Playa El Tesoro is one of the most breathtaking beaches in La Paz, Mexico. Just a few minutes down the coast from one of Mexico’s most popular beaches (Balandra Beach), Playa El Tesoro is a low-key but stunning beach with a small restaurant and a local vibe.
Of course, El Tesoro Beach features the same gorgeous crystal-clear water, white sand, and striking desert bluffs that make this area of Baja California Sur a desirable beach destination. But unlike nearby Balandra, El Tesoro does not have limited visiting times and long lines.
Before you read on, make sure to bookmark these other Baja California Sur Travel Guides for your upcoming adventure:
★ Up-to-Date Playa Balandra Beach Guide + 9 Insider Tips
★ 12 Stunning La Paz Beaches
★ Visiting the Santa Rita Hot Springs in Baja California Sur
★ Cañon de la Zorra & Sol De Mayo Waterfall Hike First Timer Guide
★ The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Travel in La Paz, Mexico
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Playa El Tesoro, La Paz, Mexico Travel Guide
I loved relaxing at Playa El Tesoro during my time in La Paz. When we visited, my dad, husband, and I were some of the only foreigners on the beach, and we were able to befriend several friendly Mexicans, including a local marine biologist and a construction worker from Mexico City.
Out of our 6+ months of traveling and living in Mexico, our day at Playa El Tesoro felt like one of our most local experiences.
With shallow calm, shallow water, an affordable beach bar, and incredible views, Playa El Tesoro is a wonderful place to visit in La Paz. If you’re in La Paz to see Balandra Beach for a day, you can grab lunch and relax at Playa El Tesoro after Balandra closes. If you have several days in La Paz, El Tesoro will be a great place to go when you’re ready to unwind.
Plus, Playa El Tesoro is free to access, with free parking!
Where is Playa El Tesoro?
Playa El Tesoro is located in La Paz, the capital of Mexico’s Baja California Sur state. The beach itself is about ten minutes north of the city center by car. It’s easy to reach from La Paz but feels remote and secluded.
Is Playa El Tesoro worth visiting?
Yes! There are tons of gorgeous beaches in La Paz, but what I like about Playa El Tesoro is that it is the type of place where you can truly relax. There are no limited opening hours, and there is a restaurant directly on the beach where you get snacks, lunch, and drinks throughout the day.
Wading in the water at Playa El Tesoro
Overlooking one side of Balandra Bay
El Tesoro Beach vs. Balandra Beach
La Paz is known for its many stunning beaches, but the area’s most popular playa is Balandra Beach. You might be wondering: do you need to visit both beaches? Or, should I just visit one of the two?
I’ve spent time at both Playa El Tesoro and Playa Balandra, and here are my thoughts:
The two beaches share the same gorgeous, shallow water and dusty cliffs, but Balandra Bay is more vast. Playa Balandra is certainly worth seeing but given how busy it can be and the daily limits on the number of visitors allowed, Playa El Tesoro is a much nicer beach to relax at.
If you have time to visit both, I recommend spending a few hours exploring Balandra in the morning (since it’s so large, there are lots to explore). Then, head down the road to Playa El Tesoro, where you can relax and enjoy yourself.
If you truly can only visit one of the two beaches, I’d say go to see Balandra since it’s so iconic and stunning. But you wouldn’t regret relaxing at El Tesoro, either.
Gorgeous agua azul (blue water) at Playa El Tesoro, La Paz
How to get to Playa El Tesoro from La Paz
El Tesoro is less than fifteen minutes from the edge of La Paz Centro. You can easily reach the beach via car or taxi.
Taxi: I recommend using the DiDi app, which is like Uber but cheaper and easier in La Paz. The app has an English version, so it’s easy to use even if you don’t speak Spanish. You don’t need to make an account to use it, and you can pay in cash directly to the driver. You can expect the ride to cost about $100 pesos. If you choose to take a taxi, be aware that getting a taxi back to La Paz might be challenging. However, locals are friendly, and you may be able to make a new friend at the beach and get a ride back with them.
Driving: From La Paz Centro, drive north on Highway 11, which is right along the water. You’ll pass a few resorts and other beaches. After about fourteen minutes, you’ll arrive at Playa El Tesoro, which has a small parking lot.
How to get to Playa El Tesoro from Playa Balandra
Playa El Tesoro is just down the road from Playa Balandra. The easiest way to reach El Tesoro from Balandra is via car. Drive south on Highway 11. You will reach El Tesoro after about twelve minutes.
How to get to Playa El Tesoro from Los Cabos
From Cabo San Lucas, drive north on Highway 19 past Todos Santos. Once you reach La Paz, take Baja California Sur La Paz-El Tecolote. The Highway will eventually become Highway 11. After driving through the desert, you’ll see the water. After just two or three minutes of driving along the water, you’ll arrive at El Tesoro Beach.
Planning a day at Playa El Tesoro
What is there to do at El Tesoro Beach?
★ Wade in the water: One of the best things to do at Playa El Tesoro is wade in the calm, shallow water. You can walk out several hundred meters before the water reaches your waist. Be sure to do the “stingray shuffle” to alert stingrays of your presence and avoid being stung.
★ Snorkel: If you like snorkeling, bring along a snorkel set or goggles. Although the water is clear, it can get a little murky by the end of the day after dozens of people have walked through. It’s not the best place for snorkeling, but I saw several types of fish, an eel, and a few small stingrays (see photos below).
★ Kayak or paddle board: You can rent kayaks and paddle boards at El Tesoro Beach. It’s a great way to explore beyond the shallow waters and see nearby mangroves and beaches.
★ Sunbathe and read on the shore: Reading a good book on the beach is one of the top reasons I travel (no joke!) Bring a towel or blanket to relax on and a good book, and you’re set!
★ Walk along the beach: Playa El Tesoro is small but big enough to leave some room to explore.
★ Sip margaritas (or cervesas) and munch on some snacks: A small restaurant and bar on the beach has a diverse menu and fair prices. You can either grab a spot under their umbrellas, where you can enjoy food and drinks, or take a beer to your spot on the beach.
★ Watch the sunset: Stay long enough to see the sky turn golden as the sun goes down. You won’t regret it!
Watching the sunset at Playa El Tesoro, La Paz
How long should you spend at El Tesoro Beach?
If you’re like me and enjoy relaxing at the beach, I recommend spending at least half a day at Playa El Tesoro. Enjoy a slow morning, head to the beach around lunchtime, and stay until sunset.
But if you don’t like staying in the sun too long or have little time, you can easily stop by Playa El Tesoro for a few minutes or an hour. Since the beach is so close to La Paz and directly off the main Highway, it’s easy and convenient to visit even if you only intend to stay for a short while.
What should you bring to El Tesoro Beach?
★ Sun protectant: The Baja sun is HOT! I recently invested in a sun shirt and will never go back. And of course, reef-safe sunscreen is a must.
★ Beach towel: I’m a big fan of Nomadix sand-resistant travel towels.
★ Goggles or snorkel gear: I bring a pair of Speedo goggles with me everywhere I travel. I honestly prefer regular goggles over a full snorkel set (probably because I used to swim competitively).
★ GoPro: I always bring a GoPro when snorkeling. I recently upgraded to the GoPro Hero11, which takes incredible photos and has a screen on both sides (my old GoPro didn’t have a single screen!)
★ Water and snacks: While you can buy water and snacks on the beach, you’ll save money by bringing your own!
Essential safety tip for all La Paz beaches
The shallow waters of La Paz’s beaches attract both humans and stingrays. While generally harmless, stingrays can sting if stepped on or scared. Their stings are incredibly painful and can be deadly in very rare circumstances.
To avoid getting stung, shuffle your feet as you walk through the shallow water, where stingrays like to burrow under the sand. This notifies nearby stingrays that you’re in the area so they can swim away without risking being stepped on.
Square in La Paz Centro
Stingray jumping near Isla Espiritu Santo
The Baja desert on the road to El Tesoro
Other things to do in La Paz, Baja California Sur
There are so many fun things to do in and around La Paz! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Spend a day at the world-famous Balandra Beach
- Explore other stunning La Paz beaches
- Take a day trip to the Santa Rita Hot Springs and Cañon del Zorro Waterfall
- Hike Cerro de La Calavera (the Skull) to see beautiful rock formations and a view of the city
- Swim with sea lions and whale sharks
- Paddle board and kayak through crystal-clear water
- Beach hop along La Paz’s best beaches
- Take a day trip to surf at Cerritos Beach and wander through Todos Santos
- Try sand-boarding at the Mogote dunes near La Paz
- Take a boat trip to Isla Espiritu Santo
Conclusion: El Tesoro is one of the most beautiful La Paz beaches!
Final Thoughts: Playa El Tesoro, La Paz, Mexico
If you’re looking for crystal clear water to wade in and a chill, local vibe, Playa El Tesoro is the place to go! All of La Paz’s beaches are gorgeous, but El Tesoro is one of the best places to hang out for a day.
Essential Mexico Travel Resources
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