domingo, abril 21, 2024

Balandra: La Paz’s Best Kept Treasure

By: Ruth Ramirez

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Balandra Beach, located just 35 minutes from downtown La Paz, has been awarded the title of ‘Best Beach in Mexico’. This has further boosted the popularity of one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever see. As a Protected Natural Area, access is limited to 450 people, so it’s advisable to arrive early to maximize your visit.

The administration of the Protected Natural Area of Balandra has announced through official channels a revision in the entrance fee effective from January 2024. The one-day pass, previously priced at $54 MXN, will now cost $60.39 MXN.

Additionally, the price for the Mexican Conservation Passport — which is valid for one year and grants access to all Natural Protected Areas in the country — will be updated to $1,811 MXN from its former price of $1,736.01 MXN. Remember to check the exchange rate on the day of your visit, as it is subject to frequent fluctuations.

A few local tips about visiting Balandra:

  • There are no hotels or restaurants, at Balandra, visitors carry their coolers or backpacks with food and drinks. 
  • On the way to the beach you will find access to several hiking trails.
  • A short hike along the beach takes you to the famous «Balandra mushroom», which is OK to photograph and definitely not OK to climb on.
  • Make sure to wear oil-free sunscreen. This will keep you from hurting the delicate ecosystem in the area.
  • Drag your feet when you enter the water, as you could find small stingrays buried in the sand, this is a way to warn them of your presence, they will feel the vibration and flee immediately.
  • Make sure to take your snorkeling equipment, you will be surprised by the wonders that you will see inches from the surface.
  • Leave no garbage or any trace that you were there. And remember all the small pebbles, rocks, shells etc., belong to the beach. Take photos and memories with you, leave the shells and sand behind. 

What to do after visiting Balandra

After a day at the beach go back to the Malecón – the way locals refer to the Boardwalk – and quench your thirst with a traditional “Vaso Loco”. This crazy drink is a tasty blend of tomato and clam juice, with or without beer, and a mix of lime juice, salt, chili powder, Worcestershire, soy sauce, and lots of ice… believe me; it is delicious! If the hike and the sun made you hungry you must try the traditional battered fish tacos, known as “capeados”. If you feel like having something fresh, try the shrimp or fish ceviche tostadas, you’ll love them. Now that you have replenished your strength it’s time to visit other points of interest.

A few meters from the boardwalk you will find the Art Museum, on the corner of Madero / Independencia and 5 de Mayo. The museum has recently undergone a complete renovation, with fully inclusive facilities, ramps, an elevator, and some of the most Instagramable spots in La Paz. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

After the Museum visit Casa Parra, to the left of the Cathedral of Our Lady of La Paz, there you can admire traditional indigenous Mexican art from different parts of the country, and on your right is Indigo Gallery, by Carlos César Díaz, a local artist whose art will make you fall in love.

La Paz is a city to walk and wander, a place to ride a bike and sip good coffee as you watch the peaceful sea. It’s a place to enjoy at your own pace and unwind. There are many more special places that I would love to tell you about, but we will leave that for another time.

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