Go to These 7 Small Towns in Baja Sur (If You Want an Authentic Experience)

Get away from Los Cabos and La Paz and get a taste of the true Baja California Sur by visiting these seven perfect towns.

Los Cabos might steal most of the headlines, but the real beauty of Baja California Sur lies in all the tiny villages that dot the peninsular, many of which have rich and surprising histories.

If you’re based in Los Cabos or La Paz for a vacation and want to see a more authentic side to this mystical Mexican state, hire a car and check out these seven small towns. They were our favorites to visit when we lived there.

1. Todos Santos

Todos Santos is arguably the most famous small town in Baja Sur. The charming and picturesque village is located on the Pacific coast, an hour’s drive north of Cabo San Lucas.

A typical day trip to Todos Santos would start with a visit to the town’s historic center, where you can explore colonial architecture and visit the many art galleries and studios. Visitors can also visit the Todos Santos Historic Museum which is housed in a restored 19th-century adobe building and offers an interesting glimpse into the town’s history and culture.

After exploring the town, you can head to one of Todos Santos’s many beautiful beaches, such as Playa Cerritos or Playa Los Cerritos, where you can relax, swim, and surf. You can also take a boat tour to see the local sea lion colonies or go snorkeling and diving in the nearby coral reefs. If you’re there at the right time of year, you can follow in our footsteps and release endangered baby turtles on the beach.

Todos Santos is also known for its excellent dining scene, with a variety of restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine. Make sure you sample the town’s famous organic coffee and locally made artisanal chocolate.

2. La Ventana

La Ventana is located on the Sea of Cortez. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, particularly wind and kite surfers, thanks to its consistent and strong winds. The town is also known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, and excellent opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, and diving.

La Ventana is a relatively new tourist destination, having only been discovered by wind and kite surfers in the late 1990s. The town has grown rapidly in popularity in recent years, with many tourists visiting to take advantage of the excellent wind and wave conditions. The town has a number of windsurfing and kiteboarding schools, as well as rental shops for equipment, making it easy for you to get started with these sports.

Aside from wind and kite surfing, you can enjoy the town’s natural beauty by taking a boat tour to nearby islands, such as Isla Cerralvo, where you can see a variety of marine life. Also check out Playa El Sargento, which is known for its excellent snorkeling opportunities.

La Ventana offers a range of accommodation options, from camping and RV parks to luxury villas and resorts, making it a great destination for travelers of all budgets.

3. El Triunfo

El Triunfo is located high in the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range and is known for its rich mining history.

The town was founded in the late 19th century as a mining camp, and it was once the center of a thriving silver and gold mining industry.

Today, El Triunfo is a quiet, picturesque town that is popular among tourists for its historical significance, architecture, and beautiful natural surroundings. Visitors can explore the town’s old mines, visit the El Triunfo Cultural Center, and take a tour of the historic church, which is one of the few remaining examples of colonial-era architecture in the area.

We visited the Triunfo Mining Museum with Harriet and Luca and had a great time.

4. Loreto

Loreto is a four-hour drive north of La Paz, so if you have time, try and go for a weekend.

It is considered the first Spanish settlement in Baja California and it was founded in 1697 by Jesuit priest Juan María Salvatierra. Today. it is a popular tourist destination in the region, and it offers a variety of activities for a weekend trip.

Some of the best activities include:

  • Visit the historic downtown and see the Mission of Our Lady of Loreto, one of the oldest Spanish missions in Baja California.
  • Take a boat tour to the Isla Coronado, where you can snorkel and see a wide variety of marine life.
  • Take a guided kayak or paddleboard tour on the Loreto Bay National Marine Park, where you can explore the mangroves and see a wide variety of bird species.
  • Visit the Loreto Regional Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of the region.
  • Take a guided ATV tour through the surrounding desert, mountains, and beaches.

5. Los Barriles

Los Barriles is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent sport fishing, and laid-back atmosphere. The town is situated on the Sea of Cortez, so you get to experience the clear blue waters and the usual abundance of marine life.

The town’s beaches, such as Playa Los Barriles and Playa el Palmar, are popular for swimming, sunbathing, and windsurfing. The surrounding desert and mountains offer many opportunities for outdoor activities such as horseback riding, ATV tours, hiking, and also for scenic drives.

It’s a great spot for those who appreciate the natural beauty and outdoor activities.

6. Santa Rosalía

Santa Rosalía is a historic mining town in the far north of the state. It is perhaps most famous for its historic French-built church. It is a great destination for a day trip, offering a glimpse into the town’s rich history and natural beauty.

A typical day trip to Santa Rosalía would start with a visit to the town’s historic center, where you can explore the charming colonial architecture and visit the famous Santa Rosalía church. The church is an architectural marvel and was built in the late 1800s by Gustave Eiffel, the same architect who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Santa Rosalía is also known for its excellent dining scene, with a variety of restaurants serving fresh seafood and traditional Mexican cuisine.

Overall, Santa Rosalía offers a unique and charming experience for visitors looking to escape the crowded tourist areas and experience the local culture and scenery. While a day trip can be a great option to get a taste of the town, there’s much more to explore and discover in Santa Rosalía, and it’s recommended to stay a couple of days to fully experience it.

7. Cabo Pulmo

Cabo Pulmo is a small fishing village located on the east coast of the Baja California peninsula.

It is situated within the Cabo Pulmo National Park and is known for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. The area is particularly popular among divers and snorkelers due to the Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, which is home to a vibrant coral reef ecosystem. The park is considered one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

You can also enjoy activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming with sea lions.

The village also has a few small restaurants and accommodations for those who want to spend the night and explore more.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you been to any of our seven picks? Let us know your favourite experiences in the comments, or tag us in the destinations on Instagram!

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