Our picks for where to stay and what to do in this dreamy Baja beach town
Once a secret enclave for artists and surfers, Todos Santos, north of Los Cabos on Baja’s Pacific coast, is most definitely on the map these days. Despite becoming a hot spot, the once-sleepy colonial beach town still casts a spell. It’s one of only 30 communities in Mexico designated as a Pueblo Magico, or “Magical Town,” for retaining its authentic historic and artistic charm. Couple this with the views of snow-capped mountains, sweet waves, and a vibrant gallery scene and you’ll see why so many consider it Mexico’s own Shangri-La.
Hotel San Cristóbal. Texas hotelier Liz Lambert translated her signature brand of cool into this 32-room beachfront property in Todos Santos. Standout touches include colorful,1970s-style ceramic tiles and a great vinyl collection. $$$$.
Rancho Pescadero. This modern, beachfront hotel will lend you surfboards, bicycles, fishing gear, a beach hat should you forget yours. A handcrafted welcome cocktail greets you on arrival. All rooms include a terrace, balcony or other outdoor space. $$$.
Todos Santos Inn. Built in the estate of an old sugar baron, the hacienda-style Todos Santos Inn is lush and luxurious, filled with verdant courtyards, fluttering mosquito nets, and a twinkling colonial charm. $$.
Posada La Poza. This 8-room hotel, located between the Pacific Ocean and a fresh water lagoon feels like a shrine built for the fine art of lounging. The saltwater pool looks out over the lagoon and on the adjacent beach, hammocks beckon from palm trees. The restaurant boasts an exclusively Mexican wine list. $$.
Caffé Todos Santos. The local-favorite for hearty, alfresco pre-surf breakfasts like chilaquiles and cinnamon rolls. $.
Café Santa Fé. The owner hails from Milan and this bright, airy town favorite serves authentic Italian food including pillowy fresh ravioli. $$.
Hierbabuena Restaurante. Just-picked ingredients from the surrounding organic gardens dictate the lunch and dinner menus at this Pescadero restaurant. $$.
El Refugio Mezcaleria. This cash-only spot in Todos Santos features 3 to 4 dishes a night inspired by the flavors of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Pueblo. $.
Jazamango. Expect dishes like wood-grilled Baja oysters paired with mezcal drinks at star Mexican chef Javier Plascencia’s Baja Med spot in Todos Santos. $$$.
Things to Do
Snorkel & Kayak in Puerto Viejo. No trip to Todos Santos is complete without some underwater adventure. La Sirena offers lots of trips, as well as surf lessons. $$$.
Save the turtles. During the Tortugueros las Playitas Marine Biologist for a Day program you’ll get to kayak, learn from professional biologists, and help the turtles up close and personal. $$$$.
Hit the waves. Mario’s Surf School sets up daily at Cerritos Beach. Learn the basics on foam-top boards during private or group surf lessons. Experienced surfers can book daylong surf safaris. $$$.
Hike and dip. Head inland and explore the trails of Sierra Laguna Biosphere with Todos Santos Eco Adventures Traverse. After hours of trekking through desert scrub you can cool off with a plunge down a natural waterslide into freshwater pools. $$.
Spot whales. Gray and blue whales migrate to this stretch of the Pacific each winter. Venture out in a panga, a local fishing boat, with Adventure 19 and snap photos of spouts and tail slaps. $$.
Relax on the beach. San Pedrito is an empty stretch of sand just north of Rancho Pescadero hotel. After a surf session, hit up Pura Playa beach bar for Dos Equis beers. $.
Go off the beaten path. Las Palmas requires 4-wheel-drive and an adventurous spirit. Look for the Hotel San Cristóbal billboard on Highway 19 and follow the dirt road exactly opposite down to the ocean. You’ll be rewarded with a remote beach with swimmable waters and resident wild horses. $$.
Shop for souvenirs. Caftans, textiles, and global jewelry are part of the covetable wares at the impeccably styled Nomad Chic boutique owned by Linda Hamilton (there’s also a Nomad Chic outpost at Cornerstone Sonoma, near Sunset’s Test Gardens). This is boho style with an urban-ready edge. $$$