THE NAME OF the quaint Baja village rolls off the tongue with mellifluous Spanish grace. And like its name, Todos Santos has a graceful, easy pace that has made this Pacific-facing town one of the must-see destinations of 2016, according to The New York Times.
Founded in 1723 with the establishment of the mission Santa Rosa de las Palmas, Todos Santos evolved into a thriving sugar-producing town in the 19th century. The industry brought prosperity to the region and especially to the local sugar barons.
Sugar has long since disappeared here, leaving only crumbling industrial relics and colonial-era brick buildings and a local economy based on fishing and farming. But after a period of decline, Todos Santos has risen again and has quietly become a popular destination for travelers visiting the tip of the scenic Baja peninsula.
With surf-perfect beaches and cobbled side streets lined with galleries and fine restaurants, this colorful “pueblo mágico” seduces day-trippers from Los Cabos and overnighters seeking to explore its many charms and to enjoy a taste of the old Baja Sur way of life.
If You Go
Todos Santos is a 50-mile drive northwest of Cabo San Lucas on Highway 19. It takes about 90 minutes to drive there once you get out of Cabo.
• Todos Santos has long been on the radar of the surfing community, and with good reason: experienced surfers can find a variety of excellent breaks, all within a half hour’s drive of town. Check out the waves at La Pastora, Los Cerritos and San Pedrito. Caution: 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 surfer or a swimmer, Los Cerritos Beach usually has the safest conditions.
• Eco-tourism specialists Todos Santos Eco Adventures offers a broad range of outings and activities, including hiking, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, horseback riding, surfing (including a women’s surf camp), snorkeling and cooking. The company’s horseback rides are a great way to experience the traditional ranchero culture of Baja. tosea.net
• Guaycura is an artfully appointed boutique hotel in the historic center of town. Walk to shops, galleries, bars, and myriad restaurants within seconds of leaving the elegant lobby. Use of the property’s El Faro Beach Club and Spa is included with all stays, and the rooftop Sky Bar is an oh-so-chill place for evening relaxation and sunset-watching with a view of the town. The hotel’s excellent oceanfront restaurant, El Mirador, is just a short drive away. guaycura.com
• On the same street as Guaycura, the Todos Santos Inn occupies a lovingly restored, former 19th-century home of a sugar baron. The property features lush gardens and a restaurant, and each of the eight rooms is outfitted with Spanish tile and antique furniture. todossantosinn.com
• Owned by two Swiss expats, boutique hotel Posada La Poza offers eight guest rooms on La Posada beach. It also features the fine El Gusto restaurant, an outdoor spa and saltwater swimming pool and a Jacuzzi as well as numerous outdoor activities such as bird-watching in a wildlife sanctuary around a freshwater lagoon. lapoza.com
• At La Casita, popular for seafood and sushi, the coconut shrimp, scallops and seared tuna are standouts. lacasitatapaswinebar.com
• Tequila’s Sunrise is the perfect spot for getting your margarita on. Located within stumbling distance of the infamous Hotel California, this casual spot attracts lively nighttime crowds. Ask for the Damiana margarita, made with a local herb liqueur known for its aphrodisiac qualities.
• La Esquina (the Corner) is an artistic and musical refuge for expats and the surfer crowd, who hang out and compare notes over fine coffee and casual Mexican meals. Check out its weekly farmers’ market for interesting crafts and products created mostly by members of the expat community. laesquinats.com
Check out the gallery below for all the photos of Todos Santos.