Two scenic bays southeast of La Paz—Bahía de la Ventana  and Bahía de los Muertos —are joined to the city via paved BCS 286, which departs Mexico 1 at Km. 211 and extends 43 kilometers to the farming town of San Juan de los Planes.
In between, the peaks of the Sierra de la Laguna range rise to more than 1,200 meters. (The mountains here are also called the Sierra de las Cruces on the north side of the highway and the Sierra el Novillo and Sierra la Trinchera on the south side.) The descent affords stunning views of the sea and Isla Cerralvo just 16 kilometers (10 miles) offshore.
Combine the culture and history of La Paz  with a more rustic outdoor experience along one of these bays and you have a near-perfect Baja itinerary.
Less than 16 kilometers offshore from Bahía de la Ventana is Isla Cerralvo, one of the largest islands in the gulf and once a key destination in the historic pearl-oyster trade. Few travelers make their way out to this island because it is a long boat ride from the charters in La Paz, but it has several good dive and sportfishing sites around its shores.
Scuba divers can explore rock reefs, coves, and wrecks. Presently, Palapas Ventana (www.palapasvenana.com ) is the only PADI-certified dive operation in La Ventana.
Los Planes, as this agricultural town is usually called, has several markets, a café, dulcería, tortillería, taxi stand, and around 1,500 inhabitants who make a living growing cotton, tomatoes, beans, and corn, or by fishing the nearby bays. There is a Pemex station where the road from San Antonio joins BCS 286. During the windy season, dust blowing from cultivated fields on either side of the highway can cause a complete whiteout.
Once you leave the main drag in Los Planes, there is little in the way of commercial businesses until you reach Restaurant 1535 on Bahía de los Muertos.
About four kilometers before you reach Los Muertos, a smaller dirt road heads northeast to Punta Arenas de la Ventana (8 km), the site of an abandoned hotel and a good spot for snorkeling and fishing. Roosterfish are said to be unusually large here.
You might be able to hire a panguero from the beach next to the former Las Arenas Resort for US$60–85 per day. Just south of the resort, snorkelers can explore the reef off Punta Perico (Parakeet Point).
Most people reach La Ventana  and Los Muertos  by car from La Paz . It takes about 35 minutes to get to La Ventana from downtown La Paz and about 45 minutes from the airport. Once on BCS 286, look for the La Ventana turnoff at Km. 38—it’s a paved road that branches northeast. Follow this road along the edge of the bay about eight kilometers to La Ventana and 11 kilometers to El Sargento.
Shuttles from La Paz to La Ventana cost around US$120 (US$350 from Los Cabos). Pubic transportation is an option, albeit a complicated one. It’s about a US$15 taxi from the airport to the La Ventana bus stop. From there, a bus leaves daily at 2 P.M. for US$5.
If you are on the East Cape  heading to Bahía de los Muertos, you have two options: Follow the 47-kilometer dirt road between Los Barriles  and Los Planes, or follow the Transpeninsular Highway north and use the now-paved connector between Mexico 1 and BCS 286.
The dirt road begins with a relatively smooth ride, but after El Cardonal (13 km. into the drive), the road narrows and ascends into the sierra, where the going gets pretty rough. You don’t need four-wheel drive, but this is not a drive for those prone to vertigo or anyone in a hurry. Many of the curves have steep drop-offs, and you’ll have to take it slow.
If you are coming from the south on Mexico 1, a paved route connects BCS 286 and Los Planes to the town of San Antonio. This road is straight and flat, and its east end begins on BCS 286 about 3.5 kilometers south of the turnoff for La Ventana and El Sargento. The road is not marked when approaching the turnoff from northbound Mexico 1. Look for a few handmade signs pointing the way to kiteboarding schools.
The private Aeromar las Arenas airfield offers tie-down service and 24-hour security for guests of the Bay of Dreams resort. Currently 1,500 meters long, the strip will be expanded to nearly 2,000 meters in the future. Current flights must clear customs and immigration in La Paz , Loreto , or Los Cabos ; however, the resort is working to get on-site customs and immigration, which would allow direct service from the United States.