Todos Santos, once Baja’s sugarcane capital, is a small town located about an hour outside of Cabo San Lucas. Known for its laid back vibe, great surfing and large artisan community, this small pueblo has managed to retain some authenticity in spite of the huge growth of tourism here in the last 15 years.
We chose to settle here for a few months so we could complete a work project before continuing on our drive. When we were looking for a place to stay we knew that a city like Cabo San Lucas was not for us, but realized the benefits of being close to a bigger city. With Todos Santos located only an hour away from Cabo, it was pretty much the perfect fit. So far it has been great; it’s easy to work here and, for a relatively small town, there is quite a bit to do. Those who prefer activity packed vacations will probably prefer to only spend a day or two here. But for the more laid back traveler who prefers to mosey through their holiday time Todos Santos offers a great mix of activities and allows for ample down time.
Here is what you can do in Todos Santos:
Learn to surf at Los Cerritos
The most popular beach in Todos Santos is Los Cerritos, which has a small beach club and restaurant on-site. With small waves and a sandy bottom this is the ideal beach to try your hand at surfing. Surfboards, skim boards, wetsuits, boogie boards and other water gear can be rented from either El Diablo Blanco Surf shop or Costa Azul’s small surf kiosk. One thing to be aware of at this beach is the rip tide which tends to carry one out to the rocks. Try to stay in front of the beach club when you are in the water to avoid getting too close to the rocks. This rip varies in strength daily. The road to Los Cerritos is located at km 64 and is marked with a sign, take a right and follow the road straight to the beach.
Relax in the Sun at Las Palmas
The very bumpy road located off the Highway 19, across from Campo Experimental at km 57 (all kilometers are marked in Baja Mexico), takes you to this secluded beach which is great for sunning and swimming. There are rip tides in the area and swimming is safest in the middle of the beach. This beach is open from 6am to 9pm daily. Be sure to lock your car and don’t bring any valuables as break-ins have occurred here.
Buy Fresh Fish at Punta Lobos
Also referred to as the fisherman’s beach, you can get to this beach by turning off the highway at km 54, watch for the old cannery to make sure you are on the right route. Between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, you can watch the fisherman return in their panga boats with the catch of the day. If you feel like a cooking adventure you can purchase fresh fish from one of the two fishing cooperatives in the area.
Watch Serious Surfers at San Pedrito
Unless you are a pro surfer you probably won’t be surfing this beach. Big breaks and a rocky bottom are a lethal combination for the beginner surfer. However, it is a nice beach to sit and relax on while admiring others, with much better surfing skills, take to the waves. To get here, take highway 19 out of Todos Santos and turn right at about km 60 (you will see the San Pedrito RV Park sign, this is where you need to turn.)
Getting to any of these beaches requires a car. There is a Budget Car Rental office in Todos Santos or, if you’d prefer not to bother with renting a vehicle, taxi rides to any of the beaches can easily be arranged. Don’t forget to arrange a pick up time as well!
Yoga: Stretch it out (if you can)
During high season, December to April, there are a variety of yoga classes available daily at La Arca, the community center which is located on Topete Street. Classes range in price from $50 Pesos ($5 US) to a donation (we tend to donate $50 pesos). You might want to find out how long classes run for, Tom and I learned this the hard way after a 2 hour yoga class which definitely stretched some muscles we both hadn’t used for a long time. The yoga class schedule can be found in the local publication El Calendario.
Like most tourist towns you will find an array of Mexican arts and crafts, all of which have been imported from the mainland. There are about 15 shops all carrying the same things, ceramics, cheesy t-shirts, shot glasses, tequila, silver jewelery and vanilla. But ,if you are looking for something that is actually made in the Baja region, try the small pottery shop right beside the bookstore called Catalina. Kathy, the owner, sells ceramic cookware handmade by local women who live in the Baja Mountains. These pots can be put directly onto stove-tops as well as in the oven and are extremely easy to cook with. If you have friends who are foodies these will make an impressive gift.
El Tecolote bookstore should be the first stop on your shopping expedition. If you are looking for a good read, books on Baja, postcards or little gifts this is the place to be. Traditions, a little arts and crafts store tucked away in the back of the bookstore, offers Mexican art from all over. If you need to know anything, Janet, El Tecolote’s owner, is the woman to ask. She will be more than happy to help you find whatever you need. But be careful as an avid dog-lover and dedicated animal rescue worker she might just try and send you home with a new pet.
Tour the Galleries
As an artist town, Todos Santos has many galleries full of everything from paintings to handmade copper work. Galeria Indigo, found on the main street, has a nice selection of work and Gallery de Todos Santos displays work by local Baja artists. For a list of all galleries click here.
Book a Local Tour
Fishing, surfing, hiking, visiting mountain potters, horseback riding and Sea Turtle eco-tours are just some of the activities are offered by most of the tour companies in Todos Santos. You will definitely pay a hefty fee to partake in these groups but it is a great way to explore the area if you have limited time. Try Todos Santos Eco Adventures or La Sirena Kayak and Surf Rental.
Todos Santos is generally pretty quiet after about 9pm, well if you discount the roosters and dog fights. But The Sandbar, in Pescadero (about 10 minute drive away at km 63, just off Highway 19), is a good place to hang out on Friday and Saturday nights. The young overly energetic bartender pours strong drinks and local reggae band, KL, gets crowds grooving on Friday nights. If you really need to get out there and party rent a car, and head to La Paz to experience some authentic salsa clubs….you might want to brush up on your dance moves first.
“No Wrong Turns” chronicles Kelsey and her husband’s road trip — in real time — from Canada to the southern tip of
South America in their trusty red VW Golf named Marlin.