Best Beach in Mexico? Balandra Isn’t Even the Best Beach in La Paz

Balandra beach gets all the headlines, but for a more off-piste experience, head to the vast, empty beach on the Mogote peninsular instead.

Read any article about the best beaches in Mexico, and you can be certain that Balandra beach will pop up.

Heavily promoted due to its impressively clear waters, knee-deep swimmable bay, and the famous “mushroom rock,” many locals will even go as far as to claim it is among the best beaches in the world. If only people knew that the mushroom rock was held together with cement…

With the increased interest in Baja Calfornia Sur over the last 18 months, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking Balandra is a must-visit location on your trip. But unless you’re more interested in snapping Instagramable photos than experiencing a real adventure, you can give it a wide berth.

Why Choose Mogote?

If you’re pressed for time, go to Mogote beach instead. It provided some of our best beach memories while living in the area, and I’d recommend it over Balandra for anyone who wants to mix a deserted beach (seriously, you’ll have miles and miles of sand to yourself) with some adrenaline-inducing activities.

ATV trips, dune surfing, and whale watching are all available. And you can even camp overnight and make fires, neither of which are possible at Balandra thanks to the stricter rules and fixed entrance times.

Getting to Mogote Beach

Although it looks close on a map, it’ll take about 40 minutes to get to the beach from the La Paz malecon. The last few miles are on rarely-graded sand roads, so ensure you have a suitable vehicle. This place is off the beaten path.

Once you near the sea, the road will go up a steep hill and onto the top of the dunes. From there, drive another few hundred yards, and you’ll find an easy access point to the beach itself. If you have a 4×4, you can even make it onto the beach in your car.

Along the way, keep an eye out for cows that roam freely in the area, especially if you are traveling back in the dark.

Make Sure You Pack the Right Things

Mogote does not have any services. That means no toilets, no showers, and no shady palapas. There’s not even a place to buy water or snacks, so make sure you stock up on the essentials at the Pemex gas station in the nearest town of Centenario before you head out onto the dirt road.

What We Did at Mogote Beach

We were blessed that Mogote beach was only 10 minutes from our house, so we had plenty of amazing experiences there.

Swimming With Whale Sharks

The whale watching season runs from October to May each year, with the peak being in January and February. The whales congregate in the waters just off the Mogote beach, but unless you’re an exceptionally strong swimmer, you’ll need to get a boat from the malecon to be able to see them. It’s one of the best boat trips you can take with kids in the area.

The good thing about getting a boat from the malecon is the views. Not only will you see terrific views of the deserted beach, but seeing the malecon itself from the water is also worthwhile.

Sometimes, the whales get beached on the shore. Despite the best efforts of local groups, they cannot always be saved.


Enjoy the Sea and Make a BBQ

The water at Mogote is not as crystal clear as at Balandra, but that doesn’t mean you can’t swim. We had an unforgettable time dragging Luca and Harriet around in an inflatable dingy.

You’ll also get a few gentle waves, which make for a more fun experience than at Balandra, but without the dangerous surf found at Los Cabos and Todos Santos.

Sadly, the boat eventually got a puncture…

Incredible Sunsets and Beach Fires

La Paz is well known for its sunsets. Watching the sun fall below the horizon from the malecon with an ice cream in hand is an experience that’s hard to beat. But it’s even better from mogote, as the sun falls over the exact point where the sand meets the sea. Magical.

And when the sun has finally set and night has fallen? Well, it’s time for a fire.

Explore the Local Trails

In the Sand dunes around Mogote beach, there are a near-endless number of trails twisting through the desert. They’re great for ATVs, biking, and exploring in off-road vehicles.

Warning: They are easy to get lost in, so make sure you have GPS enabled and keep your sense of direction.

What Else Can You Do at Mogote?

As I mentioned earlier, dune surfing is also available. Because of the kids’ young age, it’s not an activity we participated in, but the activity comes highly recommended by friends who did it.

Rubi and Jose over at Sin Postal also recently did a video on their experience, so check it out if you want to learn more.

Booking Activities on Mogote

If you have your own gear, you can rock up and get going. If like most people, you haven’t managed to fit a snowboard or ATV into your luggage, you’ll need to book with a local company.

Most tours can be booked via the agencies on the malecon. If you would prefer to get your trip buttoned up before you arrive, reach out to our friends Cinthia and Nacho, they run the excellent Choya Tours and will help you put together the perfect itinerary.

ATVs and Beach Buggies

Around $65 USD, with options to also include boat rides, snorkeling gear, and other equipment. The entire loop from La Paz to Mogote and back again will take about six hours.


Dune Surfing

Expect to pay $1500-$2000 MXN, depending on the season. Kids under six are not allowed to participate.

Whale Shark Tour

$2000 MXN per person, with the season running from late autumn to early spring. Prepare to set aside three hours. Most tours will include refreshments on the boat.



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