Spending a Day in the Artsy Community of Todos Santos, Mexico

Todos Santos Mexico

One of the many reasons why I enjoyed my first sailing experience with Crystal Cruises was thanks to the emphasis they place on the destinations. After all, we travel to see and experience new places and meet new people, and that was of primary importance throughout my voyage. Every day brought new sights and adventures, but one in particular was especially memorable – a day spent in Todos Santos, Mexico.

Before leaving home, I booked the Todos Santos Crystal Adventures Shore Excursion for our day at the port city of La Paz. Although I’d never been there, and still would like to see La Paz, the promise of the Bohemian oasis town in the desert was too irresistible for me to ignore. It’s an easy 1-hour drive from La Paz and for me the journey itself through the rough and tumble terrain of Baja California was certainly an important part of the day; a great way to better understand this unique part of Mexico. Almost as soon as we arrived into this colorful town though, I began to understand its unusual appeal among those in the know.

Settled as a mission town in the 1720s, Todos Santos developed like so many other small communities in Mexico, gradually secularizing and evolving into a town in its own right. Honestly, Todos Santos has a fairly quiet history, enjoying economic success in the 19th century as a sugarcane capital and supporting several mills in the area. In the 1950s though the town’s freshwater spring dried up, and with it the sugar industry. Although the spring came back to life 30 years later, the town had already nearly died. Luckily for Todos Santos a new industry developed that would eventually lead to even greater fame and fortune, tourism.

For a quiet little village in the middle of the Mexican desert, Todos Santos has a strangely large number of devoted fans. Walking around the old historic core, the vibrant colors of the buildings and the incredibly temperate wintertime weather all left me completely entranced. Turns out I’m not alone, Todos Santos has been quietly gaining a lot of attention by curious tourists and even the Mexican government named it a Pueblo Magico, one of just 100 or so communities around Mexico recognized for its natural beauty, cultural richness and history.

Part of this newfound attention is thanks to the inherent charm of the town itself. Many of the old-style buildings have been preserved, adding pops of color and colonial design where one least expects to find it. That could be what has also attracted so many artists and designers. The town’s streets are dotted with small mom and pop shops selling handmade items, as well as high-end art galleries showcasing the best talent from local artists. The vibe is decidedly Bohemian, laid back and certainly creative. It also has a beach vibe that’s hard to ignore, thanks to the popular surf destination just a few miles away. The breaks here are so legendary that surfers flock to this part of Baja California from around the world, many of whom hang out in Todos Santos for a few months, further contributing to that easy-going attitude the city enjoys.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the major draws for tourists, especially day-trippers like myself, the Hotel California. There’s a lot of folklore associated with this boutique hotel in the middle of town, and for years locals swore that it was the inspiration for that oh so famous song by the Eagles. Band members deny it, sort of, and there’s been a lot of dispute over the years, but it’s honestly more fun to just assume that it really is the same hotel mentioned in the song and to enjoy spending time there. We opted for a quick lunch in the hotel’s bar-restaurant, a tasty spread of local delicacies that showcased the cuisine for which Baja is so very well known.

Todos Santos Mexico

Leaving that afternoon I couldn’t help but feel privileged. It’s not often that I find such remarkable places as Todos Santos and, in all honesty, I would never have had that opportunity had I need been cruising along the Mexican Riviera. That’s one of many reasons why I like to take cruises from time to time, for the chance encounters with special destinations that I would never had otherwise discovered.

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

2 thoughts on “Spending a Day in the Artsy Community of Todos Santos, Mexico”

  1. I love exploring new places that are culturally rich, but are not on the normal country itineraries. I am in love with the colorful buildings and flags that decorate the town. I’ll be adding this town to my next bucket list for when I visit Mexico!!

  2. Humberto Carlos Fresa Nueva

    We found Todos Santos in the eighties. The Hotel California by the Eagles was the reason we ventured north from Cabo. It was a very layed back village then. The Bohemian look haden’t surfaced yet. It was a very quiet village. Good food , friendly people and helpful. The first piece of furniture we bought thru a fellow there. But like Cabo San L here come the gringos or gringas. The locals seeing a peso could be made converted to tourists. Thats what happens when us Gringo folks show up . I can remember San Jose del C in early years, nice and quiet small village. We , me and you should leave the good old U.S.A. Up north when in Mexico. Do it their way. A basket by the banyo. There style of life has endured longer than ours. Go on further up the La Paz side of Baja to Loretto. Another beautiful area. When in their country be a Mexican. Not a Mexican in the US wanting to bring with you what you left behind. Thats why you left that place. I have been traveling from Cabo to Tijuana for sixty years. It hasn’t changed. Don’t try to change the way you live, assimlate with them. Clean up the territory , eat there food, enjoy their music , or go back to your starting point. And above all don’t get involved with the cartel. The state of Senora has some great places on the Gulf of California. The train to Chihuahua from Topolabampo is a wonder to see. Food there was superb, so were the folks with the train tickets. Love Mexico as us Gringos find it or stay home. We make a mess where ever we migrate to. Yea I have a la casa in mexico one here too. But their I feel peaceful , people are friendly, not rushing, mañana is a great way to look at life. Adios amigos. Mañana.

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