Todos Santos is an artistic and culturally rich town with a laid-back vibe located on the Pacific Ocean. It is almost equal distance (around 50 miles/80 km) from both La Paz and Cabo San Lucas, making it ripe for tourists passing from one city to the other.
There is also a large community of ex-pats developing higher-end residences that sprawl from the town center along the Pacific Ocean. This has created another place where you can find most of the amenities and comforts of home you may need while camping in the area.
However, despite the proximity and influence of the larger cities, Todos Santos has a unique small-town feel to it. Home to the “Hotel California” (not officially related to the Eagle’s famous song), Todos Santos is a haven for artists and travelers alike. Many of the streets are paved in cobblestone and the architecture of the buildings reflects its colonial past.
Like many other population centers in Baja, Todos Santos was founded in 1723 by Jesuit missionaries in the area. The missionary took advantage of the fertile land and started planting sugarcane. In the 19th century, the small town had eight sugar mills.
But in the 1950s, the spring dried up and all the mills were closed by 1965. After devastating years, the spring came back to life in 1981.
Moreover, in the 1980s, the Mexican government paved Highway 19 to bring tourists to the area. Both developments played a vital role in the economy of Todos Santos.
The locals moved from farming sugarcane and planted vegetables, chilies, avocados, papayas, and mangos. Further, the paved highway shifted the financial dependency on tourism and real estate. Fishing, ranching, and local art also significantly share the local economy.
Todos Santos is also known as an artist’s colony because of the abundance of art galleries in the town. The locals are quite artistic and also sell their art at affordable prices primarily to tourists that come from Cabo San Lucas.
Most of the town is inland. But the outskirts of Todos Santos touch the Pacific coast where you can enjoy signature Baja activities like kayaking, surfing, fishing and snorkeling. The town also has some hiking trails in the nearby Sierra Laguna Mountains.
Things to do in Todos Santos
Todos Santos is a unique desert oasis surrounded by lush green orchards overlooking the spectacular views of white sand beaches and the Pacific Ocean.
Here are the things to do in Todos Santos.
Although you have to go a little outside of town to reach the ocean, surfing in Todos Santos ends up on nearly every surfer’s bucket list. The most popular palace to surf is La Pastora, a wide-open dirt field about 10 minutes north of town along a mostly dirt road.
Also, Playa Los Cerritos and Playa San Pedrito are great places for surfing. They are 20 minutes away from the town and have both gentle and adventurous rocky point breaks, which makes them an excellent place for beginners and professionals alike.
You can rent surfboards and wetsuits around town and some vendors also offer lessons.
Take A Walk Through History
Downtown Todos Santos is an exciting and historical place. Most of its building and cobblestone streets were built in the 19th century during the sugarcane boom. The colorful façade of colonial buildings still fill with local residents and businesses alike.
Moreover, Mision Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Todos Santos is also downtown. Built in 1733, it was the first mission in the area and has a great view of the nearby area.
Pick any street and wander to your heart’s content. Grab a “Taco de Cabeza” (yes, “head taco”), a local specialty sold by most street vendors, or pick any number of restaurants or bars to enjoy a variety of food and drink.
Todos Santos is one of those towns where people-watching is at its finest and you can spend an entire day strolling the cobblestone streets and enjoying the various shops and vendors along the way.
Release Baby Sea Turtles in the Sea
Releasing baby sea turtles safely in the ocean is a magical experience. The beaches around Todos Santos are a nesting ground for three types of sea turtles (Olive Ridleys, Leatherbacks, and Black Sea Turtles).
Hatching season starts in December through April and Tortugueros Las Playitas, a non-profit sea turtle sanctuary manages the endangered species year-round. Every evening volunteers collect recently laid turtle eggs from nests along the nearby beach and move them into a protected hatchery, where the turtles can be incubated and hatch on their own.
You can visit Torugueros Las Playitas every day and releasing newly hatched turtles is free to the public. Be sure to head down before sunset as the turtles are released just after sunset, when they have the best chance of surviving attacks from predators.
You’ll likely experience a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean and may even see whales breaching while you await the release.
Go Whale Watching
Todos Santos is an excellent place to see grey and humpback whales migrating around the southern tip of Baja during the winter months. Humpback whales travel from October through January and grey whales migrate between January and March.
Whale-watching tours are readily available in the town and nearby beaches. But if you want to save a few bucks, you can watch the whales play from any beach while enjoying sunset or surfing.
Hike to Punta Lobos
Punta Lobos is a popular spot located just 3 miles (5 km) from the center of Todos Santos. A mostly secluded beach, Punta Lobos also has a hiking trail that takes you to spectacular views overlooking the ocean.
The trail to the top is not well marked. And once on top, you will be on the edge of the cliff so be mindful of your steps while you enjoy the views.
|VOLUNTEER IN TODOS SANTOS
Tortugueros Las Playitas. This sea turtle rescue is among the premiere in Baja, where a variety of sea turtles come ashore by the thousands to lay eggs. The organization is responsible for gathering freshly laid turtle eggs and relocating them to a hatchery where the eggs can incubate and hatch without interference from predators.
Each night, as long as there is a batch of turtles ready to go, newly hatched sea turtles are released into the sea at sunset. You can volunteer either by releasing a turtle and making a donation or you can contact the organization about being the biologist of the day, where you will assist in everything from collecting the eggs to monitoring the hatchery and interacting with visitors throughout the day.
Ecorrrevolucion. Ecorrrevolution is a non-governmental agency started by a man named Alex, who wanted to help reduce the environmental impact of those people living in Todos Santos. Alex collects a variety of recyclable materials and sorts them into those items that can be recycled with similar materials and those that are trash.
He is constantly looking for help both with fundraising as well as sorting the daily materials, which locals and gringos alike drop off by the bagfull each day.
Website: https://www.ecorrrevolucion.org/ Phone: +52 1 612 139 4789
Campground in Todos Santos
There are not a lot of options for camping in Todos Santos. In fact, there is only one campground in town and it is quite the opposite of what you would expect in such a fine town.
We had a terrible experience here, as have numerous other people, and we hesitated to even include it in this guide.
However, if you want to camp in Todos Santos proper to be able to enjoy the town without having to drive in from nearby boondocking sites, El Litro RV Park is your only option.
El Litro RV Park
El Litro RV Park is located at the edge of Todos Santos, a dirt lot ringed with palm trees. Overall, the place is not well managed. But its location is what attracts most campers.
It does have electrical hookups (though there were lots of exposed wires and we recommend you have a surge protector if plugging in) and a common shower area (that is not well maintained).
But aside from basic amenities, you’re paying a premium for the location, not for the quality of the campground.
- Address: Francisco Bojorquer Vidal, San Vicente, 23300 Todos Santos, B.C.S., Mexico
- Phone Number: +52 612 200 7580
- Website: http://todossantosguide.com/ellitrorvpark/index.html
- GPS Coordinates: 23.4406, -110.227
|20/30 AMP ELECTRIC:
|BIG RIG FRIENDLY
|BEST BOONDOCKING /ALTERNATIVE CAMPING OPTION
La Pastora. La Pastora is a wide open field that virtually anyone who travels and boondocks to Baja California Sur knows about. It is particularly popular among surfers as it is home to some of the consistently best surf around Todos Santos.
The road in is a little bumpy and be mindful of when it may rain as the field is mostly dirt, which turns into an awfully slick and soft material in the rain. Also note that if you attempt to go too far toward the ocean you may find yourselves stuck in the soft sand.
However, this is your best opportunity to camp around Todos Santos and there will be plenty of space to park for the night, even if the waves are going off.