Welcome to Todos Santos, the equally enchanting yet sleepier small town just an hour or so north of Cabo San Lucas. If you’re looking for the best things to do, and where to stay and eat, this guide to Todos Santos has you covered. After spending a week exploring the area, I’m excited to share the best of what I found.
Todos Santos, now a designated “Pueblo Magico,” is one of those places a bit further afield. While many arrive at Cabo’s airport only to head to the flashy resort-lined coastline minutes away (for good reason too), there’s now an even better reason to head north.
Baja California’s sunbaked landscapes are mesmerizing. Cacti tower over dirt roads that seem to go on forever, secluded beaches only accessible by four-wheel drive, and a rather bustling artistic town amidst it all. These are just a few elements of a quintessential stay in Todos Santos.
I had bookmarked this town years ago when the first design hotel opened up. That mental note never quite left, and in this year of exploring Mexico, I was determined to make the journey around the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains to the town of Todos Santos. But what lured me in more was when the otherworldly hotel Paradero opened its doors. An architectural wonder in itself, with a vibrant culinary program, and a handshake with the environment and community to be sustainable and holistically intertwined.
A bit more digging found me with a dozen places saved, a picturesque glamping villa on a beach, and no more excuses to book the trip. I returned just a week ago and can confide that I waited too long to make the journey.
Todos Santos has a spiritual experience to it. I don’t know if it’s the vast landscape views, the enchanting slowness here, or perhaps one of the most life-changing sound baths I’ve ever done at Paradero’s spa. Nonetheless, one can’t travel here and not feel at peace.
If you’re planning your trip to Todos Santos, read on to see how to spend your time. You’ll find tips on where to stay, if you should rent a car, and the exciting culinary scene not to miss out on.
Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels and Things to Do in Todos Santos:
- Paradero Todo Santos, for the best design and adults-only hotel
- Villa Santa Cruz, for the best oceanfront suites
Things to Do
For my complete list of where to stay in Todo Santos, don’t miss my guide to the best hotels in Todo Santos.
The Ultimate Guide to Todos Santos, Mexico
What to Know About Visiting Todos Santos, Mexico
How to Get to Todos Santos?
To get to Todos Santos, you can fly into Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) in Mexico and then rent a car for the approximately 1.5 to 2-hour drive north along Highway 19. Another option is to take a private transfer from the airport to Todos Santos.
The Best Airport Transfer Options:
Do I Need a Rental Car in Todos Santos?
I recommend booking a rental car to visit Todos Santos mostly because of the flexibility it provides you. It will give you the chance to drive around and explore at a much lower cost. If you plan to just stay on properties and utilize their activities, then you could forego one. It’s around a 1.25-hour drive to get out to Todos Santos from SJD airport.
My Number One Rental Car Tip: Rent a car and pre-purchase full insurance with Discover Cars. Mexico requires local, comprehensive insurance (i.e. your credit card coverage won’t cut it, trust me I’ve tried, and this does work.) This was my fifth rental car in Mexico this year, booking with Discover Cars.
A Few Things to Know
Rental car pickups at Cabo are off-airport so you will hop in a shuttle. Do bypass the salesmen trying to get you to get a rental car and walk out to the main area, on the left there are the rental car directors and they will tell you which shuttle to get into. Picking up a rental car in Cabo does take time, so plan on at least 30 minutes or more — be patient.
Driving out to Todos Santos, I recommend taking the toll road — you will need cash in either pesos or USD. Have around $8 USD cash on you pending the current exchange rate (they give change in pesos, and we had $6 and it was enough.)
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Todos Santos?
The best time to visit Todos Santos is generally during the fall and winter months, from November to April. During this period, the weather is pleasantly warm and dry, making it ideal for outdoor activities and enjoying the beaches. Avoid the summer months, from June to September, as they can be hot and humid, with the possibility of hurricanes and heavy rainfall.
Is Todos Santos Safe?
Yes, generally Todos Santos is considered a safe destination in Mexico. When traveling, always practice common sense. Consider where you go, when, and whether or not it’s best to be solo or with a group when traveling anywhere in the world.
Currency, Language, and Health
The local currency is Mexican pesos, which you could pull out prior to arrival or on arrival at a local ATM. You will need cash for smaller stores, food stalls, and markets. Credit cards are widely accepted at large institutions. The local language is Spanish, and I always recommend having a handful of useful, everyday phrases to refer to if need be.
Travel Tip: It is not safe to drink tap water in Todos Santos. Stick only to bottled water and reliable sources.
Where to Stay in Todos Santos, Mexico
I checked in for two nights at Paradero with Kiwi Collection, one of my favorite booking sites for extra perks like complimentary upgrades, free breakfast, and more. When you arrive at Paradero, it feels so otherworldly in a way that one has to visit the property to experience it. Set in Mexico’s rugged Baja California Peninsula, the hotel seamlessly blends into its surroundings.
The effortless design and style of this hotel are memorable. From stunning 3-floor suites that overlook the mountains and natural landscapes, to integrative experiences, Paradero is one of those bucket list stays. Inside the suite, the raw materials and thoughtfulness of spaces to slow down in (like the outdoor “star net”) were a few of my favorites.
While here, you can’t miss two things: Paradero Restaurant and experiencing a few included activities. The restaurant highlights regional cuisine while using their own farm-grown ingredients — some of the best food had on the trip. During the stay, I took part in some of their included activities like the educational morning hike that took us out to the beach with wild horses (a must-do).
As a boutique hotel only footsteps from the beach, Villa Santa Cruz offers a unique stay in Baja. The property is a slice of paradise for a chance to slow down. There are several ways to experience a stay at Villa Santa Cruz, but quite possibly the most memorable are the sought-after Tented Ocean Suites.
I had the chance to spend one night in this luxury “glamping-style” tent that sat a mere 30 yards from the ocean. Set with everything you could need for a stay, the tented ocean suites have their own sand bonfire ring, a luxury soaking bathtub, and an outdoor patio. With breakfast delivered in-room, it’s one of those stays you can’t miss while in Todos Santos.
The hotel has two pools to choose from, an onsite restaurant, and a bar as well. It’s a wonderful hotel for those looking to retreat outside of downtown Todos Santos and be immersed in nature. For family travelers, don’t miss the several activities that can be booked like turtle releases and horseback riding.
Other Hotels in Todos Santos to Consider
- El Perdido, for an elevated stay
- Hotel San Cristobal, for a beachfront, adults-only stay
- Perro Surfero, for the best budget-friendly stay
For more on where to stay in Todo Santos, check out my complete guide to the best hotels in Todo Santos.
Where to Eat in Todos Santos
You could spend several days eating your way through Todos Santos, a very surprising up-and-coming culinary destination in Baja California. And so I did my part to try as many as possible — here’s where you want to go:
With the pleasure of experiencing breakfast, lunch, and dinner here, I can say with confidence you can’t go wrong at The Restaurant at Paradero. An open-to-the-public restaurant, Paradero dining is elevated and refined. The menus are fantastic, showcasing regional Baja cuisine. I find myself still thinking about the sauces, fresh ingredients, and serene atmosphere of this restaurant.
Set inside a renovated sugar mill, Oystera is one of the newest restaurants to open in Todos Santos. Designed as an elevated oyster bar (reminding me much of the restaurants in Mexico City), Oystera is a design restaurant with a menu to match. Come in and order anything off the menu (truly) but don’t miss the tostadas. If I make one recommendation, it’s to sit on the outdoor back patio — you may even feel a little slice of Europe here.
As the star of local celebrity Chef Plascencia’s restaurant lineup, you have to make a reservation at Jazamango for at least one meal. Their wood-fired menu is outstanding — try dishes like the roasted bone marrow and anything from their garden.
And at the end of a dirt road is the very iconic The Green Room. Well worth the drive for its location on La Pastora Beach and barefoot dining on the beach, you’ll want to make a reservation in peak season. Don’t skip any of the mouthwatering tostadas, my recommendation is the catch of the day. It’s a wonderful, quintessential Baja California dining experience.
Taller 17 was one of my favorite stops in Todos Santos. This small coffee shop and pastry house is wonderful, which always has a bit of a line. Come in for their fresh baked goods like croissants or warm chocolate chip cookies with coarse salt and walnuts. Their coffee is also the best in town.
Other Restaurants On My List:
- Carnitas Machin for breakfast
- Dūm for Mediterranean cuisine
- Hierbabuena for a classic
- La Esquina for brunch
- DoceCuarenta for easy food
- Same Same But Different for smoothies near Playa Los Cerritos
- Fish Tacos Santo Chilote, for authentic fish tacos
Things to Do in Todos Santos
Explore the Downtown of Todos Santos
Carve out a good afternoon to just stroll downtown. It’s full of gems and plenty of amazing shops to peruse. I spent a good 3-hours just popping in and out of art galleries and local shops and could have done more. Along the way, see the “papel picado” hanging across iconic streets like C. Centenario.
Some of my favorite shops in Todos Santos were ULULA, Etnica, Hilo Rojo Stores, Nomad Chic, and Zócalo. While in the downtown, don’t miss sights like Plaza Centro, Iglesia Mision Todos Santos, the iconic Hotel California, and Cielito Lindo Market.
Spend the Day at the Beach
This coastline of Baja is best known for its beaches. Whether you’re there to go for a stroll, sunbathe, or try your hand at surfing, there are several to choose from. Playa Pescadero and Playa Los Cerritos are classics. For those wanting to go a bit further and scenic, Playa La Pastora is a major favorite amongst locals for its untouched feel.
One thing to note is that the waters are unsafe for swimming (similar to Cabo San Lucas). There are a handful that locals say are safe, but would still need caution. Beaches like Punta Lobos Beach and Los Cerritos are the best options.
Take a Hike to Punta Lobos or Playa Las Palmas
There is a wide range of hikes in Todos Santos, some of which come with epic views. The hike to Punta Lobos is one of the most popular, I’d recommend an early start, sunscreen, and plenty of water (follow the AllTrails Map). Hiking in Baja California means major exposure to the sun, so keep this in mind when you go out. Another popular hiking area is near Playa Las Palmas, there are a few trails that go up the northern side of the beach.
Try a Sound Bath at Paradero Spa
One of the best experiences I had while visiting Todos Santos was a massage followed by a sound bath at Paradero’s spa. This 2-hour long experience was such a treat to wind down, meditate, and be fully present in the moment. Their small yet incredibly well-curated spa has a wide variety of healing treatments available, so if you’re looking for something transformative, I’d book here.
Todos Santos has pristine beaches that serve as crucial nesting sites for three distinct sea turtle species: Olive Ridleys, Leatherbacks, and Blacks. You can join in the hatching events that unfold almost every evening at sunset, primarily from December to February, with occasional occurrences extending into March and April. I was bummed to have missed this but I’d definitely consider joining on this. These awe-inspiring turtle releases are orchestrated by Tortugueros Las Playitas, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of sea turtles. These events are free and open to the public.
Go On a Whale Watching Tour
Every year, during the winter months from November to March, Todos Santos has a large presence of whales. Humpback and grey whales make their way south to the warm waters of the Baja Peninsula to mate and give birth, and in Todos Santos, you’re almost guaranteed to see them!
While you don’t have to have a tour to see the whales (you can see them often from the beach), there are a few ways to get out on the water to get a bit closer. Many of the tours go out of Cabo San Lucas (only an hour or so drive) — consider booking this luxury catamaran tour or humpback whale boat tour.
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