A photographer’s Travel Guide to Todos Santos

August 24, 2017

I am completely enamored with Todos Santos, Mexico.   Vogue recently called it “the place to go” right now.  I’m going to call it the best little surf slash beach slash artsy coastal town I’ve ever been to.  Earlier this spring, my good friend (and fellow creative) Joanne and I booked an impromptu, unresearched, and completely last minute trip.   We only had a short window to stay (just 3 nights), and we didn’t have any real goals other than to relax and take pictures – so we figured, why not.  

I will say one thing about traveling to Todos Santos, be prepared to be adventurous!  Since the trip from the airport into this cute little surf town is about an hour and a half from the Los Cabos airport, you’ll need to rent a car.  It’s not hard, and most of the companies have kiosks and shuttles right at the airport.  And then you hit the open road!  (Just don’t be afraid of the dirt roads leading to most of the hotels outside of the town center.)

Photo by Joanne

We were fortunate enough to stumble upon the ridiculously cute and impeccably styled San Cristobal Hotel just outside of the Todos Santos town center in La Paz. It was perfect.  I felt like I was living in a Madewell catalog. I don’t know how we got so lucky, but now I’m telling you – so go book a trip!

The first thing anyone talks about when they hear you’re going to Todos Santos is Hierbabuena.  It’s a small, outdoor restaurant down a tiny dirt road and hidden by a stretch of desert.  But let me tell you, it’s well worth the drive. Even if you just go for drinks. But the food was spectacular.  Probably the best I had on the trip.  I’ve had more than one dream about going back! Be sure to try the Dusty Dog. (Mezcal, muddled grapefruit and basil, with a hibiscus lava salt rim.  OMG.)

Downtown Todos Santos is adorable.  It’s colorful and filled with the kind of bougainvillea only Mexico can do.  It’s a mix of art galleries, tchotchke shops, surf shops, and even the cutest little clothing store, Nomad Chic.  Plus, the locals were friendly, welcoming, and enjoyed being in a picture or two. 


Of all the spots in downtown, my favorite was La Sonrisa De La Muerte art gallery. (Which translates to The Smile of Death.)  The collection of artists’ work was whimsical and surreal.  I wanted half the store shipped home to me.  I’m still kicking myself for not picking up the Jackalope lithagraph.  I did make it home with some Mexican pop-culture playing cards.

We didn’t have a chance to eat everywhere we wanted, but I loved Caffe Todos Santos and their super quaint courtyard seating. Cafe Felix had the best breakfast of our trip.  I didn’t take any photos because I was too busy shoveling chilaquiles into my mouth. We also really liked Baja Beans for coffee and the pastries looked tasty too.  Paleteria la Paloma had great ice cream with tropical fruit and cream.  We didn’t get a chance to try Jazzamango, but the hotel highly recommended it.  Next time we need a few more days just to eat at all the great spots.

We did have some grande plans to drive around and photograph the wild horses at Horse Beach (down yet another unmarked dirt road and past the plainly posted “no trespassing” sign), but ultimately, we ran out of time.  Thankfully we managed to find a few friendly horses that didn’t mind posing for us just past the entrance to the other luxury resort outside of town, Rancho Pescadero.  

 

To be honest though, we spent most of our time at the hotel.  The pool (and poolside bar), were the perfect escape from the heat.  There is a beach right behind the hotel, and we were able to watch the fisherman launch and return their boats each morning and afternoon, but the tides were way too strong for swimming.  And quite frankly, I’m a lounge by the pool and eat ceviche while I sip on mezcal kind of girl anyway.

Meg Sexton Photography, Todos Santos, Baja California, Hotel San CristobalMeg Sexton photography, Todos Santos, San Cristobal Hotel

Basically, it was the perfect getaway, and it would make a pretty fabulous romantic destination as well!

 

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