Why Todos Santos in Baja California is the place to visit this summer
Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa offers 6 activities not to be missed in this Magical Town.
Todos Santos is a Pueblo Mágico, or Magical Town, built around a desert oasis on the Tropic of Cancer. A haven for artists, craftsmen, surfers and travelers seeking adventure, natural beauty and a healthy lifestyle, this Mexican hidden gem can be found between the resort cities of Cabo San Lucas to the south and La Paz to the northeast. Rich in history, centuries-old traditions and warm hospitality and boasting fine dining, excellent shopping and renowned galleries, Todos Santos is a must-visit this summer.
Guaycura Boutique Hotel Beach Club & Spa, located right in the heart of town, just three short blocks from the main plaza, is housed in a 19th-century red-brick building recognized by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History as a historic and artistic structure. The property offers 14 comfortable and spacious rooms that feature Mexican decor and world-class amenities. It’s a key part of the Todos Santos experience, and its knowledgeable team members say the following attractions are not to be missed while visiting the city.
Located in one of the most diverse regions on the Mexican map, Todo Santos offers a rich and varied gastronomy, with farm-to-table offerings being an organic part of its culinary scene, with a particular emphasis on seafood. Make sure to delight in the fish and lobsters caught in the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Cortez. Not to be missed is the endemic “chocolate clam,” known for its intense brown color. This century-old delicacy was a favorite of the Guaycura, the indigenous people who once lived in the area, and the clams are currently prepared in the most diverse recipes. Guaycura is home to three restaurants where visitors can taste this “Mexi-terranean” cuisine: El Mirador Restaurant, El Faro Beach Club & Spa and Sky Lounge Bar
Todos Santos, famed for its dramatic natural light and bohemian feeling, is a little artists’ enclave embraced by the waters that surround it. A seeming mirage in the middle of the Mexican desert, the small town is home to almost 30 art galleries that are open to visitors year-round, with active tours taking place in March. A weeklong annual arts festival also takes place in February. La Boutique, the shop at Guaycara Hotel — as well as the actual walls of the hotel itself — displays Mexican artisan goods from different regions, along with a unique collection of apparel, souvenirs and custom items from local artists and craftspeople. Over the years, guests of the property and visitors alike have been able to appreciate the calligrams, contemporary art paintings, sculptures and glass art of Oscar Arturo, Jill Casty, Martha Cristel, Francisco Escobar, Mario Flores, Enrique Gamboa, Nanette Hayles, Jill Logan, Eduardo Pizarro, Elisa Salas, Francisco Soriana, Oscar Soto, Catarino Zárate and others.
Los Cerritos Beach
Todos Santos has beautiful beaches, such as San Pedrito, La Cachora and Las Palmas, fronting the open sea but the best known is Playa Cerritos. Thanks to its ideal surfing waves, it’s considered one of the safest beaches in the region. Guaycara guests can walk the trails or ride a bike or ATV from the resort to the nearby beach, which offers activities such as surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding or hiking across the rocky mountain landscape. They can even go camping, practice yoga or enjoy a spa treatment overlooking the sea. Whales can be spotted offshore from Los Cerritos Beach from December to April.
Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar Mission)
As in every town in Mexico, local churches in Todos Santos should not be missed, and the “Todos Santos Misión de Nuestra Señora del Pilar” is one of the most spectacular. Built in 1733, it is an architectural complex composed of both an old and a modern church. This place was a refuge for missionaries when they fled from the “Pericues Indians,” and although it is a simple construction, it is one of the most important tourist spots in Todos Santos.
Plaza de Armas (Main Square)
The “Plaza de Armas,” a central meeting point in Todos Santos, is a rectangular esplanade surrounded by palm trees, coconut trees and other vegetation that contrasts with the representative buildings of this colonial town. In the center of the square stands a circular kiosk, a fountain and cultural centers such as the Manuel Márquez de León General Theater and Cinema.
Take a hike in an oasis
Todos Santos sits on a natural coastal oasis, giving the destination a lush, green terrain to complement its desert and beach offerings. Walk from the center of the city down to Calle Guaycura and to the dirt roads of the oasis and to the beach, or take a walk downhill from El Mirador Restaurant to access the oasis. Comprised largely of freshwater that is channeled down from the Sierra de La Laguna mountain range, the 2.5-acre area is a must for bird watchers (more than 100 of the bird species found in Baja California can be seen here), nature lovers and all outdoors enthusiasts.