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About Chris Sands

Chris Sands is the author of Bohemia by the Bay, and writes about wine, golf, and travel for publications such as Baja.com, Los Cabos Guide, Los Cabos Magazine, 10 Best, and USA Today. He is a full-time resident of Cabo San Lucas.

Setting x Style: The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

Todos Santos has a sense of style that is all its own. Bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range, the charming coastal town has evolved from its industrious days as a sugar capital, and is now one of three places in Baja to be legally designated as a pueblo mágico – literally, a magical village.

This evocative honorific perfectly captures the unique aesthetic of downtown Todos Santos: a festive whirl of colorful art galleries, red brick buildings housing bookstores and bodegas, and restaurants serving first-class fare, some amid a clutter of surfboards.

Luckily for overnight or longer-term visitors, this enchanting combination of chic appointments, laid-back attitude, and stunning natural settings – the inimitable Todos Santos style – also distinguishes some of the town’s best boutique hotels. 

Posada La Poza

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

There are a few moments driving down the long, winding, dirt road to Posada La Poza when you might question where you are going, and whether anything good can possibly be at the end of a road this bad. But the off-the-beaten-path route – with its enormous ruts and rocks – is an essential part of the journey, and only heightens the sense of wonderment when you finally arrive at your destination.

To say Posada La Poza is a feast for the senses is an understatement. Visually, it’s breathtaking. The property faces west over a magnificently nurtured and sculpted garden – home to over 30 types of palm trees, 50 kinds of cactus, and 100 species of birds – to a large freshwater lagoon, and the vast Pacific Ocean beyond.

Founded by Swiss transplants Juerg and Libusche Wiesendanger, this secluded, eight-suite boutique hotel is a world unto itself. Libusche grew the garden, and has also provided paintings and helped to curate the art for the exquisitely appointed ocean and garden view accommodations. The master suite has its own lounge area and fireplace, as well as a king-sized canopy bed, and a bathroom larger than the average studio apartment, with a hot tub for two. The spacious terrace, shaded by a traditional palo de arco pergola, looks out towards the sea, and is bounded to the north by a dense and picturesque palm grove. Guests can enjoy incredible sunsets from the terrace hammock, drink in hand, while serenaded by the sound of exotic birds and crashing waves.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

Breakfast includes fresh fruit and juices – including mangos right off the trees during the summer months – and is served on a small patio graced with colorful paintings and evocative sculptures. Just inside, there is a bar stocked with artisanal tequilas and mezcals. The destination drinking and dining spot at Posada La Poza, however, is El Gusto, which features spectacular ocean views from its elevated “Whale Deck” (yes, transiting whales can be viewed during the winter months). El Gusto serves up some of the finest food in Todos Santos, and is a popular luncheon spot for local couples and families, as well as hotel guests. Organic produce and freshly caught local seafood are the specialties of the house, most notably served Mexican style in smoked tuna flautas and shrimp quesadillas.

The grounds are so spacious that one rarely runs into other guests unless it is at the restaurant, the swimming pool – contoured around a palm tree, or course, with a blissful waterfall nearby – or the adjoining outdoor fitness facilities. Privacy is part of the allure here; the natural beauty is profound, and lends a sort of meditative majesty to the experience that is only enhanced by the superb service.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

The Hotelito

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

The Hotelito has its own kind of magic, but one that’s hard to define.

The owner, Jenny Armit, is an architect and designer, and both skills are evident throughout this strikingly distinctive bed and breakfast…yet it also has a laid-back, almost rural charm.

The property showcases upscale amenities like a 48-foot saltwater lap pool, and top-of-the-line beds shipped specially from the U.S. for maximum comfort…yet guests are invariably invited to meet the meet the onsite menagerie, which includes dogs, goats, a sheep, a horse and a donkey.

The Hotelito is quiet and private, with scenic views of the neighboring orchard and palm grove…yet it’s also very close to the downtown area; within walking distance, and less than two minutes by car from Todos Santos’ top restaurants and art galleries.

It’s stylish and elegant…yet offers warm, downhome service.

The magic is that none of these disparate elements clash. Rather, they combine to create a kind of perfect harmony.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

Like most of Todos Santos’ best boutique properties, The Hotelito offers limited lodging – only four casitas, and three rooms at the Hacienda El Chilicote – but with plenty of space; in this case, five sprawling acres just off the Avenida General Topete.

The four casitas are stand-alone guesthouses named according to their dominant color palette (Violeta, Verde, Rosa and Azul), each inspired by notable artists or architects. The beds always draw raves – “a great night’s sleep makes up for any small mistakes,” Armit says – but are complemented by one-of-a-kind furnishings and accents, many bought at auction. Bathrooms feature large, walk-in showers and historical Mexican photographs. Casitas also come with a small selection of books, which may be enjoyed on the private terraces, all of which are outfitted with hammocks and patio furniture.

The Hacienda de Chilicote is an ideal option for traveling families, with a large, high-ceilinged living area complete with fireplace, plus an expansive terrace, and both indoor and outdoor dining spots. Sleeping quarters include three bedrooms, each with its own en suite bathroom.

Breakfast is served to all guests in an airy al fresco café, and casitas share their own kitchen area for cooking and food storage. The vibrantly colored pool lounge is walled off for privacy, and in addition to the enormous saltwater pool, includes tables and chairs, chaise lounges and hammocks. The outdoor shower is set directly beneath a mango tree, a nice tropical touch that yields delicious results during the summer months.  

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

Hacienda Todos Los Santos

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

This lovely downtown hotel features many unique amenities, among which is the oldest swimming pool in town; a refreshing and picturesque outdoor splash-around spot that dates to the 1950s, when guests from Rancho Las Cruces would visit Todos Santos for the superb white-winged dove hunting. Rancho Las Cruces, for the uninitiated, was the original Baja California Sur based vacation resort, an exclusive and expansive seaside getaway southeast of La Paz that regularly hosted celebrities like Clark Gable, John Wayne, Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz Jr., as well as U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The founders of Rancho Las Cruces were themselves rather famous. Abelardo “Rod” Rodríguez Jr. was the son of a Mexican President, and like many regional pioneers, an aviator. After serving as a transport pilot during World War II, he became a test pilot, and set a speed record flying between Los Angeles and Mexico City. His wife, Lucille Bremer, was an actress who had co-starred in a film with the legendary Fred Astaire. Together, they turned the then sparsely populated coast of southern Baja into a destination attraction among the smart set, following their success at Rancho San Lucas with Hotel Palmilla, the first true hotel in Los Cabos, and Hotel Hacienda, the first in Cabo San Lucas proper.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

The Rodríguez clan remain the region’s first family of hospitality, although patriarch Rod is enjoying his retirement at age 99. Rancho Las Cruces still enjoys an elite clientele, and Rod’s daughter Kali has transformed Hacienda Todos los Santos from a hunting lodge into an utterly charming collection of boutique accommodations, from the roomy suites in Casa de los Santos to fully-furnished, standalone casitas (guesthouses) overlooking a beautiful palm grove.

One suite, Casa Santa Cruz, boasts a wood-burning fireplace, and all suites and casitas feature king or queen-sized beds, comfortably appointed living areas, scenic terraces, kitchens and wet bars, and bathrooms with hand-painted Talavera counters and sinks. Yet another Rodríguez has contributed incredible photos of Todos Santos, which along with the regional paintings and tapestries, clamshell-shaped wall hollows and sunken living areas, give the casitas their distinctive, trademark style.

The location could hardly be improved upon:  set at one end of the town’s main road, Calle Benito Juárez, the hotel is no more than five minutes from anywhere in downtown Todos Santos; yet completely private and secluded. Just look for the pedestal-set bust of beloved President Juárez which marks the property’s entrance, and which was donated to the town by the Rodríguez family.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

Todos Santos Inn

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

No lodging speaks to local history quite like Todos Santos Inn, whose ebbs and flows over the past century and a half have largely mirrored the fortunes of the town itself. Built in 1872 as an estate for a sugar baron, the imposing and stately brick edifice later served as a schoolhouse, notably for future Brigadier General and hero of the Mexican Revolution, Melitón Albañez. During the 1930s, at the height of the Mexican Muralism Movement, artist C.C. Zamora painted the foyer with the lushly evocative murals which still enchant visitors. Zamora’s work prefigured Todos Santos’ rebirth in the 1980s as an artists’ colony, and its subsequent emergence as a destination getaway for discerning travelers.

The weathered old wooden bar in La Copa, the watering hole just off the lobby, looks as if it once supported the elbows of Albañez, Zamora, and every other famous or forgotten figure who passed through town. Nowadays, however, it’s mostly a congenial spot for a mojito or margarita before dinner at the more secluded La Copa Cocina, where Chef Patrick “Patricio Mullen’s eclectic bill of fare ranges from comfort food to dishes featuring fresh local seafood, and even a Japanese style Chicken Nagoya.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos

But history is never far from one’s mind at the Todos Santos Inn. Not only is the façade reminiscent of another time, but so too are the eight onsite rooms and suites, with their canopied four poster beds, Saltillo tile floors and vintage armoires, desks and dressers. Reclining in a welcoming chair on the flagstone terrace, looking out through splendid red brick arches at palm fronds waving lazily in the breeze, it’s rather easy to imagine oneself as a wealthy 19th century planter, or a character in a novel by Gabriel García Márquez.

Modern conveniences do exist at the Todos Santos Inn, of course, but they remain inconspicuous and unobtrusive. This is not a place where televisions or telephones are standard amenities. It’s an oasis, a haven, a retreat from the hurly burly.

It’s an amazing trick, really, when you consider the Todos Santos Inn has the most central location of any of the town’s small, boutique lodgings:  only a block from the plaza principal, in the heart of the gallery district.  It’s not hidden, but it does have that quality of all great hotels, of filtering out everything that does not fit its carefully imagined and cultivated world.

Visitors never make it past the elegant-long necked swans that Zamora painted on the entryway walls over 80 years ago. Access beyond that point is exclusively reserved for guests, those fortunate few who get to experience Todos Santos as it once was, and still is in a handful of fashionable places.

The Beautiful Boutique Hotels of Todos Santos


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Day Trip: Todos Santos

“We don’t want to be like Cabo” is a refrain often heard from residents of Todos Santos;  by which they mean Cabo San Lucas, with its touristy hustle and boisterous nightlife. Todos Santos actually shares quite a bit in common with San José del Cabo:  both communities were founded around Jesuit missions, both took advantage of available water resources to become peninsular commercial centers in the late 19th and early 20th century, and both are now distinguished by thriving art scenes.

Todos Santos does have a singular character, however. The many beautiful old brick buildings, a legacy from its 19th century heyday as a sugar capital, give the historic downtown area a distinctive profile unlike any other place in Baja California Sur. Todos Santos is also blessed by a beneficial vantage, between the Sierra de la Laguna mountains and the Pacific Ocean, that undoubtedly contributes to the unique quality of its light. This unusual light was what first attracted artists in the 1980s, and led to the town’s rebirth as an artists’ colony some thirty years or so after its water wells had run dry.

Todos Santos has for many years been a popular day trip destination from Los Cabos–it is less than an hour by car from Cabo San Lucas–notable for its fine arts galleries, hip eateries, and annual festivals celebrating art, film, music and literature. Todos Santos is also a destination surf spot, with popular breaks at Cerritos, San Pedrito and La Pastora.

It was the first place on the peninsula to be designated as a pueblo mágico (a promotional appellation applied to Mexican communities with great natural beauty, and strong cultural or historical legacies), and it remains, along with Loreto and Tecate, one of only three towns throughout Baja to be so honored.

History and Architecture

The original inhabitants of Todos Santos were Guaycuras, a tribe of hunter gatherers whose territory stretched as far north as Loreto. The Jesuits built a mission there in 1733, which proved to be rather unfortunate timing since the Pericúes, the tribe to the south, rebelled in 1734. All the southern missions, from San José del Cabo to La Paz, were looted and badly damaged during the three year conflict which followed.

Todos Santos was also the site of the final skirmish of the Mexican–American War in 1848, a little known footnote to an historical event that cost México approximately half its national territory. It became a sugar cane capital during the latter half of the 19th century, with residents not only growing the cash-rich crop but milling it as well. The town’s distinctive brick buildings largely date to this period.

This commercial prosperity was interrupted by the Mexican Revolution, although the action in Baja California remained limited to small-scale engagements. Todos Santos’ first brush with fine art occurred during the 1930s, at the height of the Mexican Mural Movement. Wonderful examples of this style can still be seen in the entryway of the town’s historic Centro Cultural Todosanteño.

Work began in 1947 on the now legendary Hotel California, a lodging founded by a Chinese immigrant named Mr. Wong, whose attempts to acclimate to Mexican culture included changing his name to Don Antonio Tabasco. The locals called him El Chino anyway, but his family’s 16-room hotel proved perennially popular with visitors and locals alike. The former were drawn to the comfortable lodgings, the latter because the Hotel California pumped the only gas, and served the only cold beer in town.

Inspired by the area’s unique light, acclaimed artist Charles Stewart and his wife Mary Lou settled in Todos Santos in 1985, and contributed mightily to the town’s reinvention as a culture driven tourist destination.

Day Trip: Todos Santos

Hotel California in Todos Santos. Photo courtesy of Michael Kull.

Art

Painters are probably the best known artists in Todos Santos, but the downtown area also features studios and galleries showcasing superb sculpture and hand-crafted jewelry. A local association, The Artists of Todos Santos, organizes an annual Open Studios Tour. This tour is typically scheduled in February, and is slotted in during the series of cultural festivals that take place during the first three months of the year.

Former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck was the founder of the highly regarded Todos Santos Music Festival. Buck ruffled a few local feathers with political comments during the 2016 edition of the event, and did not return for 2017, when it was rebranded as the Tropic of Cancer Concert Series. The Todos Santos Writers Workshop follows in late January, leading into the Art Festival and Open Studios Tour in February, and the Film Festival in March. The latter recently celebrated its 14th anniversary bringing vintage and contemporary Latin American films to the historic Teatro-Cine General Márquez de León (completed in 1943, and lovingly restored earlier this decade), as well as select locations in Pescadero and La Paz.

Day Trip: Todos Santos

Teatro-Cine General Márquez de León in Todos Santos. Photo courtesy of Michael Kull.

Food & Wine

Although it lacks the nightlife characteristic of Cabo San Lucas, Todos Santos’ dining scene is among the best in Baja California Sur. Hotel California and Hotel Guaycura both feature excellent onsite restaurants, Michael’s at the Gallery offers delicious Asian themed fare in aesthetically pleasing surroundings (at Michael and Pat Cope’s Galería de Todos Santos), and Miguel’s…well, the New York Times said it best: Miguel’s serves up the best chile rellenos in Baja.

Mezcalaría El Refugio is a noteworthy addition to the local sipping scene, but La Bodega de Todos Santos remains the tasting spot nonpareil. The shop spotlights great bottled selections from Baja’s wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, and sponsors the town’s yearly food and wine festival. This celebration, called Gastrovino, takes place in late April or early May, and includes a weekend of festivities that culminate in an all-day fête featuring live music. Todos Santos is also home to a Mango Festival, which takes place when the fruit ripens in late July or early August.

Day Trip: Todos Santos

Hacienda Cerritos, overlooking surf mecca Playa Los Cerritos.

Additional Stops

The trip from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos is not an unbroken length of picturesque highway, and there are a few places worth stopping along the way. Playa Los Cerritos has a well-earned reputations as one of the best surf beaches in the region. The traditional wisdom–surf the Sea of Cortés in the Summer, the Pacific Ocean in the winter–still holds true, but Cerritos does offer surfable waves on a year-round basis. It is also home to the Cerritos Beach Club and Surf, where singer Daline Jones contributes to the tranquilo vibes, performing each Sunday afternoon. Baja Beans in nearby Pescadero also draws crowds on Sundays, although in the case of this charming outdoor café, it’s for brunch amid a bustling local market, complete with live music.

 


Baja.com
 is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Rancho Pescadero Unveils New Slate of Guest Chef Weekends

Boutique beachfront resort brings world-class culinary talent to Baja California Sur

Great news for foodies, as well as lovers of weekend getaways with soft sand beaches and spectacular ocean vistas: Rancho Pescadero has unveiled its list of guest chefs for the 2015 – 2016 season.

Renee Erickson of Seattle’s The Walrus and the Carpenter, Jessica Koslow of Los Angeles’ Sqirl, Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group in San Francisco, and Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton of OX Restaurant in Portland will bring their unique culinary talents to the boutique beachfront resort, located just south of Todos Santos on the Pacific Coast of Baja California Sur.

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Rancho Pescadero

The simple yet elegant resort has been rated as one of Mexico’s best properties, and is home to 29 suites, a garden restaurant, a spa specializing in local and indigenous ingredients, and a 2,000 square foot yoga pavilion. Rancho Pescadero’s most acclaimed attractions, however, may well be the chefs who appear at the four-day, three-night culinary weekends offered regularly from November through May.

Guests at these seasonal gastro gatherings are treated to an array of palate pleasing options – from brunches and tastings to cooking classes and artfully paired dinners from visiting and in-house chefs – and also enjoy easy access to activities like hiking, biking, fishing, surfing, and romantic beachfront horseback rides in one of the world’s most beautiful locales. As an added bonus, the resort is only 45 minutes by car from Cabo San Lucas.

 

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Renee Erickson will kick the season off in style November 12 – 15. The Seattle based chef and restaurateur – her eateries include The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, Barnacle, and Boat Street Pickles – is a James Beard award finalist who authored the cookbook A Boat, A Whale and A Walrus, and has had her recipes featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. This fall Erickson and her partners will open two new restaurants on Capitol Hill, an Normandy influenced oyster bar and a French Steak house that will feature their own grass raised beef from their farm La Ferme des Anes on Whidbey Island. She also plans to open a doughnut shop called General Porpoise Doughnuts.

 

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Jessica Koslow takes center stage next, appearing the weekend of March 24 – 27, 2016. Koslow’s Sqirl, which opened in 2011, has drawn rave reviews for its fine food and focus on organic, sustainable produce from family-owned farms. In 2014, Sqirl was rated the 7th best restaurant in Los Angeles by LA Magazine, and 9th best by LA Weekly. Koslow was also one of 100 chefs in the U.S. to be nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Choice Chef of the Year, was named a Star Chef RISING STAR, and was declared Chef of the Year by Eater LA. Koslow has a new project, Sqirl Away, opening this fall.

 

Rancho PescaderoChefs Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow are the driving creative culinary forces behind the acclaimed Ne Timeas group of restaurants in San Francisco, which include Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Salumeria.  A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, McNaughton was nominated for a Rising Star Chef award from the James Beard Foundation in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and published a cookbook called Flour + Water: Pasta in 2014. He and Pollnow, who worked at Mugaritz in Spain and now oversees the Basque cuisine at Aatxe (and other Ne Timeas restaurants), will appear at Rancho Pescadero on April 21 – 24, 2016.

 

Rancho PescaderoGreg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónes Denton met while working under Chef Hiro Sone at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Terra, in Napa Valley. Greg eventually became the first titled Chef de Cuisine and Gabrielle, Sous Chef. Together, the couple opened Ox Restaurant in Portland in 2012. The Argentine inspired eatery has garnered tons of attention: including James Beard nominations for Best Chef in the U.S. Northwest and Best New Restaurant in America. They’re currently working on an OX Restaurant cookbook, and will be at Rancho Pescadero May 26 – 29, 2016.

 

The guest chefs will share the spotlight with the resort’s own in-house stars, Jeff and Susan Mall. The dynamic duo formerly helmed Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar, and Zin Restaurant Catering in Sonoma County, California; but since February 2015 have been been overseeing the food and beverage program at Rancho Pescadero. Most notably, at the resort’s signature dining spot, the rustic yet elegant farm-to-table concept: Garden Restaurant

Accommodation packages are not a prerequisite for attendance. Locals are invited to buy individual tickets for cooking classes, and are also welcome to make reservations for the Saturday night dinners. A complete schedule and price guide is listed below:

 

GUEST CHEF WEEKEND DATES:

November 12-15, 2015—Renee Erickson

March 24-27, 2016— Jessica Koslow

April 21-24, 2016 —Thomas McNaughton and Ryan Pollnow

May 26-29, 2016—Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton

 

WEEKEND PRICE GUIDE

Fridays

Cooking demo and lunch with Guest Chef ($70)

Tequila and Mezcal Tasting ($30)

Saturdays

Cocktail Class with Bar Manager Danny Sanchez ($20)

Baja Wine Tasting ($30)

Tasting Menu Dinner by Guest Chef in the Garden Restaurant ($100)

 

Package pricing for the weekend is $250 per person plus tax, and includes all of the above and a Rancho Pescadero apron. Guests who book the whole  package they will receive 15% off their room rate. For more information, or to make reservations, call (910) 300-8891 in the U.S., (612) 135-5849 in Mexico, or visit www.ranchopescadero.com.

 

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Vacation Oasis: CalyCanto Casitas in Todos Santos

This Month’s Featured Vacation Rental? All Signs Point to CalyCanto Casitas in Todos Santos

CalyCanto Casitas in Todos Santos

Perhaps best known for a beautiful downtown district featuring colorful art galleries and stately brick buildings that are a legacy of the town’s days as a sugar capital, the pueblo magico of Todos Santos also boasts a number of picturesque vacation rental options.

Few local lodgings, however, can match the coastal charm of CalyCanto Casitas. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range that forms the spine of Baja California Sur, these chic, eco-friendly accommodations offer elegant tropical appointments and stunning views in a boutique community set on five gently sloping acres of desert terrain.

 

At Casita del Sol, traditional Mexican decor and exquisite hand-crafted furnishings meet modern creature comforts such as air-conditioning, internet, and satellite television. The layout is highlighted by two suites, and a generously proportioned outdoor patio area. There is also great surfing nearby.

CalyCanto Casitas in Todos Santos

Welcome to your laid-back Baja oasis.

Expansive yet intimate, Casa Tortuga provides all the comforts of home in a gorgeous coastal setting. Decorative furnishings capture the spirit of old Mexico, while modern conveniences allow for gracious living in this spacious property, which includes over 1300 square feet of terraces. Casa Tortuga counts 2 bedrooms, two baths, a large living room, and scenic outdoor dining area among its many charms.

CalyCanto Casitas in Todos Santos

Casita del Pescado

Casita del Pescado boasts a gorgeous setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean – the terrace views are magnificent – but is also conveniently close to the charms of downtown Todos Santos. As with all Calycanto properties, there is a seamless indoor-outdoor flow, the decor is tasteful yet bright, and the appointments showcase authentic Mexican craftsmanship.

For reservations or additional information, click here.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

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Have a Baja Moment! Explore the Cafes of Todos Santos

Have a Baja Moment! Explore the Cafes of Todos Santos 

Cafes of Todos Santos

Shaded outdoor seating at Caffe Todos Santos.

Perhaps best known for its art galleries and yearly arts festivals, the one-time sugar cane capital of Todos Santos is now home to one of Baja’s finest artists’ colonies. Art, however, is not the coastal Pueblo Magico‘s only sophisticated pleasure. Todos Santos also boasts a number of excellent cafes and casual chic coffee shops that serve up dark roasted treasures from premier Mexican growing areas in Chiapas, Oaxaca and Puebla.

Cafes of Todos Santos

Baja Beans’ laid-back cafe is located in Pescadero, just outside of Todos Santos.

Cafes of Todos Santos

You never know who you might share a table with at Baja Beans.

Baja Beans

Baja Beans sources their beans from Finca Los Puentos in the Sierra Madre Oriental of Xicotepec, Puebla, and roasts them on a vintage 1980s Probat roaster. The finished product not only keeps the locals happy, but is sold to many of Baja Sur’s best hotels and restaurants, including Flora Farms Field Kitchen, Guaycura Boutique Hotel & SpaHotel Casa Tota, and Rancho Pescadero. In addition to their wholesaling operation, Baja Beans can also claim one of the coolest cafes in the greater Los Cabos area. It’s located just outside of Todos Santos, in Pescadero. Follow the sign from the highway down a dirt road, and discover a lovely, laid-back cafe offering rich coffees, tasty baked goods and plenty of rustic outdoor seating.

Cafes of Todos Santos

The facade of Caffe Todos Santos.

Cafes of Todos Santos

Arts and crafts from local artists are always on display in Caffe Todos Santos.

Caffe Todos Santos

Caffe Todos Santos is easily the most aesthetically pleasing cafe in Todos Santos. It’s housed in a charmingly painted old building and decorated with colorful and evocative paintings from some of the town’s most talented local artists. In addition to its visual charms, Caffe Todos Santos also serves up freshly ground coffees and delicious breakfast and lunch centered menu items ranging from muffins and cookies to hot cakes and omelets. Seating is available both inside and out, and the outdoor tables provide shaded and comfortable vantages from which to sip strong coffee, read the morning paper, or simply watch the world go by.

Cafes of Todos Santos

Enjoy a cup of coffee while you browse for beach reads in Libreria El Tecolote.

Libreria El Tecolote

Speaking of reading, how about a cup of coffee at the best bookstore in Baja Sur? In addition to carrying a great selection of books in English and Spanish, Libreria El Tecolote also serves excellent Mexican coffees from Oaxaca and Chiapas. The colorful and well-stocked store is located in downtown Todos Santos, a couple of blocks past Hotel California, and sells books, music, movies, maps and postcards. Specialty items include works by local authors and vintage postcards from Mexico’s golden age of cinema. So the next time you need to stock up on beach reads, order a cup of dark roasted java and enjoy shopping Todos Santos style.

 

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Beach Read Central: Libreria El Tecolote in Todos Santos

Beach Read Central: Libreria El Tecolote in Todos Santos

Baja California Sur has a bevy of great beaches, but suffers a shortage of great beach reads. In Cabo San Lucas, the lack of bookstores has driven locals to create makeshift book exchanges in bars, hotels, and coffee shops. Paperback best sellers are passed down like heirlooms.

Luckily for the literary minded, there is at least one good bookstore in Baja Sur. Libreria El Tecolote in Todos Santos is the mecca for area bibliophiles. Tourists flock to the charming artists’ colony and pueblo magico of Todos Santos to visit sights like the legendary Hotel California. Pilgrimages by Los Cabos locals tend to end a couple of blocks past Hotel California at Libreria El Tecolote, where they can stock up on dwindling beach read supplies.

Beach Read Central: Libreria El Tecolote  in Todos Santos

Libreria El Tecolote is an oasis amidst the literary desert of Baja Sur.

El Tecolote is the sort of bookstore that used to exist in the U.S. before chain stores and internet sales. The shelves are filled with new and used books in English and Spanish, and the store also stocks maps, music, movies, and postcards, including some nostalgic movie poster style cards from Mexico’s Golden Age of Cinema. Rare books about Baja and books by local authors are particular specialties, and there are also several great Spanish language guides.

Need a mystery novel, a steamy romance, or a little magical realism? El Tecolote has you covered. But the store also functions as a social center. Coffee and espresso drinks are available, and they’re coffeehouse good: dark roasted treasures from premier Mexican sites in Oaxaca and Chiapas. Fresh juices and the occasional baked goods also liven up the scene, which often includes ongoing literary discussions with the proprietress, and people taking advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi.

Beach Read Central: Libreria El Tecolote  in Todos Santos

Libreria El Tecolote offers new and used books, as well as maps, music, movies, and postcards.

Libreria El Tecolote has a bulletin board for local happenings and events, and even stages the occasional reading. The store is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day except  Sunday, when it’s open from 12 – 3 p.m. Locals and visitors should be happy it’s open at all. El Tecolote is an oasis in the literary desert of Baja Sur, and any visit to Todos Santos should include a stop to stock up on rarities, or books by popular authors like John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, Dan Brown, Janet Evanovich, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It’s your last chance for many, many miles.

 

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Coastal Charm: Todos Santos’ Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

Coastal Charm: Todos Santos’ Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

At one time, the land beneath the best bed and breakfast in Todos Santos was used for chile pepper farming. That was before the three acre property, located on Baja’s Pacific Coast about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, was purchased by Marilyn Martin and her long-time friend and former husband Dave Flora. Flora del Mar, or Flower of the Sea, was completed in 2006, just in time for their daughter’s wedding, and in the intervening years has acquired a reputation as one of the most charming accommodations options in one of the peninsula’s most charming towns.

Todos Santos' Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

Flora del Mar, as seen from the poolside patio area.

Todos Santos was the first town in Baja to be designated by the government as a Pueblo Magico, a “Magical Town,” and the former sugar cane capital and present day artists’ colony has long been popular with visitors for its lovely downtown area, vibrant arts scene, first-class restaurants, and superb surfing. Flora del Mar is located a little less than two miles from the center of Todos Santos on the shores of the Pacific Coast, and in addition to its enchanting  oceanside locale, warm hospitable atmosphere, and exquisite appointments, is also notable for being the only area lodging with its own tennis court.

Todos Santos' Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

Flora del Mar features four bedrooms, five baths, a living room, and an eat-in kitchen.

It’s the sort of place where you can fall asleep to the sounds of waves breaking, or walk your dog along a secluded beach at first light, and this relaxed, beachfront atmosphere is complemented by comfortable, contemporary Mexican appointments and tastefully accented accommodations. Guests may rent the entire B&B – which consists of four bedrooms, five baths, a living room, and an eat-in kitchen, as well as the pool area and tennis court – or stay in individually decorated suites. A second floor studio apartment is also available, and is outfitted with a private kitchen, and a deck overlooking the ocean.

Todos Santos' Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

Comfortable accommodations and contemporary Mexican decor are showcased at Flora del Mar, Todos Santos’ top bed and breakfast.

Warm surroundings and service certainly set Flora del Mar apart, but its greatest strength is its picturesque location. Set steps for from a pristine beach and the meditative sounds of breaking waves, Flora del Mar features a jogging trail that winds through cacti, and coastal dunes from which to watch migrating whales, or some of the Western world’s most memorable sunrises and sunsets. The views are also quite nice from the comfort of the custom designed pool, particularly when the relaxing lap current is activated.

Todos Santos' Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

How many places in the world can you whale watch and play tennis at the same time?

In addition to the pool, tennis court, and jogging trail, the property also includes two dance floors that are perfect for romantic evenings or special occasions (Flora del Mar has the facilities to host weddings, receptions, renewal of vows ceremonies, retreats, family reunions, and team building exercises, as well as other get-togethers and celebratory festivities).

Todos Santos' Bed and Breakfast at the Beach

Todos Santos is famed for exquisite sunsets such as this one, seen from Flora del Mar.

In fact, Flora del Mar has been one of the area’s most popular venues for special events since its opening seven years ago, and its not terribly hard to see why. Who doesn’t want to walk barefoot on an unspoiled beach, watch whales breaching offshore as the sun sinks beneath the Pacific horizon, or dance the night away under a blanket of Baja stars? It’s a magical recipe, particularly when you add a dash of  downhome charm, and perhaps just the slightest hint of chile pepper.

 

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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The Best of Baja: Vacation Rentals in Todos Santos

The Best of Baja: Vacation Rentals in Todos Santos

Perhaps best known for a charming downtown district featuring colorful art galleries and stately brick buildings that are a legacy of the town’s days as a sugar capital, the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos also boasts a large number of quality vacation rental options. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range are dozens of picturesque properties that promise comfortable surroundings and spectacular views. Our spotlight, however, shines only on the area’s very best rental accommodations options.

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Discover the Culinary Treasures of Todos Santos

Have a Baja Moment! Discover the Culinary Treasures of Todos Santos

Perhaps best known for its vibrant arts scene, and the beautiful brick buildings that are a legacy of its years as Baja’s sugar capital, the Pueblo Magico of Todos Santos also boasts some of the peninsula’s best restaurants. From laid-back sports bars and palapa-topped taquerias to internationally-flavored eateries and fine dining establishments, this charming coastal city, located less than an hour north of Cabo San Lucas, offers visitors a wealth of delicious dining options.

For the uninitiated, here’s a taste of the town’s top restaurants.

 

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

 

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Have a Baja Moment! Unique Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Have a Baja Moment! Unique Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Pueblo Magico means “magical village,” and there’s a reason Todos Santos was the first town in Baja California to receive this enchanting honorific, awarded by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism to places of great cultural or historical importance. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the rolling foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna, the mountain range that runs up the center of Baja Sur, this charming community boasts a thriving art scene and many of the peninsula’s best restaurants, as well as historic structures that date back to the town’s days as a sugarcane capital.

The coastal artists’ colony and surrounding area is also home to some of Baja’s most impressive hotels and resorts, including singular lodgings that showcase chic yet comfortable appointments, pampering amenities, and truly spectacular settings.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Arriba de la Roca is perched on a cliff, more than 150 feet above the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.

Arriba de la Roca is one of the area’s most magical accommodations options, and more than lives up to its name (Arriba de la Roca means “on top of the rock.”). Perched atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this solar-powered hotel is the pride of Pescadero, a small community located just south of Todos Santos, and about a 45 minute drive from Cabo San Lucas.

Breathtaking vistas abound at Arriba de la Roca – waves crashing against the rocky shore, bursts of color from the pool deck as the sun seemingly sinks into the Pacific, profuse clusters of stars lighting up the tropical sky – and are particularly memorable when glimpsed from the embrace of a heated jacuzzi, or enjoyed from a toasty vantage point near a magnificent slate fireplace, and filtered through floor-to-ceiling glass.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Each casita at Arriba de la Roca is individually designed and decorated.

The boutique Arriba de la Roca features only four casitas, and each of the quartet is individually designed and decorated. Private patios and ocean views are common themes in all four, but every casita boasts its own singular touches, from sunken bathtubs and flagstone carved from the surrounding mountains to elegant international accents like leaded glass, Saltillo floors, and Moroccan-style showers. The largest of the four casitas, Casa Bonita, is available only when the entire hotel has been booked for a minimum of one week, a common enough occurrence for destination weddings or family and friends getaways. The remaining casitas – Casita Boca, Casita Laguna, and Casita Pacifica – are also popular as vacation rentals.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

The great room at Arriba de la Roca features a slate fireplace and a distinctive built-in bar.

There are no telephones or televisions at Arriba de la Roca, and that’s by design. This is a natural paradise. In addition to the solar power, all soaps and lotions are made with natural ingredients, and all food – custom ordered breakfasts are served in the casitas each morning, and cocktails and appetizers accompany each magnificent sunset – is grown locally or caught by area fisherman. Wi-Fi and iPod docking stations are a small concession to the modern age, but the Arriba de la Roca experience is premised on a relaxed appreciation of the surrounding grandeur. Read a book or enjoy floor-to-ceiling ocean views in the spacious great room, temper cool ocean breezes by gathering around the outdoor fire pit, or take advantage of complimentary chairs and towels for a restful day at the beach.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Serendipity’s many charms include an expansive poolside patio area.

It doesn’t take any happy accidents to find Serendipity. This expansive hacienda-style bed and breakfast is a favored destination for families, wedding parties, and those who crave pristine beaches and gorgeous ocean views, but also prefer a relatively close proximity to sightseeing and shopping in Todos Santos. With Serendipity, you get the best of both worlds: a serene yet stunning setting on Baja’s Pacific Coast, and a short scenic drive to reach the fine arts galleries and fine dining establishments scattered throughout downtown Todos Santos.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Serendipity is like a home away from home…assuming your home is a rustic oasis bordered by ocean, desert, and mountains,

In addition to its striking vistas and convenient location, Serendipity offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere courtesy of owners Harry and Sharon Morris. There is none of the efficient yet impersonal service found in other area lodgings. Sharon and her staff prepare a bountiful breakfast to order each morning – freshly baked pastries, fresh fruits, custom-built omelets, and syrupy pancakes – one of many personal touches that set Serendipity apart. It’s a bit like a home away from home…assuming your home is a rustic oasis bordered by ocean, desert, and mountains, and boasts an enormous swimming pool, as well as easy beachfront access.

Spectacular Places to Stay in Todos Santos

Serendipity is a perennially popular location for destination weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies.

The strategically situated property comprises ten rooms and casitas, and can accommodate groups or families of up to 25 people. Ocean views are par for the course, and the glittering blue waters of the Pacific are not only visible from every room and casita, but also from the comfort of the pool deck. Each casita features appointments that include a full kitchen, a bedroom with king-sized bed, and a large living room with a queen-size sofa bed, as well as two bathrooms and walk in closet. The expansive layouts of the casitas are perfect for visiting families, and Serendipity is a perennially popular location for destination weddings and renewal of vows ceremonies.

Planning a trip to Todos Santos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.

Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurantshotelsvacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas.  We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at info@baja.com.

 

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