Situated where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sierra de la Laguna Mountains, and the desert meets an oasis of palms and lush fruit trees, is the rustic Mexican coastal town of Todos Santos. With colorful aging buildings nestled beneath palm trees, cobbled roads, miles of endless unspoiled beaches and constant blue skies overhead, you could be mistaken for thinking Todos Santos is a quiet backwater set up only for surfer types looking to ride the Pacific Ocean swell.
However, such first impressions would be a little off the mark. While the surfboard-carrying carefree types do frequent the shoreline, underneath the palm leaves lies a sophisticated town that is well set up to serve those seeking to escape the crush of San Lucas or San Jose. Handicraft shops, art galleries, upscale restaurants and boutique hotels all serve to meet the needs of the traveler seeking an authentic Mexican town experience without compromising on their home comforts.
Set in a restored colonial building, the boutique Guaycura Hotel would not be out of place in London, New York or Paris. With exquisite furnishings, beautifully decorated rooms, four poster beds, copper bath tubs and private terraces you feel as if you have just stepped inside your own palace.
A decadent breakfast menu including some wonderful eggs benedict is served in a beautifully appointed garden restaurant to the backdrop of Radio Mozart. A well-equipped reading room offers the weary guest the opportunity to relax while taking in one of the hundreds of travel books, while a roof top deck and swimming pool offers another attractive alternative for those wishing to enjoy the year-round warm climate.
Situated on top of the Guaycura Hotel, the Sky Lounge is the perfect location to take in a sunset over the Pacific Ocean with a pre-dinner cocktail in hand.
It’s worth staying a few minutes longer to enjoy the freshly cooked catch of the day paired with a local white wine.
El Faro Private Beach Club & Spa
Situated 10 minutes drive from Todos Santos is a beach lover’s haven – El Faro is a quiet oceanside club featuring an infinity pool, the best beach “hammock” the world has ever seen, a swim up bar, a spa and a restaurant servicing delicious local cuisine including some excellent fish tacos. The admission fee is waived for those staying at the Guaycura Hotel.
However, what really sets the beach club apart is the offshore entertainment provided by whales breaching on the horizon!
At around 5pm each night hundreds of baby turtles are released into the Pacific Ocean from Playa La Cachora against the sunset backdrop. It is quite a honour to see these tiny animals take their first steps towards their new ocean home.
With a west facing location looking out uninhibited across the Pacific Ocean, Todos Santos is a perfect location for sunset seekers.
Located on the cliffs above the ocean and the town, El Mirador restaurant provides 360 degree views of the stunning geography that makes up the region.
However, the view is only surpassed by firstly the best margaritas we have ever tasted, and then secondly by the quality of the food served. We were lucky enough to dine on a full moon for which a special set menu is served against the glittering ocean backdrop.
Getting to Todos Santos
Situated only 60 minutes north of San Lucas or 90 minutes from San Jose International Airport, Todos Santos is very accessible via a very new and quiet four lane highway.
If you are planning a week in Baja California Sur, we would highly recommend Todos Santos as it offers an authentic Mexican getaway for those seeking a personalized luxury experience without the traditional Cabo crowds.
Vancouver is a geographically stunning city where the coastal mountains of British Columbia meet the Pacific Ocean. The city is blessed with many beautiful natural sandy beaches which offer a great place to relax during the warmer summer months. One of the city’s most famous beaches (for reasons which will become clear as you read on) is Wreck Beach which is situated about 25 minutes’ drive from Downtown Vancouver on the University of British Columbia (UBC) peninsula.
Situated on the headland where the giant UBC campus sprawls, this place has a reputation for being Vancouver’s only clothing is optional beach. The Wreck Beach Preservation Society has more information if you want to know a little more about the naked truth.
Wreck Beach offers a great spot to watch the sunset given that it is the most westerly point in mainland Vancouver and has a spectacular backdrop provided by the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast
The beach offers some of the cleanest sea water to swim in around Vancouver given its distance from the ports and exposure to the currents / tides. Just be ready to brave a sea where the mercury reaches a maximum of 16 degrees in September!
The beach has a certain chilled and relaxed vibe, promoted by its liberal occupants!
Watch Out for….
Finding the entrance to Wreck Beach can be a challenge given that it’s somewhere on the huge UBC campus and the beach itself is about 200m below the level of the road! For those of you who are bright enough to print out a map, it’s actually located at the bottom of trails 3, 4 or 6 just off NW Marine Drive.
It can also be a challenge finding somewhere to park given the popularity of the spot on a warm’s summer’s evening. With all street parking taken we eventually stumbled upon a UBC car park which costs $6 for as long as you like after 5pm.
The next obstacle to our treasure hunt was to navigate the 300 (slight exaggeration but who’s counting when you’re gasping for air) steps down to the beach. Top tip, leave the cool box at home and bring a rucksack, you will appreciate it on the upward return leg especially if you’re heading home in the dark with lots of other sunset seekers!
This beach has a reputation as a party place – this was confirmed when we observed 15 guys dressed in mankinis doing all sorts of circus tricks. As a result the 6 police officers walking in military formation checking cool boxes for illegal liquor was not unexpected.
The beach has a policy of optional clothing – try to stick to beach etiquette which is signposted as you enter the site!
Facilities – there is a small food cart at the top of the steps, but nothing at the beach front 200m below. As for the washroom, lets just hope you have had all your injections recently…these portaloos are NOT recommended under any circumstances!
Don’t forget your camera to capture the spectacular sunset, but be careful what you snap!