Tired of the same old New Year’s resolutions? Here are 12 Baja-style resolutions to get you excited about exploring La Paz in 2020.
Are you tired of making New Year’s resolutions that don’t stick? If the thought of yet another “get organized” or “hit the gym” resolution doesn’t get you excited about the new year, why not try something a little different? Maybe this is the year you resolve to step away from the grind, embark on an adventure, and enjoy life a bit more. If you’re looking for ideas, we suggest putting La Paz, Baja California Sur on your short list of places to visit in 2020.
Why La Paz? Even though we’ve been living in La Paz, Baja California Sur full time for several years now, we still have not sampled everything this amazing region has to offer – so many adventures, so little time! So instead of the “12 Days of Christmas,” we’ve put together 12 months’ worth of things to do in and around La Paz in 2020, so no matter what time of year you visit, you’ll have something new to try. Bonus: you can take home amazing pictures of your experience to prove you followed through on your resolution!
January: Try Kite Boarding
Take advantage of the windy season and visit La Ventana, a quaint beach town just 45 minutes from La Paz that offers some of the best kite boarding in the world. Take lessons from one of the local schools on the beach (friends who have tried this tell us it’s easier than you think). You can book lessons with Elevation Kite Boarding, La Ventana Experience, or one of the other outfits that offer lessons here. Check Trip Advisor for reviews.
Want to try something a little tamer? Head over to Las Tunas Beach in Todos Santos, and participate in a turtle hatchling release by Tortugueros Las Playitas. Starting in December, the nonprofit organization releases turtle hatchlings several times a week, right at sunset. Check their Facebook page for updates here. While you’re in Todos Santos, don’t miss the Tropic of Cancer concert series from January 15-19th.
February: Hug a Baby Whale
We’re completely serious! Mother grey whales migrate south to Baja to have their babies in Magdalena Bay, just a few hours north of La Paz on the Pacific side. By February, the calves are getting old enough that the mothers start socializing them with humans by bringing them up to the tour boats to say hello. With your experienced guide’s help, you can pet them and even hug them. It’s an amazing, life changing experience, we promise. Head up to Adolpho Lopez Mateos, just 3.5 hours north of La Paz, and stay at a local AirBnB. There are no real hotels in this quaint town, so another option is to book a hotel room in San Carlos about an hour away. We like this one.
Back in La Paz, attend Jazz Fest La Paz on February 1st at Marea la Paz. Want to do something a little more hedonistic? Don’t miss the Carnaval celebration in downtown La Paz that runs from Feb 20-25th.
March: Go Horseback Riding on the Beach
Always wanted to try horseback riding on a beach? Here’s your chance! Book a ride at Rancho El Cajon to explore the desert canyons, and go for a gallop along the beach. (You can go anytime of year, but we recommend going in winter or spring before the summer heat arrives). The ranch is just 15 minutes north of El Centenario and about a half hour from downtown La Paz. This is not your typical one-hour “nose to tail” trail ride. Here, rides are just 500 pesos (about $30 US) for a three-hour ride, and your guide will give you lots of history and information about the area as you ride along. You can walk, trot and gallop, depending on your skill level.
April: Go Beach Camping
The weather is warming up now, but it’s not too hot yet. That means it’s the perfect time to pitch your tent on a Baja beach and wake up to stunning views and a sunrise paddle or swim. There are more spots than we could list here to go camping throughout southern Baja. Two of our recent favorite trips: For an easy getaway from La Paz, try El Sargento, just 45 minutes from La Paz. Search for the hot springs while you’re there and get a natural spa experience. For the more adventurous, try Agua Verde, just north of Loreto, about a 4 hour drive from La Paz. Take your snorkel gear and kayaks along, there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, including dolphins, turtles, mobula rays and more, almost anywhere you go.
May: Go Standup Paddleboarding
Rent a SUP from Harker on the Malecon and you can paddleboard right across the street, in the bay in front of downtown La Paz. If you book your stay in one of Harker’s newly renovated rooms, you get all the paddleboarding you want included with your stay. Balance challenged like some of us? Take a kayak out instead and explore the mangroves at Balandra beach, or around El Mogote peninsula – that spit of land you can see jutting out into La Paz Bay from downtown La Paz. You can also rent kayaks and launch from the beach right in front of La Posada hotel.
June: Snorkel with Sea Lions
Swimming with sea lions has to be one of the most fun experiences a person can have in the water. Book a trip to Espiritu Santo to explore the island and snorkel with sea lions. This 80 km2 island just outside of La Paz Bay, recognized by UNESCO as a protected reserve, features gorgeous untouched beaches, a wealth of marine life and many species of birds. The tiny island of Los Islotes, at the northern tip, is home to the largest sea lion colony in the area. Many tour operators offer day trips for snorkeling and diving with the friendly residents and their pups, leaving from downtown La Paz or from Tecolote beach. Book your trip with one of the eco-conscious tours to learn more about how La Paz is working to protect this precious area. We recommend this one.
July: Go Deep Sea Fishing
July is when the weather starts to get hot here in La Paz, so getting out on the water is always a great idea. It’s a perfect time to go deep sea fishing, and July marks the start of yellowfin tuna and marlin fishing season in La Paz. (Most good operators do catch and release of marlin.) Book a trip with Baja Pirates Fishing Fleet.
August: Learn to Surf
The southern wind (Coromuel) tends to heat up the La Paz area in August, but drive just one hour West to the Pacific side, and you’ll notice the temperature drops to 10-15 degrees cooler. Playa Cerritos is one of the only swimmable beaches on the Pacific side of Baja Sur, and has just enough wind to create ideal surfing conditions for beginners. Take lessons from one of the local outfits on the beach while you’re there, or book a weekend with Cerritos Surf Town. You can also just bring a boogie board along to enjoy the waves and the cooler temps, and get a relaxing massage on the beach afterward with one of the local vendors.
September: Go Scuba Diving
September is rainy season in La Paz, but the diving is spectacular at this time. The water is warm and clear, and you won’t notice the humidity when you’re 20 feet below the surface watching sea lions, turtles, manta rays and all sorts of other sea life swim and cavort around you. Get certified and go on dive trips with Cortez Club. Or, book a private lesson and dive tour with Selkie Travels.
October: Visit Mexican Wine Country
Wait, did we say wine country? In Mexico? Absolutely! In recent years, wines from the Valle de Guadalupe have been winning international awards, including two silver medals in the 2016 Vinalies Internationale wine competition, organized by the Union of Winemakers of France and held in Paris. That’s right, Mexican wines are winning awards in French wine competitions. Wine lovers everywhere are taking notice, and the Valle de Guadalupe has been attracting visitors in droves, fueled by articles in prominent publications like Food and Wine magazine, Forbes, and the San Francisco Chronicle heralding the region as “the Next Napa Valley.” Ok, so it’s not in La Paz, but it’s just a short flight away out of La Paz airport. Read about our tour of Valle do Guadalupe here.
November: Watch the Baja 1000 Off Road Race
The Baja 1000 is one of the most prestigious off-road races in the world. Featuring the top racing professionals, it has been run every year in Baja for 52 years. Every other year the race, which starts in Ensenada in northern Baja, finishes just outside of La Paz. Watching the vehicles fly over the rough desert terrain as they approach the city is a heart-pumping thrill that locals gather to watch and celebrate. After the finish, there is a great opportunity to see these super-fast vehicles up close with their drivers.
December: Swim with Whale Sharks
You didn’t think we’d leave La Paz’s famous whale sharks off the list, did you? Every year, these majestic creatures, measuring 25 to 30 feet in length, feed in the waters around La Paz Bay. It’s one of the only places in the world where visitors can see whale sharks up close and actually swim in the water with them. No shark cages required: these gentle giants only eat krill and plankton, not people. The whale sharks start arriving in November, and by December the season is in full swing. Book a snorkel trip with one of the certified tour operators right on the Malecon. The whale sharks are protected and you must go with an approved tour guide to see them. We recommend this one. Don’t forget your GoPro camera, we promise it’s an amazing experience you won’t soon forget, and you’ll want to show your friends.
Well, there you have it. Twelve months of adventures to look forward to in and around La Paz, BCS. We suggest you get busy making your resolutions now, and start planning your trip to La Paz! For more ideas and information on what to see and do in La Paz, visit our Resources section here.