The Eagles have long denied their most famous song is actually about the historic Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico. But on your way from the Cabo International Airport, on a dark desert highway, with cool wind in your hair… it’s hard not to wonder. At the very least, there's a strange magic in the air around this part of Baja. The landscape seems impossible — mountainous desert crashing straight into the sea. The sky here is huge, offering almost year round sun during the day and endless stars at night. For me, just to BE in Baja is to love it. After an initial visit to the area in 2017, I returned for a two month stint in Todos Santos where I immersed myself in the local scene to work on my Spanish and explore the region.
I’m not the only one who feels a special energy in Todos — it’s actually designated a “Pueblo Mágico” by the Mexican government, a title reserved for places that offer natural beauty, cultural richness, traditions, folklore, historical relevance, cuisine, art crafts and great hospitality.
Todos Santos lives up to the hype, and then some. Scroll down to discover the best places to eat, drink, and stay in Todos Santos and discover why this sleepy Baja town really is magic:
photo by hotel san cristobal
Getting on “Baja Time.” Life in Todos really centers around the sun — that means people get up for first light (like 6:30 or 7) and the town more or less shuts down by 10pm. There is some nightlife here, but it’s a far cry from the raves and twerk contests happening down the road in Cabo San Lucas. Todos is a chill destination that lends itself to quality time and early bedtimes. At least for now.
You'll need a car. Todos Santos is located about an hour and a half north from the Cabo International Airport. You can take a shuttle from the airport to your hotel, but I highly recommend renting a car. Since there are currently no cabs or Uber in the area, you’ll need your own set of wheels if you want to explore. And you’ll definitely want to explore!
Get back on Facebook. For real. It may come as a surprise that two of the best ways to find out what’s happening in Todos Santos are email and facebook. I recommend following Panteon 19, Baja Well & Fit, and the Todos Santos Newsfeed on Facebook, as well as signing up for The Baja Western Onion newsletter before your trip. If there’s a fun band in town or neat event happening while you’re there, these really are the best ways to find out. You wouldn’t want to miss the annual dog surfing contest, would you?
Pesos preferred. While some touristy areas of Mexico are known for accepting US dollars and credit cards, many restaurants and street vendors in Todos Santos are cash only, and prefer pesos. When traveling in Baja, I recommend having at least $5000 pesos with you at all times. (Currently, that’s about $250 US dollars.)
El Pescadero and Cerritos. El Pescadero and Cerritos are so close by you’ll think they're part of Todos Santos, but the locals view them as separate communities. El Pescadero (Iocated just south of Todos) is a small fishing village on Highway 19 that boasts a few of the best restaurants and hotels in the area. Just south of Pescadero is Cerritos, a beachfront community centered around Playa de Cerritos — the only swimmable beach in the area with a nice surf break. This is where you’ll go if you want to take a surf lesson or take a boogie board out in the water.
photo by jenn rose smith
Hotel Casa Tota for affordably hip, minimalist design in the center of town.
La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeno for ‘grammable, colorful rooms and a cozy courtyard.
Hotel San Cristobal for a sexy, secluded, oh-so-hip oasis by the water.
Hacienda Cerritos for an elegant, dreamy castle-by-the-sea vibe.
Same Same but Different to connect with other digital nomads in the surf community of Cerritos.
photo by jenn rose smith
Hierbabuena for incredible farm to table pasta, salads, and wood fired pizza. Everything on the menu is good here, you can’t go wrong.
La Esquina for a healthy organic brunch in a beautiful courtyard. Smoothies, sandwiches, juices, fresh baked goods and more!
Jazamango Restaurant for Baja inspired modern cuisine created by renowned Mexican chef Javier Plascencia.
Barracuda Cantina in Cerritos for the best shrimp tacos and craft cocktails — try the Flor de Mexico!
You simply can’t go to Todos without trying a taco from one of the street vendors in town. Look for them set up on the streets around Parque Los Pinos in the center of town. There are pork, beef, fish and shrimp options. All are sinfully good.
photo by barracuda
Teatro 6 for craft cocktails in a beautifully designed space.
Jardín Alquimia for art and cocktails in a dreamy downtown courtyard.
Baja Beans for authentic Mexican specialty coffee.
Hacienda Cerritos for a classic frozen margarita on the terrace at sunset. This is THE spot to watch sunsets, as far as I’m concerned. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot a whale or two!
Barracuda for craft cocktails in a fun atmosphere near the beach in Cerritos — this is where all the surfers go to hang after a day of catching waves. Try the Flor de Mexico.
photo by jenn rose smith
Take a surf lesson on Cerritos beach.
Go off roading with Black Sheep Motorsports.
Rent mountain bikes and hit the trail with Over the Edge Sports.
Catch a live show at Panteon 19.
Shop the galleries and leather shops in downtown Todos Santos for art and authentic Mexican goods.