Roadtrip to Todos Santos

September 6, 2018

Most of Baja California Sur hasn’t been completely commercialized, so renting a car and driving around is a great way to explore a more relaxed and less touristy side of Mexico that Cabo can’t deliver. I took a half day and drove up to Todos Santos, an artsy town of around 6,000 people about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas. It’s an easy drive with only a few stoplights, and a great view of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sierra de la Lagunas on the other.  

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Desert views in Pescadero

Todos Santos is probably most famous for the Hotel California, which was built in 1950 and restored in 2001. Rumor has it that the Eagles wrote their famous song with the same name about this hotel, but they deny it. Even if it’s not true, you can’t help but picture the place in the 1970’s, filled with rock and rollers taking a break from driving along the dark desert highway. Such a lovely place…

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What a nice surprise…bring your alibis.

Across the street from the hotel is Tequila’s Sunrise. This bar and restaurant opened in 1985 and has won multiple international awards for their margaritas. I was apprehensive to go here because it is so touristy, but I have to admit they had some of the best shrimp chile rellenos I’ve ever had (and I spent six year in Texas). Not only that, the food just kept coming. I ordered one dish and received bread, tortillas, chips and salsa, an organic salad with locally grown vegetables and herbs, my main course, and chocolate flan cake topped with Grand Marnier. Though the restaurant is definitely priced for American tourists (and they only take cash), all of the (good!) food made it worth it. I have to recommend the Margarita Damiana here, which is made with key limes and liqueur from the damiana plant. Damiana is native to Mexico and rumored to have aphrodisiac powers. No wonder many of the liqueur bottles are shaped like pregnant women.

Todos Santos also has a bunch of cafes, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and shops. I had big plans to check out more, but I was so stuffed from Tequila’s Sunrise that the thought of even a shot of mezcal was too much. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately in my case) many of these places, including the Todos Santos Brewing Company, were closed on Tuesday afternoon. You’d probably have better luck going later in the week, as I plan to do next time I’m in town.

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Street art in Todos Santos

Between Cabo and Todos Santos, you pass the Tropic of Cancer. I’m a sucker for all things geography, and if you are too, I recommend pulling over and getting a photo with the Tropic of Cancer tribute (about 10 minutes south of Todos Santos, on the Pacific side of the road). In case you didn’t know, the Tropic of Cancer marks the northernmost latitude of the tropics: the northernmost latitude where the sun’s rays are directly overhead at least once per year (for the Tropic of Cancer this is during the summer solstice).

A few minutes farther south (back towards Cabo) is Los Cerritos beach in Pescadero. The beach has small waves, unlike the Pacific beaches closer to Cabo, which are great for swimming or learning to surf. There are a bunch of surf camps set up ready to provide lessons or board rentals. Also on the beach is Cerritos Beach Club serving drinks with tables in the sand. After coming back home I read reviews of the place, which lately have not been good, mainly due to the fact that the place is now private. We however were unaware of that at the time and the servers were hospitable and served us. I only ordered beer (actually it was all they were serving), and you can’t go wrong with a cold Pacifico and Pacific view. A general recommendation in Baja California Sur is if you find a dusty, unpaved road leading to the beach, you should take it, and I’m glad I did! Los Cerritos beach was a great end to a half day trip to Todos Santos.

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