Hotel San Cristóbal
Playa Punta Lobos Carretera Federal, Todos Santos
Todos Santos has long had a quiet appeal for both artists and surfers who have appreciated the town’s understated, laid-back vibe. So it’s no surprise that finger-on-the-pulse hotelier Liz Lambert (of Austin’s Hotel San José and Hotel St. Cecilia) would head south of the border before everyone else caught on. About fifty miles north of Cabo San Lucas, this thirty-two-room beachfront property is a thoughtful reflection of its surroundings: Stamped concrete tiles, locally made furnishings, and colorful Guatemalan fabrics anchor much of the inside-meets-out design. (A tip: The ocean king has a beautifully tiled, generously sized soaking tub that looks out onto the ocean.) The infinity swimming pool has an unobstructed view of Playa Punta Lobos, and there are plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces and hammocks meant for whiling away the afternoon, plus fire pits for gathering when the sun goes down. Benno, the restaurant on the property, expertly melds Mediterranean and Mexican flavors, while relying heavily on the freshly caught fish of the day that comes in by the truckload. Also standouts: The cocktail list, which centers around small-batch mezcal and tequila, and the wine list, with some…
Mario Surf School
23301 Cerritos Beach, Todos Santos
The instructors at this Todos Santos-based surf school have a low-key yet effective approach to teaching. They set up shop daily at Los Cerritos beach where the waves are tame and the conditions perfect for first-timers who want to learn the basics along with supervised practice for those with a little more experience. Day-long guided surf excursions to off-the-radar beaches and stand-up paddleboarding tours are also available.
La Pastora Break
While there's a sign marking the entrance to Pastora, the series of breaks on the outskirts of Todos Santos, compared to more prominent Los Cerritos and Las Palmas on the Pacific side, is not the easiest to find so ask a local for driving directions. Once you do get here, enjoy a nearly empty beach, meaning never fighting for your turn in the lineup (there are no lifeguards on duty, so buddy up!). For board and wetsuit rentals reach out to Mario Surf School.
Baja Roasting Company
Carretera 19, KM 63, Pescadero
Geographically speaking, this now famous cafe is actually in the desert near Pescasdero, about 45 minutes from Cabo, making it a great spot to pull over for an iced latte on the way to Todos Santos—just know that the incredibly chill outdoor patio is kind of hard to leave. As good as the ambiance is, it's the beans, which the Canadian expat owners source from a family farm in Puebla and roast in a massive Probat, that make a simple cup of coffee here into an experience. Make sure to grab a bag of beans for the road.
On the way up the coast toward La Paz is El Triunfo, a tiny, formerly abandoned 19th-century ex-gold and silver mining town that’s absolutely worth a quick stop. It sort of feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, and well, it is, but that’s part of its ghostly charm, which explains why so many people are buying up the abandoned miner’s homes. Head into town and have breakfast at the very cute Café El Triunfo, which is known for its unreal European-style breads and awesome cinnamon buns (plus great thin-crust pizzas later in the day). After that, head out for a walk in the former mining complex to see all the abandoned buildings—Gustave Eiffel’s tower included—and the local desert vegetation. Serious mountain bikers can also take the bike trail, which leads deeper into the dessert. End the day at El Minero, a craft brewery that serves up incredible sausage sandwiches and award-winning paella that’s made over an open mesquite fire. The space itself is a great example of just how beautifully these abandoned buildings can be modernized.
This sleepy little surf town north of Los Cabos is a pretty 45-minute drive along the Pacific side of the peninsula. The first thing you’ll notice driving into town are the taco stands: each one has a specialty—whether it's Baja fish tacos, tacos al pastor, or carnitas—and it’s best to find out what it is the old-fashioned way: by working your way through the menus. If a proper sit-down meal is in order, grab a table at Café Santa Fe. A classic Italian restaurant may feel out of place at first, but it’s a local favorite, and it works. December is an excellent time to visit as you’ll be able to see whales migrating South, though the white-sand beaches and world-class surf breaks are all yours year-round and there are local surf schools and boating outfits to help make the best of it all. When bumming around town, don’t skip Mixtaca, a quirky treasure-trove of a boutique packed with antique jewelry, gorgeous textiles, vintage clothing, and more. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet the owner, Euva—tales of her mermaid-meets-Frida Kahlo personal style have long since made their way stateside. Unless…
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