todos santos

  An artist's replica of the   Maya calendar  , on the exterior of a little downtown Todos Santos boutique.

An artist's replica of the Maya calendar, on the exterior of a little downtown Todos Santos boutique.

Friends, I'm back!  And I've much to share -- especially about our little getaway.

So about three weeks ago, Alex's spring break was coming up, and we'd made no plans to do anything.  To be honest, I hadn't even considered it:  we've been trying to be very thoughtful about how we spend our money, especially as we're rebuilding our damaged home.  But we closed on the loan a few weeks ago, which gave us more of a handle on what our financial situation looks like ...

... and man, we needed a break.  Our family hadn't had any real, focused together-time since the flood, especially since the hurricane happened right before Alex started the school year, and Marcus started a new job.  We were tired, and we needed to reconnect.

So I started researching places we could go for a few days -- I was looking for someplace close, and someplace inexpensive.  And this is one of the huge perks of living in Texas ... 

... Mexico meets both of those criteria.

First of all, let me just say I love Mexico.  It's such a big country, with wildly diverse people and states, each with its own cultural distinctions.  For example, Mexico City is an incredibly cosmopolitan city, with amazing museums and historical buildings, and even Aztec ruins right in the middle of town.  The island of Cozumel, by contrast, has a decidedly Caribbean feel.  And of course, Baja California is straight-up desert.  And because of the exchange rate, for those of us near the border, it can actually be cheaper to visit Mexico than many cities in the US (and flights are plentiful and inexpensive).  And since I hadn't practiced my Spanish in a while, I missed it. Mexico seemed like the perfect choice.

Even though we'd been to Mexico before as a family, I wanted to go somewhere to an area we hadn't been.  Our sweet friends Cheryl and Paul suggested Todos Santos, which I'd never heard of.  Turns out that Todos Santos is a small town about an hour north of Cabo San Lucas in Baja California Sur, just off the Pacific Coast.  It's a small town -- only about 5000 people -- and was named by the Mexican government as a "Pueblo Mágico":  a "magical town," a destination that showcases the beauty and cultural richness of Mexico.  It sounded perfect, so we booked our quick, 4-day trip.

We rented a car at the airport, and drove the hour north to the city -- an easy drive, on a wide, four-lane highway.  The highway ended in Todos Santos, and we stayed right downtown in a tiny little hotel -- but one that had both a beach club and an ocean view restaurant three miles away on the coast.  We spent our short time there walking the cobblestone streets in the mornings, checking out the art galleries that pepper the town, and then hopping in our car and whiling away lazy afternoons staring at the Pacific Ocean.  And we had dinners at lovely restaurants:  the gorgeous oceanview one owned by the hotel I mentioned above, where we could see humpback whales playing just offshore, and another restaurant in a nearby village that was actually part of an organic farm, with some of the freshest food I've ever tasted.  And even though it was spring break season, it seemed all the spring-breakers stayed in Cabo -- there were a couple of times when we were the only patrons in any given restaurant.

In short, the town lived up to its reputation ... it really was magical.

Here are some of my favourite photographs.

  From the front step of   our little hotel  .  It was incredibly charming.

From the front step of our little hotel.  It was incredibly charming.

todossantos03.jpg
todossantos04.jpg
  A coffeehouse and a tequila bar.  You gotta love that combination. (The coffee was great.)

A coffeehouse and a tequila bar.  You gotta love that combination. (The coffee was great.)

  One of the main streets downtown.

One of the main streets downtown.

  The safest beach for swimming at Los Cerritos.  There's a beach club there that is pristine, and we spent a couple of very lazy days in this very spot.  Marcus & Alex surfed, I read tons of books (and   attempted sketches in my journal  ).

The safest beach for swimming at Los Cerritos.  There's a beach club there that is pristine, and we spent a couple of very lazy days in this very spot.  Marcus & Alex surfed, I read tons of books (and attempted sketches in my journal).

  Marcus waxing his board.

Marcus waxing his board.

  Heading in.  (The water was too cold for my blood.)

Heading in.  (The water was too cold for my blood.)

  Tequila sunset:  a shot of tequila, fresh limes, salt, and whales playing in the ocean view.  I think this might be the best way on the planet to end a day.

Tequila sunset:  a shot of tequila, fresh limes, salt, and whales playing in the ocean view.  I think this might be the best way on the planet to end a day.

  Marcus searching for whales.  (We saw several.)

Marcus searching for whales.  (We saw several.)

  The lovely outdoor restaurant,   Hierbabuena  .  When we were entering, a couple was leaving -- they were tourists.  "Have you been here before?" "No," we said.  "Our first time."  "Well, you're in for a treat," said the wife, "this is our third time this week."  After eating there, it was easy to see why.

The lovely outdoor restaurant, Hierbabuena.  When we were entering, a couple was leaving -- they were tourists.  "Have you been here before?" "No," we said.  "Our first time."  "Well, you're in for a treat," said the wife, "this is our third time this week."  After eating there, it was easy to see why.

  The gardens of Hierbabuena.  You couldn't walk through the rows of crops (understandably), but they were beautiful to look at.

The gardens of Hierbabuena.  You couldn't walk through the rows of crops (understandably), but they were beautiful to look at.

todossantos14.jpg
todossantos15.jpg

 

An amazingly restorative time, and we'd go back in a heartbeat.  

Hope your March treated you well, too.  It's good to be back.

 

Soundtrack:  La bruja, as performed by Ángela Vega.  Una canción apropiada, porque el pueblo de Todos Santo es tan mágico, ¿no?