Mexico, and the Baja Peninsula in particular, is a rugged, desert landscape filled with endless options for outdoor exploration. The city of La Paz, Baja Sur’s capital, boasts many trails just north of the city on its Pichilingue Peninsula, the perfect context for easy day hikes. Tecolote, for example, has lots of tidal pools in exposed volcanic rock that butts up to large, sweeping sand dunes. Balandra, on the other hand, is known for it’s long stretch of sandy shoal that allows walking for nearly 300 yards into the bay in only 2-3 feet of water.
More extensive mountain hiking can be undertaken in the Laguna Mountains south of the city. The district of Mallasa offers several attractions that can be easily visited with a quick day trip. Picacho de la Laguna at 7,090 feet, roughly in the sierra’s center, is considered by many to be the highest peak in the range, although according to some sources Cerro las Casitas may be higher. Between these two peaks is a large, flat meadow called “La Laguna” (“the lagoon”) with an elevation of only 5,600 feet. There are miles of undeveloped land and hidden trails throughout these mountains, which remain undisturbed, undeveloped and often underappreciated. The mountains provide a rugged home for an incredible diversity of animal and plant life. It is an ecological treasure where cacti, palms and pine trees grow side by side and rock pools form underneath towering granite boulders.
The Valle de la Luna is a lunar landscape of eroded cliffs and inspirational vistas, but note that many of the trails do not have clearly maintained paths, and it is therefore advisable to hire a guide. The sheer aura of the valley is breathtaking, the whole area is geographically dramatic and stopping to watch the sunset is mandatory on the way back after an enjoyable day outdoors.
In addition to the many things to do in La Paz, including these trails of the more mountainous regions, the Espiritu Santo Island is another great option for lovers of the outdoors. Home to turquoise blue water, white sandy beaches and abundant sea life, here one can complement a great hiking region with a day out to snorkel or dive amongst an array of marine fauna or even swim with sea lions.
However, if hiking is what you are after, the trails in and around La Paz are characterized by range that allows for easy walking to more intense hikes through a vast, rugged countryside, spectacular panoramic views and an unforgettable alternative to indoor exercise.