Whoever imagines a geographic point in which the breezes of the Pacific join and the blue profile of mountains frame an oasis of exuberant green in the middle of the desert, will be visualizing Todos Santos, a small town intersected by the Tropic of Cancer, 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas.
This oasis which for millenniums served as the base for the native Pericue Indians who hunted and fished here became the seat of the Jesuit Mission “Nuestra Señora del Pilar” in 1723 with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors and “Novohispanos” (original settlers of modern-day Mexico) and finally became Todos Santos, as it is known today.
Repository for the subterranean rivers that flow from the mountains, Todos Santos is extremely fertile. At the end of the 19th century, the cultivation of sugar cane was very popular (there were 8 different processing methods at this time), and this was maintained for a hundred years. During this period, beautiful colonial-style buildings, theaters, hotels and public offices were constructed. The fall in the price of sugar after the Second World War and the droughts provoked a collapse in the economy.
The Color of Tranquility
Like the oasis that it is, Todos Santos stands out for its vegetation. Palm trees, groves, streams surrounded by mango and avocado trees or sugar cane and a splendid climate all year long, are some of the assets of this place. Fertility is not just a characteristic of the soil, but also of the minds of Todos Santos’ inhabitants who are known for their affinity for the arts. Home to a great number of painters, artisans, sculptors, writers and Mexican and foreign intellectuals (Charles Stewart, the artist, established his study here in 1986), Todos Santos has developed into an important cultural community.
Proof of this is the extensive number of art galleries that exist as well as the cultural festivals that are held here every year. The downtown can be visited on foot; here is where you will find the church Mission, the 21st Century Cultural Center, a number of international quality restaurants and other points of interest. You can also obtain information here about guided ecological tours to the biosphere reserve at the Laguna Mountains.
Beaches close to Todos Santos
There is another view that prevails. A vision of blue. It is the Pacific Ocean that graces us with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Peninsula: San Pedrito, Los Cerritos, Los Esteros, Lobos Point, La Poza and Batequitos, the majority of which have strong waves, ideal for surfing. These waters are also visited by whales, dolphins, orcas, sea lions and other sea mammals. If the beaches are excellent observation points for whales, the coastal lagoons create resting places for thousands of migratory birds that travel every year from the north of the continent, which convert this area into a first-order location for specialists in ornithology as well as for average bird-watching aficionados.
At km. 54 of the highway from Cabo San Lucas there is a dirt road that takes you to Punta Lobos — a beach with beautiful landscapes, powdery sand and more or less strong waves. Only two kilometers away from Todos Santos, this beach has a small lagoon where marine species including crabs and an infinity of fish abound. It is also home to pelicans, seagulls and other birds.
Following the highway another 2 km (at around km. 56 approximately) another dirt road takes you to San Pedrito. The path is surrounded by desert vegetation where cacti abound. Upon arrival at the beach, an estuary can be seen. The principal activities at San Pedrito are swimming and surfing. Because of its characteristics and beauty, it has become an ideal place for camping or just relaxing.
In Pescadero, sister town to Todos Santos, at km. 51, a fishing boat can be hired. Two kilometers further on is Los Cerritos — another excellent beach for surfing. All along the length of this beach, one finds campers who year after year come in search of the ideal wave to surf. The ocean bottom here is sandy and the best time of year to surf is between November and April.
Whether it is to admire or acquire arts and crafts, visit art galleries, eat in exquisite restaurants, contemplate lovely panoramas, experience the tranquillity of picturesque little streets, taste traditional fruit candies, or visit gorgeous beaches, Todos Santos is an obligatory stop during your vacation in Baja. There is only one necessary warning that you should keep in mind when visiting Todos Santos: You’ll want to stay in this Eden.
From Lands End Magazine.