The Best Beaches in Baja California Sur

With an impressive 1,243 miles of coastline, Baja California Sur is ideal for every type of beachcomber. Baja California Sur has an active tropical storm season, so many of the beaches change over time. With each storm, one coastal inlet may gain more sand and beach area, while others become smaller.

Check out some of the beaches below then come back a few years later for a completely different experience.

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East Coast Versus West Coast

The Sea of Cortéz is protected between the east coast the Baja California Peninsula and the mainland of Mexico. Insulated from direct impact by the Pacific Ocean, these waters are terrific for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The Pacific Ocean slams the west coast with direct oceanic waves. Many experienced surfers prefer the stronger waters found on the Pacific side. Most of the beaches to the west have a very strong undertow and swimming should be done with caution, if at all. If you want to hit the Pacific waters, find an inlet to deflect the full power of the ocean.

Swimming and More!

If you are looking for the quintessential tourist beach, look no further than Médano beach in Cabo San Lucas. Grab a reclining chair at one of the many restaurants that line the beach and receive attentive service while you soak in the sun. You can put your toes in the sand, umbrella drink in hand, and spend a quiet day watching the waves roll in. For more adventure, take a swim in the calm waters of the bay, jump on a jet ski, or try out parasailing.

Less than thirty-minutes north of Médano beach also on the Sea of Cortéz, are the less commercial beaches of Santa Maria and Chilano. Here you can enjoy the same crystal-clear waters but without the souvenir vendors. These beaches do have bathroom facilities, but little else. As housing developments are popping up nearby, some beachfront restaurants may be on the horizon.

For a locals’ secret, check out the two beaches on either side of the entrance of the San José del Cabo marina. To the north of the entrance is a small beach with a roped-off area for swimming. On the south side, is a larger swimmable beach with a restaurant.

As you continue north up the peninsula, get off the main highway and take the rural roads hugging the shore between San José del Cabo and the East Cape to find a series of quiet beaches. Stay for an hour or for a day. Pack lunch and necessities as you will not find many beaches with amenities.

Continue north on the Sea of Cortéz to land at the East Cape made up of the three cities of Los Barriles, La Ribera, and Buena Vista. Most beaches here are swimmable but their make-up is different. Some are secluded sandy beaches. Others offer a restaurant or two for convenient service. In Los Barilles, miles of rocky beaches offer a quiet place to walk. Meander the beaches on foot or rent an ATV to travel up and down the miles of coastline.

Tucked away on an inlet, the capital city of the state of Baja California Sur, La Paz, hosts a series of rustic inlets. These are favorites of locals for day trips and camping. More than 10 beaches wrap around greater La Paz providing many options for every preference.  Balandra has white sand and boasts the famous “El Hongo” rock formation. This spot is a quiet inlet for contemplation and relaxation. Pichilingue is a great place to wakeboard or enjoy fresh from the sea chocolate clams. For family fun and a view of Isla del Espiritu Santo, explore El Tecolote. It is the furthest beach from La Paz and a great place for watersports and seafood dining. If you want to hang with the locals, look no further than the first beach from La Paz, El Coromuel. Here you will enjoy the day with other families relaxing under their umbrellas and simply enjoying a day in the sand and the sun.

Snorkeling and Scuba

If you look at a dive map for Baja California Sur, there is hardly a spot along the peninsula without a red dive flag. Jacque Cousteau has called the Sea of Cortéz “The World’s Aquarium” and is on the bucket list of every advanced scuba diver. From Cabo San Lucas to Mulegé and beyond, every cove and bay offers opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving.

The National Marine Park in Cabo Pulmo is the most well-known area for exploring the underwater world. The Loreto Nation Marine Park offers the opportunity to dive with giant round rays, turtles, and an abundance of tropical fish. La Paz is the place to swim with whale sharks. Most cities offer services to help even the most novice enthusiast to enjoy the amazing underwater world of the Sea of Cortéz. In Cabo San Lucas, many of the party boats will take guests to the local beaches during the day where they can enjoy snorkeling and other water sports. If you are looking for the full dive experience, there are local dive companies who will teach you the basics and take you out for a unique deep-sea experience.

Surfing

The strong Pacific waves of the west coast have been attracting surfers for as long as there have been longboards. Cerritos is the main draw for surfing aficionados. This once quiet plot of sand is now being developed into a surfing destination with surfing schools and restaurants popping up on the way to the beach. If you are looking for more secluded surfing areas, ask a local for their favorite spot outside of Todos Santos.

Not to be outdone by the Pacific, the Sea of Cortéz also offers excellent surfing opportunities at El Tule and Costa Azul beaches. Bring your own board or take your first lesson from one of the local shops.

For a different type of surfing, head to Los Barilles or Las Ventanas for kite surfing. Watch world-class surfers ride the waves and wind or try your hand and take your first lesson.

Islands

Baja California Sur not only offers miles of beaches, but a myriad of islands to explore.

To the southern end of the Sea of Cortéz and just a short boat ride from La Paz is Isla del Espiritu Santo (the island of the holy spirit) a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site and National Park. Explore the main island by foot to uncover volcanic rock formations, indigenous Pericu archaeological remains, a diverse range of reptiles, birds, and flora, and of course beautiful pristine beaches. Snorkel or dive among the sunken boats and natural reef that flank the island. Take a relaxing kayak ride to view the island from the water. If you crave the amazing peace of this natural site, check out traditional camping options or, if you like having WiFi and basic amenities, treat yourself to a glamping location.

Further north up the Sea of Cortéz, the Loreto National Marine Park offers 790 square miles of sea and islands. Tour the five large islands, Santa Catalina, Danzante, Carmen, Coronado, and Montserrat, to see the fish, animals, birds, flora, and fauna. Small boats called pangas are happy to shuttle you to the islands for snorkeling the coral reefs and a chance to see blue and humpback whales as they breed in these waters December until March. A host of dolphins, sea turtles, angel fish, puffer fish, parrot fish, and others can be seen up close and personal all year long. On the island, frigate birds, blue footed boobies, and brown pelicans can be spotted along with flowering plants, cacti, and amazing natural rock formations. If you are more adventurous, join a half day or weekend sea kayak expeditions for a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Experienced paddleboarders often make the trek out to the islands.

Camping

From Cabo San Lucas in the south to the very north end of Baja California Sur, small beaches can be found for camping or a short visit. The further north one travels the more unexpected treasures can be found. Simply drive up the coast and stop when you find your perfect beach. Ask a local for their favorite beach for camping or a day stay, and you will be sure to find a beautiful spot off the beaten path.

Boardwalks

Don’t need the sand under your toes but want to be close to the water? Most of the major cities with marinas or bays have a boardwalk, or in Spanish, malecón.

In La Paz, locals and tourists alike view the malecón along the Sea of Cortez inlet as a respite from the bustle of city life. Spanning nearly three and a half miles, the malecón is one of the top tourist destinations in La Paz and one of the weekend mainstays for locals. Over 60 restaurants are within walking distance from small coffee or fresh juice stands, to authentic Mexican, Chinese, and Italian establishments. Many art galleries and quaint museums also surround the malecón. Whether you bike, jog, or just like a leisurely stroll, the malecón is a great place to reinvigorate the soul.

The malecón in Loreto stretches over a mile from the north side of town down to the estuary, Estero Las Garzas, to the south. In the morning, dog walkers, joggers, and bikers exercise before the heat of the day. In the evening, couples and families stroll in the cool air or rent a bicycle or scooter for their children. The malecón is also the location for the nearly monthly music festivals held throughout the year.

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The 5 Best Beaches in Mexico

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