Last Updated on September 15, 2020
Baja California gets a lot of love as a spring break destination, but the small town of Todos Santos has been trending as a chic but laid-back getaway. Nestled into the western coast of the Baja California peninsula, Todos Santos is an hour drive north from Los Cabos Airport. The Todos Santos vibe is super chill compared to Cabo, thanks to its roots as a small-town enclave of surfers, artists and hippies. If you haven’t yet discovered this spot, it absolutely belongs on your bucket list. Bookmark my Todos Santos travel guide now for the best tips on what to do, where to shop, and where to stay in Todos Santos, Mexico.
So set up a cheap flight alert, and let’s get started planning your ultimate Todos Santos itinerary!
Todos Santos Travel Guide
Todos Santos Haphazard Rating: (2 of 5). Most beaches are for surfing not swimming, but it’s otherwise one of the safest places for travel in Mexico.
Get There: Fly into SJD (Los Cabos Airport) and rent a car or take a bus.
What to Do: Surf, fish, lounge, shop, eat and recharge.
Best Time to Visit: Fall weather from September – November is perfect, and you’ll miss the busy season crowds.
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Where is Todos Santos, Mexico?
Did you know there’s part of California that belongs to Mexico? It’s the Baja California Peninsula! There are two states here, Baja California Norte (North) and Baja California Sur (South, referred to by locals as “BCS”).
Todos Santos is a sleepy town on the western side of Baja California Sur, about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, the two towns served by Los Cabos Airport (SJD).
To get to Todos Santos, fly into SJD Los Cabos Airport and either take a bus or rent a car and drive.
Buses depart throughout the day from SJD to Todos Santos. Or it’s an easy drive on the new toll road, Highway 19, if you rent a car at the airport. Check out this post for my advice on renting a car in Mexico, which I’ve done many times, including in on a road trip in Baja California to Todos Santos and La Paz.
What’s So Special About Todos Santos?
Todos Santos was named a “Pueblo Magico” as part of a tourism campaign by the Mexican government. Mexico’s 121 “magic towns” were selected to showcase the wide variety of peoples and cultures of the country. If you haven’t yet visited any magic towns yet, Todos Santos is the place to start!
How long should you stay in Todos Santos?
Some people experience it on a day trip, but I think it’s perfect for a long weekend or even a week. Or forever: I met a couple who were looking for real estate in Todos Santos, having decided on their first visit that they didn’t want to leave!
Todos Santos is also great combined with a visit to La Paz, Mexico, about an hour north. In La Paz you’ll find quieter beaches and you can even swim with whale sharks and sea lions! Get my tips for visiting La Paz here.
The main draw of Todos Santos is that it’s a charming-as-hell colonial town with pristine beaches just minutes away. Simply getting there is stunning while driving along the coastline. You’ve got the blue ocean and sky on one side, and the Sierra de la Laguna mountains with dramatic cactus landscapes on the other. And OMG, the sunsets.
As far as things to do in Todos Santos, it’s known for surfing, fishing, yoga, hip restaurants, shopping, local art galleries, and whale spotting. The hotel selection alone will make you wish you could stay a month to try them all! But don’t worry, I’ve got recommendations for you, including one of my favorite hotel stays ever, the Villa Santa Cruz.
People sometimes compare Todos Santos to Tulum. As someone who was lucky to visit Tulum before it blew up into a mega destination, I tend to agree. But I think there’s still something special about Todos Santos. Once you visit and see its blue waters at the end of a sandy, cactus-lined beach road, you will too.
Where to Stay in Todos Santos
I got serious FOMO trying to decide on a hotel in Todos Santos. I love a good boutique hotel, and my brain practically exploded trying to decide between all the charming, colorful and boho-chic hotels in Todos Santos. If I chose a hotel in town, would I regret not waking up to the sounds of the ocean? If I chose a beach hotel, would it be too far from town? I was practically in “first-world problems” agony trying to decide.
Luckily, I wanted to marry the hotel I chose. But I also creeped on some other hotels there so I could recommend several options to you, my dear readers, of the best places to stay in Todos Santos.
All price ranges listed are before taxes – be sure to click the link to check the availability and prices for your preferred dates. And if what you want is available, be sure to book right away, since hotels often sell out in Todos Santos! I always use Booking.com for my trips, since many options include free cancellation in case plans change.
Todos Santos Hotel Guide: Hotels in Town
Hotel Casa Tota: Budget Pick under $100/night
Hotel Casa Tota is an oasis 5 minutes’ walk from the historical center of Todos Santos. You can’t go wrong with this hotel: budget price, clean modern design and a central location. But there’s also a pool, amazing sun decks for lounging, and a great restaurant, not to mention the helpful staff.
This is a stylish spot within walking distance of bars, restaurants and shops in town. Click to check availability and rates on Booking.com.
La Bohemia: Boho Chic Pick under $150/night
Is there an award for the cutest hotel ever? Because I nominate La Bohemia, Hotel Pequeno. Tucked into a side street a few blocks from the center of Todos Santos, La Bohemia lives up to its name with crisp whitewashed walls, laid back vibe, and unexpected pops of color throughout. Oh, and a tiny pool. You need some selfies here. Click to check availability and rates on Booking.com.
I wanted to steal these chairs at La Bohemia but I accidentally confessed it on Instagram, so I couldn’t.
Todos Santos Hostel: Backpacking Pick starting around $20/night
At the Todos Santos Hostel, you can stay in dormitory rooms or opt for a glamping tent. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. They’ve also got a budget room with AC. But seriously, this place sells out waaaay in advance so if you’re looking for the best place to stay in Todos Santos on a budget, you should book it now. Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com.
Casablanca B&B: Budget Boutique Pick starting around $125/night
Casablanca B&B is a mile outside Todos Santos town, and the beach is a half mile farther. I love the design of this hotel and its stunning desert landscapes! A saltwater pool, sunrise and sunset views, amazing breakfasts, and welcoming owners make this hotel a best place to stay in Todos Santos. Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com.
Todos Santos Beach Hotels
Once you head out of the center of town, the roads get less and less paved until finally, they’re not paved at all. I had a small rental car and did fine, but it’s best to get directions ahead of time from your hotel. (My GPS tried to send me up a sand dune before I remembered the emailed directions.)
It’s best to have a car if you’re going to stay at the hotels outside of town.
Cerritos Surf Town: Budget Surfer Pick starting around $75
Cerritos Surf Town is located on the most popular beach in Todos Santos, and the best place to stay if you want to learn to surf. The basic rooms are oceanfront beach huts with shared bathrooms. But really, who cares if you’re this close to the sounds of the surf? Or pick one of the villas with private baths. Stay here if you want to get to the beach and never leave. Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com.
Casa Flores: Affordable Beach Pick starting around $125/night
Look at this place! I can’t get over its gorgeous pool and ocean views. The rooms at Casa Flores are all suites with kitchenettes and terraces, and one is wheelchair accessible. This is a little more secluded hotel north of town with high ratings for the sunsets, rooms, and helpfulness of the guesthouse owner. Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com.
Hotel San Cristobal: “Splash Out” Pick, starting around $270/night
A 15-minute drive south of town, the Hotel San Cristobal is a desert oasis right on the ocean. The opening of this hotel brought a lot of attention to Todos Santos as a destination. It’s run by the Bunkhouse Group, which has similar nomad-chic hotels in Austin and Marfa, Texas. This is a true resort in Todos Santos, with an onsite farm-to-table restaurant so you never have to leave. Amazing views, secluded beach at Playa Lobos, and an unforgettable place to stay.
The Hotel San Cristobal is a perfect laid back but swank getaway, and a place to disconnect and recharge. Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com.
The Villa Santa Cruz: “Steal Your Heart” Pick starting around $225/night
Warning: you will fall for Villa Santa Cruz with its breathtaking setting and thoughtful decor. The proprietors staked their claim north of town back before there was power to the area! But their gamble paid off: I literally started taking photos out of the car window as I pulled up to the hotel. From the welcome margaritas to amazing breakfasts to the views of the ocean from the palapa hideaway, my stay there was perfect. I kind of want to cry just thinking about it.
Click here to check rates and availability on Booking.com. Then please book it and tag me on your Instagram photos so I can live vicariously!
Need more space or traveling with a group? Check out Todos Santos Airbnbs here.
Todos Santos Beaches
Of course, beaches are one of the best things to do in Todos Santos. Baja California has some of Mexico’s best surfing beaches. Unfortunately, though, the waves and undertow here mean that most Todos Santos beaches aren’t safe for swimming. If in doubt if a beach is safe, look to see if locals are swimming!
Also, leave valuables at your hotel and secure belongings in your trunk rather than visible in the car (good advice for any beach). Bring a waterproof pouch for your car key and phone.
Check out the map below for the locations of the beaches. I’ve also included the descriptions below in the info when you click on each beach’s pin on the map.
Playa La Cachora
Whales and even rays have been spotted here just past the surf break! This is the closest beach to Todos Santos town (about 1.5 miles). It’s a great spot for a beach walk, but there’s no public services or vendors here.
Playa Los Cerritos at Km 64
This is the busiest beach in Todos Santos for sunbathing, swimming and surfing. Beginners can take lessons at “surf schools” here. You can rent surfboards, boogie boards, paddleboards, and lounge chairs/umbrellas for the day. Try Barracuda Cantina for tacos, margaritas, guacamole and beers. There’s also a restaurant and bar at the Desert Moon Hotel. Bring cash for vendors and restaurants (gotta to buy something to use the restrooms!).
San Pedrito Beach / El Pescadero
San Pedrito is a totally secluded beach – get here by turning right off Highway 19 and driving straight down the road through the cactus! Rancho Pescadero, the resort here, is currently closed for remodeling, so there’s no public facilities. But it’s one of the most beautiful spots in Todos Santos for sunset.
Playa Las Palmas at Km 57
This beach can be tough to get to, down a long unpaved road. (Consider abandoning your car and continuing on foot!) There are no public services, but you can beach camp here. Occasionally wild horses will wander by!
Playa Punta Lobos at Km 54
This beach is named for the sea lions sometimes spotted here. It’s also a fisherman’s beach, and you can even ask to buy some of their catch in the afternoon when they return. A secluded beach great for a peaceful walk or seeing the sunset, but not swimming. The Hotel San Cristobal is here.
Playa La Pastora
Located 5 miles north of Todos Santos, Playa La Pastora is the closest beach to where I stayed at Villa Santa Cruz. It’s an advanced surfer’s beach, or a great place for a beach walk. See if you can spot whales in the winter months! There are no public facilities here, but you can have lunch or dinner right on the beach at the Green Room restaurant, which I loved.
Todos Santos Tours & Excursions
Baja California Sur is a stunning hiking destination. It’s also a great place for sustainable animal encounters. Todos Santos options include whale watching and turtle spotting.
If you want to add an activity to your relaxing Todos Santos itinerary, here are some great choices:
- For animal lovers: Horseback riding on Todos Santos beaches.
- For nature lovers: Todos Santos guided nature walk or Sierra de la Laguna biosphere hike with a naturalist.
- For relaxation: Perhaps a private yoga session is in order?
- Add some local culture: Ranch tour with pottery class, tortilla-making and local lunch.
Tortugueros Las Playitas
The absolute cutest thing to do in Todos Santos is at Tortugueros Las Playitas, an environmental group with a focus on sea turtles. You can actually help them with baby sea turtle releases!
To protect sea turtle eggs from poachers and predators, volunteers here scour the beaches for new nests. Since mama turtles don’t return to their eggs after they lay them, the nests would otherwise be unprotected. Instead, the volunteers carefully relocate the eggs to a safe enclosure until they hatch.
Hatchling releases are free and usually happen daily from December 5 through the end of February. You can also volunteer your time with the group, or make a donation to support their conservation efforts. Follow them on Facebook for updates – they will post each day that they plan to do a release. More info on their website here.
Where to Eat in Todos Santos
Todos Santos has a foodie scene, and one of the best restaurants in town is the Cafe Santa Fe which (surprisingly) serves upscale Italian. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all fresh and delicious at La Esquina. Grab some fish tacos at Taqueria el Parguito or La Morena.
Outside of town, try Hierbabuena (which means peppermint), a farm-to-table restaurant 10 minutes’ drive south of town. I also loved The Green Room next to Villa Santa Cruz on Playa La Pastora. Amazing ambience and simple but delicious food, right on the beach.
Try Neveria Rocco to cool off with some ice cream!
Hotel California in Todos Santos
Yes, it’s really named Hotel California! The hotel says it definitely is the namesake of the Eagles’ song, while the Eagles themselves adamantly deny it. Just for fun, stop in for a drink and photo with the sign here and at the Tequila Sunrise bar across the street.
Todos Santos Shopping
Another of the best things to do in Todos Santos is to wander the streets of the small colonial center, popping into all the shopping options there. There’s tons of cute shops and photo opportunities around every corner.
Surfers should check out Todos Santos Surf Shop and Katrina’s Surf Shop. Drop by Besame Mucho Bazaar for souvenirs and Nomad Chic for high-end, locally made clothes, textiles and bags. Visit Mexico Gourmet for a mezcal tasting to find your perfect bottle.
Also don’t miss La Sonrisa de la Muerte, a print gallery with original graphic art by local artists.
Is Todos Santos Safe?
Baja California Sur is one of the safest places in Mexico for travel. Check out this article on safety in Todos Santos by USA Today.
Ready to visit Todos Santos?
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