The quiet coastal town of Todos Santos lies about an hour's drive northwest from Cabo San Lucas. Over the years, this state-designated "pueblo magico" has quietly gained a reputation as a hip tourist destination, surf spot, and yoga and meditation retreat for visiting sun-and-solace seekers.
With its numerous art galleries housed in colorful colonial-era buildings, open-air cafes, farmers markets, fish taco eateries, and laid-back pace, Todos Santos retains the authentic country charm and relaxed lifestyle of the old Baja Sur. No wonder The New York Times placed it 23rd out of the top 52 places to visit in 2016.
A church founded in 1723 is the stately centerpiece of this quaint Mexican pueblo, and remnants of Todos Santos' 19th-century heyday as a thriving sugar growing region are still seen in the occasional abandoned sugar-processing machinery, restored colonial-era homes, and crumbling brick chimney spotted around town. Today, Todos Santos offers a sweet blend of tourism, fishing, and farming (chili peppers, avocados, papayas, mangoes, and more organic produce thrive here). The town's upscale boutique hotels are the perfect base for exploring the town's abundance of art galleries and cultural attractions. Outside of town, you can follow bumpy dirt roads through lush palm groves and scrubby desert to vast, nearly empty beaches.
Jump in, the water's great at Playa Los Cerritos. (MLS Todos Santos)
Horseback riding is a great way to experience the traditional ranchero culture of Baja Mexico. The guides of Todos Santos Eco Adventures will not only help you saddle up for a day exploring town on four legs, but can also help you fulfill your dream of whale watching, shark-spotting, or whatever other adventure captures your attention. The local guides are fonts of useful information. // tosea.net
For experienced surfers, Todos Santos has a variety of excellent breaks, all within a half hour's drive of town. These include the the waves at La Pastora, Los Cerritos, and San Pedrito. Be forewarned: The ocean is powerful and dangerous on the Pacific side of the Baja peninsula and strong undercurrents, swells and riptides abound. If you're a beginner swimmer, Los Cerritos Beach usually offers the safest conditions.
Grab a cup of coffee at La Esquina. (fairtradebikeride.com)
La Casita is one of the most popular seafood and sushi restaurants in Todos Santos. We recommend treating yourself to the coconut shrimp, scallops, and the seared tuna, but if you don't want to take our word for it, tell the waiter you want to order "freestyle" and let the chef decide what you'll be eating that meal. It's guaranteed to be delicious. Just don't forget a glass of the house sangria (the recipe is a family secret). // Calle Rangel, lacasitatapaswinebar.com
If margaritas are a priority (and we know they totally are) Tequila's Sunrise Bar and Grill is the perfect spot to get your drink on. Located within stumbling distance of the Hotel California, this casual, spot attracts lively nightly crowds of all ages. Ask for the Damiana margarita, made with a local herb liqueur— it's known for its aphrodisiac qualities. // Calle Benito Juárez 9
La Esquina is a local refuge for artists and musicians as well as expats and surfers to hang out and compare notes while enjoying fine coffee and casual Mexican meals. Check out their weekly Farmers Market for interesting crafts and products produced mostly by the expat community. // Calle Horizonte and Topete, laesquinats.com
The Guaycura hotel in Todos Santos. (Courtesy of The Guaycura)
Hotel Guaycura is a luxurious, artfully appointed boutique hotel in the historic center of town. The hotel is within walking distance of shops, bars, and a myriad of restaurants just seconds from the elegant lobby. Use of the El Faro Beach Club and Spa is included with all stays and the rooftop Sky Lounge Oasis View Tapas Bar is an amazing place for to sip a cocktail and enjoy the sunset over Todos Santos. The hotel also operates an excellent oceanfront restaurant, El Mirador, located a short drive from the hotel. // Calle Legaspi, guaycura.com
On the same street as the Guaycura, the Todos Santos Inn occupies the lovingly restored, 19th-century home of a local sugar baron. The property features lush gardens, brick and adobe walls, a delicious restaurant, and each of the eight rooms is elegantly appointed with Spanish tile and antique furniture. // Calle Legaspi 33, todossantosinn.com
Owned by two Swiss expats, Posada La Poza is an eight-room boutique hotel on La Posada beach. It features the fine El Gusto restaurant, an outdoor spa and saltwater swimming pool and jacuzzi, as well as numerous outdoor activities such as bird watching in a wildlife sanctuary around a fresh water lagoon. // Camino a La Poza 282, lapoza.com
Todos Santos' most infamous hotel, The Hotel California, has nothing to do with the iconic Eagles ballad of the same name. Regardless, it remains a vibrant local landmark in the heart of town. Its eleven suites are decorated with furniture and art from throughout the world. // Calle Benito Juárez, hotelcaliforniabaja.com