Playa Balandra, also known as Balandra Beach, is widely recognized as Mexico’s most stunning beach. Located on the Baja California Peninsula, it is an absolute must-visit destination for travelers. It is breathtaking with its crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand, cacti-filled cliffs, and stunning rock formations.
In this article, I will reveal everything you need to visit Balandra Beach including the top activities to engage in, places to stay in, and much more.
So, without any further delay let’s jump to the details (:
Planning Your Trip to Balandra Beach
Balandra Beach is exactly what you would picture: a wide, white sand beach at the base of a mountain with a calm, clear sea. However, you should know some important basic things before visiting this beach.
Where is Balandra Beach located?
Balandra Beach is located in La Paz, in Baja California Sur. It takes about 30 minutes to drive there from downtown La Paz and about 2 hours to go to Los Cabos, a popular tourist spot.
What time does Balandra Beach open?
Balandra Beach is open from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., but only a few people can be there at any time. Please keep in mind that, just before noon, officials will come around and kick everyone out, but you can come back at 1 p.m. on the same day.
However, sticking to the set hours is essential to help keep this federally protected area in good shape.
Is Balandra Beach free?
Yes, the entrance at Balandra Beach is totally free. However, you still may be charged a small fee for car parking or any nearby services and activities you might want to participate in while you’re on this incredible beach.
At the same time, it has been said that Balandra Beach will start charging a small entrance fee of 50 pesos. This doesn’t bother most travelers including me because the money will go toward keeping the park in good shape.
With all this being said, my only advice for anyone who is planning to visit the beach is to always have some cash with them to be able to pay for any fun activities that you may be interested in trying.
What to pack for Balandra Beach?
When you go to Balandra Beach, you can bring many different things. On the other hand, you want to get a manageable amount of stuff, especially if you only have a carry-on. So, the key is to plan and figure out which things are most important to you.
With that being said, let me tell you a few of the most important things to bring on your trip to the beach.
First and foremost, bringing sunscreen should always be at the top of your packing list, no matter where you’re going, whether it’s to the beach, the city, or the mountains.
The second thing is a good swimsuit, this is especially true if you’re planning to swim. An even great rule is to bring at least two to wear one while the other dries. Also, you’d want a backup in case something happens to one.
Next on the list is a dry bag to keep your phone, gadgets, and other things safe while you splash around in the water, snorkel, or swim at Balandra Beach.
Moreover, leather sandals are great for walking around town, but for the beach, you should bring a pair of water-resistant rubber sandals.
There are no ATMs nearby. So, as I said early on bring enough money to rent kayaks and pay for your ride back.
Lastly, remember that Balandra Beach is in a Natural Heritage area, meaning no shops or restaurants exist. Therefore, make sure you bring some snacks and drinks.
What To Expect when visiting Balandra In La Paz?
There are a lot of beautiful beaches in La Paz Mexico, but most new travelers might be wondering what makes Balandra Beach stand out.
Balandra Beach is not just one beach, for one thing. Technically, it is a bay with seven different beaches. It has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.
Cactus-covered mountains surround the beach, and the water is a lovely shade of turquoise against the desert.
The unique mushroom-shaped rock formation along the shoreline is one of the most memorable things about this place. It makes you want to take a picture of it.
But that’s not all: Balandra Beach also knows how to calm you. When you step onto its soft, powdery white sands, your problems seem to melt away in the gentle sea breeze.
How To Get To Balandra Beach?
There are a few ways to get to Balandra Beach, depending on what you want to do and how much money you have.
Here are the different ways to get to Balandra Beach from the nearby Mexican cities:
- Going by car
- Going by bus
- Going by Taxi/Uber
- Joining a Guided Tour
- Going by boat
Now, let’s explain the Balandra Beach transportation options in a bit more detail.
Getting To Balandra By Car
If you’re traveling using your own car then getting to Balandra Beach or similar tourist hotspots will be a piece of cake. It’s the most suitable mode of transportation, especially for a family vacation.
if you don’t have a car, then renting one is the best way to get to know a foreign place, and Balandra Beach is no different. Whether you want to go on day trips from your hotel or take a beach tour, renting a car is the best way to make your dream vacation come true. The drive takes about 30 minutes, and once you get there.
If you go on the weekends or holidays with many people, finding a place to park your car might take longer.
Getting to Balandra By Bus
The Playa Bus is the best and cheapest way to get to the beach. For each course, the ticket price should be at most 100 pesos. This shuttle bus leaves from the La Paz Malecon Bus Station every hour.
Usually, the bus will drop you off at the car park on the way to the beach. But you’ll have to walk about 10 minutes to get to the road when you want to leave.
Getting to Balandra By Taxi/Uber
You can take a taxi or Uber from La Paz if a rental car isn’t a good option for you. The cheaper choice is Uber, which will cost you about 150 pesos one way. If you choose this option, remember that getting back to La Paz at the end of the day can be challenging.
Personally, I wouldn’t count on getting an Uber or taxi from Balandra Beach, so be prepared to take the bus back. Or call an Uber earlier in the afternoon instead of later so you can make other plans if you can’t get one.
Joining a Balandra Guided Tour
A guided tour is an excellent choice if you don’t have a rental car and want to avoid taking the bus or train. You can go on a guided tour from La Paz or Cabo San Lucas.
A professional guide will show you around the area and its history which is another added benefit of this option.
Getting to Balandra By Boat
You can quickly get to Balandra Beach by boat, a popular way to see the beautiful coast and its hidden beaches. You can rent a sailboat or motorboat in La Paz and head to Balandra for the day. You can also take a panga boat to Balandra Beach from nearby Playa El Tecolote. So, the choice is yours!
My Recommendation: Among the methods I’ve described, car renting is the most practical and time-saving option for reaching Balandra Beach. Since Balandra Beach is only open briefly, renting a car lets you make the most of your time and get there early.
What’s The Best Time To Visit Balandra Beach?
Balandra Beach is a popular place to go all year round. People go there in the winter to escape the snow at home, and others go from spring to fall to enjoy the warmer weather.
If you don’t like hot weather, the best time to go is from November to April, which is the dry season. With an average temperature of 66°F, February is the most incredible month.
If you want warm water, sunny skies, and little wind, go to this beach in May or October. The water is much better for swimming and snorkeling at those times.
Best Things To Do In Balandra Beach (Explained)
When you get to this beach, you can take advantage of everything it offers.
Here are a few fun activities and things to do at Balandra Beach in La Paz:
- Hike around Balandra Bay
- Try and get a view of Mushroom Rock
- Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding
- Visit Tecolote Beach
- Enjoy a Picnic under a Palapa
Let’s further discuss each activity to give a clear picture of what to expect.
1. Hike around Balandra Bay
Empty, cactus-covered mountains surround the beach, and there is no better view of the bay than from the top of the hill. There are lots of trails that go up the hill from the parking lot or the beach. It takes a little work, but it’s worth it because the view from the top of the mountain is fantastic.
Even if you don’t want to hike, you should walk up to the closest lookout, right above the parking lot, to see how beautiful the area is.
2. Try and get a view of Mushroom Rock
Aside from the pristine beaches, one of the area’s main attractions is the Hongo de Balandra, also known as the mushroom-shaped rock formation.
The rock is concealed near the main beach, just around the corner. You must pass through shallow water to reach the rock, so be prepared to get wet.
3. Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding
Suppose you are interested in a distinctive way to explore the bay or beach. In that case, you can often find vendors at Balandra Beach who offer stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) and kayaks for rent.
The prices for kayaks and SUPs are higher than the average in Mexico. Kayaks cost 350 pesos per hour or 200 pesos for 30 minutes, while SUPs are priced at 300 pesos per hour.
However, despite the cost, it is a delightful activity that allows you to explore the beautiful areas surrounding the beach. Certain tour operators also provide specialized Balandra Beach SUP Tours.
4. Visit Tecolote Beach
When you’re done at Balandra Beach, go further up the road to Playa Tecolote for a few minutes. This beach is not in a bay, so the waves are more prominent, and the water is more profound than at Balandra.
Even though it will never be as pretty as Balandra Beach, Tecolote is a great place to swim, snorkel, or do other water sports and it’s not far away so why don’t you take a chance and explore it as well?
5. Enjoy a Picnic under a Palapa
Balandra Beach is the perfect place to chill out. Locals love to have picnics on the beach under a palapa to stay calm. A palapa is a shaded building in Mexico that has a roof made of palm leaves.
The main beach has a row of free palapas just a few feet from the water. Since this is the only shade on the beach, most people will head straight for it as soon as they arrive. Please remember that you must get to the beach early or wait until someone else leaves their palapa to get one.
Where to stay In Balandra Beach? (Recommendations)
Balandra Beach has no hotels, houses, or other permanent buildings because it is in a Natural Protected Area. But about 10 miles south of Balandra, there are some great hotels that offer excellent services.
La Posada Hotel & Beach Club
This hotel is 3 km from the center of La Paz and a few minutes from the beach. It is perfect for families who want to escape the city and stay at a high-end resort.
It has master suites that can fit up to three people and a kid’s pool, babysitting services, and cribs, which make it easy to change and dress your child or children. When you upgrade to a master suite, you can get extra features like hot tubs and services like a private butler.
La Concha Beach Resort
La Concha Beach Resort is one of the best all-inclusive resorts in La Paz. it is an excellent place for people who like to do things in the water. It also has a beach club where you can go diving, snorkeling, or canoeing.
The hotel is on a private beach near La Paz Bay. The rooms at this hotel are very friendly, and they have air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a bathroom, cable TV, and beautiful sea views.
Amazing Vista Coral Condo
If you want to stay in La Paz with your family, the Amazing Vista Coral Condo is your best bet. The fantastic resort lives up to its name and is on a beautiful beachfront with ocean views, city, and mountains.
There will be free Wi-Fi and a private beach for you to use. When you want to relax, the condo wellness center has two outdoor hot tubs and a beautiful pool. When it’s family time, you can fire up the BBQ and head to the entertainment area.
If you’re planning to visit La Paz include Balandra beach in your tour itinerary then make sure you check out these amazing all-inclusive hotels in La Paz.
Where To Eat In Balandra Beach?
Despite its beautiful scenery and calm atmosphere, Balandra Beach has no restaurants. So bring your snacks and food to make the most of your vacation.
But if you’d instead explore other areas around the beach, there are nearby places to eat.
The Essential Tips For Visiting Balandra Beach In Mexico
If you were born at the beach, you would probably want to spend most of your vacation at Balandra Beach. So, with that in mind, here are the most essential tips for visiting Balandra Beach in Mexico:
- Be aware of the tides
- Wear comfortable shoes
- Consider a guided tour
- Go during the week
- Be respectful of the environment
1. Be aware of the tides
Knowing whether the tide is coming in or going out is critical if you want to enter the water as it will help you stay safe and have an enjoyable swimming experience.
The best way to know if the tide is coming in or going out is to look at a tide table. It will tell you when high and low tides are and everything else. But if you can’t get a tide table, you can use visual clues like how the water flows or whether the beach is wet or dry.
To learn more about this, read how to tell if a tide is coming in or out.
2. Wear comfortable shoes
For many reasons, the beach can be hazardous. In addition to getting sunburned, did you know that your feet could be at risk too?
Wearing shoes can help you avoid injury in more than one way. When looking for shoes to wear to Balandra Beach, get a pair that is comfortable, supportive, and made of waterproof materials that dry quickly and are easy to clean. The shoe should also be durable and have enough grip to stabilize you on slippery rocks, sharp shells, and wet sand.
3. Consider a guided tour
Tour guides have a unique way of making trips even better. These people try to make sure you have fun and have the trip of a lifetime by giving you daily briefings, funny stories at dinner, and pep talks when things get tough.
So, a tour guide can be beneficial if you’re new to Mexico, don’t speak the language, or want to know more about Balandra Beach.
4. Go during the week
It’s not a secret that most people like to travel on the weekends. But, during the week, many beaches and hotels lower their prices to get more people to book on days with more rooms available.
Because fewer people travel during the week, fewer people will be at the beach, and you can enjoy peace, quiet, and space and also take advantage of special deals.
5. Be respectful of the environment
When planning a trip to Balandra Beach, please consider how your actions might impact the environment. As a traveler, it is essential to remind you of your responsibility to preserve the beach’s natural beauty.
To keep the beach clean and healthy, it is essential to throw away your trash in the right way. Leaving trash on the beach is not only a bad thing to look at but can also hurt wildlife and marine ecosystems.
The Bottom Line
In short, you might have already been to beaches in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific. But, you’ll be surprised how lovely and unique Balandra Beach is.
Balandra Beach is one of the best beaches in La Paz and the place to go for a picnic. It’s a place where the beauty of nature meets your vacation dreams, the water holds the secrets to peace, and that strange rock is more than happy to join your vacation photo album.