Here at Baja Surf Yoga, we’ve been taking retreat groups to Todos Santos since 2016. We love this town as an intro-to-Mexico destination because it’s perfectly charming, easy to navigate, and offers new travelers a healthy mix of the familiar and unfamiliar.
After years of responding to requests for Todos Santos travel advice, surf and yoga advice, we’ve finally gotten smart and incorporated all our favorite haunts into this here blog. May it be of benefit to you in your travels.
Todos Santos has grown exponentially in recent years, and by the time you read this blog, there will be new restaurants, new coffee shops, and five more yoga studios. Some of the businesses mentioned here may have closed. Impermanence is the nature of this world, and that’s just how it goes. Sometimes change is welcomed, sometimes change is feared.
With the influx of money into any high growth area comes irresponsibility,. We encourage you to do your research on the sustainability of each business you patronize as you travel. Does that business make the environment and economy around them better, and do they support the local culture, or detract from it? The line is often blurry. It’s our hope that as a conscious traveler you take the time to think about where the line is for you.
History of Todos Santos
Evidence of humans in the Todos Santos area dates back at least 3,000 years. The charming small town that’s recognizable today, however, began as a mision de visita in the early 1700’s. The area, an oasis flush with fresh water, supported the establishment of a farming community that would grow exponentially over the next 200 years. Early crops included sugar cane, or panocha, which became the area’s primary industry in the 1800’s.
After World War II, sugar prices dropped, but more significantly, the town’s oasis dried up, perhaps the result of an earthquake which shifted the underground water supply. By 1965 the sugar mills were gone, fresh water was largely gone, and the thriving Todos Santos was no more.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s that mother nature recovered and with it, farming. Today, Todos Santos is among the most prolific conventional and organic farming regions in Baja Sur. Chilis are the main conventional crop, and basil is the main organic crop. If you live in the Southwestern United States, there’s a high chance your organic basil comes from Todos Santos.
Meanwhile, thanks to construction of the transpeninsular highway in the 1970’s, and later the toll road, tourism has flourished. A recent boom in real estate development reflects the fact that Todos Santos no longer qualifies as a secret spot. Regardless, it continues to hold a top spot on our Southern Baja must-see list.
Getting to Todos Santos
To get to Todos Santos from the San Jose del Cabo airport (SJD), we recommend renting a car. The driving is easy, no need for 4×4, and you’ll have the freedom to explore beaches and the many small neighborhoods to the north and south of town. If it’s just a day trip you have time for, hitch a ride with our friends at Todos Santos Private Transportation.
From the airport, take the toll road south towards Mex 19, then Mex 19 north to Todos Santos. The world’s worst signage exists along the first part of this toll road, so pay attention until you’re free and clear of all the turn-offs to Los Cabos.
You’ll need between 90-100 pesos in cash to pay the toll, which is why we always recommend getting some pesos before you leave your home country. The toll road is an easy, beautiful drive and will have you in Todos Santos within 90 minutes.
Where to Stay in Todos Santos
Anywhere! If you have a car, you’ll have no trouble getting around between this small town and the surrounding beach communities. You’ll find plenty of hotel or AirBnB options to suit any budget or desired level of luxury. And yes, luxury you can find. Todos Santos is growing quickly, and an influx of wealthy homeowners and investors means there’s a variety of inventory on HomeAway and more hotels every season.
As you head to town from the south, you’ll first pass the swimmable beach neighborhood of Playa los Cerritos. If you plan on surfing or swimming all day and don’t want to car-top your board all week, then this is the place to stay. You can find accommodations here for as low as $50 nightly. The area has built up considerably in recent years with dining and coffee options, so there’s no longer any need to drive to town unless you want to.
Further up the coast is the sleepy village of El Pescadero, you’ll drive right through it on your way to town. This is where you’ll find the area’s most expensive resort hotels alongside plenty of VRBO’s, vacation rentals by owner. Beaches here aren’t always swimmable, but you’ll enjoy the coastal strolls and quiet residential neighborhood vibe.
If enjoy being at the center of all the action, fancy an easy walk to restaurants, shopping and galleries, there are plenty of options for lodging in Todos Santos proper. We love the Todos Santos Inn (when rooms are discounted). This historic hacienda was once owned by a wealthy sugar baron, has a small pool within a quiet courtyard, and is furnished with antiques to die for. Even if you don’t stay there, hit up the bar for a drink to enjoy the ambience and artwork.
Deep in the heart of Todos Santos you’ll also find La Bohemia Baja. This boutique hotel has been refurbished with a decidedly Instagrammable décor, yet retains the historic 100-year old bones with walls built of palo de arco and adobe.
At the north end of town, our go-to hostel when the Todos Santos Inn is at full price remains Perro Surfero. Don’t be off-put by the word “hostel.” You’ll have your own private room, but can share their community kitchen. Fitness classes are sometimes on offer, there’s a rooftop yoga space, and a small pool with hammocks overhanging the water.
Keep driving north and you’ll reach the neighborhood of Las Tunas. Here you’ll find gorgeous and quiet lodging via AirBnB, or boutique hotels such as Pachamama Mexico, a favorite of ours for yoga retreats. Many of the properties in Las Tunas are relatively new. You can choose from an ocean front view or head away from the beach up into the hills.
Todos Santos Beaches
Surf, swim or stretch out on the sand. There’s a beach for you whether you’re seeking people watching, family fun or complete solitude.
Playa los Cerritos
Playa los Cerritos is the most swimmable and family friendly beach. This is where you’ll find services for surfboard rentals and lessons, and nearby restaurants, bars and cafes. You could easily spend a full day here, so load up on sunscreen, or even bring a change of clothes.
Rent a surfboard or take a lesson with Mario Surf School. This is the same group of excellent instructors we use for all our Baja Surf Yoga retreats. Whether you’re brand new to surfing, or looking for someone to tour you to the “secret spots,” these guys can help. Outside of the foamies for beginners, a range of brand new surf boards are available to rent. If you’re fully committed, make a purchase from their shop in El Pescadero.
When you need a lunch break, visit Barracuda Cantina for the area’s best tacos and drinks. Bars with pools and views include the casual rooftop at Desert Moon Hotel, or the fancy (read expensive) Freesouls Restaurant.
Playa las Palmas
Playa las Palmas, aka Playa San Pedro or “secret beach” is not so secret anymore. You’ll reach this hideaway via Mex 19, south of Punto Lobos at approximately KM 58. Turn off onto a long dirt road that leads to a dirt parking area, then continue on foot through the palm trees towards the ocean.
You will not find any services here, thankfully, so bring drinking water, a picnic, and a good book to enjoy the solitude. If you’re not skilled at recognizing rip tides, this is NOT the place to enter the water. Dip your feet in, but seriously, be careful of swimming. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a visit from the area’s wild horses.
Visit Playa Tortugueros in the early evening for the best sunset views, but more importantly, to participate in a sea turtle release. Releases happen almost nightly from December through April just as the sun goes down. Show up, or double check the Todos Tortugueros Facebook page for more information. When in season, you’ll see updates on releases nearly daily. Bring a cash donation as a thank you for their hard work, or to adopt a sea turtle nest of your own.
What about the surf spots? Out of consideration for our neighbors, we won’t report here on local surf spots. We suggest you book a guide, or join us on a future Yoga & Surf retreat.
The further you head north of Todos Santos, the more isolated the beaches become. With a very strong shore break, none of these beaches are recommended for swimming, but are excellent for beach walking, solitude, and views. There’s nothing like the infinite horizon of this Southern Baja coast.
Todos Santos Yoga
We’re all about the yoga and there’s no shortage of it in Todos Santos. For regular group classes, check out the following studios:
- Baja Zen offers weekly studio classes
- The Facebook group Cerritos Yoga will keep you updated on local classes and events
- The Peace Sanctuary offers yoga workshops and events
- Northern Light Healing is comprised of local teachers with offerings in different locations
- La Curanderia offers weekly classes
Todos Santos Yoga
- Cuatro Vientos offers weekly studio classes and workshops
- Guaycura Hotel sometimes offers public rooftop classes
- Check out Liz Campbell’s schedule of classes via Home Yoga Studio on Facebook
To practice yoga twice daily or more, while on the vacation of a lifetime, join us for one of our upcoming Todos Santos yoga retreats.
Outside of retreats, seek out a local yoga studio whenever you travel! We’ve found it’s not only a great way to support those who are sharing the authentic teachings and leading others along the path towards bliss and contentment, but it’s a great way to meet the locals, and feel connected to community while away from home.
Where to Eat in Todos Santos
After a day full of surf, yoga and adventure, you’ll need a good meal. In Todos Santos there’s no shortage of places to try, most of them are good, and like the restaurant scene everywhere, it’s frequently changing. Below are some of our long running go-to spots.
- Have breakfast at least once at La Esquina
- If it’s coffee you’re after, spend some time at Doce Cuarenta, or enjoy the Sunday morning market at Baja Beans
- You’ll find the world’s best tacos at Tacos El Poblano. Order the pastor
- In the mood for sushi? Check out Derek’s Sushi Bar
- Treat yourself to El Refugio for a classic pre-hispanic Mexican meal
- For a romantic evening, dine outdoors among the gardens at Hierbabuena
- After dinner, save room for locally made ice cream at Neveria Rocco
When to Visit Todos Santos
High season generally spans November through April each year. The weather is the kindest during this time, not too hot with little chance of rain.
Between May and August the days will be hotter, but the Pacific Ocean breezes keep Todos Santos more bearable in the summer than its east coast neighbor, La Paz.
September is typically the hottest (and potentially buggiest) month. You’ll find that many of the locally owned shops and restaurants are closed during this time of year.
Personally, we’re big fans of traveling to Todos Santos year round. Our January high season retreats take advantage of the best weather conditions, our June surf retreats offer the perfect summer getaway to the beach, and low season meditation retreats offer ample quiet vibes; tranquillo…as they say in Mexico.
Need a guide? Travel to Todos Santos with us! If you’d like to make your 5-night retreat a full week-long adventure (or longer), we are happy to help you plan your extended stay.
Did we miss your favorite place? Tell us about it in the comments below!