Todos Santos

The small town on the southwest coast of Baja California, facing the Pacific, has a reputation as an artists’ colony, which it became famous for several decades ago.

In fact, Todos Santos is still home to many, mostly North American, artists and bon vivants who prefer the leisurely pace of the sunny desert climate to the rat race of American cities. The partly wild Pacific beaches with the respective waves make Todos Santos a popular destination for surfers. In addition to the surf beaches with their impressive waves, there are also two beautiful swimming beaches. Large hotels and package tourists are missing here, apart from the day-trippers from the Los Cabos region.

Todos Santos owes much of his fame to a cleverly marketed misunderstanding. The Eagles hit “Hotel California” is said to have been inspired by the hotel of the same name in Todos Santos. Despite Don Henley assuring that he had never been here, this rumor persists…
The Pacific currents at the Tropic of Cancer have a major influence on the local climate and weather. They provide a fresh breeze that makes temperatures pleasant even during the hottest months of the year. The peaks of the Sierra de la Laguna, which shield the coastal strip of Todos Santos to the east, provide sufficient rainfall to the benefit of the oasis with its tropical vegetation. In addition to palm trees, countless mango and papaya trees grow. All kinds of vegetables are cultivated, so that the local restaurants, can always rely on fresh products, apart from fish and seafood. The fertile soils of Todos Santos ensured that sugar cane also flourished, so that numerous sugar mills settled here. Some of these “trapiches”, such as the Molino de los Santana and the Molino El Progreso, have been restored. The former school building now serves as the Casa de la Cultura and houses some interesting murales relating to national history and the Mexican Revolution. The mission church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de La Paz, founded by Father Jaime Bravo in 1723, was almost destroyed during the rebellion of the Pericú in 1734. Today it is called the Nuesta Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos.

Miles and miles of beaches extend to the south of Todos Santos. The two northernmost beaches, La Poza and La Cachora, are accessible via the “La Cachora” road. They are ideal for walks and sunbathing, especially La Poza is a good place for bird watching thanks to its freshwater lagoon or for whale watching during the season. Both beaches are not suitable for swimming due to their strong waves and currents. Playa Punta Lobos is the beach of the eponymous sea lions and the fishermen who, when they return in the early afternoon, navigate their pangas over the often high waves to the beach. Only the beaches Playa Los Cerritos and Playa las Palmas, which can be reached at kilometre 57, opposite the Campo Experimental, are recommended as swimming beaches. Las Palmas is a secluded beach in the middle of a palm grove with a small freshwater lagoon. The gates of the private property that surrounds the beach are open between 6 am and 9 pm. Playa San Pedrito, a rocky surfing beach, is at km 60, and at km 64 you reach Playa Los Cerritos. It is popular with surfers, boogie boarders, swimmers and campers alike.

An all-day excursion to the interior of the Cape region, worth the relatively long journey, leads to the Sierra de la Laguna and to the Cañon de la Zorra (gorge of the vixen). Just 10 kilometres northwest of the small village Santiago you will find the Sol de Mayo waterfall, a beautiful bathing place surrounded by lush greens. In Santiago you can enjoy a good meal in Restaurante Palomar.
Enthusiastic hikers can tackle the Picacho de la Laguna, the highest peak in the Sierra of the same name. Most choose the steeper and more direct route from the west. It starts in La Burrera and can be found without a guide. (Two days are required for ascent and descent, but a day hike is also possible if you want to turn back without reaching the summit). The ascent takes 5-8 hours, depending on fitness and speed. The descent takes 4 hours. During the hike, the landscape changes quickly from a desert with thorny bushes to an oak-pine mixed forest. Just before you reach the summit (2155 m), the forest roof opens up and offers an impressive view of the Sierra and the coast.