La Copa Cocina
Av. Legaspy 33., Todos Santos
La Copa Cocina has stellar fish tacos, citrusy guacamole, and for the more adventurous, crispy fried grasshoppers (actually, they're not half bad). Located in the pretty garden basement terrace of the Todos Santos Inn—ambiance is not a problem here—the restaurant charms. Lights flicker overhead while you tuck into dinner, and the Todos Santos air is naturally perfumed with surrounding flowers. Better yet, the bar upstairs mixes a mean margarita, and the elegance of the open-plan 1870s building will have you checking room availability for your next stay.
Upon Request, Todos Santos
A mile or so down a serpentine dirt road, past a mix of local and expat homes, and out-of-nowhere panoramic views of the Pacific, is Casa Mila. A wall of smooth concrete surrounds a checkerboard tiled courtyard, replete with a fireplace and cozy seating draped in Mexican blankets. A spiral staircase leads to the rooftop palapa—the kind of place that will have you dreaming of a glass of wine by sunset. The kitchen is modern and functional, with every coffee maker imaginable alongside beautiful stemware and terracotta pots for dining in when the mood strikes. Beds are sumptuously comfortable, and the outdoor shower transformed daily grooming into a treat. But few details beat falling asleep to the sound of the waves crashing on the beach outside. Leaving Casa Mila is hard. The whole place—Joshua Tree meets minimalist casita—is so special you’ll want to take it in over and over, and it still won’t be enough.
Hacienda Los Olivos
Upon Request, Todos Santos
Sylvie Sabatier is a Los Angeles–based Frenchwoman who, after designing her own eclectic Todos Santos retreat, had a roster of expats wanting a Sabatier flourish in their homes. More of a hacienda than a house, the property—hidden down a bumpy track—sits in an idyllic mango grove. Hacienda los Olivos is divided into a large straw-topped lounge room and kitchen, a master suite, and three smaller colorfully tiled, sumptuously comfortable casitas. Simmering a pot of beans for dinner, peeling a mango you picked yourself, lounging on the Mexican textile sofas—it’s all as transporting as it sounds. There are no bad angles at Sabatier’s hacienda. And while you could spend an entire vacation on one of the daybeds, we suggest exploring this vast and gorgeous property. Wander the gardens and catch all the details: the green and blue pool tiles that match the surrounding jungle, the outdoor showers, the Moroccan mirrors, the sculptural light fixtures. You’ll want to bring home your own Sabatier flourish before you leave.
The Green Room
La Pastora, Todos Santos
About five miles outside town, down a rocky track, the Green Room is one of those whispered spots the folks in town don't want the tourists to find. It’s perched on the edge of an empty beach. One of our favorite things to do is sit with our legs propped up on a stool with an icy Pacifico in hand. At night, the place fills up with a lively crowd so get there early, snag a table, and get your tuna tostito order in before the sun starts to dip.
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, Todos Santos
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 Mixtica, 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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