No Baja California Sur trip is complete without a stop in picture-perfect Balandra Beach, Mexico. That’s right. This is a must-stop spot. If you don’t hit this world-famous beach, did you really visit the area?
Home to crystal clear waters and stunning white dunes, this beach isn’t just a paradise for your Instagram photos. It’s also home to exotic fish, a watersports paradise, and a top spot to chillax with your friends. Beach beers, anyone?
If this is your first beach vacay in years, you might be tempted to rush your trip. But don’t jump in without scanning our complete guide. You’ll know all the area’s secrets, hotspots, best activities, and more very soon… We’ve done the hard research work, so you don’t have to.
So, are you ready to take five and plan the holiday of a lifetime? Of course, you are! Keep reading to get all the details on Playa Balandra, La Paz, Mexico.
About Playa Balandra, Mexico
Situated 30 minutes from La Paz, Playa Balandra is famous for its jaw-dropping beauty.
However, this gorgeous spot doesn’t look like other beaches.
Here you can sit back on the sand and relax amongst cardon cacti. Yup, this beach is based in a desert area, complete with a mountainous rocky backdrop, making you feel like you’re lost in the wilderness—but luckily, you’re not!
In 2008, the Mexican Government declared this coastline a Natural Protected Area, so the environment is preserved, and no construction is allowed. Meaning you’re always guaranteed a perfect backdrop for your bikini pics! It’s also great news for avid hikers. You can wander up and down the seafront without bumping into annoying buildings.
Since this beach is close to a city, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. By day, you can take a dip and play in the surf. By night, you can enjoy the food and drink in the buzzy metropolitan area.
La Paz spans over 20,000 km and has a population of over 250,000 residents—there’s always something to do here. We suggest spending a couple of days or a weekend here to fully make the most of the area.
Pro tip: Balandra Beach entry is closed for an hour during the day. Between 12 pm to 1 pm, visitors can’t enter, so don’t arrive in this time slot!
Must-Do Activities in Balandra Beach
Don’t rock up to Balandra Beach, La Paz, Mexico, without a plan.
Well, you can. But you might miss something!
Scan these top activities to ensure you don’t overlook anything. FOMO is a killer!
Soak Up the Playa Balandra Atmosphere
If Balandra Beach is on your hit list, our first recommendation is to take full advantage of the pristine area and enjoy a full-on beach day.
This isn’t like other beaches, so taking a few hours and soaking up your surroundings is essential. Where else will you find mountains, cacti, and coastal views in one perfect spot?
This might seem like an obvious recommendation. However, too often, tourists turn up and skip the relaxation. So before you head for the adrenaline-filled activities, spend some time lounging on the beach—you’ll thank yourself when you wake up from a blissful beachside nap.
Hiking Around Playa Balandra
Once you’ve absorbed the amazing Balandra views, it’s time to get active.
Trails along the seafront are marked clearly, but we recommend researching well-known routes before going. Some are longer than others, but you don’t have to complete them all! The most important viewpoint is up a short incline above the car park. You’ll have sweeping views of the entire beach from here, so don’t forget to pack your camera.
While the hikes here aren’t too technical, it’s best to bring water and good hiking shoes to be safe. Always hike prepared.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding & Kayaking in Balandra
If you’ve dreamed of floating across the sea, it’s time to bring these dreams to life with watersports at Balandra Beach.
When you arrive, you’ll notice kayak and stand-up paddleboard vendors in the car park. These vendors provide water sports equipment rental for an affordable price. However, there’s no 100% guarantee they’ll be there during quieter periods.
Stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking are better with a high tide. Plan your sports activities during this period if possible, as you won’t get very far with a low tide. Shallow water doesn’t make for good paddling.
Explore Mangroves in Playa Balandra
Have you ever seen a mangrove? No?
Well, Balandra Beach is here to give you the experience of a lifetime.
Mangroves are trees that grow in salty sea water, and they’re known for their unusual roots.
You’ll find unique biodiversity around these ocean forests. If you haven’t seen them before, we recommend adding them to your travel checklist.
You can rent a stand-up paddle board and make your way out to the mangroves, but as mentioned above, these vendors aren’t always around.
To ensure you catch a glimpse of the mangroves, book a local paddle boarding tour. Not only will you follow a professional route, but you’ll receive commentary from a local expert. Flora and fauna facts for all!
Meet Mushroom Rock
Do you like mushrooms?
Regardless of your fungi opinion, Balandra Beach, Mexico, has a mushroom you’ll love…
We’re talking about Hongo de Balandra, AKA the iconic mushroom rock.
As you can imagine, this is a unique mushroom-shaped rock formation that provides fun vacation pictures and an impressive overall sight.
This rock is located away from the main beach, and you’ll need to wade through shallow water to find it. So, you can add it to a short hike to break up your day.
However, mushroom rock is often crowded since it’s a popular photo spot. Visit later in the day or early in the morning to ensure your pictures are photobomb-free.
You’ll thank yourself when you have perfect pictures for your social feed!
Grab Lunch in La Paz
Playa Balandra is a beautiful place; part of that beauty comes from the lack of architecture and business across the seafront.
But where do you go if you feel a bit peckish?
One popular lunch idea is to have a beachside picnic. Before heading off to the seafront, pack your bag with snacks, drinks, and sandwiches to ensure you don’t end up feeling hungry while swimming. Remember, there aren’t any beachside stores.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to pre-make snacks, you can head into La Paz for lunch. It’s a large city with an abundance of restaurants and beach bars, especially along the Malecon, or boardwalk. From traditional Mexican bites to fresh cocktails, you’ll find a variety of different eats here.
If you plan on heading to La Paz for some grub, we recommend arriving at Balandra Beach early. This way, you can soak up the sun all morning and then head off for a long lunch. You also won’t have to worry about the beach opening times, as there’s an hour of non-admission during lunchtime.
Enjoy the La Paz Nightlife
Playa Balandra, La Paz, is a popular day spot, but this beach closes at 5 pm. And you can’t retire to your bed before the sun goes down!
Sooo, take advantage of La Paz’s vibrant nightlife! From delicious dishes to buzzy bars, this city provides loads of evening activities. There’s also a range of clubs for anyone who wants to keep the party going until late.
The majority of nightlife in La Paz frames the Malecon. We recommend making your way here before sundown, as sunsets over the sea are spectacular—especially when you have a fresh margarita in your hand.
Beach Hop Around La Paz
Balandra Beach, Mexico, is one of the most popular seafronts in the area. But did you know there are countless other nearby beaches to explore? Uh-huh—La Paz is a beach-hopping paradise.
Consider stopping by Tecolote Beach, another popular spot located north of Balandra, and you’ll find many similar views. However, Tecolote has something extra that makes it a hotspot for tourists—vendors and restaurants. Yup, here you can grab a snack while enjoying the view. A great idea if you want to switch up your view at lunchtime.
If you want to stay close to the urban La Paz area, Playa Pichilingue might be a better option. Only 20 minutes from the city, Pichilingue offers calm waters and a relaxed vibe. If watersports are on your list, this is a beach to visit! You’ll find wakeboarders, snorkelers, and savvy swimmers.
Other popular mentions include Playa El Coromuel, Playa La Concha, and Playa El Caimancito. This stretch of coastline is famous for its many beach options, so make the most of the hotspots while you’re in the area!
Extra Tips for Balandra Beach, Mexico
If you’re spending your vacay at Balandra Beach near La Paz, make sure you know all the hacks! This area can become busy in the peak season, and these tips and tricks will help you easily navigate the scene.
Bring your own snacks.
We’ve hinted at this already, but it’s worth mentioning again. Playa Balandra, Mexico, is in a Natural Protected Area. Therefore, you won’t find any shops or restaurants along this uspoiled coastline! To avoid dehydration and hunger, bring a beach bag of snacks and water to last the day.
You’ll thank yourself when your stomach rumbles!
Watch out for stingrays.
Yes, you read that right—but don’t be alarmed!
You’ll find stingrays in the shallow waters of Balandra Beach. These unique creatures love to rest on the floor under a blanket of sand, leaving them hidden from the untrained eye.
To avoid any surprises, shuffle your feet while walking through these areas. Or, try your hand at stand-up paddle boarding to bypass them altogether!
The early bird catches the empty beach.
Playa Balandra is a well-known spot, so you won’t have the whole beach to yourself unless you turn up before 9 am.
So, set your alarm early and rise with the sun to truly see the beachfront in its most beautiful form. Plus, you might be able to grab a free palapa for shade if you beat the crowds.
Plan around the opening times.
Balandra is a preserved area, and it shows.
However, to keep the beach this spotless, tourists and locals must adhere to a few protective rules. The beach has a capacity limit and the entry closes for an hour between 12 pm to 1 pm, which sounds simple enough. But many tourists forget these rules and are surprised when they can’t enter at lunchtime.
Design your day around the closed lunch hour to save yourself from stress. Whether you decide on a half beach day or hike down to El Tecolote Beach, you’ll thank yourself for having a concrete plan.
Bring your own shade.
Sea, sun, and surf are the finest things in life. But they’re hard to enjoy with heatstroke!
Balandra Beach is an exposed strip of land with little shade. Maximize your experience by arriving with an umbrella, sun hats, and sunglasses. The more shade, the better!
While this spot is excellent for topping up your tan, you don’t want to be caught in the sun for hours without a brief break.
Free palapas can be found on the beach, but if you’re not planning to be the first there, they’ll likely get taken. So don’t rely on them!
Leave the beach as you found it!
Playa Balandra is a picture-perfect beach. So let’s keep it that way!
As a Natural Protected Area, you are responsible for cleaning up after yourself and leaving the beach as it was found. For example, take trash home, use reef-safe sunscreen, stay on the marked trails, and avoid any general damage to wildlife.
It’s also recommended to keep loud music to a certain level as a courtesy to other sunbathers. If it would annoy you, don’t do it to others!
Your cell might not work.
If you’re visiting Balandra to disconnect, you’ll love this tip. Selfie lovers and streamers—not so much.
Due to the seafront’s location, cell/data coverage isn’t great. In fact, most visitors won’t get any cell signal whatsoever. Remember this when you arrive, and ensure you don’t lose your friends and family as you won’t be able to give them a ring.
On the flip side, this is great news for anyone looking to truly unplug. Sit back, rest your head in the sand, and watch the paddle boarders going by without the *ding* of your emails. Bliss.
Remember the bus stop.
This tip only matters to those visiting Balandra Beach, Mexico, via bus.
The bus stop isn’t located in the obvious parking lot. Instead, you’ll find the pick-up/drop-off point down the road from the lot, approximately a 5-minute walk away. If you arrive by bus, memorize this point.
If you’re only returning by bus, don’t get stuck waiting in the parking lot!
Where to Stay in Playa Balandra, La Paz
There’s no accommodation located exactly on the beach due to the protection act, but you’ll find endless options in nearby La Paz.
If you’re on a budget, explore the hostels. From laidback options to party hostels, there are rooms for all personalities.
Luxe hotels and resorts are also available throughout town. Many of these also provide beach clubs and spas, adding an extra level of indulgence to your trip. These make great bases if you’re interested in splashing the cash or celebrating.
Independent apartments and Airbnb options are also found here. So, if you want to do your own thing, you can!
Balandra Beach Weather
Ensure your vacation to Playa Balandra suits your travel style before you book with a quick peek at the forecast.
This coastal paradise sees the most sun in July, where temperatures reach a daily average of 30°C/86°C. However, the summer can feel humid, and there’s a higher chance of rainfall.
If you want a slice of the summer sun or cooler temperatures, stop by in February. During the winter, the average temperature is 19°C/66°F, but you can still see highs of 26°C/78°F. Travelers from cold climates usually like visiting in the winter thanks to the warm weather but lack of humidity. Any sun is an improvement after months of snow at home!
Whatever the weather, this beach always looks great!
Playa Balandra, Mexico Packing List Essentials
What’s your packing style? Last minute or months before?
However you get ready, don’t forget these essentials:
- Reef-safe sunscreen
- UVB & UVA protective sunglasses
- Bathing suits
- Water shoes (mind the sting rays!)
- Water Bottle
- Waterproof bag
- Beach towels
- A beach bag (to carry it all in!)
Playa Balandra Map
Wondering where Balandra is on a map? Not for long. Take a look at our map of all the top spots.
How to Get to Playa Balandra in Mexico
Before you start checking the exciting activities off your list, you’ll need to work out how to reach Balandra!
Luckily, this Baja California Sur location is easy to access. The closest airport is La Paz International Airport (also known as Manuel Marquez de Leon International Airport). From there, you’ll have to take a taxi to your accommodation or to Balandra Beach, just 20 minutes away.
If you have more time and want to hang around in Cabo San Lucas first, then fly into the Los Cabos International Airport. San Jose del Cabo to LA Paz is only a 3.5-hour bus ride.
Complete Balandra Beach tour packages can be purchased from La Paz. Many of these arrive by boat, giving you a completely different experience. Speak with your local tourist information or search for highly-rated tours online to start your booking.
Planning Your Playa Balandra, Mexico Trip: Final Thoughts
Whether on a journey through Mexico or heading straight for Balandra Beach, choosing to spend your vacation here is a sage decision.
There’s no feeling like waking up and spending the day on a pristine beach, especially when you know all the travel secrets. So, what are you waiting for?
Wait! Don’t book any random route. Be sure you spend your vacation time wisely with Bookaway’s Mexican travel routes.
We’ll see you by the surf!
La Paz International Airport (AKA Manuel Marquez de Leon International Airport) is the closest to the beach and La Paz.
Yes, it sure is. You won’t find any strong currents here. However, always keep an eye on your belongings while enjoying the surf. Consider leaving valuables at your hotel, as you don’t want to spend the whole day watching them!
Yes, swimming is a go here! Playa Balandra’s warm, shallow waters and calm tides are perfect for swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, and kayaking.