This town in the La Paz Region of Baja California Sur is part surf town, part haven for artists
Approximately half way between Los Cabos (which is an hour to the south-east) and La Paz (which is an hour to the north-east) is the charming town of Todos Santos. Right on the Pacific Coast, this destination is equal parts “cool surf town” and “historic arts and culture hub.” Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism has declared Todos Santos a pueblo mágico, or “magic town” in recognition of the richly authentic and colourful experience visitors receive.
The village was originally founded in 1724 as a mission, and has everything a visitor might want: the comfort of modern businesses with the appeal of a small town and an authentically Mexican vibe. A central square sits flanked amongst pastel Spanish-colonial styled cafés and shops. Here lies the heartbeat of the town, a gathering spot for community events and pop-up markets, and a place where locals connect before and after church service at the Iglesia Mision Catholic Church.
Wander under the colourful flags that crisscross the main street as you pop into art galleries, fashion boutiques, shops filled with local culinary specialties, and shaded cafés. Cycle your way around the town’s most popular sites on a LocoMotion tour; their unique group bikes let 14 of you pedal at once! The last few years have seen the town’s culinary reputation grow. From family-run casual tables, through to farm-to-table dining at places like La Casita and Jazamango, there’s plenty to please your palate.
The easy access to both Los Cabos and La Paz make Todos Santos a beautiful day trip, but you’ll also find plenty of laidback hotels if you’re looking for an overnight getaway. The storied Hotel California sits right downtown, its inner courtyard home to live music and delicious Baja Californian food, while a little further into town, Guaycura Boutique Hotel offers panoramic views from the rooftop pool and modern Mexican design in its rooms. Further out, Hotel San Cristobal offers beachfront boho luxury.
Where to Stay: Hotel San Cristobal
About three kilometres south of Todos Santos, you turn off the highway onto an unassuming dirt track that heads toward the Pacific Ocean. There’s little to tip you off to the oasis of Baja-cool that is waiting for you at the end of that road. Hotel San Cristobal, which opened in early 2017, is no sprawling resort. Instead, you’ll find 32 luxury, eco-chic rooms gathered around a central swimming pool, lounge and restaurant, right on the beach. The design is a relaxed amalgam of modern white walls, natural wood accents and colourful, Mexican geometric patterns. Grab a Cristobal Collins (made with hibiscus-infused gin) and chill by the pool, or sit down for a more formal dinner at Benno, with dishes like sweet potato flautas and Arroz a la Tumbada – a seafood stew.
Hotel San Cristobal prides itself on its environmental and socially sustainable practices. Mattresses are made from natural fibres, and waste is kept to a minimum through initiatives such as providing drinking water instead of plastic bottles. Much of the menu in the restaurant sourced locally, and staff are primarily from the surrounding area. The hotel also encourages guests to contribute to the local community while leaving a behind a small footprint, with a packing list that includes a reusable tote for shopping in Todos Santos and a refillable water bottle, and suggested items to donate to schools in the area.
What to Do: Surfing
The waters of the Pacific Ocean around Todos Santos are often a little rough for a casual swim, but they are perfect for surfing! Beginners and experts alike can grab a board and ride the waves on this side of the Baja Peninsula. San Pedrito and La Pastora get a lot of attention for their extreme swells, but those less experienced will want to head to Los Cerritos for friendlier breaks. Mario Surf School operates from this beach, offering private and group lessons, as well as board rentals for those that already know what they’re doing.
UPCOMING EVENTS IN THE LA PAZ REGION
March 23: Triatlón La Paz
This year, up to 1,500 competitors are expected to swim, bike and run their way around the city during Triatlón La Paz. The event offers both standard and sprint distance triathlon courses, as well as a range of entry categories. The spectacular course starts with a swim in the La Paz Bay, followed by a cycle leg past the spectacular Balandra Beach, before heading back for a run along the city’s malecon.
March 30 & 31: Le Tour de France L’Etape Mexico – La Paz
The perfect way for cycling fans to explore Laz Paz, this brand new event was created to allow both professional and amateur cyclists to experience what it’s like to ride a stage of the Tour de France. The La Paz event includes four routes: 20 km and 40 km for recreational riders, and the choice of 70 km and 120 km for those who wish to race; a maximum of 1,500 riders will be accepted in total. Along with the rides, the event includes the official Village complete with a Tour de France museum, and plenty of cycling partners exhibiting.