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Small Towns Worth Visiting Near Los Cabos

Small Towns Worth Visiting Near Los Cabos

Los Cabos is a magical destination, a perfect desert-meets-sea, Land’s End getaway at the tip of the Baja peninsula. But the outskirts of Cabo have a few magical places of their own. Here are four good options for day-trippers:

1. Todos Santos. Located an hour’s drive north of Cabo along a new highway parted through desert foothills in view of the sea, Todos Santos (All Saints) is one of Mexico’s “Pueblos Magicos” (Magic Towns). Founded by the Jesuits in 1724, this charming village, accented by colonial-era brick buildings and narrow hilly streets, is a walker’s town chockablock with art galleries, eclectic shops, sidewalk cafes, taco stands, quaint B & B’s, farm-to-table restaurants, and the famous Hotel California. Straddling the Tropic of Cancer, Todos Santos has a unique quality of light that has long attracted artists. And while painters are the most celebrated artists in town, the historic downtown district also has studios and galleries that showcase sculpture (metal, wood, stone) and hand-crafted jewelry. Just south of town are San Pedrito and Los Cerritos, two of the finest surf spots on the Pacific.

2. El Triunfo. For a trip back in time, head to El Triunfo, a quaint mining town an hour’s drive from Todos Santos. When silver and gold were discovered in the mountains of Baja California Sur In 1862, miners from Mexico, the U.S. and more distant locales arrived to set up camp. El Triunfo, in its heyday, was a cultural center and the region’s first town to install electricity and telephones. When the mines, no longer productive, closed in 1926, people evacuated. With a current population of under 350 inhabitants, the town is once again a tiny mountain hamlet. El Triunfo is a colonial time warp, the city’s humble present contrasted by its glorious silver mining past. Many of the original brick and mortar buildings have been restored and converted into cafes, boutiques and museums. The Silver Route Museum features interactive exhibits and a film that tells the story of the town’s unique geology, mining adventures and cultural history. There’s also a simulated mine designed to delight visitors of all ages.

3. Miraflores. If you’re heading to the East Cape, be sure to visit this lovely town located 30 miles north of the international airport. Founded in 1700 by French sailors, the town was formerly known as ‘old ranch,’ but due to the abundance of flowers and beautiful women, it was renamed Miraflores. Here you’ll find a sleepy pueblo surrounded by organic farms and cattle ranches nestled below the Sierra de la Laguna mountains. Near the town’s main entrance, visitors can drop by an old leather works taller (tall-yare), or workshop. It’s a good place to shop for a finely tooled purse, wallet, belt or handbag. Further along the road is another taller where rustic Baja-style furniture is handcrafted. It’s fascinating to see the skilled craftsmen of Miraflores work the leather and wood. Shops are known for their delicious produce, chorizo and preserved fruits like pitahaya. Birders and naturalists will enjoy exploring the nearby mountains, canyons, creeks and waterfalls. There’s also a hot springs located on the outskirts of town near the foot of the mountains.

4. Los Barilles. Situated further up the East Cape is the laid-back fishing village of Los Barilles (“The Barrels”), which occupies a windswept perch on Las Palmas Bay. An adventure lover's paradise, Los Barilles is a windsurfing and sailboarding mecca. From November through March, the prevailing winds blow steady as clockwork and allow thrill-seekers to streak across the waters of the Sea of Cortes. Local hotels have instructors and specialized equipment for all kite sports. As in Los Cabos, sportfishing in Los Barriles is world-class and attracts anglers from around the globe. Want to get off the grid? There are long stretches of deserted beach where you can walk for miles without seeing another soul, notably in nearby Buena Vista, where the sand is soft and the water is warm. Few places in the Gulf of California are as rich in fauna (or casual beachfront cafes) as Los Barriles. The most notable species is the whale shark, the world’s largest fish. Harmless to man, these gentle giant are filter feeders, not hunters, so swimming and snorkeling alongside these magnificent creatures is safe.