Escape the Tourist Hordes in Charming Todos Santos, Mexico

Excellent seafood fare at Bahia Restaurant & Bar in Todos Santos, Mexico

Excellent seafood fare at Bahia Restaurant & Bar in Todos Santos, Mexico

Tired of the tourist hordes, traffic jams and general clamour of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico? Just head an hour north, on excellent Highway 19, up the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula. Stop first for a long, sandy stroll at Cerritos Beach, where you can watch surfers and families frolic in the waves. Then continue north a little ways to Todos Santos, a true oasis in the otherwise parched landscape.

The quiet, charming streets of Todos Santos

The quiet, charming streets of Todos Santos

Is it touristy? Sure, judging by the Americanos nosing through shops and wandering into the Hotel California for lunch. But mostly, it’s an artsy place attracting laid-back bohemian and surfer types. The dusty streets are mostly quiet, the sidewalks uneven, but the many brick buildings have been refurbished, befitting one of Mexico’s pueblos magicos—a select group of towns promoted for their cultural, historical or natural significance.

Where better to hang with an espresso or tall glass of hibiscus tea (jamaica) than La Esquina, a fabulous, open space with a thatched roof, brick wall and expansive garden? You can also nibble on a papaya salad or a big cookie.

La Esquina is a great spot to savour a coffee and snack

La Esquina is a great spot to savour a coffee and snack

La Esquina
Calle Topete and Horizonte, Todos Santos
Monday to Saturday 7 am-7 pm. Closed Sunday

Lunch offerings in Todos Santos lean to the pricier. Unless, of course, you sit down at Bahia Restaurant & Bar, a no-frills, covered sidewalk with plastic chairs, relaxed staff and a firm focus on great seafood, from the attached fish monger.

Bahia Restaurant & Bar is a fabulous place for relaxed, affordable Mexican food

Bahia Restaurant & Bar is a fabulous place for relaxed, affordable Mexican food

We order a range of dishes: breaded fish tacos, seafood soup, grilled shrimp and a mocajete—marinated shrimp and octopus in a lava bowl. All fresh, excellent stuff. And I’ll tell you, they don’t skimp on the seafood. After delving into the depths of my small mocajete bowl for 15 minutes, I lay my spoon down, unable to finish.

A big bowl of soup swimming with seafood

A big bowl of soup swimming with seafood

A mocajete bowl laden with marinated shrimp and octopus

A mocajete bowl laden with marinated shrimp and octopus

Bahia Restaurant & Bar
Militar and Marquez de Leon, Todos Santos
Daily 10:30 am-5:30 pm, except closed Thursday

A Todos Santos bonus: Releasing fledgling sea turtles into the Pacific Ocean

A Todos Santos bonus: Releasing fledgling sea turtles into the Pacific Ocean

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