Spiritual magic abounds in the charming town of Todos Santos on the Pacific Coast of Mexico’s Baja California Sur. Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, the sleepy surf town is just a 45-minute drive north from the tourist hotspot of Cabo San Lucas and provides a tranquil escape for travellers who are looking for a more peaceful holiday south of the border.
In 2006, the Mexican government designated Todos Santos a ‘Pueblo Mágico’ (magical village), recognized for its cultural significance and natural beauty. Today, the eclectic town is attracting more tourists than ever before, and yet it still maintains an easy-going air with an artistic soul. Read on to learn more about what to see and do and where to stay in this truly enchanting coastal village.
What to Do
Todos Santos is best explored on foot without much of an agenda. Get lost as you wander among the winding cobblestoned streets and stumble upon colourful flags, beautiful tapestries and sun-speckled buildings. The storefronts and Old-World architecture are a visual treat for professional photographers and Instagram influencers alike—there’s a true world of wonders to discover once you step inside the artisan-run shops and galleries. Beyond traditional Zapotec rugs and strings of brightly coloured pompoms, you’ll find bohemian chic jewellery, home accessories and lifestyle items at Nomad Chic, vibrant and funky vintage apparel at Mixtica, plus swimwear, long boards and other sporty goods at La Katrina Surf and Skate Shop. Art lovers will appreciate the dreamy landscape paintings and sculptures on display at Galeria de Todos Santos, while fans of abstract and impressionist art should stop in to painter Jill Logan’s eponymous gallery to admire her vibrant aesthetic.
Once you’ve explored the town, hop in the car and drive just 10 minutes south to the sandy beach at Playa Los Cerritos, which is a great spot to lounge in the sun or catch some surf. With gentle waves that are accessible for expert riders and newbies alike, this beloved stretch of sand is a go-to for locals and visitors. Beginners can rent boards and book private or group lessons from the beach’s reputable Mario Surf School, which also offers kayak tours, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) lessons and guided tours. Most agree that Los Cerritos is also the best beach for swimming, surfing, and snorkeling, and it offers the added convenience of an outdoor beach club with on-site bathrooms, outdoor showers and a full-service restaurant.
If you’re looking for even more outdoor adventures, book a daytrip through Todos Santos Eco Adventures. The tour group specializes in a variety of epic outings including hiking the Sierra La Laguna biosphere reserve, getting in touch with Baja’s ranchero culture while horseback riding, and whale watching in the sparkling lagoons of Magdalena Bay.
What to Eat & Drink
Casual beach shacks hawking Baja fish tacos, tacos al pastor and classic Mexican snack foods are a must when visiting the Baja region, especially in Todos Santos where the eateries skew more authentic than your standard tourist trap.
Start your day at Baja Beans, tucked away down a dirt road in the tiny town of Pescadero just south of Todos Santos. Here, baristas prepare artisanal espresso drinks using meticulously small-batch roasted beans, with a menu featuring gourmet brunch items, pastries and baked goods.
For something a little heartier, visit Miguel’s, a modest palapa-style restaurant serving comfort food favourites. Chile rellenos (stuffed chiles) filled with lobster, shrimp, cheese and veggies are a signature dish here, though you’ll also find tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and hearty plates of crowd-pleasing fare. If you’d prefer something a little more refined, take a seat on the al-fresco patio at Los Adobes overlooking the restaurant’s exquisitely landscaped desert garden dotted with candles, cacti and beautiful paved pathways. This classic Mexican eatery is a slightly more polished option while still offering a laid-back vibe and delectable south-of-the-border dishes.
If you want to partake in a cocktail, pop into the Hotel California and sip on a signature margarita in the outdoor courtyard surrounded by colourful decorations and greenery. While this isn’t the Hotel California that inspired the classic 1977 hit by The Eagles, the historic 16-room hotel does indeed have a storied past and an on-site jewellery boutique that’s well worth a browse before or after Happy Hour.
Where to Stay
Want to splurge on a truly luxurious stay in Todos Santos? Book a night or two at the recently opened Hotel San Cristóbal. A sparkling jewel on the beach at Punta Lobos just a short drive from the centre of town, this Instagram-worthy boutique hotel offers superior service, eye-catching design details and photogenic vignettes around every corner. The 32-room property’s minimalist white-washed backdrop is accented by vibrant tiled floors, colourful cacti and an inviting turquoise pool. For on-site dining, the hip hotel’s beachfront restaurant Benno boasts a menu of fresh, seasonal flavours and contemporary Mexican-meets-Mediterranean cuisine.
For something a little more affordable but equally special, check in at the Todos Santos Inn, a historic hacienda built back in 1870. Intimate and romantic, the eight-room hideaway was once a sugar baron’s sprawling estate and has been sensitively restored in recent years to preserve its unique 19th-century architecture. Sun-bleached murals, antique furnishings and a lush garden courtyard add to the Old-World charm. The Inn is ideally located in the centre of town with many shops and restaurants within walking distance, making it a great home-base for those visiting without a car.
From mouth-watering eats to epic hikes, swoon-worthy hotels and never-ending views of the Pacific, be sure to visit Todos Santos on your next visit to the Baja California Sur!