Beautiful and Breathtaking Balandra Beach

La Paz despite being located on the coast of Sea of Cortez is not known for being a beach town. The malecón stretches along the length of town, and does offer some spots for swimming and sun shelter. We found out that most of the locals do not swim in town because of La Paz being a commercial port the water is not as clean as some beaches up the coast, outside of town are.

A couple smaller beaches are located a short ride (by bus or car) on the northern end of malecón including El Coromuel. This beach has been becoming popular with the locals as the water flow is better with the tide change. Under the water is soft sand turning into rocks the further out you go.

Following the road along the shore about 10 to 15 minutes outside of La Paz you will find yourself in a tiny town called Pichilingue which has a couple small beaches. The canteens here offer food and bar service, sometimes even offering kayak rentals. However we highly urge you to continue on past Pichilingue to follow the signs to Balandra beach.

The drive along the coast is quite breathtaking, soon you will approach the ferry port, which can be very bustling at times because trucks and passengers are coming through, and the traffic can be backed up by the policia directing and checking vehicles. Every time we went we were waved through and continued en route where the road starts to turn into the desert mountains, twisting and turning with tall cactus strewn throughout. Signs will later point towards a turn off for Balandra beach.

Road to Balandra

Road to Balandra

Balandra is beyond beautiful, almost like a mirage since the drive in felt like you were lost in a sea of sand. There is limited parking at the beach, and we were told it is best to get there early because there is only a handful of palapas (sun shaded structures) which are snatched up immediately. If you can, bring your own umbrella in case the palapas are occupied, and bring plenty of water and goodies so you can spend the day at Balandra.

There is a small food truck with snacks and beverages every time we went there. They also have kayak rentals, which cost a reasonable amount, about $15USD/hour, and I highly favor giving it a go. Kayaking at Balandra was my first time and I could not have asked for a better location.

The water at Balandra is so shallow that the highest point it reached on me, in the middle of the bay was up to my waist, and if you don’t know, I’m only 5 feet tall! Andy and I took the kayak to the other side of the bay passing countless numbers of fish, including flying fish, a couple puffers, plenty of crabs, and even crossed paths with a sting ray. We parked our kayak on shore of a vacant beach and took in the views of the Cortez, even sneaking a glimpse of Isla Espiritu. The only downside to the beach was numerous clouds of biting flies, so we decided to continue on and paddle over to the mushroom (or diamond) rock formation.

Balandra's shallow waters makes a perfect beach for families.

Balandra’s shallow waters makes a perfect beach for families.

Since Balandra’s water is so shallow this happens to be a fantastic beach for families with children of all ages. We saw many families here with small tots and we couldn’t help but smile watching the babies splash in the water and watch for fish to swim by and tickle their toes. We also discovered Balandra is a wonderful beach for strolling along and collecting shells, which can be a great activity for older children.

If you happen to come later and Balandra is full or if it does not offer what you are looking for, you can continue up the road from the turn off to Balandra and drive along until you come across Tecolote, which is the largest beach in La Paz which is what happened to us.

Tecolote is a really fun beach offering more amenities than Balandra. They have two restaurants offering sun shaded beach views that you can rent for the day, or just to sit and order food and margaritas and watch the waves roll in. Wandering along the beach there are locals with chairs and umbrellas to rent, to even wave-runners.

Isla Espiritu Santo

Isla Espiritu Santo

As I sat back and relaxed watching the ocean lull me into a daze, local señors and señoritas would stop by asking if I would like a colorful necklace, silver bracelet hat or t-shirt, it always reminded me of a line from my favorite artist singing about Mexico…

“There’s a man comin’ over here sellin’ silver and souvenirs, and I will pay full price for your name on a grain of rice.” Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

Enjoying the views and treats of Balandra Beach

Enjoying the views and treats of Balandra Beach

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