Few travelers ever visit Todos Santos, the quieter side of Baja. While known for being rustic, like “San Jose del Cabo the way it was 30 years ago,” it has a special charm. This picturesque and sophisticated tourist development is about 2 hours’ drive north of San Jose along the Pacific coast.
The dry hills dotted with cactus mask several large, gated communities. Wealthy expats (largely from California, Texas and Mexico City) have homes on golf courses and sand dunes above the glimmering sea.
To learn more about the region, when to go and where to stay, please start with my guide to Baja and Los Cabos resorts and choose the best destination for your travel group.
To learn more about historic San Jose del Cabo, a colorful and charming town nearest to Los Cabos International Airport, read our guide to magical San Jose del Cabo.
Explore ever-popular Cabo and the top Cabos San Lucas resorts in this blog post.
To get away from it all, or recover from the party, head north to Todos Santos, profiled below. It’s actually a special, bucket list destination for adventures in nature.
A Quieter Baja At This Todos Santos Hotel
We like the Hotel Casa Tota, a simple, traditional, two-story Mexican hotel built around a small courtyard with pool. The comfortable rooms are bright and spartan with few amenities. The roof deck was a nice touch at dusk. The downside is that old windows let in the sound of passing lowriders with boom boxes and a neighborhood disco.
The helpful staff and good breakfast cafe made up for it. If you’re traveling with ages 21+ take advantage of their $25 day passes to try the local Rancho Corazon, whose large pool hosts daytime parties.
Guide to Todos Santos, Shops and Dining
The eclectic collection of home décor and collectibles shops, bakeries and ice cream places reflect the expat presence. Small quiet lanes radiate from the large Cathedral with many good restaurants, including Oystera, a seafood place. Locals run a small crafts market that has vegetable and produce stalls on weekends.
For a special night out, try Jazamango, an outdoor bistro with large pizza oven that focuses on tasty farm to table cuisine. The gardens are tended by chef Javier Plascencia, originally from Tijuana, who creates inventive seafood and traditional Mexican dishes. We had a delicious whole parga fish and salads flavored with basil, jalapenos, pickled onions, seeds, roasted herbs and other unusual ingredients. They also have an extensive wine and margarita list.
After a few hours in town, you’ll want to head to the beach or to La Paz for an excursion to explore the Sea of Cortez.
Family Beach Clubs For A Quieter Baja Experience In Todos Santos
The village of Todos Santos is inland so you have to plan to visit the beach. One offbeat spot is The Green Room, a small seafront café that’s part of the Villa Santa Cruz Boutique Beach Resort, located just north of the La Pastora surf break. As you can imagine, it’s a place to dine and play at the beach, not a good option for young swimmers.
We loved our shaded lounger by the pool at El Faro Beach Club, a larger waterfront restaurant complex with a dining room, quiet pool, lounge area, spa and seaview cabanas out on a gold sand beach. It’s just 2 miles from town. Sample their seafood tacos, delicious ceviche and other fresh fare while enjoying the view. Pool access cost US$75 per person at our visit unless you’re a guest at the Guayacura Hotel, another in-town option with its own restaurant.
Baja And Los Cabos Excursions From Todos Santos
Plan a day for guided tours in nature. Todos is near La Paz, the port for swim with whale shark and sea lion adventures. Being outdoors in this quieter region of Los Cabos is a special experience.
Tips for marinelife encounters: Sea animals are plentiful because they migrate through Los Cabos. Patterns are seasonal, so check to determine what’s available before you visit. Another tip is pick the closest tour operators so you don’t waste time in traffic.
Explora Baja is the top company in the Todos Santos area. Depending on season, surf, swim with whale sharks (something we’d done in Cancun) or join a daylong Isla Espiritu Santo excursion. Adults and nature-lovers will be exhilarated exploring the Sea of Cortez from the port of La Paz.
The trip though this UNESCO World Heritage site passes among 244 islets striped with red, black and tan deposits left by volcanic activity. Frequently compared with the Galapagos Islands because of its diversity, the Sea of Cortez has a myriad of birds and 891 fish species. Snorkel with sea lions, swim, beach walk and dine on fish grilled by your captain.
Wildlife Encounter To Last A Lifetime
Another remarkable experience is meeting baby sea turtles rescued by local conservation groups. The local group Tortugueros Las Playitas works on the beaches at Todos.
Contact them to find out if any hatchlings will be ready for release at your visit. There were at our visit, even though the season had not officially begun.
Assisting one on its journey to the sea may be your most memorable experience in Baja or at any of the Los Cabos resorts.
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