Baja Dreamland: Todos Santos Travel Journal
Finding that perfect balance of amenities and remoteness can be hard to do on vacation, especially if you aim to find it in one place. Todos Santos checks both those boxes and more.
After five days wandering the quiet gallery-lined streets, reading beachside while watching surfers lazily catch waves, and driving through desert landscapes with cacti as far as the eye can see, I reached my ultimate level of chill.
Todos Santos is on the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula, about an hour and a half north of Cabo San Lucas. I’ve heard it referred to as a smaller, quieter Tulum, but as I haven’t been there I couldn’t speak to the accuracy of that comparison. What I can say is that it’s a perfect spot for travelers who like a bit of in-town culture combined with the option to sit on a wonderfully natural beach and not talk to or barely even see more than five other people for hours.
The time of year we visited (mid May) likely played a part in this dreamland “it’s so perfect and yet no one is here” vibe. The high season for travel peaks in the winter and spring when several tour companies offer trips to snorkel with massive, docile whale sharks and go whale watching. During our stay, most shops, galleries and restaurants were open and we had them mostly to ourselves.
Praised in Mexico as an official Pueblo Magico (magic town), Todos Santos seems to truly appreciate the arts and artisan craft. I loved the hand-painted signs most shops displayed, as well as the plethora of galleries featuring a range of art from paintings to lithographs (Galleria Logan, La Sonrisa De La Muerte, and many more).
Mexican architecture is also one of my favorites. My husband and I explored Mexico City on our honeymoon and both that massive urban area and Todos Santos showed architectural appreciation for clean lines, bold colors and graphic influences mixed with plant life and open air spaces. I took a few pictures of my husband surfing, but exponentially more of bright walls with lush bougainvilleas, vines and cacti spilling over.
If you go (and you should!), here are some of my favorite places to see and things to do.
Todos Santos Travel Guide
La Bohemia Baja is the 200-year-old renovated bed and breakfast we called home for the week. The staff loves giving recommendations, and the daily breakfast was super good. On our last day they served an egg omelette with homemade mole sauce and cheese quesadilla and I cried a little tear knowing we had to leave.
There are a few good coffee spots in town, but we especially enjoyed Taller 17 for grab-and-go, Caffe Todos Santos and La Morena for their beautiful patio. I tend to hit peak coffee consumption on vacation and had at least three per day. At this point, I’m convinced that my health and coffee are so positively correlated that I can live past 100 if I just drink enough bean juice. It’s science, people.
As far as eats, ceviche and seafood rule the restaurant scene. I am a bit paranoid about getting sick on vacation, but I ate a good amount of ceviche and never felt better. Copa Cocina is nestled into a lush, plant-filled nook next to the Todos Santos Inn and serves fish and Italian cuisine. La Casita had a similar menu and open-air aesthetic with live music to boot. On the recommendation of our hotel, we got some of the best tacos we’ve had at a casual taco joint on Heroico Colegio Militar between Calle Obregon and Calle Ocampo. Our last meal of the trip was one of the best at a very literal farm-to-table restaurant in Pescadero called Hierbabuena. The open air restaurant is located on the farm where most of the vegetables they serve are grown.
Jardin Alquimia is a great spot for adventurous cocktail fans. Their menu is based on the four elements (earth, air, water, fire) and very experimental. Or for beer people, Todos Santos Brewing has a pretty extensive menu of beers they brew as well as regional guest beers. I liked the sour I had (Crazy Cat Lady it was aptly called), and the snacks and animal watching (they have a dog and cat that entertain guests) were top notch.
I recommend strolling the streets and popping into any shop that catches your eye. There are mezcal shops, home goods stores, local handmade crafts like pottery and rugs, leather shops, and the aforementioned art galleries.
Beach time is a must when on the Mexican coast, so we carved out a few hours each day for it. Cerritos Beach is the most popular spot for surfing, with waves for both more advanced and beginner levels. There are several locals who post up on the beach to rent boards and give lessons. There are also several people offering massages beach side, which I gladly indulged in and highly recommend (it’s hard to beat $15 for a 30-minute massage). Our hotel recommended grabbing fish tacos at Barracuda on the beach, but they were closed so we enjoyed a snack at the Freesouls rooftop lounge and pool instead. Hotel San Cristobal is a much buzzed about luxury addition to the area and although we didn’t check it out, it shares a beach with the El Faro Beach Club, where we spent our last day floating in the pool with a view of the ocean and sipping on cocktails. It doesn’t get much chiller than that.
There are a few things we heard of and weren’t able to do this time - Baja Beans Cafe and their weekend market, a whale shark snorkeling trip, El Refugio mezcal tasting - but I’m good with leaving those on my to do list. I could foresee another visit to Todos Santos when I’m in need of a good de-stressing.
Find all these spots on my Google Maps Todos Santos Travel Guide list.
Fly into Los Cabos (SJD) and either rent a car or take a shuttle to Todos Santos. We took a shuttle through EcoBajaTours (about $65 total for two people round trip), but found it would have been nice to have a car while there to drive ourselves around. Renting a car is especially helpful if you plan to day trip to La Paz or any surrounding areas.
Historic renovated bed and breakfast; friendly staff; bohemian vibes
Trendy modern boutique hotel; rooftop lounge
Historic colonial feel; upscale bar and restaurant
Modern minimalist boutique hotel
Vogue-praised luxury hotel; beachside; 15-ish minutes outside of town
On the outskirts of town; boho-modern affordable boutique hotel
On Cerritos Beach; 15-ish minutes outside town; younger surfer crowd
The menu at Hierbabuena
La Bohemia's pool and courtyard
A map of the Baja peninsula at La Bohemia, and my handsome husband
Cheesin' outside our hotel in my Orion Lariat Necklace
A pretty cocktail at Jardin Alquimia
Printing at La Sonrisa De La Muerte
La Bohemia's lush courtyard