Todos Santos is a Mexican town so tiny that could be easy to miss it while zipping up Highway 19 in Baja California Sur. But missing it would be totally missing out. Tucked on the Pacific coast just an hour drive north of Los Cabos, this sleepy beach town is a total gem.
With a mix of hippy expats who came for the surf and yoga scene and locals who couldn’t be more chill and welcoming, Todos Santos is a place you visit and immediately wonder why you hadn't visited sooner. And while the basic b*tch in us always wants to clock in a few days of surf and clubs down in Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos couldn't be more different from that scene. That's why our favorite way to visit the region is to do a trip with a bit of both places and get the sleepy slow town vibes of Todos to prepare (or recupe from) a few days of partying in Los Cabos.
Why Todos Santos?
Like so many other adorable small towns in Mexico (Sayulita, Loreto, Tequila), Todos Santos is Pueblo Magico (a program run by the Mexican government that celebrates and preserves histortically significant towns), which means the center has pristine cobblestone streets and plenty of Instagrammable corners.
The state of Baja California Sur is relatively unpopulated compared to other regions of Mexico but even by local standards the town of Todos Santos is teeny. Many tourists drive up the coast from Los Cabos come up for a day but we think it’s worth a long weekend all on its own.
Before You Go
Where to Stay
Luxe: Rancho Pescadero
The largest (in terms of land) of the properties listed here, Rancho Pescadero still is really intimate with fewer than 30 rooms. Technicially located south of Todos Santos a few miles in the town of Pescadero, it’s been around just under a decade and is so beloved by its guests that many return annyally. With two pools, a yoga studio, spa services, an onsite garden, and multiple restaurants, you could post up here for a few days and never leave!
Chic: Hotel San Cristobal
The newly opened Hotel San Cristobal is the latest hotel form one of our all-time favorite boutique hotel groups ever, Bunkhouse Group (we'd move into the Hotel Saint Cecilia if we could). Just down the road from Todos Santos, this hotel has everything you need (great breakfast, mezcal margaritas, a dip pool, an expensive but amazing gift shop) yet always feels like you have the place all to yourself (in a good way).
Affordable: La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeno
Situated in downtown Todos Santos, this teeny hotel (with just 6 rooms) is affordable but still chic with its whitewashed walls and boho decor. Being the middle of town means you can walk anywhere in a minute but also means you give up beachfront. However, the cute onsite pool and access to a nearby beach club more than make up for that.
What To Cook
Up and down the Baja California peninsula, there are all sort of surprises of dishes that hail from the area (margaritas! fish tacos!). Here are a few Baja-inspired dishes you can cook before you go and a few bonus Baja California recipes if you want some inspiration!
Once You're There
Must-Eat Baja California Sur Food
Yes, there isn't the same long culinary history in Baja California Sur that you have in other parts of Mexico, but you'd be missing out if you think that means there isn't any food culture. A mix of Mediterranean climate that makes for an A-plus growing region and some of the freshest seafood in the country, the whole peninsula has a lot of fresh, inspired food. Add to that the influence of the food culture in the North (in Baja California) and this region has come into its own. Here is a list of what to eat in Baja California and its a list that is just as valid down in Baja California Sur.
Where to Breakfast and Coffee
Pastries and Lattes: Taller 17
By far our favorite coffee shop in Todos Santos is the modern spot, Taller 17. It’s hard to decide between the chocolate or the espresso drinks but one things is for sure: do not pass up the homemade pastries!
Expat Coffee Spot: Baja Beans
The hippy expat vibes that put Todos Santos on the map for many Americans are alive and well at Baja Beans. Located south of Todos Santos in Pescadero (just down the road from Rancho Pescadero and Hierbabuena), this café has every sort of coffee drink from cold brew to almond milk lattes and plenty of savory and sweet pastries.
Frappes and Breakfast: Cafelix
This simple, small café in the heart of town has everything you need: well-made coffee, outdoor seating, and a solid breakfast.
Where to Casual Lunch
Baja Fish Tacos: Taqueria El Parguito
Considered the best fish tacos in the area, El Paraguito makes legit tacos with great tortillas, freshly-battered fish and all the fixins. They’re only open until 3PM so be sure to plan accordingly.
Cevecheria: El Compa Chava
Locals are often divided as to whether their favorite cevecheria in Todos Santos is El Compa Chava or Bahia. We suggest you go to both and decide for yourself; however, we’re partial to El Compa Chava because of its ceviche tostadas (order the crab, if they have it) and the “descondido” ceviche, which is made with the fresh catch of the day.
Where to Sitdown Lunch or Dinner
Celebrity Chef Joint: Jazamango
This recently opened restaurant is owned and run by esteemed Baja California (as in Tijuana) chef, Javier Plascencia. Rooted firmly in campestre (countryside)-style cooking, the food is farm-to-table, rustic, and yet well thoughtout and delicious. Don’t skip on the cocktails which are just as interesting as the food.
Farm-To-Table Chic: Hierbabuena
Located just down the road from Rancho Pescadero, this cafe represents the best of farm-to-table in the region, which is why it's a favorite with visitors and locals alike. When the weather is good (pretty much everyday), it’s a great spot to sit outside for a leisurely meal.
Sushi: Sushi Derek
Baja California is a region known for its fresh seafood (often eat raw as ceviches or aguachiles), it’s no wonder that seemingly every third restaurant is a sushi joint. This place serves creative rolls but really it’s the freshness of the fish that stands out.
Where to Shop
Boho Vibes: Nomad Chic
Yes, this is the same shop that we gushed on about in our Sonoma story and we like the Todos Santos outpost just as much. If you want some chic beach wear, this is where to head.
Handmade Mexican: Etnica
Some of the best handmade Mexican clothing we’ve seen in the region, Etnica carries clothing and leather goods that are made using traditional techniques yet are modern enough to feel fresh.
Baja Wine Shop: La Bodega
You know we love the emerging wine scene in Mexico but it’s not always easy to make it all the way to the Valle de Guadalupe wine region. If you’re in Todos Santos, you can stop in here to get a taste of Baja wines (oh, and they do tastings most Mondays and Wednesdays from 5-8PM).
Family-Run Business: Blankets Factory Justina
Not technically in Todos Santos but south of town a few miles on the ocean side of Highway 19, many of the blankets in this family-run spot are made on site. There are all sorts of tchotchkes you can buy here but we’re all about the thin woven blankets that put the give the best Turkish towels a run for their money.
Make Sure To...
Day Trip To Los Cabos
You could easily head south to Los Cabos for a day trip but we think the ideal trip is to do a few days in Todos Santos and then a few more down south in Los Cabos.
During the winter, Todos Santos is prime location for watching the migrating humpback whales. Speaking of you could also head to La Paz for the day to dive with Whale Sharks (which, to be clear, are sharks not whales) if you want a more adventurous experience.
Todos Santos first got on the map for Americans when people discovered the variety of breaks up and down the area. Los Cerritos beach is known for its waves but you can find a break for almost any level surfer up and down the coast.
The yoga scene is Todos Santos is serious and you can find classes everywhere from Rancho Pescadero to open classes beachside. We’re partial to Baja Zen yoga. Write them at email@example.com for class schedules.
More Baja California on Salt & Wind
Traveling throughout the rest of the Baja California peninsula? We've got you covered! Here are some more stories about the region on Salt & Wind:
- What To Eat In Baja California
- Baja California Food Lover's Road Trip
- Salt & Wind Baja California Group Trip
Published July 2017
P.S. If you liked this story, you'll probably like our newsletter too!