The first pueblo mágico (a legal designation for places of historic or cultural importance) on the Baja California peninsula, Todos Santos is a former sugar capital that is now best known for its surfer chic, boutique lodgings, and many acclaimed artists and galleries. Located about 45 minutes by car from Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos and the nearby communities of Los Cerritos and Pescadero are popular day trip destinations for Los Cabos based tourists.
See & Do
Surfers have long been drawn to the area for the superb conditions at Los Cerritos, San Pedrito and La Pastora. Cultural festivals are also a major attraction, with four taking place annually in January and February. Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck organizes the yearly music festival, which is followed by a writer’s workshop, an art festival and open studios tour, and a film festival primarily based at the town’s historic Teatro-Cine General Manuel Márquez de León. Local wine shop La Bodega de Todos Santos hosts a food and wine fest called Gastrovino each May, and a Mango Festival is held during the summer.
Todos Santos has a thriving dining scene for its size, with delicious dining options that range from taquerías and tapas spots to elegant hotel-based restaurants. Miguel’s is famed for its fantastic chile rellenos, while Michael’s at the Gallery serves up delicious Pan-Asian cuisine twice weekly on the patio behind Galería de Todos Santos. Caffé Todos Santos offers coffee, baked goods and other delicacies; Café Santa Fe is the preferred choice for Italian food; and Los Adobes provides excellent organic and vegetarian dishes, as well as a gorgeous outdoor garden setting.
Outside Cabo San Lucas, a city notorious for its rowdy nightlife, there are few late night options in Baja California Sur. Todos Santos certainly has little to recommend it in this regard. The town has no dance clubs, and virtually no after-midnight party scene. There are several local bars and drinking spots popular with locals, however. La Garra has built a loyal following based on its comfort food specialties, sports coverage, and live music (performers span several genres, from jazz and blues to reggae and traditional Mexican standards). Shut Up Frank’s is another popular sports bar, and serves up excellent burgers.
The town’s most famous building is Hotel California. No, it has nothing to do with the Eagles’ song. But this central lodging – there are only 11 rooms and suites, all individually decorated – is an area landmark, and the airy courtyard of its restaurant La Coronela is a frequent setting for special events. Set in a remodeled 19th century home, Todos Santos Inn showcases the beautiful brickwork characteristic of the downtown area, and is a favorite of sophisticated travelers. Hotel Guaycura, Hotel Casa Tota, and nearby Rancho Pescadero also boast boutique charms and comfortable accommodations.
The emergence of Todos Santos as a tourist destination in the 1980s owed a lot to the town’s burgeoning artists' colony. Today, the downtown area is home to dozens of fine arts galleries, featuring works from talented local painters and sculptors like Jill Logan (Galería Logan), Arturo Mendoza (Galería AR), Steve Thurston (Gallery 365), Benito Ortega Vargas (his eponymous gallery) and Victor Vega (Galería La Coronela). Members of the Brilanti family maintain several fine custom jewelry boutiques and art galleries, and Librería El Tecolote is one of the region’s finest bookstores.