By Alvaro Colindres
Todos Santos is an oasis in the Baja desert, home to hundreds of national and foreign families… and an integral piece of history of the southern Baja Peninsula. Part of its magic resides in its charming streets and colorful and historic buildings mixed with newer constructions designed and built by talented professionals. How many stories can they tell? What are their most precious secrets?
Spending time in Todos Santos may include a visit to the art galleries, enjoying the locally made ice cream or chocolates, walking into any of its fine and funky shops and, grabbing a quick taco or dining at one of its restaurants. Among the many historical buildings there are four important sites I suggest visiting:
33 Legaspi, AKA The Todos Santos Inn.
Beaming brick façade, arched ceilings, lush tropical landscape, a romantic courtyard surrounding a tranquil pool…this building is the only hacienda-style construction in downtown. Originally built in 1870’s, it has withstood time and time again to tell the story of old Mexican charm. You don’t know what you’ll find until you pass through its doors. Through its winding pathways you can admire the dedicated artisan craftsmanship used in walls and floors. Decades ago, it was used as a boyhood schoolhouse and nowadays, it accommodates a charming boutique hotel with several comfortable suites, restaurant and bar.
A true protagonist in Baja’s history, this hotel opened its doors in 1950 with 16 rooms and the intention to offer a resting stop for those traveling from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas. Years later, this was also the only place in town that served ice and cold beer and its popularity began to grow. It wasn’t until The Eagles song (with the same title) that history became legend. Home to a colorful store, inviting rooms and savory restaurant & bar, no visit to this Magic Town is completed without a stop at this landmark.
Calle Pilar Historic Home
A one-level-estate spanning over 17,000 sq ft of terrain combines the gorgeous greenery of well-maintained gardens and a beautiful home. When it was purchased in the late 1990’s, the owner felt a great responsibility as custodian of an architectural piece of history in Baja, and with that in mind, set to the task to preserve its essence while being functional for all residents. Over the past decades, it has been an important part of the community as a multipurpose area for all sort of activities: from martial arts for kids, yoga & meditation classes, to meeting room and intimate destination weddings with its garden courtyard setting.
Nuestra Señora del Pilar Mission
Set by the main square, it was founded initially as a subordinate station to the mission in La Paz. For over two hundred years, this church has survived fires, abandonment and has changed names countless times. Its simplicity and classic construction stands proud just like any mother would do over her children: under its shadowy embrace many come to find solace, pray or simply, admire yet another piece of history in this Pueblo Mágico.