Don’t let the heat slow you down. Here’s how locals and full-time residents spend the summer months in La Paz.
When the weather starts to heat up in spring, our winter visitors often ask, what is it like during summer in La Paz? Those of us who live in La Paz year-round smile and say, it’s our favorite time of year here! But wait…isn’t the heat unbearable? Not if you know where to go and what to do! Summer is the season when the water gets warmer and clearer, the crowds thin out, time slows, and everything gets a little more relaxed. Here are a few of the things we full-time residents do to cool off during the hot summer months.
Hang Out at the Beach: there are many beaches in and around La Paz where you can relax, swim and cool off. Remember that Sunday is beach day for the locals, so to avoid crowds, go during the week if you can. Just north of downtown La Paz is Playa el Coromuel (the city’s public beach), which has a restaurant and facilities. Further up the highway are Playa Tesoro, Playa Pichilingue, the famous Playa Balandra (go early, there is a limit on how many visitors are allowed in at one time), and Tecolote Beach, which also has restaurants and facilities. Looking for something a little more secluded? Check out El Saltito, Punta Arena (past La Ventana), or if you’re in El Centenario, head out to Playa El Mogote, where any day but Sunday you’ll likely have the beach to yourself. Search Google maps for directions to any of these, and be careful not to drive on the beaches, as you can easily get stuck in the sand, and spring is turtle nesting season.
Snorkel the World’s Aquarium: The Sea of Cortez, often called “the world’s aquarium,” is our playground, and there’s nothing like spending a day snorkeling to cool off while seeing some amazing marine life. Summer is the perfect time to explore those out of the way spots to snorkel. You’ll soon see a wide variety of amazing marine life, from colorful angel fish and parrot fish, to trumpet fish, eels, spotted pufferfish and more. If you’re lucky and you keep your eyes open, you can even spot an octopus or a seahorse! Locals guard their favorite snorkeling spots closely, but here are a few to try:
- Tecolote Beach: as you enter the parking area, turn left and go all the way to the end to snorkel by the rocks. There’s a restaurant down at this end and they rent out beach chairs, so enjoy a nice ceviche or shrimp taco lunch after you’ve worked up an appetite. Playa Tecolote is also a great place to hang out and just swim and relax for the day. There are plenty of restaurants with tables and lounge chairs for rent along the beach, and the water is warm and clear in summer, with a view of Isla Espiritu Santo in the distance.
- Balandra “3”: Around the corner from the famous Balandra beach is a little spot that is only accessible by boat, or via a hiking trail that starts on Tecolote beach and goes up over the hill. On most days you’ll likely be the only ones on this beach, especially in summer. Pack a picnic lunch to spend the day in your own little slice of paradise, or head back over the hill to Tecolote to eat at one of the many beachfront restaurants there.
- El Sargento: Just past La Ventana is El Sargento, where you will find a nice sandy beach called Playa Agua Caliente, with several free shade palapas. La Ventana and El Sargento are known for their 20+mph winds in wintertime, but in summer, the winds subside and the water is calm. At this beach, the shoreline is rocky, which means you can just wade in and start snorkeling right off the beach, where you’ll find numerous varieties of fish and other marine life to discover in just a few feet of water.
- Bahia de Los Suenos: just past Punta Arena (see the beaches section) is Bahia de los Suenos. Have lunch at the Centro de Trenes restaurant, which features a model train running around a track near the top of the 2 story restaurant, and walk down to the beach in front to snorkel.
There are dozens more snorkeling spots in and around La Paz to discover, talk to the locals and if you’re lucky, they will point you in the direction of their favorites!
Go Kayaking or Paddleboarding: Bring your own to any of the beaches mentioned here, or you can rent stand-up paddle boards (SUPs) or kayaks at Harker Board on the La Paz malecón, and paddle around in the bay right in front of downtown La Paz.
Book a Sunset Cruise: Sail around La Paz Bay and enjoy a sunset cruise with cocktails, or a full day cruise with lunch included. Lover Lips Yachts and Dream Chaser Charters are two outfits that book sailing cruises.
Spend the Day at a Hotel Beach Club: La Concha Hotel is just a few minutes north of downtown La Paz, right on the beach. Day passes are available for the hotel’s beach club, where you can spend the day poolside, rent kayaks and paddleboards, lounge on the beach, and eat at the hotel restaurant. On the opposite end of town, north of El Centenario, is La Bastilla, a boutique hotel with a restaurant that also offers a day pass that includes use of the lounge chairs at the hotel pool or on the beach, kayaks and paddleboards, and a volleyball court.
Go Scuba Diving: When the temperatures on land heat up, La Paz becomes a diver’s paradise. The water begins to clear, and visibility is better. There are many dive tour operators in town who can arrange a tour to suit your skill level and needs, and that rent equipment if needed. Depending on when you go, you can see schools of mobula rays, sea turtles, dolphins, and even orcas. We like La Paz Divers for eco-conscious tours led by marine biologists who are knowledgeable and care about the local environment. Don’t know how but always wanted to learn? Check out the Cortez Club’s diving lessons.
Head to the Pacific: When the weather in La Paz heats up, locals in the know often head to the Pacific side, where temperatures are often 10-15 degrees cooler. You can visit the beaches in Todos Santos, (beaches here are not swimmable due to the strong surf). If you want to get in the water, go to El Cerritos beach in El Pescadero, a swimmable beach where you can take a surfing lesson, or just boogie board or play in the waves.
Visit a Museum: Let’s face it, sometimes you just need an air conditioned space to escape the summer heat. La Paz has several museums you can visit and learn about the history and culture of the area.
- Baja California Sur Regional Museum of Anthropology and History:
- Museo de Arte de Baja California Sur: the new art museum downtown on Madero is an amazing space to walk through.
- El Serpentario de La Paz: to see local wildlife including lizards, birds, turtles and more.
- Museo de la Ballena (The Whale Museum): formerly located on the La Paz malecón, this museum has moved to a new location, and is still a great way to spend a few hours learning about the whale sharks and other marine life that call La Paz Bay their home.
- Museo Ruta de Plata (The Silver Museum): an hour’s drive away in the town of El Triunfo.
Visit Perlas de La Paz: learn about the history of pearls and their role in La Paz. The city of La Paz, Baja California Sur, was considered in ancient times as the capital of the black pearls of the new world. Today, thanks to science and technological development, pearls are back in this bay to continue conquering the world with their beauty thanks to their unique characteristics. Book a tour of this modern pearl farm and learn how pearl oysters here are cultivated.
Take a Siesta: If you spend time here in the summer months, you’ll come to realize why the custom of taking an afternoon siesta is such a great idea. The afternoon heat makes everyone a little drowsy. Businesses often close between 2:00 and 5:00 pm. It’s time to head off to cooler spaces, whether it’s a hammock in the shade of a palm tree, or a room with A/C, for a nap. Embrace the custom of taking a siesta, and you’ll soon wonder how you ever got through the day without one!
These are just a few of the things you can do to stay cool in La Paz during the summer. For more ideas on what to do and see in La Paz, check out our Things to Do and See in La Paz Guide here.