Located about an hour’s drive from either La Paz or Cabo, Todos Santos was our kind of Mexican experience. Friendly people, live music and dancing in the town square and most importantly – small and safe. The sleepy town has about 5,000 residents with a dozen or so galleries of local and expat artists. And it’s magical – literally. It is one of the few “Pueblo Magicos” or Magic Towns in Baja, designated by the Mexican government for its historical relevance. Here’s our Todos Santos Travel Guide:
Where to Eat & Drink
Guaycura Restaurant – A young chef from Veracruz, Alejandro Sanchez, is at the helm of the boutique hotel’s restaurant. We had the best meal of our stay in Todos Santos Mexico here. In the Mediterranean-style courtyard patio, we opted for the chef’s choice five-course tasting menu. What a beautiful feast!
La Casitas – Not only is this a local favorite for global cuisine, from sushi to BBQ ribs, La Casitas’ martinis are Todos Santos’ most innovative. Chef Sergio Rivera and his team serve up creative sips like the pomegranate or pineapple-basil martini. And there is always some new cocktail concoction to try out.
Bob Marlin Catch & Release – This is the quintessential neighborhood bar where you can meet both locals and expats of all varieties from hippies with dreadlocks to friendly ex-cons. Music and dancing abounds in the open-air palapa hut. And no doubt, copious amounts of tequila flow freely.
Hacienda Cerritos – After a day of surf and sun on Cerritos Beach, head to the luxury hotel on the hill for a sunset cocktail. The poolside bar offers 180-degree Pacific Ocean views. Make sure you carry full insurance on your rental car as the road to Hacienda Cerritos are not paved.
Art & Beer – Stop here on your way into to Todos Santos from Cabo. Look for the palapa hut peppered with funky art. Despite its name, opt for a fresh piña colada at Art & Beer served in a pineapple shell or their three-citrus margarita served in a giant beer mug. Be forewarned, they only take cash, bring more than you think you’ll need. Lindsay got stranded here as Lanee had to go look for the nearest ATM.
After 3 ATM attempts and an hour later, Lindsay was rescued as Lanee paid the remaining $9. And even though the husband-wife owners will come around with a pitcher to refill your piña colada without asking if you want more, they are not free. Art & Beer’s ceviche is not to be missed.
Hotel California – Rumor has it, this is where the Eagles wrote their song Hotel California. Whether it’s true or not, Hotel California is a great place to check out the über-talented local music scene.Reggae, jazz and rock bands play on weekends here. Hotel California is also the heart of the Todos Santos Music Fest created by REM’s Peter Buck. The music fest is held during the second week of January annually.
Where to Play
Art Gallery Touring – There are over a dozen art galleries showcasing local artist’s work, from pottery to photography to painting. Both Lanee and Lindsay fell in love with Arturo Mendoza Elfeo‘s paintings depicting faceless couples in surreal landscapes.
Surfing at San Pedrito (or at least watching it) – Unless you are a pro surfer you probably won’t be surfing this beach. The breaks are treacherous plus there’s a rocky bottom, no bueno for a beginning surfer. However, it is a nice beach to sit and relax on while admiring others, with much better surfing skills, take to the waves.
Secluded Beach Picnic at Las Palmas – This secluded beach is great for sunning, swimming or doing a little yoga. There are rip tides in the area and swimming is safest in the middle of the beach. This beach is open from 6am to 9pm daily. Be sure to lock your car, leaving no valuables inside. It is a very remote place.
Shopping – Silver jewelery, Mexican pottery, handmade blankets, hammocks and tequila liqueur are all great things to pick up for souvenirs. And the shops are centrally located on the main street. Lindsay picked up a sweet blanket she has on her couch now and even chatted with the craftswoman who made it.
Where to Stay
Hotel Guaycura – Our rooms in this quaint boutique stay, located right in the middle of Todos Santos, were outfitted with fuchsia pink pillows and sofas, large windows to let in the fresh Pacific Ocean air, a colorful balcony and gigantic copper bathtub. Don’t miss a watching the sunset at Guaycura (pronounced Y-Koo-RA) Hotel’s rooftop bar, Sky Bar, while sipping on a cucumber margarita. Also, spa treatments are available at their Guaycura Aena Spa. No sauna or jacuzzi extras, but the candle room where we received massages was the perfect way to end our stay in Todos Santos.
Where to be Inspired
Tortugueros Playitas – Every year at sunset during the months of November-January, this non-profit organization releases baby turtles into the sea. Hatchling releases are open to the public and free of charge
Fly into La Paz or Cabo, Baja. Alaska Airlines has direct flights from LAX, otherwise, if you’re flying from the east coast, you’ll have to transfer in Mexico City. Unless you planning on just staying put in the town of Todos Santos, rent a car and head about an hour either north or south to Todos Santos, depending on which city you fly into.