things to do in baja california sur

20 Best Things To Do in Baja California Sur [2024 Guide]

The bustling resort area of Los Cabos at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula has long been one of the most popular destinations in Mexico for travelers – but in recent years, the rest of this region has increasingly started to shine. Don’t miss out on what is poised to be the next biggest story in Mexico travel trends!

We’d had the pleasure of exploring areas of Baja California Sur that are the uncrowded and pristine gems that Los Cabos was decades ago, along with some of the coolest new luxury destinations in the region’s burgeoning travel industry. Read on for top tips from locals and our own experiences enjoying the best things to do in Baja California Sur.

things to do in baja california sur

This post contains affiliate links that may reward me monetarily or otherwise when you use them to make qualifying purchases – at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please read our disclosure policy.

Best Things To Do in Baja California Sur

From hiking and biking across untouched desert landscapes to plunging into pristine turquoise waters filled with swarms of colorful fish, there are no limits to the unforgettable things to do in Baja California Sur; this region will certainly surprise you!

Looking for our top recommendations for the most unmissable things to do in Baja California Sur? Here are our top picks to add to your itinerary:

  • Go Whale Watching
  • Stay at a Resort in Los Cabos
  • Take a Wellness Retreat
  • Enjoy Farm-to-Table Cuisine
  • Go Diving in Cabo Pulmo

These are just a few of the highlights of a trip to the region that travelers won’t want to miss out on – but there’s so much more. Read on for all the best things to do in Baja California Sur, including the experiences we keep coming back for, trip after trip.

whale watching baja california sur
Courtesy of Visit Baja Sur

Things To Do in Baja California Sur

1. Go Whale Watching

Numerous species of whales migrate to the Baja California peninsula every winter to feed and give birth, making Baja California Sur one of the most impressive and reliable places in North America for whale watching. The whale-watching season generally lasts from late November or December through April, though visitors have the best chance of spotting whales in January and February.

Whale-watching tours in Baja California Sur are quite strictly regulated but allow travelers to get remarkably close to the gentle giants. The islands of Loreto, particularly, offer highly protective conditions for whales and their babies, making them a great destination for encountering whales.

Even if you can’t find space for a whale watching excursion in your budget, don’t worry. You’ll be blown away by the whales breaching and waving their tales, visible from any of the beachfront resorts in Los Cabos during the height of whale season.

2. Take a Wellness Retreat

Wellness retreats hosted by and for the rich and famous, world-class resorts with legendary spas, and buzzy new outposts of major international wellness brands like The WELL make Los Cabos a destination increasingly known for wellness – but there are so many ways to enjoy a wellness-focused getaway in Baja beyond Los Cabos.

The region’s smaller coastal cities like La Paz, Loreto, and Todos Santos increasingly offer everything from adventure sports and yoga classes to spa treatments and holistic healing ceremonies rooted in ancient Mexican tradition to help visitors unwind amidst the beauty of Baja.

A favorite wellness destination is the stunning desert landscape outside of Todos Santos is home to Paradero Todos Santos, a one-of-a-kind, design-forward hotel known for its wellness offerings. Everything from sound bathing and yoga classes to temazcal ceremonies and adventurous excursions to empty beaches offer next-level relaxation.

grand velas los cabos
Courtesy of Velas Resorts

3. Stay at a Resort in Los Cabos

Long one of the major draws to Baja California Sur, the Los Cabos area, with its seemingly unending row of luxe hotels and resorts, has endless appeal for travelers looking for an easy, stress-free vacation. If you’re looking for a memorable stay, consider staying at any of the best resorts in Mexico that call Los Cabos home; you won’t regret it!

Best Resorts in Los Cabos

4. Enjoy Farm-to-Table Cuisine

Despite the desert landscapes of Baja California Sur, farm-to-table cuisine featuring ultra-fresh ingredients and unique culinary influences is one of the biggest trends in the area right now. So strong is the growing culinary scene in Baja California Sur that it draws foodies in search of a taste-driven vacation.

Los Cabos has a plethora of farm-to-table favorites, including well-established AcreTamarindos, and Flora Farms, and a crop of newcomers like Monte Cardón and others.

New farm-to-table culinary destinations continue to sprout up beyond Los Cabos, too. Outside of Loreto, San Javier Farm, in the shadow of the historic San Javier Mission, is an oasis respite that makes the drive from the coast even more tempting. The farm-to-table kitchen at Jazamango, led by renowned Baja chef Javier Plascencia, is a highlight in the town of Todos Santos.

isla espiritu santo
Leonardo Gonzalez / Shutterstock

5. Go Diving at Cabo Pulmo

The impressive seasonal whale migrations aren’t the only reason to take to the water in the Sea of Cortez. Once called “The World’s Aquarium” by oceanographer Jacques Costeau, the Sea of Cortez is impossibly rich with marine life and offers an unforgettable dive experience.

The protected waters of Cabo Pulmo National Park, just north of Los Cabos, offer the region’s most well-known destination for diving. The area is home to larger marine life like sea lions and rays, colorful fish and corals, and even whale sharks. Snorkeling excursions in Cabo Pulmo and dive trips to Cabo Pulmo are among some of the most popular day trips from Los Cabos.

However, destinations further up the peninsula, such as the protected islands of Loreto, are another dive destination par excellence with dramatic underwater landscapes and just as much marine life.

Reviews and Bookings: Diving Excursion in Cabo Pulmo from Los Cabos

Travel Essential

Don’t think about traveling without a good VPN (Virtual Private Network). Using a VPN while connecting to the internet is an easy way to keep your personal information safe from hackers and trackers. We’ve used NordVPN for years and couldn’t recommend it more – it’s a must for safety online, at home or abroad. 

loreto baja california sur
Courtesy of Visit Baja Sur

6. Visit the Historic Missions of Baja California Sur

Visiting one of the historic Spanish colonial mission churches that dot the region is one of the best things to do in Baja California Sur for history buffs – hands down! Base yourself in the beach town of Loreto for the experience. Not only is Loreto home to the oldest mission in the region, but it’s within day-trip distance of many of the area’s others mission.

After touring the mission and enjoy all the incredible things to do in Loreto, head 45 minutes into the arid mountains to the tiny oasis town of San Javier. Amidst age-old olive groves is the Misión San Francisco Javier de Viggé-Biaundó, dating back to the mid 1700s and still just as impressive today.

For a somewhat different experience, head north to the desert oasis of La Purisima. The mission here is left in ruins, but it’s a cool spot to visit none the less among a brilliant oasis. Make sure to stop at the beaches along Bahia de la Concepcion before returning to Loreto.

Where To Stay in Loreto

7. Taking a Cooking Class

If simply digging into world-class Mexican food and Baja California Sur regional favorites on your vacation isn’t enough for you, consider taking a cooking class to take some of your favorite dishes how with you. These are some of the most highly-rated cooking classes in some of the region’s most popular towns and cities:

todos santos mexico

8. Explore Historic Todos Santos

Its undeniable: the transformation of Todos Santos is one of the biggest stories in Baja California Sur right now. What was once just a tiny, historic town on the Pacific Coast of the Baja California peninsula has now become the coolest place to be, with burgeoning wellness offerings, hip boutique hotels, and increasingly incredible cuisine.

Some of the best things to do in Todos Santos have long included hitting the beach and visiting the historic buildings in the heart of town, but the town’s real gems are what’s new. Todos Santos’ growing shopping areas offer everything from designer duds to handcrafted artisan goods, while an array of dining options includes everything from fine dining and fine cocktails to fresh farm-to-table cuisine.

Increasingly expensive and luxurious, Todos Santos can be a pricey destination, though there are pockets of affordability if you’re traveling on a budget.

Where To Stay in Todos Santos

9. Go Off-Roading in the Desert

Baja California Sur is famous for the annual Baja 1000 off-road race that cuts through the desert from La Paz to Ensenada, but even beginners can enjoy off-roading adventures in Baja as one of the best ways to see the dramatic desert landscapes of the peninsula.

Off-roading is a popular activity in cities around the region, so you’ll have no trouble finding a local tour guide to take you out on an adventure through the desert no matter where your Baja California Sur itinerary takes you.

Looking for a particularly memorable destination for off-roading in Baja California Sur? Migrino Beach and the surrounding desert on the outskirts of Los Cabos are quite popular, though more removed locations outside of Loreto and La Paz offer the added benefit of allowing drivers to trace a part of the actual route of the famous Baja 1000.

the islands of loreto
Courtesy of Visit Baja Sur

10. Visit the Islands of Loreto

A group of five pristine, protected islands just off the coast of the town of Loreto on the eastern coast of Baja California are among the region’s most beloved destinations for visitors. Known for their beautiful beaches, world-class dive sites, stunning desert landscapes, and impressive wildlife the islands of Loreto are one of the best destinations for travelers in the region looking for a memorable day trip on the water.

Visiting the islands of Loreto is easiest when departing from Loreto – of course! – but you’ll also find longer multi-day sails that depart from La Paz and spend time in the area. For travelers staying at Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto, located about a 45-minute drive south of town, small group and private sailing excursions depart directly from the resort.

Read More: Islands of Loreto: Ultimate Traveler’s Guide

11. Try a Mexican Spirits Tasting

Mexico’s beloved spirits like tequila and mezcal aren’t crafted in Baja California Sur, but that doesn’t mean that a trip to the region is complete without trying them. If you’re looking for a little more informative introduction to Mexican spirits, skip the hotel bar and try one of the

Los Cabos has by far and a way the most variety when it comes to options for Mexican spirits tastings. The cliffside Agave Study experience at Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal is now legendary, and the dedicated spirits tasting room at the brand-new Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos is next level. However, you’ll find spirits-tasting classes and experiences in most major cities and towns across Baja California Sur.

acre los cabos
Courtesy of Acre

12. Stay in a Treehouse

If over-the-top resorts or beachfront bungalows aren’t your style, fear not – there are plenty of unique places to stay in Baja California Sur.

One of the buzziest spots in the region is Acre, known and loved for its one-of-a-kind freestanding treehouse accommodations and farm-to-table cuisine on its 25-acre property in San José del Cabo. Staying in one of Acre’s treehouses is easily one of the coolest things to do in Baja California Sur – but make sure to book in advance for these sought-after suites.

Cooler still, Acre just debuted ten new stand-alone villas for travelers looking for even more space for their stay. While they’re not treehouses, these two-bedroom and three-bedroom villa accommodations offer plenty of private indoor and outdoor space including private pools, and the hotel’s same impossibly hip aesthetic that had made it such a hit among boutique hotels in Los Cabos.

Reviews and Bookings: Acre

Travel Essential

Don’t head out on your adventure without comprehensive travel insurance! Good travel insurance may cover lost or stolen gear, medical emergencies, delayed or canceled flights, and more. Check out the policies available from SafetyWing or compare plans using Visitors Coverage.

13. Eat Traditional Mexican Food at La Garita

There’s no lack of opportunities to enjoy the freshest and most authentic of Mexican cuisine while exploring Baja California Sur, that’s for sure. However, if you’re looking for one specific spot to try some of the area’s best and most authentic dishes, locals recommend La Garita.

Little more than a roadside spot outside of Todos Santos, La Garita has a thatched roof and dirt floors with simple, rustic tables… but some of the best food in the region. After hearing rave reviews from too many locals to count, I had to give it try on my way out of town. Everything from the fresh, handmade tortillas to rich regional dishes are spectacular.

balandra beach
Matt Gush / Shutterstock

14. Visit Balandra Beach

Baja California Sur is dotted with stunning beachfronts, but it’s hard to imagine a spot more beautiful than Balandra Beach, located just north of La Paz. Balandra Beach is hidden in a protected bay with ultra-clear, tranquil waters that lap onto fine white sands, creating a magical effect with ribbons of white, blue, turquoise, and aquamarine hues that look straight out of a painting. Climb the nearby hillsides for panoramic views.

Balandra Beach is a must-visit destination for travelers staying in La Paz, though it’s incredible natural beauty is worth the day trip drive even from Los Cabos, which has few swimmable beaches of its own.

Where To Stay in La Paz

15. Enjoy Sport Fishing

Big-time anglers and casual weekend fishermen alike know that Baja California Sur is world-famous for its sport fishing, drawing visitors from around the world to waters rich with more species of fish than you can count. Famously, Los Cabos is home to the annual Bisbee’s Black and Blue Marlin Tournament, now running for more than 35 years and paying out well over a million dollars in prizes.

Whether you’re out for the prize or just looking for a casual day on the water, sport fishing is one of the best things to do in Baja California Sur. You’ll find sport fishing charters available up and down the peninsula in Baja California Sur, from ultra-luxury private charters in Los Cabos to simple but memorable excursions departing from some of the region’s more laid back beach towns like Loreto.

These are some of the most popular sport fishing excursions to consider:

cabo san lucas

16. Spot the Arch at the End of the World

One of the most popular things to do in Los Cabos is to sail to El Arco – the Arch – located at Land’s End at the tip of the Baja California peninsula. Framed by deep blue waters and the golden sands of the twin Playa de los Amantes and Playa del Divorcio, this 200-foot natural arch is the product of centuries of waves.

It’s just as impressive as it appears in pictures, and certainly warrants a visit, whether on a day trip to the nearby beaches or by taking a quick sail from the nearby Cabo San Lucas marina. A number of kayaking excursions and glass-bottom boat tours allow visitors to enjoy the area in every way imaginable.

17. Surf at Los Cerritos Beach

The surf is legendary in Baja California Sur, but few beaches are as famous for their waves as Playa Los Cerritos—Los Cerritos Beach—located just south of the town of Todos Santos on the peninsula’s Pacific Coast. Despite its growing popularity with locals and visitors alike, it’s a perfectly laid-back spot for a day catching waves.

Easily accessible from Todos Santos just twenty minutes north and just a 45-minute drive from Los Cabos, Los Cerritos Beach can be an easy day trip destination for beginner surfers seeking lessons or experts alike. The beach has three different surfing areas with different size breaks, and a few small but helpful surf shops that can get you set up with board rentals and plenty of local advice.

Where To Stay in Los Cerritos

isla espiritu santo
Leonardo Gonzalez / Shutterstock

18. Sail to Isla Espiritu Santo

Located just a stone’s throw from the sands of the famous Balandra Beach in La Paz, Isla Espiritu Santo is a small but stunning island that makes for an incredible day trip from Los Cabos, La Paz, or beyond. Hiding white sand beaches, wild sea lion colonies, and incredible coves for snorkeling and diving, the island is one of the region’s ultimate gems.

Here are some of the most popular day trip options that visit Isla Espiritu Santo from nearby cities and towns in Baja California Sur. Just getting out on the water is a pleasure here, but these trips provide the best experience possible at Isla Espiritu Santo:

tabor canyon

19. Hike Desert Canyons

Baja is much more than just beautiful coastlines, with its rich, rugged desert landscapes hiding some incredible destinations an adventures that are among the best things to do in Baja California Sur.

One of the most popular day trips from Los Cabos is to the arid Sierra de la Laguna mountain range. This harsh but stunning landscape hides treasures like the Cañon de la Zorra (Fox Canyon) and Sol de Mayo waterfall with its stunning natural swimming hole below. It’s a real treat if you’re looking for a break from a typical resort vacation.

A popular hiking spot on the eastern coast of the peninsula is Tabor Canyon, a dramatic red rock canyon that cuts through the mountains just south of Loreto. Hiking Tabor Canyon is one of the best things to do in Loreto, but make sure to plan ahead to find a local guide to help navigate the somewhat hidden trail – our guide with Wild Loreto did a fantastic job.

20. Enjoy the San José del Cabo Art Walk

Los Cabos is much more than just crazy parties and over-the-top luxury. Particularly in the more laidback Los Cabos town of San José del Cabo, there’s an impressive array of cultural and historical attractions that we consider among the best things to do in Baja, California.

The weekly Thursday night art walk through the heart of town is hands down the best thing to do in San José del Cabo. Starting around 5 PM every Thursday, local gallery and shop owners open their doors and welcome the area’s best artists and art aficionados alike to share wine, cheese, and local bites while exploring the cobblestone streets of the gallery district.

Not only is the San José del Cabo Art Walk a great way to explore the area’s art scene, but it’s also the perfect way to meet the locals and enjoy the vibrancy of the region.

carley rojas avila

Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.