What to do in Todos Santos

Todos Santos inspires adventurers, romantics and artists alike, keeping visitors entertained with a wide range of activities, from shopping and gallery tours to surfing, sportfishing and recreation in the surrounding countryside. Local tour companies offer kayaking, ecotours, and hikes into the nearby Sierra de la Laguna mountains.

The best way to spend a day or more in this area depends on the season. In winter, watch the gray whales migrate along the shore, stroll Historic District browsing boutique shops and fine art galleries, or surf perfect waves on the Pacific. Hiking is optimal in the fall. Fishing is best in spring and summer.

Here is a taste of the many activities Todos Santos has to offer:

Art Galleries
Beaches
Camping
Day Trips
Eco Tours
Family Activities
Horseback Riding
Places of Interest
Nightlife
Shopping
Sportfishing
Surfing
Whale watching

Todos Santos Art Galleries

A number of professional artists from the United States and Mexico have made Todos Santos their home, and they open their studios and galleries for visitors to browse and shop. Original works range from paintings to sculpture, photography, and more. You can visit most of the galleries by walking through the historic district. A few are by appointment only.

Browse the Todos Santos Directory to search for art galleries.

Todos Santos Area Beaches

The southwest coast of the Baja peninsula is essentially one long sandy beach interrupted occasionally by headlands or rocky outcroppings. Limited access makes some of these beaches all the more special. All are open to the public, but only Playa Los Cerritos has lifeguards. Steep drop-offs, rip tides, undertow and sneaker waves make swimming dangerous, except on a few somewhat sheltered stretches. Directions are essential because access roads to all the beaches are unimproved and unmarked. Persistence and a sense of adventure are also handy. When the swell is on, several surf breaks near Todos Santos offer world class waves. The top three surfing spots are Cerritos, San Pedrito and La Pastora. Learn more about surfing in Todos Santos.

Beaches South of Todos Santos:

Playa Los Cerritos – Km 64
This miles-long stretch of sand is the safest swimming beach near Todos Santos and the site of a major new development. It’s family friendly with a bar and restaurant on the beach and showers (for customers only). The turnoff is at Km. 64. Watch the markers as there is no sign. Drive through the deserted campground and pick your spot. Cliffs are at the western end of the beach with a crescent shaped beach facing the ocean. This is a popular surfing spot, as attested to by numerous tents on the beach near the water with surfboards outside. Swimming is relatively safe here, too.

San Pedrito Beach (Playa San Pedrito) – Km 59
Formerly called Playa El Estero, this popular surfing beach is called El Pescadero after the fishing village nearby. In season, whales spout near the shore, and mangoes here ripen twice a year. The Golden Gate Bank is just three miles off shore, making it easily accessible for small boats.

Playa Las Palmas (Playa San Pedro) – Km 57
Playa Las Palmas is a smaller quarter-mile expanse of beach bordered by a reed lagoon and protected by rock promontories on both sides. Groves of palm trees frame this gorgeous small beach. Ruins of an old rancho are nearby. Excellent area for hiking, swimming and body surfing. Getting to it is easy since the road is new. Heading north from El Pescadero to Todos Santos, turn left at the Campo del Experimento research station and follow the two-lane dirt road to this magical, secluded beach. Gate closes at 6 p.m., so watch your time.

Playa Punta Lobos – Km 54
Local fisherman launch their pangas in the waves at the local beach several miles outside of Todos Santos. Playa Punta Lobos is clearly marked by an access sign on the highway at Km. 54. After several kilometers, you’ll spot the landmark rocky promontory and lighthouse. There is a deserted cannery at the beach’s eastern end. The beach is long and perfect for strolling. Swim with caution. In the early afternoon, watch the panga fleet return and buy some of their fresh catch.

Beaches in Todos Santos:

Playa La Poza
Access via the La Cachora road. Suitable for walking, fishing, whale watching, relaxing or sunbathing. La Poza is not a swimming beach. La Poza has a large freshwater lagoon populated that is great for bird watching.

Playa La Cachora
Access via the La Cachora road. Suitable for walking, fishing, whale watching, relaxing or sunbathing. The La Cachora beach has become popular with skim boarders.

Beaches North of Todos Santos:

Playa Las Pocitas
Constant waves and undertow make it more suitable for walking or surfing than for swimming. From town, take Calle Topete north through the palm valley (Callejon) and follow the dirt road.

Playa La Pastora
Located about five miles north of Todos Santos, this beach is best for advanced surfing. Take Topete north of town until road turns to dirt, then follow it past signs for Batequitos. It can be difficult to find the turnoff.
Search for more beaches in the Todos Santos activities directory.

Todos Santos Camping
Several campgrounds and RV parks provide facilities for travelers who prefer the independence and simplicity of tent or RV camping. For remote and self-sufficient camping, head to the beaches north of town. More adventurous visitors can head into the Sierra de la Laguna for an overnight, wilderness camping experience. Contact Todos Santos Eco Adventures for information about trails and guides. Search the Todos Santos directory for campgrounds.

Day Trips from Todos Santos
From a base in Todos Santos, you can access many other Southern Baja attractions, including the pristine beaches of the East Cape, the Baja California Sur state capital of La Paz, and the Los Cabos tourist corridor—all within a two-hour drive.

Cabo San Lucas

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Sea of Cortez to the east, with the towering La Laguna mountains a scenic backdrop, Cabo San Lucas and the whole Los Cabos area is known as a premier destination for outdoor sports and recreation, as well as vibrant nightlife. Fish, golf, snorkel, cruise, surf, explore, swim with dolphins, or spend a lazy day at the beach. From Todos Santos take Mexico 19 south for about one hour.

East Cape

The East Cape is located 120 kilometers south of La Paz, along a stretch of the Transpeninsular Highway that winds through the mountains and then meets the sea near Buena Vista and Los Barriles. Enjoy sensational sportfishing, diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing and hiking. There are two ways to reach the East Cape. Take Mexico 19 south to Cabo San Lucas, continue east towards San Jose and then north along Mexico 1 to Santiago and La Ribera (approximately a 2.5-hour drive). Or drive north along Mexico 19 leaving Todos Santos and bar right at the intersection with Mexico 1 to wind through the mountains and along the scenic road as it descends towards the Sea of Cortez (approximately a two-hour drive).

Head to the small agricultural community of Santiago for access to Canyon de la Zorra—a 60-foot waterfall, where you can take a dip and put your head under a 90-degree waterfall. A mask and snorkel add to the fun, especially when you see what looks like gold dust at the bottom of the pool.

Turn west off Mexico 1 to enter the town of Santiago. Just before the Pemex gas station, take a right away from the town. Follow the signs to the Ecological Center. If you get confused, just ask for directions. It’s approximately six miles to the main gate (where there is a small entrance fee) and a one mile drive thereafter. At the end of the road, park your car (in the shade) and walk eight minutes to get the falls.

La Paz

La Paz (Spanish for “The Peace”) is the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and an important regional commercial center. La Paz is situated on the Sea of Cortez with several small islands nearby. This is an excellent side trip for snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, and fishing. You can also simply relax on one of the sandy beaches south of town. To reach La Paz from Todos Santos follow Mexico 19 north, which will merge into Mexico 1 north to La Paz (bear left at the intersection). This is approximately a one-hour drive.

Daily panga boats leave from Playa Tecolote for Isla Espíritu Santo. The island is a must see, located almost directly in front of the city of La Paz. Its entire area has been designated as a national park, and no one lives on the island aside from a small group of fishermen. A boat tour of the island (offered from approximately 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) will take you around the entire perimeter (including Isla la Partida) giving you the opportunity to discover small beaches with emerald and sapphire waters and enjoy the rich marine life that surrounds the islands. Don’t miss the chance to swim with the local seal colony. Lunch is usually included and served on one of the many beautiful beaches. Wear sunscreen!

Azul Tours provides one of the best services. To reserve your panga, call 612-125-2596

To get to Playa Tecolote from Todos Santos, take Mexico 19 north, which will merge into Mexico 1 north to La Paz (bear left at the intersection). Shortly after passing a bridge over the large arroyo, make a right towards Pichilingue. Go straight at the stop sign for about 15 minutes. At the T on the road as you reach the Sea of Cortez make a right. (Try to remember a landmark here as you come back this way there are no signs at this intersection.) Follow the coast to the end of the road, where a crowded beach with bar and restaurant serves basic Mexican drinks and dishes.

On your way back to Todos Santos, stop at Playa de La Balandra if you have the time. Leave your car in the parking area and walk to the beach following the coast to the right (at high tide you may have to get your feet wet, but it will be worth it). The beach is phenomenal, and you’ll be able to see the famous mushroom rock here (El Hongo).

El Triunfo

More than 100 years after silver was discovered in the southern Baja mountains at San Antonio, silver and gold were discovered in a nearby mountain area, soon to be called El Triunfo (The Triumph). By 1865, this once-sleepy cattle ranch became a boom town of approximately 10,000 people. It was, at the time, the largest settlement in all of southern Baja. After 60 years of mining, El Triunfo finally closed its operations in 1926. The tall chimney and surrounding brick buildings just off the south side of the highway are the remains of the old smelter. Don’t miss the piano museum. A pizza or a sandwich from the recently opened restaurant El Triunfo Café will make this dayt ip even more enjoyable. From Todos Santos, drive north on Mexico 19 for about 30 minutes. At the intersection, bear right on Mexico 1 heading south toward the East Cape and back to San Joseé del Cabo. Mexico 1 will pass right through the center of town approximately half an hour later.

La Candelaria

This is a small Indian pueblo in the Sierra de La Laguna mountains about 40 minutes south of Todos Santos. Here potters make clay pottery in brick pit kilns. You can buy directly from the manufacturer. From Todos Santos, take Mexico 19 south towards Cabo San Lucas. Just before passing the Migriño Bridge at Km 100, pull over to the right near the Baja Adventure ATV rental stand. Here you can either drive your four-wheel-drive vehicle to the town or rent an ATV. Do not attempt this drive with a Volkswagen Beetle, as you will get stuck in the deep sand. Take the dirt road to the dry river bed and pass under the bridge and toward the mountains. There are many paths you can take. Shortly after passing through an opening in a fence, bear to the left for another few minutes and at the fork in the river take a right. You will see a building on your left, go towards it but take the narrow road to the left that goes uphill. A lush oasis will be on your right below as you ascend toward the town. There are no restaurants in La Candelaria, so bring your own food and drinks.

Eco Tours

Todos Santos is an excellent destination for eco-minded travel. Several local outfitters offer guided birdwalks, coastal and mountain hikes, kayaking trips, and even the chance to swim with whale sharks. You can visit a cactus sanctuary, help with turtle conservation, or volunteer to help teach English to young children. Contact Todos Santos Eco Adventures or La Sirena Eco-Adventure for details on their specific eco tour packages.

Proyecto Todos Tortuguero has been operating since 2005 with a goal to protect the endangered sea turtles nesting on the shores of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The project participants conduct nightly egg rescue patrols during which it is possible to encounter adult leatherback turtles that can reach 10 feet in length and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. The group manages a hatchery (invernedero) where turtle eggs are buried a meter under the ground and the hatchlings will emerge approximately 70 days later. This is necessary to protect the eggs from poachers and low temperatures. The group also educates school children on environmental conservation. Volunteers are needed to run nightly patrols on ATVs, help identify nesting females and monitor temperatures in the invernadero October-April. Once nests begin hatching, further supervision of the invernadero is needed from mid-December until May. The project is currently recruiting volunteers for the upcoming nesting season. Visit www.todostortugueros.org and take a look at their listing in our directory.

Find more eco tours in the Todos Santos activities directory.

Family Activities in Todos Santos
From playing in the sand and surf to ATV tours and sea turtle rescue, families find plenty of fun in and around Todos Santos. Many vacation rentals are set up to accommodate kids of all ages, and the variety of restaurants means you can probably please even the pickiest of eaters. Find family-friendly activities in the Todos Santos directory.

Todos Santos Horseback Riding
In addition to its magnificent desert scenery, Todos Santos has 70 miles of pristine, virtually empty beaches for you to enjoy on horseback. Local guides who are not only experienced riders, but also avid birders and naturalists who enjoy sharing their knowledge. Morning and sunset rides are available for riders of all skill levels.

Todos Santos Shopping

Simple and eccentric, Todos Santos provides an unforgettable shopping experience. Its laidback and warmth charm is typical that of other Mexican towns. But numerous art galleries and specialty stores sell one-of-a-kind items. Best of all, Todos Santos’ small size makes it easy for visitors to go from one shop to another.

The shops in Todos Santos sell all types of handmade pottery, blankets, wood carvings, Mexican crafts, leather goods, book stores and custom jewelry. Find shops and galleries in the Todos Santos directory.

Todos Santos Sportfishing
Sportfishing opportunities in Todos Santos consists primarily of surf casting, as there is no marina to launch larger boats. Local fishermen launch their panga boats from the beach at Punta Lobos. Head over around 3pm to see them return with the day’s catch. Bring cash to purchase fresh fish on the spot.

Todos Santos Surfing

Cerritos:

Santa Lucia de Los Cerritos, better known as “Cerritos,” is arguably the best known surf spot near Todos Santos due to the ease of access. Cerritos offers a beach break and a rocky point break off its cliff. Controversial changes are underway at this much-loved beach. Having received title to the land, the local ejido has been selling property near the beach. What has historically been a surf camping mecca, now features a 12-room cliff-top boutique hotel known as the Hacienda Cerritos and, three miles south near Km 75, a new real estate development,Tortuga del Sol, is underway with 123 planned homes.

The Waves. Cerritos offers a beach break and a point break, with great waves for beginners and advanced surfers, catering to short- and long-boarders. During the winter, the northwest swell powers a classic point break, and the typically mushy but at times classic beach break works all year. The point fires a fast and peaky wave that generally breaks right, favoring a northwest swell. As you might suspect, the right point break is often the most competitive, but there are usually plenty of waves on the inside. Depending on the swell and sandbar, you can often catch some nice tubing lefts. Cerritos tends to break steadily with no lulls between sets, which can make paddling out through the white water difficult, especially for beginners; however, the advantage of the whitewater is that it offers a great place to learn how to surf and instruction can be easily arranged. The Los Cerritos Surf Shop rents boards at the beach dawn till dusk. Sheltered by Punta Pescadero at its north end, the beach is also usually safe for swimming and boogie boarding depending on the swell. At times novice surfers tend to forget that the surf can be dangerous.

Location. Cerritos is located on the Pacific side of the Mexico 19 highway from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos, near Km 64, where a new official road sign points the way. It takes about 45 minutes to reach Cerritos when driving from Cabo San Lucas or about 15 minutes from Todos Santos (Cerritos is 12.8 km/8 mi south of Todos Santos). To reach the beach, you must turn off of the highway towards the Pacific on a wide dirt road. From the turn, it’s 2.7 km (1.7 miles) southwest until you reach the sandy parking area. A 4×4 is not necessary.

Water Temperature and Weather. Most of the year, the Pacific Ocean in Baja California Sur is typically warm enough for shorts and a rashguard. However, a spring suit or top is always nice to have on those chilly mornings in the dead of winter, January through March. In late May and June many visitors are caught off guard when the water temperature can drop 10-15 degrees due to Aleutian Current. A 3/2 fullsuit is often essential for these 2 months. Click HERE for more info on the weather and water temp.

Forecast. For more information on Cerritos, including current conditions and forecasts, you can check HERE.


Whale Watching near Todos Santos

Every year between late December and mid-March, thousands of gray whales make their annual migration through the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Baja California. It is a spectacular event when they pass immediately in front of Todos Santos. The whales migrate 5,000 miles from the cold waters of Alaska’s Bering Sea to the warm water of the Baja Peninsula. This is the longest known mammal migration in the world. For years, these great animals had been hunted nearly to extinction and have just barely survived as a species. Due to some recovery, during these months it is possible to see these magnificent creatures and experience one of the world’s most memorable wildlife adventures.

In Todos Santos it is common to see them ‘breach’ (perform an acrobatic jump) or just ‘spy-hop’ (come straight out of the water like a periscope of a submarine) a short distance from the shore. You can book a boat tour in Cabo for a close-up experience or simply enjoy them from the comfort of the Todos Santos beaches with a beer in your hand as you take a walk along the ocean.
Search the Todos Santos Directory for whale-watching trips and tour guides.

Yoga in Todos Santos
Several venues near Todos Santos offer yoga classes. At La Arca on Calle Topete, Hatha yoga class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m. and cost MXN $40 per class. Ashtanga yoga class meets Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. and Saturday 12:15 p.m., by donation. Hatha yoga for everyone in Pescadero meets Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 11 a.m. at Mini Super “Los Arcos” MXN $50 per class. Rancho Pescadero also has daily yoga classes.