The Pueblos Mágicos of Baja California

Although we think that every part of Baja is magical for it’s own special reason, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism has put together an official list of Pueblos Mágicos (Magical Towns) that offer visitors a “magical” experience – by reason of natural beauty, cultural riches or historical relevance. The Baja peninsula is home to three of these Pueblos Mágicos: Tecate, Loreto and Todos Santos. With all of the old-world charisma and natural beauty these cities offer, it’s not hard to see why they’ve been designated for their magical charm.


Tecate, Baja - pueblo magico -


Located just across the border from the U.S., Tecate is a beautiful gateway to Baja that makes for an easy weekend or day trip. But Tecate isn’t your typical border town. Instead of touristy souvenir shops and a seedy downtown area that people have come to expect from border towns, Tecate is full of colonial architecture surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. It’s a visit deep into the heart of “real” Mexico without having to travel more than an hour from downtown San Diego.

What to Do

-Take a free tour of the Tecate brewery where you can learn how the beer is brewed and spend some time in the beer garden. You must call ahead to make a reservation and specify whether you would like a tour in Spanish or English. 011-52-665-654-9490

-Visit La Rumorosa, an area between Tecate and Mexicali where you’ll find giant rocks with incredible viewing points. La Rumorosa is also home to the Vallecitos cave paintings specifically “El Diablito” which is magically lit up over the winter solstice (Dec. 21-22).

 Where to Stay

-Situated on 3,000 acres, Rancho La Puerta has gardens, hiking trails, an organic farm, several pools and world-famous spas. With three health and beauty centers, the possibilities are endless for rejuvenation and relaxation.

-For a more affordable option, Estancia Inn offers clean and comfortable accommodations.

 What to Eat

-You can’t go to Tecate without visiting the famous panaderia (bakery), El Mejor Pan de Tecate, and trying the warm rolls and delicious pastries.

-Asao offers a fine dining experience of contemporary Mexican cuisine with local ingredients, complete with views of the Guadalupe Valley.

Loreto, Baja - pueblo magico -


Loreto is the oldest settlement in Baja. It is home to the first mission of all of California, which was established in 1697. With the quaint little town, the beautiful waters of the Sea of Cortez, and the Coronado islands right off shore, Loreto draws tourists who come to fish, dive, snorkel and relax.

What to Do

-Loreto is a great spot for fishing. Yellowtail, sailfish, marlin and dorado are just some of the catches you’ll find.

-The Coronado Islands, right off the coast of Loreto are a part of the largest marine natural reserve in Mexico. They’re a wonderful spot to take a boat out for the day to enjoy snorkeling or diving as sea life abounds and the waters are clear and beautiful.

-Catch up on your history and visit the Loreto mission, the oldest mission in all of California, established in 1697.

Where to Stay

-With a great location, wi-fi and poolside hammocks, you can’t go wrong staying at Cabanas de Loreto.

-Villa del Palmar is another option if you’re looking for a resort experience. Outside of town and right on the Sea of Cortez, the service and luxury rooms are worth the splurge.

What to Eat

-Orlando’s Mexican Cocina is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. With the casual atmosphere and great Mexican food, this is true Baja dining.

-Mita Gourmet is a little bar & grill right on the plaza with a variety of options and a friendly and accommodating staff. Chef Juan Carlos is happy to make custom dishes based on your preferences and requests.


Todos Santos, Baja - pueblo magico -


This little colonial artist town oozes the charm and charisma of an older, more traditional Mexico. The beautiful, vast beaches right outside town attract surfers who enjoy the relatively uncrowded waves. Todos Santos is unspoiled Baja at its best.

What to Do

-Take a stroll through the colonial downtown and wander into shops and art galleries. There are a number of galleries in town that showcase the works of the many talented local Mexican and ex-pat artists. You can wander through the quaint streets of downtown Todos Santos to find most of them.

-The Leatherback turtles that once lived in the Cabo San Lucas area have been pushed out by the big resorts and crowds and sought refuge in Todos Santos.  Join a nightly patrol to help rehabilitate them with Leatherback Turtle Restoration.

Where to Stay

-Rancho Pescadero, seven miles south of Todos Santos, is a magical luxury boutique hotel with a beachfront location.

-The Todos Santos Inn is conveniently located in the center of town and as the only historic hacienda hotel in Todos Santos, has a charming colonial feel.

What to Eat

-While you wouldn’t normally think of going for Italian while in Baja, you won’t be disappointed by Café Santa Fe. It’s worth every peso for the atmosphere and the savory lobster ravioli.


Driving to Baja? Don’t forget your Mexican auto insurance! Discover Baja has the best rates and the highest-quality insurance. We’re also the only source in the U.S. for prepaid FMM tourist permits. Visit or call 800-727-2252 for more information. 

2 thoughts on “The Pueblos Mágicos of Baja California

  1. Connie Beck says:

    Can you tell me what the wait times are like at the border in Tecate? Best days and times to come back?

    1. Discover Baja says:

      Generally midweek is better. You can find the current Tecate border wait times at the CBP link here:

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