure on the water. Following breakfast at Posada LunaSol, you will be fitted for life jackets, snorkel gear (mask, snorkel, fins and wet-suit) for your day of snorkeling with sea lions Los Islotes and kayaking Espiritu Santo Island
Walk the short distance to the marina with your naturalist guide to the Mar Y Aventuras boat headed to Los Islotes.
Once heading out to the Sea of Cortez, you will pass Balandra Bay, famous for its white sand beaches and Mushroom Rock.
Arriving at Los Islotes, dozens of adult sea lions lounge on the jagged rocks of this tiny rock island. With no disembarking allowed on the shores, they show no fear. At best a raised head as the giants roll over in the warm sun.
In contrast, the pups, or yearlings, busily perform underwater acrobatics. Like toddlers rushing about on the playground, these young sea lions put on an impressive show of their sleek aquatic maneuvers.
A buffet lunch is provided at the Mar Y Aventuras camp on Espiritu Santo Island. Walk from the boat through the clear, turquoise water to a tranquil setting on the Sea of Cortez.
Following lunch, more like a feast, the afternoon is spent kayaking the bays and mangroves near Espiritu Santo Island. No previous kayaking experience is required and all gear is provided for this Sea of Cortez kayaking experience.
Dinner tonight at Anzuelo Cocino Del Mar on the La Paz marina. With a varied menu of seafood, pizza, burgers and vegetarian options, there is something for everyone’s taste. I recommend the cauliflower taco with guacamole and Pico de Gallo with mango.
Day 5 – Optional Day – Posada LunaSol , Coffee Koka, La Paz Golf, Shopping, El Mangle
Option 1 – The only Gary Player Signature golf course in Mexico, the Cortes Golf Club offers a challenging round for the golfers in your group. Lush grass, irrigated with recycled water, surrounded by panoramic views of desert and sea make this a must for golf lovers visiting La Paz Mexico.
Option 2- Rest day. After breakfast pull up a recliner and lounge by the pool at Posada LunaSol. Or read and relax on the third floor terrace gazing out to the sea.
Take a two block walk to the little known gem Coffee Koka at the corner of corner of Topete and Manuel Encinas. One of the least expensive spots we found in La Paz, it is open from 6 am – 2 pm. Monday to Saturday.
The menu is in Spanish, so it took us a couple of visits to order Licuados con leche. Choose from banana, papaya or strawberry and this scrumptious smoothie made from fresh fruit is yours for 35 pesos ($1.85).
Option 3 – There are many shopping opportunities in La Paz and the front desk staff can assist in recommendations. We suggest exploring off the Malecón, as the prices tend to be higher on the main walking area.
Shop with the locals three blocks off the Malecón. Using the corner of Revolucion de 1910 Street and Santos Degollado as a starting point explore a large block of shops and sidewalk stalls.
Walk from Posada LunaSol to dinner at El Mangle (Tacos and Mariscos). Recommended to us by locals, this is another little known gem to the tourist crowd. The tiny restaurant has two small seating areas and is only open until 8 pm.
Try the specialty ceviche El Mangle tuna, avocado, mango, cilantro, red onion and some special spices from culinary heaven. Or sample a Cameron (shrimp) shot. In an over-sized shot glass, delicious shrimp swim in Clamato juice, with a spicy cream concoction on the bottom.
Day 6 – Cycling, Walking, Murals, Cultural Centre
Posada LunaSol has bicycles available for guests with advance notice. A flat riding experience awaits on the bike path next to the Malecón. Walking or running on the wide pedestrian way is an excellent alternative.
Cycle or walk to the Cultural Centre (Centro Cultual La Paz). Known as the old city hall to those who live in La Paz, the Cultural Centre was opened in 2010. On visiting we are told it is “La Casa del Pueblo” or the people’s house where everyone is welcome.
On the second floor an air conditioned art gallery awaits. On our visit an intriguing display of Gray whales greets us. Admission is free and donations are gratefully accepted.
Off of the open courtyard, on the ground level, historical displays explain the development of La Paz and area.
Return to Posada LunaSol. For lunch walk a few blocks to Mariscos El Toro Guero Seafood Restaurant at the Corner of Calzada Mariano Abasolo and Calle Sinaloa. Look for the massive, yellow Pacifico sign.
Your biggest challenge will be deciding from the enormous menu, which thankfully comes in an English version. Filled with locals, the vibe is upbeat. Local musicians play and ask for tips. They do request permission before serenading your table.
The portions are large and we recommend sharing an order of anything on the menu. I ordered weathered fish tacos, which translated to a school of tempura fish smothering three tortillas hidden beneath the dishpan portion. Served with rice, mashed potatoes and salad in case you haven’t eaten in a week.
Shellfish Molcajete with scallops, served in a lava bowl, is a more reasonably portion sized option. For those who want to try all manner of sea creatures look for this.
Enjoy your final afternoon in La Paz. Relax by the pool, chat with the staff who now are friends or pack for the journey home.
If you can possibly eat any more, take an evening, sunset stroll on the Malecón to Bismarck. The ‘Lobster House’ has been in business since 1968. The menu offers variety of seafood, as well as steak, pizzas and hamburgers. This was the most expensive meal of our stay in La Paz.
Day 7 – Todos Santos – San Jose Del Cabo
Farewell to beautiful La Paz Mexico. Book your shuttle to the airport through the front desk, leaving enough time for a stop in pretty Todos Santos. Have lunch at Hotel California but don’t expect the prices to resemble those in La Paz. After lunch the drive is approximately 1.5 hours on México 19 to San Jose del Cabo airport.
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We were guests of Posada LunaSol and Mar Y Aventuras. All opinions are our own.