Meet Todos Santos!
Hugging the sparkling Pacific Ocean, Todos Santos is a charming coastal town in Mexico’s stunning Baja California Sur.
It’s just a short drive from the bigger better-known town of Cabo San Lucas in Los Cabos. But its vibe is decidedly more easygoing, and it offers a more laid-back, relaxed and small-town feel.
If you’re looking for a quaint Mexican getaway, this enchanting artsy town ticks all the boxes.
Here, you can soak up its history in the old town, chill at the beach and sample some of the seriously amazing local eats – just like we always do when we visit Cabo, which is often!
This blog post is all about showing you everything this funky Baja-chic town has to offer, including our personal top 10 things to do in Todos Santos.
So stick around for our insider secrets on what to do in Todos Santos, how to get there, where to satisfy your food cravings and the coolest accommodations!
Whether you’re planning a Todos Santos day trip from Los Cabos or a two- or three-night stay, we’re sure you’ll find this information helpful.
Is Todos Santos worth visiting?
First, though, is it worth visiting Todos Santos? You bet! (You’ve probably gathered that from our intro…)
Backed by the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, Todos Santos is an 18th-century town located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula.
It was founded in 1723 by the Jesuits who established a mission in the area.
Thanks to the region’s fertile soils, the town eventually turned into a thriving sugar cane processing area. You can even spot a few old sugar cane mills around town today.
Fast forward to the 1980s, when a new road linking Todos Santos and Cabo San Lucas was paved. Over time, it became one of the most popular day trip destinations from Cabo.
What we love most about Todos Santos (and we’re sure you will too) is how it’s managed to keep hold of its vintage charm.
Imagine the “Old Baja” of decades ago. It feels like this – only better, with more upscale restos and boutique hotels. (Of course, it’s not polished like a Spanish town in Europe. It has lots of sandy roads and the sidewalks can be tricky to navigate.)
It’s been named a Pueblo Magico or “magical town” – a title Mexico bestows on towns that are brimming with culture, beauty and history.
And trust us, Todos Santos is the perfect retreat from the hustle and bustle of the modern world (and the buzziness of Cabo San Lucas)! It pulls at the heartstrings.
So, yes, Todos Santos is absolutely worth visiting!
How to get to Todos Santos
Getting to Todos Santos from the airport
Most visitors to the area fly into the the Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). You’ll find plenty of car rental agencies at the airport (Avis, Budget and so on).
From the airport, it’s about a 90-minute drive to Todos Santos on a new toll road that bypasses the town of Cabo San Lucas.
As an alternative to renting a car at the airport, you can pre-book a private transfer in an air-conditioned vehicle. See here for a private transfer back to the airport.
You could also catch a taxi, but that will probably set you back around $170 or more.
To travel by bus, EcoBajaTours offers several bus transfers a day to Todos Santos.
But while these alternatives can get you to Todos Santos, you really need a car to explore the local beaches.
Getting to Todos Santos from Cabo San Lucas
If you’re coming from Cabo San Lucas, it’s an easy one-hour drive along the upgraded Highway #19 to the town of Todos Santos.
If you’d rather leave the driving to someone else, you can book a guided tour for a day trip to Todos Santos.
This six-hour small-group tour is 5-star-rated. It includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, and you travel by minivan.
You’ll visit the Todos Santos Cultural Center, old Jesuit Mission and local sweets store; watch a Mexican blanket weaving demonstration; and enjoy lunch at the Hotel California.
Prefer a private, highly-rated jeep adventure (with some off-roading in southern Baja)?
This jeep tour includes stopping at Cerritos Beach to watch the waves and have lunch; browsing the galleries in Todos Santos; and visiting secluded Punta Lobos Beach.
Alternatively, you can take the public bus from the Aguila Bus Station in downtown Cabo San Lucas.
Aguila is the company that services the southern Baja California Sur region. Buses leave every hour or so and the cost is under $10 USD p.p.
But if you take the bus, once in Todos Santos, you’ll only be able to explore the town, not the surrounding area.
10 Best things to do in Todos Santos, Mexico
Now that you know a little more about the town and how to reach it, let’s dive into the top things to do in Todos Santos.
Narrowing down the must-see attractions to just 10 wasn’t easy. But we’ve curated a list of the absolute best for you.
We highlight what we cherish most about Todos Santos and what most visitors typically seek out.
Whether you’re exploring Todos Santos on a day trip or staying for a few days, here’s what you shouldn’t miss!
1) Explore the town
Downtown Todos Santos is full of interesting buildings that beckon you to peek inside. Pots of bougainvillea decorate the sidewalks and festive flags are strung across timeless cobblestone streets.
The best way to explore is to start at one end and work your way through.
Meander along to soak up its charm. Don’t worry about getting lost among the boho boutiques, art galleries, jewelry stores and pottery shops – the town is small and you’ll soon find your way again.
Most of the streets of Todos Santos and the historic buildings in the downtown area were built in the 1800s. While the interiors of most buildings have been remodeled, their exteriors still maintain their colorful colonial facades.
Pop into the Hotel California too.
Despite its name, this brightly colored hotel did not inspire the Eagles to write their iconic song. However, that doesn’t stop the rumors that it did.
In any event, you’ll enjoy browsing the quirky gift shop on-site.
It’s also possible to do a cultural tour of the town with a local artist, followed by a hands-on creation of your own at the artist’s studio.
2) Watch whales
Todos Santos is one of the best places to spot whales in Baja California.
Every year during winter, the Pacific Ocean hugging the west coast of the town comes to life with these wonderful marine mammals. From November to March, gray whales and humpbacks migrate south from Alaska to the warmer waters of the Baja California Peninsula.
We don’t want to get your hopes up too much, but chances are pretty good you’ll spy them spouting – and perhaps even breaching – offshore! Humpback whales are more acrobatic so they’re usually easier to see.
We’ve had luck viewing them in front of The Green Room beach club and at Cerritos Beach (both covered below).
There aren’t any regular whale-watching tours in Todos Santos because the town doesn’t have a marina.
However, you can charter a boat.
3) Take a yoga class
If you love yoga, you’re in luck because there’s no shortage of yoga in Todos Santos.
Yoga retreats are continuing to grow in popularity across the region and yoga is now one of the most popular Todos Santos activities.
You’ll come across yoga studios offering yoga retreats, one-off classes and multi-activity tours.
Cuatro Vientos is probably the best studio to visit to drop in for a class.
At Cuatro Vientos, you might learn about Hatha yoga one day, and the next, you might be shaking your hips in a Zumba class. Generally, this yoga studio delivers five unique classes a day, so take your pick.
Tribu Todos Santos, on the other hand, is more for fully immersive yoga retreats.
This unique hotel offers custom retreats in a luxury setting (adobe teepees or regular suites). When you’re not stretching, you can catch the rays by the pool or explore the local area.
4) Learn to surf
One of the most fun things to do in Todos Santos is to surf. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wanna-be wave rider or a surfing expert, you’ll find waves you can enjoy.
As surfing in Todos Santos is quite popular, several places rent boards and offer lessons.
The best surf can be found at Cerritos Beach (Playa Los Cerritos) and San Pedrito Beach (Playa San Pedrito).
Approximately 20 minutes away from Todos Santos, Los Cerritos has a gentle beach break, making it a great destination for beginners.
Hit up Mario Surf School for surf instruction plus wetsuit and board rentals. You’ll find them located in a black tent (with the Mario Surf School logo on it) at the north end of the beach, towards the now-closed Hacienda property.
Expert surfers can also enjoy the surf past the rocky point break, where waves are usually two to four times bigger.
Non-surfers can rent umbrellas and beach chairs to watch the action, and vendors sell drinks and snacks.
5) Get a pool day pass
The perfect day of relaxing in Todos Santos?
Sunbathing around a heated infinity pool, with a cocktail in hand. Bonus points for a view of the ocean.
If you decide to stay two or three days in Todos Santos, you can do just this by buying a pool day pass at one of the luxury hotels.
Hotel San Cristobal day pass
Hotel San Cristobal (covered below under “Where to stay in Todos Santos”) offers a limited number of day passes to non-hotel guests to use it pool.
For our upcoming visit to Todos Santos, we’ve arranged day passes for an afternoon by its oceanfront pool.
Email [email protected] or call the front desk at 1-855-227-1535 to ask about a day pass and current pricing. (Expect it to be around $75 p.p.)
Rancho Corazon day pass
Another popular spot to kick back for the day is Rancho Corazon.
Just a five-minute walk from the town center, it offers an appealing escape from reality.
Rancho Corazon features an infinity pool, hammocks, a cocktail bar and a restaurant. And for just $25 p.p. a day, you can enjoy a blissful day surrounded by the natural beauty of lush palms and other greenery.
The pool is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm.
6) Shop at local boutiques
Something you must do in Todos Santos is to browse the local boutiques.
We always enjoy poking around the stores when in town. And if you love arts, crafts and hand-made jewelry, you too will love shopping in Todos Santos.
You’ll find an array of small shops selling pottery, exquisite silver jewelry, glassware, handwoven textiles and other creations by local artists.
For high-quality silk shirts, women’s wear and interesting curios by Mexican artisans, don’t miss Hilo Rojo. If you time your visit right, you might even get to meet the owner and her adorable pug.
After visiting Hilo Rojo, stop by Fernanda Cov’s bookshop and ceramic studio/gallery.
Of course, leave plenty of time to explore all the market stalls found in the historic center too.
7) Release turtle hatchlings to the sea
The beaches around Todos Santos are important nesting grounds for sea turtles.
Currently, three different species of sea turtles nest in the area – Leatherbacks, Black turtles and Olive Ridleys.
One of the most heartwarming Todos Santos attractions is releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean.
Hatchling releases typically take place from December through to early April, in the evenings around sunset.
Tortugueros Las Playitas is a non-profit sea turtle sanctuary that organizes turtle releases.
They’re open to the public and free to take part in. Having said that, you’ll probably want to leave a small donation.
The sanctuary is located between Calle Mangos and Camino Internacional on the beach, about a 12-minute drive from Todos Santos town.
8) Hang out on Todos Santos’ beaches
No Todos Santos vacation is complete without a trip to some of its nearby beaches.
We’ve visited pretty well all of the beaches in Cabo and elsewhere in southern Baja California Sur (e.g., around La Paz and Los Barriles) – and the beaches in and around Todos Santos are some of our favorites.
Mind you, most are not safe for swimming, as the waves are too strong and there are riptides.
But lapped by crashing surf, the dreamy golden sand beaches near Todos Santos are wide and wild – giving you plenty of space to relax.
They’re perfect for long walks and watching those fiery Mexican sunsets.
Playa Punta Lobos
If we had to name the most beautiful beach in Todos Santos, we’d probably pick Playa Punta Lobos.
A favorite with the locals, this picturesque beach is known for its tall rocky point jutting out into the sea. Local fishermen land their boats on this beach, and you can see them come in at the end of the day with their catch.
Punta Lobos is a 10-minute drive from town.
El Faro Beach
El Faro Beach is beside Playa Punta Lobos.
A great way to spend a day is at the El Faro Beach Club and Spa. It’s open daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Reserve a cabana with a swinging day bed on the beach or relax in a lounge chair by the infinity pool. Nosh on seafood at the grill. Perhaps get a massage.
9) Take a hike
A hike? Indeed!
The mountainous landscape and secluded coastline surrounding Todos Santos make it great for walking and hiking.
You can take a brisk hike toward one of the beaches or tackle a more intense hike through the mountains.
Playa La Cachora loop
Many visitors prefer to hike along the coast. You can start in the town and walk to several different beaches.
One of the most popular trails is the short and easy Playa La Cachora loop (about 30 minutes roundtrip).
The 1½-mile hike starts at the end of Todos Los Santos Street. You’ll walk along the beach and come across a tranquil lagoon.
San Cristobal to Playa Las Palmas
For more of a challenge, the San Cristobal to Playa Las Palmas is a six-mile, out-and-back hike that takes you into the hills around the town. You’ll get breathtaking views of the coast – and work up a sweat too.
Punta Lobos hike
Another one of the best Todos Santos hikes is hiking up Punta Lobos.
Start by passing the abandoned cannery at the beginning of the trail, then hike gradually up the huge rock above Punta Lobos beach for amazing views of the ocean below – those views are one of the best things to see in Todos Santos!
The total trail length is about 3½ miles and it takes about an hour to climb up to the top of the cliffs.
10) Enjoy a day trip from Todos Santos
While most people tend to do a day trip to Todos Santos (from Cabo), it’s also possible to do day trips from Todos Santos.
If you’ve rented a car, it’s easy to do your own excursions.
La Paz day trip
You might like a day trip to La Paz, a small Mexican coastal city about an hour’s drive away on the Sea of Cortez side of the Baja California Peninsula.
Walk long the city’s Malecon (beachfront promenade) and check out beautiful Balandra Beach.
In winter, snorkeling with whale sharks in La Paz is a must-do experience. Seeing and swimming with these amazing gentle creatures is unforgettable.
Here’s a top-rated, small group whale shark tour that leaves from the marina in La Paz.
The group size is limited to nine people per boat. And you’ll get to jump in the water several times to swim with the whale sharks.
Cabo San Lucas day trip
If you’re staying in Todos Santos, another great day tour is to visit Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo.
Where to eat in Todos Santos
Now that we’ve explored the activities in Todos Santos, let’s check out where you should eat. For such a small town, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
The Green Room
So you want to sit beachfront with your feet in the sand, as you sip on mezcal margaritas and savor delicious tacos?
One of the best restaurants in Todos Santos for exactly this experience is The Green Room. (We spent an entire afternoon hanging out at The Green Room – drinking and eating and soaking up the stunning sea views.) Oh, and by the way, it’s not a room at all; it’s an outdoor eatery overlooking the ocean.
Found on La Pastora Beach, The Green Room is famous for its organic salads, fish-and-chips and one-of-a-kind fish tacos.
Actually, we’d go so far as to say that it serves the best tacos in Todos Santos. (Given our love for tasty tacos, this is a big deal in our books.)
The Green Room is especially popular for sunset cocktails and bites – you’ll want to make a reservation to avoid disappointment.
Jazmango is run by renowned Mexican chef Javier Plascencia, so be prepared to be wowed by his culinary offerings. With more than 30 years of experience, Plascencia is famous for his ability to take simple food to a whole new level.
Set away from the sea on the edge of town, this farm-to-table restaurant serves up interesting dishes like zucchini carpaccio, grilled octopus and chocolate cake with roasted banana ice cream.
Oystera is another great Todos Santos restaurant.
Housed in an Insta-worthy, ivy-clad building in the heart of town, its main focus is seafood – which we can never get enough of. Oyster platters topped with caviar, anyone?
You can sit inside or out in a garden setting.
Los Adobes de Todos Santos
Then there’s Los Adobes de Todos Santos.
This beautiful restaurant has a lush garden setting and an ancient adobe kitchen.
Try the rich sopa tarasca (soup) with panela cheese, avocado and beans. Alternatively, go for the poblano peppers stuffed with pork, ground beef and fruit, topped with a creamy walnut sauce.
Where to stay in Todos Santos
As for Todos Santos accommodations, here are our recommendations.
Hotel Villa Santa Cruz
For our upcoming annual Todos Santos visit, we’ve booked a couple of nights at Villa Santa Cruz. We had a peek at it the last time we were in Todos Santos – it’s gorgeous!
A few minutes’ drive from town, it fronts a wave-swept beach and has an oceanview pool plus a restaurant/bar.
It offers bungalows with ocean views and private balconies, along with new rooftop villas surrounding their own pool.
And for the ultimate in beach glamping, you can choose a luxurious tented ocean suite.
Villa Santa Cruz: Check rates and availability
Situated near Palm Beach, Paradero is one of the best hotels in Todos Santos for couples seeking celebrity treatment, world-class service and private experiences (e.g., private cooking classes and surfing lessons).
Paradero features an outdoor swimming pool, garden, restaurant and a terrace. The smallest of its suites is 640 square feet in size.
Paradero: Check rates and availability
Hotel San Cristobal
Another luxury Todos Santos boutique hotel is Hotel San Cristobal.
Think a high-end restaurant, a great oceanview swimming pool, morning yoga and stylish rooms with Coco-Mat mattresses.
When it comes to sleeping arrangements, each room is fitted with modern amenities and stylish décor.
We’re sure you’ll sleep well in a 450-square-foot bedroom with a king-sized bed!
Hotel San Cristobal: Check rates and availability
La Bohemia Baja Hotel
For our upcoming Todos Santos stay, we’ll also be bedding down at this highly-rated eclectic little inn.
Located in town within a few minutes’ walk from the town’s galleries and restaurants, La Bohemia Baja has just nine rooms.
All come with air-conditioning, showers adorned with Talavera tiles and beds with cool-tech memory foam mattresses, luxury linens and alpaca throws.
Guests have access to the nearby El Faro Beach Club (see #8 above) and the property has a small pool.
Rates are less than at the three other hotels above.
Casa La Bohemia Baja: Check rates and availability
Los Colibris Casitas
Tucked away at the end of a longish, dusty pot-holed road is Los Colibris Casitas.
About a 10-minute drive to Todos Santos town, its location is secluded and stunning. It perches at the top of a hill with amazing views of the ocean, a freshwater lagoon and a palm oasis.
You can choose from nine stylish casas and casitas – some have full kitchens and living rooms. There’s also a lovely pool.
Los Colibris: Check rates and availability
Hacienda Todos Los Santos
Another excellent hotel in Todos Santos is Hacienda Todos Los Santos.
Nestled in a natural garden setting on the edge of town, a 10-minute drive from Playa las Palmas, it features spacious air-conditioned suites (some with kitchens), free Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool.
Hacienda Todos Los Santos: Check rates and availability
Frequently asked questions about Todos Santos, Mexico
Is Todos Santos safe?
Yes, it’s quite safe to travel to Todos Santos.
We’ve never felt unsafe during the many times we’ve visited Todos Santos.
The U.S. State Department offers specific travel advice for anyone traveling to the state of Baja California Sur.
There are 4 levels of travel advisories issued by the U.S. Baja California Sur and Todos Santos fall in the Level 2 safety category. This means you should “exercise increased caution” (due to the crime risk).
This may sound worrisome, but for context, some other Level 2 travel destinations include the United Kingdom and Spain.
In terms of petty crime, you should always be cautious, like you would anywhere else in the world. As far as drug cartels go, you’re very unlikely to come across any drug-related violence in this part of Mexico.
For more information, read our article on safety in Los Cabos.
What’s the best time to visit Todos Santos?
The best time of year for visiting Todos Santos depends on what you’re looking for.
If you’re looking for the best weather in Todos Santos for a beach vacation, late spring and late autumn is the best time to visit. May, June, October and November also happen to be shoulder season months, so they’re less busy months.
We don’t really advise visiting in August or September. This is the hot season and the rainy season. But you’ll find fewer crowds and great deals on hotels!
The weather in Cabo (and Todos Santos) attracts the most tourists during the winter months. This is when the town is the busiest and the most expensive.
How many nights should you spend in Todos Santos?
As mentioned earlier, you can easily visit Todos Santos on a day trip (from Cabo or La Paz). Or you can stay for a few days.
Ultimately, how long you choose to stay will depend on what you want to do.
If you’re staying overnight, we recommend at least two nights in Todos Santos. You’ll want to wander around the town, check out the area beaches and so on.
For a more leisurely escape, you could stay for three or four nights – or even spend a week in Todos Santos for a really chill getaway.
That’s a wrap for our Todos Santos travel guide!
So there you have it – everything you need to know about the best things to do in Todos Santos!
Bear in mind, however, that in our experience, Todos Santos isn’t so much about doing things.
If you’re staying in Todos Santos, it’s more a place for a quiet and peaceful getaway – to soak up the beauty of the coastline, to enjoy the artsy vibe and to eat seriously good food.
We can’t hide our love for the genuine charm of Todos Santos, and we have a hunch you’ll adore it as well.
Now, all that’s left is for you to plan your visit. Our next trip is already booked. See you in Todos Santos!
Photos: 1, 5, 6, 12, 18 to 21 © Janice and George Mucalov, Cabo Visitor