SMALL TOWN CHARM: WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN TODOS SANTOS, MEXICO
If I had to describe Todos Santos in one word, it would probably be: peaceful. This small coastal town in Baja California Sur has long been popular with artists, sunbathers, surfers and travelers.
Todos Santos itself has become synonymous with a laid-back lifestyle, which is hard to imagine considering the friendly locals, great food and beautiful beaches.
WHERE IS TODOS SANTOS?
The city was founded in the 18th century and became an important sugar cane plantation area. In recent decades, Todos Santos has become popular with artists who have opened galleries here.
Boutique hotels, restaurants and other shops soon followed and the town became one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Baja California Sur.
Did you know that the Mexican government has designated Todos Santos as a Pueblo Magico? The magical city received this recognition in 2006 for its natural beauty and cultural and historical significance.
The best way to get to Todos Santos is by plane. You can fly into Los Cabos Airport which is 1.5 hours away. A rental car is recommended to get to know the area as there is not much public transport or taxis. But if you do, you may need a few pesos or US dollars for the toll road.
Todos Santos has several beautiful beach hotels with swimming pools and great views. Some of them are Hotel San Cristobal, Hotelito and Vila Bugambilias, Los Colibris Casitas and Hotel California.
Eagle’s singer Don Henley is said to have found his inspiration for writing Hotel California here, although the singer turned it down. Whether true or not, there’s no denying that Todos Santos is a lovely place.
You can wander the cobbled streets of downtown Todos Santos and explore the many gift shops selling locally made jewelery and clothing.
There are many beaches for water sports such as surfing and snorkelling, as well as adventure tours such as horse riding, quad biking and sport fishing.
After exploring all the options in Todos Santos, take a day trip to the nearby towns of La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, and San Jose del Cabo. This way you get to know the whole area well.
BUT FIRST, HERE ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN TODOS SANTOS.
1. DISCOVER THE SEA OF CORTEZ
The Sea of Cortez offers plenty of adventure opportunities.
If you are a paddler, head to Balandra Bay. You can kayak in the mangrove forests or kayak along the coast.
This area is known as the aquarium of the world with hundreds of species of fish and amazing marine life. Here you can also see dolphins and sea lions. You can even snorkel with sea lions. Their trick play makes for an unforgettable trip.
Swimming with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, is another amazing experience that all Todos Santos guides recommend. Read our story about whale shark experiences here. Whale shark season lasts from October to April.
You can swim and snorkel with whale sharks in the shallow waters of the Sea of Cortez, but only with a licensed tour operator and under controlled conditions. To protect the animals, snorkeling is only allowed for 30 minutes.2. Release the newborn sea turtles
Non-profit organizations in Todos Santos help protect endangered sea turtle species such as Pacific leatherbacks, black loggerheads, and loggerheads.
They collect sea turtle eggs from Tortugueros Las Playitas in the town of Todos Santos and Cerritos Beach in El Pescadero. They then protect them from predators in the hatchery. When the eggs hatch, volunteers release the baby sea turtles into the ocean.
The best time of year to release sea turtles is from December to early spring. Participation is free, so you can easily join in and help the population recover.
3. TRAVEL TO THE HILLS ABOVE PUNTA LOBOS
If you want to get away from the beach, you can go hiking in the nearby hills. The Sugar Port Trail is the most popular route and offers excellent whale watching spots and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
It is also suitable for mountain biking and running. The route starts at Punta Lobos beach and is about 4 miles round trip.
You can choose from many hiking trails and even end the hike in Las Palmas, a lovely sandy beach that is practically secluded. Remember to bring hiking boots and a hat, as well as water and sunscreen.
4. STAY AT LOS COLIBRIS CASITAS
If you are looking for a comfortable place to stay in Todos Santos, consider staying at Los Colibris Casitas. This delightful boutique hotel enjoys a panoramic position overlooking the sea.
Your hosts Sergio and Bryan Jauregui make every guest feel welcome. They have created a unique property that seems tailor-made for nature lovers. Their outdoor adventure business offers guests the chance to get out and explore the Sea of Cortez and the surrounding area.
Each grand suite at Los Colibris Casitas offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Sierra de la Laguna Mountains. You can enjoy the pool and jacuzzi or sign up for a cooking class. You’ll learn how to make the perfect margarita, fish tacos, and other delicious Mexican dishes.
A small but nice restaurant serves a delicious breakfast on the terrace. You can also book a private dinner on the terrace at sunset with culinary delights and a glass of local wine. The chef’s talent is evident at the first bite.
5. ENJOY LOCAL DISHES
One of the best ways to experience Todos Santos and the surrounding area is through its excellent and fresh cuisine.
The most popular local dish is, of course, tacos, of different varieties. You can’t visit Mexico without planning a full day eating tacos.
The Tacos de Camarones, filled with prawns, tomatoes and onions. Chili Relleno is another local favorite with chili, cheese and egg.
Don’t miss dinner at DŪM Restaurant, an innovative restaurant in a dream location under an oasis of coconut palms. DŪM offers a delicious collection of cocktails. The Mediterranean cuisine prepared under the guidance of the talented French chef Maitres Cuisinier, Aurelien Legeay, is a pleasant experience. We recommend ordering a 3- or 5-course tasting menu that changes with seasonal favorites.
Other popular restaurants include Los Adobes, which has tables under the trees, and Miguel’s, where you can eat traditional Mexican food and drink margaritas and mezcal. Carnitas Barajas is a popular food stall and Hierbabuena is a well-known vegetarian restaurant.
If you want a beautiful view of the sea, you can visit the Benno restaurant at the Hotel San Cristobal. Or follow the dirt road north of town to the Green Room, a beachside bar and restaurant famous for its incredible sunsets.
6. FIND GOOD ART GALLERIES
Todos Santos is known for its artists. Over the years it has become a small artists’ colony and has many small galleries with beautiful work by Mexican and international artists.
Stop at the gallery of the famous sculptor Benito Ortega Vargas. Make great pieces, but also make beautiful silver jewelry.
The Galeria de Todos Santos is one of the oldest galleries in the city of Todos Santos, with paintings by famous Mexican painters. You can admire beautiful oil and acrylic paintings at the Galeria Arturo and exhibitions of contemporary graphics at the La Sonrisa de la Muerte gallery.
Galeria Mangos has interesting woodwork and ceramics, textiles, creative figurines and hand painted cow skulls. At Galeria Santa Fe you can find great folk art and crafts.
Todos Santos has many galleries run by local artists. Some of them include Galeria Logan and Galeria Wall, featuring artwork by professional artists Jill Logan and Catherine Wall.
7. GO SEE THE OATH
Being able to see humpback and gray whales is one of the great joys of visiting Todos Santos. Every year, from October to March, you can see these magnificent creatures in the warm waters of the Sea of Cortez.
The best way to experience whale watching is to book a whale watching tour with local guides. During the trip you can also see many dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles enjoying the waters of this amazing place.