The area of Balandra consists of nearly 450 hectares and includes two mangrove wetlands: Balandra and El Merito, creating the largest mangrove community in La Paz Bay. (CONANP – 5). In 2008, Ramsar, the International Convention for the Conservation and Responsible use of Wetlands, listed the site as a wetland of international importance. Mexico soon followed suit and named the site a national protected area in 2012 (CONANP – 5). Balandra stands out for its beauty and ecological importance, but also for its cultural significance as an area locals use and depend upon for recreation and traditional fishing.
The area of Balandra is made of crystal-clear lagoons surrounded by red, white, and black mangroves (Rhizophora mangle, Laguncularia racemose, and Avicennia germinans) (CONANP – 5). The desert and high hills meet the mangrove edge, or plunge as rocky cliffs into the deep waters. Coral grows and provides food and protection to several species of fish and invertebrate. Sea grasses also give food and protection. Migratory and resident birds find safety in the mangroves and a healthy supply of food in the surrounding area.
Balandra is home to the famous geological formation known as Hongo Rock, or Mushroom Rock. Over the high sand dunes, to the right of the entrance, El Hongo stands in full view. Located twenty-minutes from La Paz, Balandra’s white sand beach becomes busy with locals every Sunday as culture and environment mix.