Want an intimate cove beach that you have a great shot of having entirely to yourself? Getting to this beach takes a little bit of effort, but if you take that effort, you are guaranteed to be well rewarded!
It’s not very often that something can be described as a “virgin beach” in the age of Instagram, but shockingly this is it! Not only is this beach I disturbed, it’s also insanely beautiful. Just thinking about it still blows my mind.
Getting to this beach involves a 3 hour drive from Cabo to La Paz, and then another 35 minutes from there. Also, it is important to note the last two miles have to be hiked or driven on a bumpy dirt road.
Don’t let that deter you though. You have to find a way to make it here!
- El Saltito Beach Quick Info:
- Where is El Saltito Baja California Sur located?
- How To Get There
- The Last Two Miles: Expect a Bumpy Dirt Road
- Private Property, Free or Paid?
- Parking El Saltito Beach
- What to Expect at Playa El Saltito
- Playa El Saltito Crowds?
- Playa Saltito Swimming Conditions
- Playa Saltito Snorkeling
- Playa El Saltito Bioluminescence
- Camping Playa El Saltito
- What to Bring to the beach
- Quick Summary
- Where to stay in La Paz
El Saltito Beach Quick Info:
- Where: La Paz, Mexico, in the State of Baja Sur (basically bear the bottom of the Baja Peninsula – about 3 hours from Cabo
- Amenities: None, only nature
- Best for: Swimming, sun bathing, and snorkeling
- Available excursions: none directly at the beach but others available nearby
- Access: the last couple of miles are on a bumpy dirt road. We rented a 4wd, but we did see a bold visitor take a regular sedan to the beach
Where is El Saltito Baja California Sur located?
El Saltito Beach is about 12 miles from the city of La Paz, Mexico. That may seem relatively close, but the road there winds up and over mountains as well as through cactus fields. It’s a gorgeous drive but it isn’t super direct.
It will take you about 35 minutes to get there from La Paz. If you are coming directly from Cabo you should plan about 3 total hours, depending on traffic in and around La Paz.
How To Get There
The best way to get there is to rent a car (rent here for dirt cheap rates). Lots of people get overwhelmed at the thought of driving in Mexico, but you don’t need to. Baja Sur is a place that is quite easy to drive in!
Another option if you don’t have a car is to take a taxi, but this is going to create a number of other problems. You will have to set up a return pickup time ahead of time, and you will probably have to hike the last two miles in and out.
The Last Two Miles: Expect a Bumpy Dirt Road
The road is smooth and easy to follow, except for the last two miles. It turns into a one lane bumpy dirt road.
We rented a 4×4 to be prepared for this, but we did see a little 2wd Nissan safely complete the drive, they just went really slow. It only cost us an extra $8 per day to get the 4×4.
The only time I would be super worried about it is if it has just rained making it muddy!
Private Property, Free or Paid?
You have to go across private property to get to the beach. You will see a little “toll booth” at the start of the private property.
I’ve read that the owners charge each person about 30 pesos ($1.50 US) to enter, but the nice local man just waived us through for free when we pulled up. We tipped him a couple bucks as a thank you.
Regardless if they have you pay or not, access is cheap and very accepted. There are signs beyond the toll booth directing you to the beach.
Parking El Saltito Beach
The dirt road splits, but most of the paths lead directly to the shore where you can simply park on the side of the road just a few feet from the sand.
If you don’t want to drive down the dirt road, you can also park at the side of the road where the pavement ends. There is no charge to park in either location.
What to Expect at Playa El Saltito
You can expect this beach to look exactly like the pictures, if not better. The beach isn’t huge, but does go on for a couple hundred yards.
It is framed by rock cliffs on either side. The rock cliffs give it an intimate cove feel. There is an abandoned house at one end of the beach directly on the sand.
It has some of the clearest water I have ever seen (and I have explored a lot of the top Caribbean and Hawaiian beaches).
FYI – In case you were wondering, Virgin Islands has the clearest water I have ever seen.
Playa El Saltito Crowds?
We went on a weekend arriving about 10 am. We had the entire beach to ourselves for over 3 hours until two other couples showed up. We couldn’t believe that a place this gorgeous was not more popular.
Keep in mind that in the middle of the week it will be even easier to have it to yourself!
It is so exciting to have a stunning beach to yourself!
Playa Saltito Swimming Conditions
The water is clear, calm and shallow making it perfect for swimming. Just watch out for jellyfish! On the edges of the beach near the cliffs there are rocks in the water so watch your feet, but alone most of the shore it’s perfectly smooth and calm.
Playa Saltito Snorkeling
The rock cliffs at either end of the beach and rocks coming into the water attract tons of sea life. Snorkeling in these areas is great.
Of the two sides area in front of the abandoned house is the best for snorkeling since the water is calmer and there are more rocks and coral in the water.
Playa El Saltito Bioluminescence
This beach is one of the few places in Mexico where the water literally glows in the dark.
The bioluminescence is due to microorganisms in the water. It has to be a dark night to be seen, but if you can wait for the dark it’s supposed to be amazing.
Supposedly it’s even easier to see if you are snorkeling.
Camping Playa El Saltito
For the adventurous and rugged this beach is could be ideal if you are into camping directly on the sand.
Where to stay in La Paz
There are plenty of accommodation options in La Paz, that will suit any budget. To be honest, it’s more difficult to find an expensive hotel than it is a cheap one. If you are looking for luxury, many grand hotels also await. Explore all the top rated hotels in La Paz here.
For snorkeling – The La Concha Beach Hotel & Club is one of the best hotel picks for those who love easy access to snorkeling. The resort offers snorkeling, diving and canoeing tours. You can rent all your snorkeling great from the hotel! There is a reef you can access from either the beach or at The Cortez Club Dive Shop. Check prices here.
What to Bring to the beach
There are zero amenities and almost zero shade. Anything you might want for the day needs to be brought with you. Bring your drinks, towels (I recommend these travel towels), chairs, and snorkeling gear because there’s absolutely nothing on this secluded beach except sand and some medium sized bushes.
Most importantly, don’t forget umbrellas and sunblock, because there its hard to find shade.
- Water: Crystal clear turquoise water, calm, stays shallow far out, easy entry.
- Length: 500 meters (1,640 ft) so long.
- Sand: Golden sand
- Sea Bottom: Sand
- Swimming conditions: Great! Very calm
- Cover: Not a lot! Bring an umbrella if you want any shade, or be prepared to be a little ways away from the water where some of the tall bushes will provide shade.
The sun is relentless out here so be sure to protect yourself, and the reef, by using only reef safe sunscreen!
I also recommend wearing a long sleeve swimsuit or top like these ones from Skims. (I have 3 of them and wear them all the time! It is so nice to have that extra sun protection without having to constantly worry about reapplying sunscreen.)
Most Popular Tours in La Paz
- Whale Shark snorkeling tour in a reduced group with local marine biologist – book here
- 1 Day Espiritu Santo Island Wonders – Sea Lions and Paddleboard Adventure
- Balandra & Tecolote: hike, kayak and snorkel in paradise
- Morning horseback riding to the beach and breakfast!
Other nearby beaches worth checking out:
- Playa Muertitos
- Playa El Rosario
- Playa Puerta Cortes – hotel beach only accessible for hotel guests.
- Playa El Caimancito
- Playa El Coromuel
Conclusion: Is El Saltito worth visiting?
Absolutely, especially if you are looking to avoid the crowds! It is such a cool beach, and if you plan right it isn’t that difficult to access. Playa Balandra is the only other beach in the area that even on its level!