The beauty of Todos Santos speaks for itself! This remote area on the Baja California Sur in Mexico is just a short 1 hour drive north of Cabo San Lucas and 1 hour southwest of La Paz. The ride is beautiful too - you pass miles of nothing but pure cactus heaven.
This area is known for a few things: Mezcal, Sea Turtles and the famous Hotel California - although contrary to what anyone in Todos Santos will tell you, it's not the actual hotel that the famous Eagle's song is about.
Read below for our take on where to eat, drink, shop, stay and visit in Todos Santos!
First things first..
BRINGING YOUR DOG TO MEXICO (from the US):
Seems CRAZY right?! It actually was pretty easy!
Here's what you need to do:
- Acclimate your dog to flying domestically
- Watson has been on several trips at this point so flying is a cinch for him.
- Pro tip: Southwest is the cheapest and the middle seat's have the most under seat space for your pooch ;).
- Find a pet friendly hotel!
- The Hotel San Cristobal where we stayed is the definition of pet friendly - not only are pets allowed here, but each staff member is a total dog lover and will go out of their way to accommodate your pet.
- There was an extra fee of $25/day
- Make sure your pooch is up to date on their shots, specifically Rabies (they should be anyway!)
- See your vet a few weeks before departure to get an "International Certificate of Good Health (Form 77-043)" filled out and signed by them.
- Photo copy this form before you leave, they will take the form in Mexico and you'll need to show it again returning to the States
- Add your pet to your airline ticket. Each airline has a different price so look it up beforehand!
Total cost: $593 real dollars, but the memories are priceless!
WHERE TO STAY:
I could not say enough fabulous things about this hotel! Every single detail was exquisite.
We stayed in an Ocean King, which was a really decent sized room with an unbelievable bathroom - did you see that tile?! It's in the shower and on our balcony too! And that amazing oceanfront balcony has two sitting chairs and a large couch - we laid out there to read every night.
The restaurant at the hotel is delicious and the view is phenomenal straight out to the pool and then the beach. We had breakfast here every morning, I think it's the best view I've ever had drinking coffee.
Then all of the staff was incredibly nice! I did not talk to one person who wasn't in a good mood and genuinely interested in talking to you. Watson also had a minor love affair with the hotel dog, Bruno.
If I could give this hotel 10 stars I would over and over again! I'll be back absolutely. Christa (@visuallylovely | @brodycanteven) and I are already looking at their sister hotel, Hotel San Jose in Austin, both part of the Bunkhouse Group.
Pro tip: rent a car, and if you can swing it a Jeep. It's a bumpy dirt road for a mile from the highway to the resort! Totes manageable though.
WHAT TO DO:
Besides just walking around and eating/shopping your face off, which you should be doing a lot of, there are quite a few excursions in the area to check out!
- Snorkeling via the Cortez Club in La Paz- did you know SEA LION COLONIES are a thing?! Well there's one here! You have to drive an hour northeast from Todos Santos but it's totally worth it. You boat about an hour away from La Paz through the Sea of Cortez to a sea lion colony where there are hundreds of sea lions. It was admittedly a little freaky at first to be swimming so close to them! They make weird noises and are pretty lazy. Tons of fish and coral to see too. Be forewarned though, the water can get quite chilly! Do not bring your pooch on this part of the trip.
- Cactus Sanctuary in El Truinfo - we sadly did not make it all the way here but from the pictures it looks incredible! Miles of cacti, all different kinds and all protected.
- Parque Los Pinos - fun little park to walk around in. It has a tile skate half pipe which is pretty beautiful and a small amphitheater space with a gorgeous mural at the back.
- Surf / Paddleboard / Kayak - just do this! Lots of options. if you're staying at the Hotel San Cristobal they can hook you up with rentals. Otherwise we saw a few shops in town that will take you.
- Hotel California - you can eat or stay here (neither of which we did tehe) but it's definitely a spot to see! The vibe is funky and there's an extensive amount of shopping you can do there. It's also prime people watching, especially considering everyone stops here to take a photo by the sign.
WHERE TO EAT:
- Hierbabuena Restaurante - this charming FARM is home to vegetation galore and literal farm-to-table fare. This was our favorite meal of the trip! A few logistics: 20 minute drive away in Pescadero, not dog friendly and only open from 1-9pm every day except Tuesday.
- Miguel's - total staple in Todos Santos! Delicious authentic Mexican fare at an extremely cheap price. Also the most ice cold Pacifico I've ever had in my life, which was much appreciated. Definitely get the guac and the chili relleno, and order something with the homemade tortillas (I went enchiladas, it was awesome).
- Carnitas Miguel's - this is a tiny 3 table pop up shop basically a few steps away from Miguel's. All they have are carnitas in a few forms, we opted for tacos. HOLY GUACAMOLE these are incredible!!! Homemade tortillas so bomb and the most succulent, rich, flavorful carnitas ever.
- Neveria Rocco's Ice Cream - the perfect treat to cool down in the Mexican heat! They make delicious fresh fruit pops and homemade ice cream (although we preferred the former).
- La Casita - awesome restaurant with the cutest outdoor seating space! There's a beautiful pergola above the tables and live music which was..uh..interesting when we were there 😉 . We split a delicious bottle of Malbec and really enjoyed our food.
- Any random side of the road taco/tamale/burrito stand - on our way home from La Paz we stopped at a random stand/structure on the side of the road that was touting tamales, I wish I wrote down the name of this spot so badly and we paid in pesos. Christa got a tamale and I got a "burrito" which looks like a taco in the US. The tortillas were made there so they were absolutely delicious and the meat was so well marinated. I think this was my third favorite meal of the trip behind Carnitas Miguel's and Hierbabuena.
WHERE TO DRINK:
- Baja Beans - pretty much the cutest coffee shop ever also located in Pescadero right by the Hierbabuena farm! The shop itself is quite small but there's an enormous outdoor area for sitting and lounging to drink your coffee. The coffee is delicious and they have almond milk for us lactose-free folk!
- La Morena - this restaurant is probably very tasty, but we just stopped here for cocktails. You're immediately taken in by the palm leaf pattern on the walls and bright airy outdoor space out back. Christa ordered a delicious grapefruit cocktail and I enjoyed another ice col Sol beer.
Hotel San Cristobal Pool Bar - best to visit if you're staying at the hotel, but still absolutely worth a stop! Delicious drinks and snacks (I highly recommend the queso fundido with fresh tortillas!) with one of the best views around. The drinks are pricey though, think LA prices, so don't plan to drink here every night.
- Caffee Todos Santos - we didn't make it inside of here, but the outside is really cute and it has great reviews!
- Doce Cuarenta in La Paz - we randomly happened upon this coffee shop which was a total blessing! This shop could be in Silverlake it's so cute and well designed, not to mention the coffee is bomb. They also have delicious pastries - read: EMPANADAS - and stylish gifts as well.
WHERE TO SHOP:
- Mexico Gourmet - Mezcal GALORE! This store has really hard to find Mezcal and an enormous selection. The staff is really knowledgeable and friendly too. I bought some really cute ceramic mugs and espresso shot cups, and Christa bought a Mexican chocolate bar to go with our Mezcal.
- La Sonrise de la Muerte - this gallery is all laser cut and screen printed pieces. Every single thing in the store is unique and quirky! Pro tip: bring cash - they don't accept credit cards :(
- Nomad Chic - these days, since southwest style is so popular, this is your typical Venice store plopped in Todos Santos, and you'll pay Venice prices too. We didn't buy anything in here for that reason, but it sure has beautiful stuff!
- Hotel San Cristobal gift shop - it may sound ridiculous, but this gift shop is not to be missed (plus you should be there any way for at least drinks). Filled with beautiful goods you can find at their hotel, mostly locally sourced and made, this shop is a true gem!
- Ibarra's Pottery in La Paz - what a treat that we got to shop here! 100% handmade pottery items by a woman and her daughter. They're only open until 3pm every day - so they can get home to make dinner for the family 😃 - so make sure to get there on time. We arrived at 2:53 and she *almost* didn't let us in!
- Etnica - such an adorable store! Women's shirts, skirts, dresses and shoes all made in Mexico and in that Southwestern Boho vibe. These clothes are more expensive than you'd find at the corner