Mexico / Baja California  / Breakpoints / Todos Santos
Friday, August 23, 2019

Todos Santos

Todos Santos – All Saints at the Tropic of Cancer.

A place of historic standing at the Pacific coast of Baja California halfway between La Paz and Cabo San Lucas. Nothing is noticed here of the bustle prevalent in the two larger neighbors; only some transit traffic passes through Todos Santos, a fact that its 5,000 inhabitants feel to be very agreeable. Many of them retired to this village to enjoy the tranquility and the very mild climate of the place: artists, surfers, farmers. Situated a little higher, on a meseta, Todos Santos is pleasantly warm in winter and not too hot in summer – and it has another advantage that can hardly be overestimated in Baja California: water.

Underground water from the Sierra de La Laguna is used for irrigation and allows the cultivation of tropical and subtropical fruits. This propitious situation was already noticed by the missionaries who founded the mission of Todos Santos in 1724. The valley of the Arroyo de la Reforma north of the town became a green garden. As early as 1731, no less than “200 donkey loads of raw sugar”, citrus, figs, etc. were produced. The mission became more important than that of La Paz, which it supplied with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Todos Santos became the sugar capital of Baja in 1850. A total of eight sugar works was in operation then, the last of which was closed down in 1965. The remains can be visited in El Molino Trailer Park. Mangos, avocados, papayas, guavas, citrus fruits and coconuts are harvested here today.

In the town center, you will find the beautiful, yellow-washed church and next to it the Hotel California. It is often associated with the song of the same title once sung by the Eagles, and it cultivates this tradition. But the Eagles have never been here …. However this may be, the hotel has had new proprietors since 2001, was completely restored and invites its guests to enjoy its new, cheerful ambience.

As quiet as the town are its beaches. The 45 mile (70 km) stretch from Todos Santos to Cabo San Lucas is the least developed and least built-up coast in the Cape area and many residents want it to stay that way.

The local mountains of Todos Santos, the Sierra de la Laguna, extends over some 85 miles (135 km) through the South of Baja California. A rampart of granite from La Paz to the Cape, whose highest elevation is the Picacho de la Laguna (7,066 ft [2,155 m]). Only few cattle and goat farmers make a living in this solitude. Biologically, the mountain range is a treasure-house. It features the greatest diversity of species in the whole peninsula. Much rain – up to 900 mm a year in the summit region – produces a correspondingly dense vegetation as well as creeks, which have cut deep canyons into the mountains. Especially the highest regions, in summer always clouded or in the fog, are regarded as ecologic islands, which allow the survival of animals and plants that are otherwise found only in latitudes much higher north in America.

In studies of the vegetation, for instance, almost 450 species of phanerogams were counted, of which 48 occurred only in the Sierra de La Laguna. Even more impressive is the range of birds: Of the 41 species endemic in the state of Baja California Sur, 24 are only found in the Sierra de La Laguna. Not least for these reasons, an area of 275,000 acres (112,000 ha) of the mountains was identified as a special biosphere reserve in 1994.
Todos Santos is an ideal starting point for various excursions into the mountains, e.g. along the canyons of San Dionisio, San Bernardo and San Pablo. Walking-tours of few hours‘ to several days‘ duration are possible; climbers can also ascend the Picacho de La Laguna