Where to surf, swim, and wander on the coast near Todos Santos and Pescadero in Baja California Sur.
We spent most of our beach time surfing the little point break at this Pescadero beach and, though it could get a little crowded in the afternoon, it was still a damn fine time. The paddle-out is nice and easy — just catch the current close to the rocks and let it take you straight outside. We rented boards from Mario's Surf School.
Playa San Pedro/Las Palmas
Take an unmarked dirt road through the desert, and suddenly you're in a forest of palms that leads to a secluded beach surrounded by steep cliffs. The surf was pretty gnarly and swimming looked treacherous when we visited, but apparently the water is swimmable at times. Regardless, it's a magical spot and absolutely worth a visit. Bring water and beers. Here's a map.
This long beach has deep, pillowy sand and — despite the fact that its lined with houses and few hotels — still manages to feel somewhat deserted. It's great when you just want to chill away from the crowds. You can definitely surf at Pescadero, but we never did — we were having way too much fun at Cerritos. (Playa Pescadero is also home to Rancho Pescadero, a hotel popular with a certain type of traveler is located. We visited and it seemed okay, but seemed a bit run-down and lacked the warm vibes we usually seek out. Still, if you want to stay right on the beach it could be an okay choice.)
Once known simply as the secluded stretch of sandy shore used by local fishing boats, this beach close to Todos Santos town has recently become ground zero for a classic David/Goliath style fight involving the fisherman and commercial developer Tres Santos, who have started building a massive hotel and residence. For now, construction seems to be somewhat stalled by ongoing protests. The beach is gorgeous and worth a visit regardless, if only to watch the local fisherman come speeding in on their boats before they get displaced for real. (Read more about it all here.) On the far north end of the beach you'll find El Faro Beach Club.
Old Port/Los Algodones
This is a more of a cool thing to see rather than a straight-up beach. It's also a great hike, or, if you're feeling lazy (and have 4wd), a cool trek up a hill via car. Either way, leave from the fisherman's beach (Punta Lobos) and head north up the winding dirt road until you reach the very top of the cliffs where a dramatic view of the turquoise ocean crashing into the old port below awaits. Click here for slightly better instructions, or better yet, ask a local to point you in the right direction. Or, take a kayak tour to the neighboring sea lion colony.