19 Top-Rated Beaches in Baja California

Written by Meagan Drillinger
Oct 31, 2022

The Baja California Peninsula is some of the most ruggedly beautiful landscape in all of Mexico. Part of the landscape includes more than 2,000 miles of coastline, which means that Baja California has an endless amount of beaches. In fact, Baja California has some of the best beaches in Mexico.

Beach at Los Barriles, Baja California, Mexico
Beach at Los Barriles, Baja California, Mexico | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

But what are the best beaches in Baja California? With so many to choose from, it can be overwhelming when mapping out which ones you want to hit. The beaches of Baja California have a little something for everyone, from the wild and windswept to the energetic and lively.

From the tip of Los Cabos, with its swanky hotels, up the Sea of Cortez with its sheltered coves, over to the surfable beaches of Rosarito and all down the Pacific side, travelers could spend a lifetime exploring the many beautiful beaches of Baja California.

Are you ready to hit the beach? Read on to discover the very best beaches in Baja California.

1. Playa Balandra

Aerial view of Playa Balandra
Aerial view of Playa Balandra

Not only is Playa Balandra considered to be the best beach in Baja California, it certainly ranks as one of the best beaches in all of Mexico. Less than an hour from La Paz, this epic beach is known for its gradient of turquoise hues, powder-soft sand, and rolling red mountains in the distance.

Admittedly, Playa Balandra is not as "remote" as it used to be. Thanks to social media and word of mouth, travelers from far and wide have flocked to see just how special it is. They are never disappointed. The calm, shallow waters are ideal for swimming, as well as SUP boarding, kayaking, and snorkeling.

Visitors and locals love that Playa Balandra is a Natural Protected Area, meaning that it is free of development. This allows you to completely immerse yourself in the natural experience. And if you do happen to be at the beach on a day with relatively few tourists, it's an incredible experience to feel as though you've slipped completely into nature and left the buzzing energy of civilization behind.

2. Playa El Requeson

Playa El Requeson
Playa El Requeson | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

One of the most beautiful places in all of Mexico is the expansive, rugged, undeveloped Bahia Concepcion. This massive bay in the Sea of Cortez is known for its crystal-clear waters, craggy red mountains, and a smattering of thumbnail-sized white-sand beaches that are among the most beautiful in Mexico.

One of these beaches is Playa el Requeson, a swath of sugary sand off the Transpeninsular Highway south of the village of Mulege. The beach is directly across from a small island of the same name, and when the tide is low, a band of sand connects the mainland to the tiny island.

You won't find much on Playa el Requeson in the way of services. Instead, you'll find thatched palapa lean-tos, where beachgoers can set up for the day with their coolers and towels. The water is so calm and warm it almost feels like you're on Mexico's Caribbean coast.

3. Bahia de San Gabriel

Bahia de San Gabriel
Bahia de San Gabriel | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Tucked in one of the many mountain-ridged coves of Espiritu Santo, Bahia San Gabriel is a crescent of sugary sand, backed by crystal-clear turquoise water. Once a hotbed of pearl diving, here you can still find oyster shells the size of the palm of your hand littered along the beach.

The only way to get to the beach is with a boat, whether you take your own or hire a guide. This keeps it from being overrun with tourists and, depending on the day, you may have the entire beach to yourself. It's a popular stop for tour groups, though, so keep that in mind.

Bahia San Gabriel is also one of the best spots for snorkeling or diving along Isla Espiritu Santo, with a carpet of reef just beneath the water's surface, which is teeming with tropical fish, like puffer fish, damselfish, angelfish, and many, many others.

4. Playa El Chileno

Playa El Chileno
Playa El Chileno

Los Cabos proper is not exactly known for its swimmable beaches. The extreme surf and rip tides make many of the beautiful beaches unsafe for swimming. But Playa Chileno is one of the few beaches in Los Cabos that is not only safe for swimming, but ideal for it. It's one of Mexico's Blue Flag beaches, known for its beauty and cleanliness.

Located along the tourist corridor, the beautiful beach features a long stretch of golden sand and views of rocky outcrops, which is what keeps it so protected and safe. It also happens to be home to some of the area's most luxurious resorts.

Snorkeling is one of the best things you can do along the beach. Visitors can camp out at one of the many palapas that line the beach, too. Among the other amenities are restrooms, showers, and a paved parking lot.

5. Playa Los Cerritos

Playa Los Cerritos
Playa Los Cerritos

If you're visiting the bohemian village of Todos Santos, you will likely be making a stop at Playa Los Cerritos. Located just south of Todos Santos in the town of El Pescadero, this beach is famous for its wide stretch of sand, gentle waves for beginner surfers and swimmers, and whales.

Despite being renowned for its beauty and safe conditions, you'll rarely find this beach to be crowded. That's one of the reasons that makes one of the best surf spots in Mexico for beginner surfers. It's easy to rent a surfboard along the beach, and you'll find plenty of opportunities to take a surf lesson, too.

Some of the best sunsets can be caught right from the shore here. It's a different kind of energy at this beach, far away from the development and energy of Los Cabos, which is just an hour away.

6. Playa Santispac

Playa Santispac
Playa Santispac | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Beach lovers could make an entire trip out of Bahia Concepcion alone. The expansive bowl of turquoise-colored water is flecked with thumbnail-sized beaches that are among the most beautiful in the world.

Continuing on from Playa Requeson, you'll then discover Playa Santispac. Just off the main highway, down a rocky road, you'll see a collection of thatched palapas that line a small stretch of powder-white beach. The calm water and sugary sand is often a draw for RV campers and day trippers looking to chill out underneath a shady palapa or kick off with a kayak into the bay.

A few basic food options are available, as well as bathrooms and showers. It's a simple spot in terms of services, but the views are simply out of this world.

7. Playa Santa Maria

Playa Santa Maria
Playa Santa Maria

Just a hop over from Bahia Chileno in Los Cabos is Playa Santa Maria. One of the rare swimmable beaches in the region, Playa Santa Maria is protected from the crashing waves by rocky outcrops and a reef just offshore.

This spectacular little bay is a paradise for sunbathers, snorkelers, and swimmers. It's also a popular spot for boat day tours to take their passengers for a dip in the water – so keep that in mind during the busy season.

8. Playa del Amor

Playa del Amor
Playa del Amor

Tucked next to the iconic El Arco rock monument in Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Amor is one of the most popular beaches in Baja California. This swimmable beach is worthy of the photo op, for sure.

The beach is only accessible by boat, though, so it does take a little extra legwork to get here. If you're taking a boat tour from the marina, you will almost always be sure to stop at the arch so that you can have a look at the beach.

Just be careful not to cross over to the beach on the opposite side. Called Playa Divorcio, this beach is known for its dangerous surf and strong riptides.

9. Playa El Medano

Playa El Medano
Playa El Medano

If Los Cabos has one beach that is known above all others, it's Playa El Medano. The main swimming beach right downtown, this beach is all about energy. It's lined with beach restaurants, vendors, and spots to rent motorized water sports equipment.

The main beach area is usually teeming with people, but if you head to either end of the beach – which is nearly two miles long – things tend to thin out and calm down.

10. Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park

Aerial view of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park
Aerial view of Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park

Sixty miles north of Los Cabos is one of the most rugged, wild, and beautiful stretches of Baja California. Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park is a protected area that stretches along the eastern cape from Pulmo Point to Los Frailes.

The stunning natural area has pristine desert, jagged mountains, and, of course, spectacular beaches. The beaches of Cabo Pulmo are known for stellar diving opportunities, thanks to one of three living reefs in North America.

One of the best beaches in Cabo Pulmo is Playa Los Arbolitos, which is particularly popular for snorkeling. They have a few facilities, like toilets and showers, plus the wildlife offshore is dazzling.

11. Playa San Felipe

Playa San Felipe
Playa San Felipe | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Way up north, close to the U.S. border, is the beach town of San Felipe. A popular destination for Mexican travelers, and U.S. and Canadian expats, San Felipe is an energetic destination that springs up on the Sea of Cortez shoreline, surrounded otherwise by deserts and mountains.

Most people come to San Felipe for fishing, motorsports, and, of course, the beach. The seashore that rims San Felipe is a sprawling stretch of fluffy golden sand that is always humming with sunbathers, live music, and beachfront restaurants slinging delicious fish tacos.

The most popular beach in San Felipe is by the Malecon, and is one of the best spots to sprawl out on a towel or take a dip in the warm, blue water.

12. Costa Azul

Costa Azul, San Jose del Cabo
Costa Azul, San Jose del Cabo | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Perhaps the most beautiful beach in San Jose del Cabo, the Costa Azul is a long, wide stretch of gorgeous sand, with mountain views and crashing blue waves. The Costa Azul is the hotel zone of San Jose del Cabo, with a handful of beachfront resorts, restaurants, and small boutique shopping.

This is the premiere beach to visit when staying in San Jose del Cabo, and you'll find a mixture of residents, hotel guests, and visitors all sprawled out along the sand or filling up the beachfront restaurants.

Surfers love this beach, particularly for the expert-level reef that sits offshore. The beach has two other breaks, as well. But even if you're not a surfer, you'll still find plenty of beauty and things to do along the Costa Azul.

13. Los Barriles

Los Barriles
Los Barriles | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Tucked up along the East Cape, past Cabo Pulmo, Los Barriles is a Sea of Cortez-facing village with miles of beautiful beaches. The small town is lovely, with charming homes and streets that pop with the colors from bougainvillea blossoms. At the other end of the town, opposite the highway entrance, is the sweeping Las Palmas Bay and its beaches.

The main activity for visitors to Los Barriles is windsurfing and sailboarding, particularly between March and December when the winds are just right. Sportfishing is another popular activity for visitors to Los Barriles.

The best way to explore Los Barriles and its beaches is to rent a quad, which can get you up and down the beaches, as well as up into the hills, where you can cross over into more remote beaches that are not as easy to access.

14. Playa El Tecolote

Playa El Tecolote
Playa El Tecolote

Not far from Playa Balandra, Playa El Tecolote is a second stunner of a beach outside La Paz. Many residents of La Paz actually prefer Playa El Tecolote because it receives far fewer tourists than Playa Balandra and has equally spectacular water and sand.

Unlike Playa Balandra, Playa El Tecolote has a few facilities, though they are certainly rustic. You'll find a few palapa-topped beach restaurants, spots to rent snorkel equipment, and plenty of people waterskiing and windsurfing.

15. Playa Armenta

Playa Armenta
Playa Armenta | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

One of the many magical beaches along Bahia Concepcion, Playa Armenta is a small sliver of shockingly white sand within a turquoise-colored cove. A collection of palm-covered palapas sit atop the tiny beach. These offer the best views in the house from which to gaze out at the endless shades of blue and red rocky mountains that undulate in the distance.

16. Playa Las Gaviotas

Playa Las Gaviotas
Playa Las Gaviotas | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

On the way to Playa Balandra and Playa El Tecolote, you will pass the beautiful, and quiet, Playa Las Gaviotas. Much smaller than both Balandra and Tecolote, Playa Las Gaviotas is a deserted virgin beach known for its golden sand, calm surf, and beautiful snorkeling.

The best way to reach the beach is by boat; it's less than a 30-minute boat ride from the marina in La Paz. The landscape, though, will make you feel like you're another world away, with its rocky red hills, crystal-clear water, and absence of any development.

17. Playa Blanca

Playa Blanca
Playa Blanca | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

Playa Blanca is a quiet stretch of beach at the northernmost point of Rosarito. It's the beachfront that is directly in front of the Playa Blanca oceanfront community, with lovely condominiums and a smattering of restaurants.

The beach has wonderful surf, soft white sand, and is one of the best spots in Rosarito to catch the sunset. It's far less crowded than the other beaches in Rosarito, which makes it a relaxing option for travelers who want a little peace and quiet.

Read More: Top Things to Do in Rosarito

18. Playa Puerto Nuevo

Playa Puerto Nuevo
Playa Puerto Nuevo | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

The small fishing village of Puerto Nuevo sits just south of Rosarito. Known for its fabulous restaurants and striking ocean views, Puerto Nuevo is part of what is known as the Gold Coast of Baja California.

The tiny village has more than 30 different restaurants serving the regional cuisine of Baja California. Many of the ingredients come directly from the sea that crashes in front of the village.

The beach in Puerto Nuevo, while narrow, is absolutely stunning, overlooked by the Paseo Del Mar. You'll have some of the best uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the mountains that rise behind you to the east.

19. Bahia Danzantes

Bahia Danzantes
Bahia Danzantes | Photo Copyright: Meagan Drillinger

About 40 minutes south of the village of Loreto is the small community called Bahia Danzantes. Home to a golf course and a luxury resort, the small bayfront community within the Sea of Cortez has some of the most spectacular scenery around – including beaches.

The beaches here are surrounded by jagged mountains that overlook some of the rugged, undeveloped islands offshore. The bay itself is relatively shallow, and travelers can walk out a considerable distance before the water begins to rise above the waist. Snorkeling here is one of the most popular activities, as is swimming and stand up paddleboarding, thanks to the calm, protected nature of the bay.