It’s no secret that Todos Santos is one of the chicest destinations on the Baja peninsula. Since ex-pat artists discovered the colonial town in the 1980s, Todos Santos has carried a sense of sophistication and an understated cool factor that eludes other parts of the peninsula. Todos Santos is one of Baja’s three pueblos mágicos (magic towns) that are so designated because of their cultural significance, natural beauty, cuisine, historical relevance, and hospitality.
Located just an hour outside of Cabo, Todos Santos is close enough to a major airport and modern conveniences, but is far enough away to have retained its quiet seclusion and charm. The town still observes “Baja midnight,” with things closing down by 9pm, but this town has a lot to offer with art galleries, live music, great restaurants, shopping, and beautiful beaches. To the south, the nearby beach community of Pescadero offers more hotel and restaurant options for the region. With winter as peak season, Todos Santos truly comes alive with the Tropic of Cancer Concert series in January, the art gallery Open Studio Tour in February, and a film festival in March.
Get your bearings by walking around the historic old town admiring the charming colonial architecture and checking out the plaza. There’s no shortage of good shopping at any of the artisanal Mexican shops scattered around town where you can pick up quality leather goods, talavera pottery, beautiful textiles, or hand-blown glassware. For more modern bohemian clothing options head to Nomad Chic or Étnica.
Enjoy lunch from one of Baja California’s top chefs, Javier Plascencia, at his outdoor eatery, Jazamango. The menu is comprised of dishes made of local ingredients and the extensive wine and craft beer list feature some of Baja’s best beverages. After lunch, head to the Todos Santos Brewing, the town’s only craft beer brewery, where there are dozens of their own beers on tap served in a fun and lively atmosphere.
Just before sunset, head out to Las Tunas beach where December through early spring you can help participate in a sea turtle hatchling release with non-profit organization Tortugueros Las Playitas. You’ll get to learn about the endangered animals and watch newly-hatched baby sea turtles toddle off into the ocean for the first time. Head back to town for an Italian dinner at the iconic Café Santa Fe, located right on the town plaza. Don’t miss the fish carpaccio and be sure to ask if they have the lobster ravioli (not always on the menu). For a nightcap, head to the classy saloon-style La Copa bar at the Todos Santos Inn.
Spend the morning catching some waves. Experienced surfers can go to La Pastora or San Pedrito beaches and beginner surfers should head down to Los Cerritos beach in Pescadero where they can take a lesson with Mario’s Surf School. After your surfing lesson, grab a cup of small-batch roasted coffee at the popular Baja Beans (if it’s Sunday morning, take some time to enjoy the market out front with music and local handicrafts).
Stay in Pescadero and head to outdoor farm-to-table eatery Hortaliza Hierbabuena where you’ll dine overlooking the organic garden, which produces most of the produce on the menu. The seasonal menu changes on a regular basis depending on what’s available in the garden. There’s also a small bar with a nice offering of craft cocktails.
Head somewhere to catch sunset cocktails. El Mirador restaurant provides sweeping beachfront views while rooftop bar, Sky Lounge, at Guaycura Hotel is right in town. Then head over to Tequila’s Sunrise for a traditional Mexican dinner in a fun and casual environment. Pin a dollar bill up on the wall and make sure to order one of their famous damiana margaritas!
Join the locals for breakfast at La Esquina where the ingredients are fresh and local and there are great options for vegetarians and vegans. Then head into town to spend the rest of the morning gallery hopping. As an artist town, there’s no shortage of galleries in Todos Santos. Some of the favorites include Jill Logan, Galeria Gabo, and Ezra Katz. For more modern prints, head to graphic art gallery La Sonrisa de la Muerte.
Take a cooking class at El Refugio. This mezcalería and restaurant focus on deeply traditional Mexican food from Oaxaca and Puebla and focus on the cuisine and culture of Mexico. Cooking classes are offered in a fun atmosphere and include lunch and mezcal.
Start your evening with dinner at Tre Galline where you’ll enjoy beautifully-crafted Italian dishes in a picturesque patio setting. Afterward, head to any of the numerous spots around town that feature live music on a regular basis such as the casual restaurant/bar La Morena or the garden mixology bar Jardín Alquimia.
WHERE TO STAY:
La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeño
This chic boutique hotel is perfectly situated right in the middle of town where you’ll get personal attention so that you can fully enjoy your Todos Santos experience (DBTC members receive a 10% discount).
Villa Santa Cruz
Located outside of town on beautiful La Pastora beach, Villa Santa Cruz is a true escape. Every detail has been curated for maximum enjoyment at this intimate beachfront villa.
The Vibe Boutique B&B
This bed & breakfast is located in town and offers clean and modern accommodations at a reasonable price.
For a quick weekend escape, most people fly into either the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) or into La Paz’s Manuel Marquez de Leon International Airport (LAP) as both are located about an hour’s drive away from Todos Santos. Those who are driving the peninsula should budget about 3-4 days to reach Todos Santos from San Diego.