Many travel to Cabo for its sandy beaches, abundant palm trees, and all-inclusive resorts, but there’s one gem that often gets overlooked: the town of Todos Santos. A visit to Todos Santos will leave you feeling refreshed, escaping the over-inflated tourist prices and drunken debauchery of Cabo, for some of the most beautiful beaches and art in Mexico. If you want to avoid the crowds, find some solace, visit the Hotel California (not to be confused with the Hotel California in the popular Eagles song), and lounge with a margarita in hand by the beach, planning a trip to Todos Santos should be on your itinerary.
A short 50-minute drive from the resorts Cabo is famous for will take you into the small town of Todos Santos (population approx. 5,000). Drive along Highway 19 past the mountains (you may even catch a glimpse of people riding through the desert-landscape in ATVs), the sandy beaches, and the infamous Art & Beer until the highway turns into a dirt road. Welcome, you’ve officially arrived in Todos Santos.
Though Hotel California isn’t the Eagle’s “Hotel California”, like many tourists believe it to be, it is still a charming place to stop while in town. Not only will you find the Emporic Gallery filled with eclectic trinkets and equally peculiar treasures from across the world, you’ll also find two restaurants—La Coronela and Santo Bistro. We dined at La Coronela, sipping on margaritas and feasting on homemade guacamole, salsa Mexicana and corn totopos. The food was delicious and reasonably priced despite being located at a more “touristy” destination.
Next up on our itinerary: exploring the streets of Todos Santos. Luckily the streets are fairly easy to navigate given the size of the small town, and are filled with plenty of souvenir shops, art galleries, and historic brick buildings that have now been transformed into restaurants and bars. The walls of some of the buildings are practically crumbling, quite literally, but that only adds to the character of this quaint town.
And, of course, no trip to Mexico would be complete without stopping by a local bar. We grabbed a margarita (or ten) at Bob Marlin Bar and Restaurant. Though you are in the center of town, you still have the beach atmosphere with tiki-style bar and themed decorations. The wall décor is sure to make you giggle (you can’t miss the art murals plastered across the walls). The overall atmosphere of this bar could best be described as fun. And the drink and food prices weren’t too shabby either.
After we had our fair share of tequila, we called it a day in Todos Santos and decided to head to the nearby Playa Cerritos. Just a few miles up on highway 19 and a left at kilometer 66 will lead you to this world-class beach. If you are from the states, Playa Cerritos will be unlike any beach you’ve ever experienced with surf lessons, horse back rides, and local artisans eager to sell their goods. Then there is also the luxury of having alcoholic beverages and food delivered directly to you while you lounge beachside. The Cerritos Beach Club takes care of your music needs, with tunes blasting during most hours of the day.
Todos Santos Tips
Tip #1: Todos Santos is most easily visited by rental car. However, buses (both public and private) offer transporation to/from Todos Santos.
Tip #2: If you are staying in Cabo, leave town before 9am which should have you arriving in Todos Santos by 10:30 am. This is when many of the shops open and then you can grab lunch at Hotel California.
Tip #3: Keep your eyes peeled for Cerritos Beach, the road that leads to it is easy to miss.
Tip #4: A yearly art festival is held in Todos Santos, generally early in the year. If visiting at this time of year, check out to see when the festival will be in town to plan a visit during this time.
Tip #5: If time permits, stop by Art&Beer on your way back to Cabo. This other-worldly bar is designed and decorated by the owners themselves. A sculpture garden, lush walking path through the gardens, and fresh fruit margaritas are reason to visit alone.