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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TODOS SANTOS - A Pacific Paradise of Coffee Lovers



by Benjamin Eugene

With a small population of just 5,000 souls, the desert oasis town of Todos Santos on the Baja California coast is a vibrant and exotic destination and one of the favorite places for all expats looking to chill out by the beach, enjoying spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean while relaxing on the white sand beaches. Todos Santos attracts hundreds of visitors each year, in addition to its own friendly expat community. 

Surrounded by orchards of palm and mango, and blessed with a perfect climate, the town has become a haven in recent years for artisans, surfers, adventure seekers and just about everyone else you could care to think of, coming to enjoy a healthy lifestyle, natural beauty and great tasting cups of coffee.  

Yep, that’s right, coffee. If you’re a caffeine-addicted slave like us, then you should know that there’s no better place in Mexico to get your fix than right here in Todos Santos, something that becomes immediately apparent to first time visitors when they see just how many coffee shops there are!

Once Baja California’s booming sugar capital, Todos Santos has recovered from the decline of its chief industry, becoming something of a Mecca its gourmet foods and drinks instead. While its fresh fish, organic fruits and vegetables make for some truly excellent cuisine in its numerous restaurants, Todos Santos is above all else a place to sit down, relax and enjoy rich-tasting coffee at its best.

If you have a weakness for fresh coffee brewed just the way it should be, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Todos Santos. Here are some of the highlights that any right-minded coffee lover just has to check out:

Cafélix
One of the coolest new hangouts in center of town, Cafélix is one of the first places you’ll hit up. Famous for its sweet-tasting frappes, available in multiple different flavors, Cafelix has a great little patio area outside overlooking the main street, making it a great spot for anyone who loves wasting time watching the world go by while enjoying their caffeine fix. And if the patio gets too hot to handle (it often does in this climate), feel free to take advantage of the air-con inside and enjoy the Gecko Galleria collection of local artwork displayed on the walls.

Where: Calle Juarez #4, between Hidalgo and Marquez de Leon
When: Open daily from 7am until 10pm and Sunday from 9am until 10pm
Tel: (612) 145-0568     
E-mail: salesboy_vagu@hotmail.com

Caffé Todos Santos
Much older (established 1993), but an equally hospitable place, is the Caffé Todos Santos, one of the original coffee shops in town that helped to make Todos Santos what it is today. This place doubles as a restaurant and the food is on a par with the coffee – superb. If you don’t believe us, believe the locals instead, they wouldn’t flock here at both breakfast times and lunch times if the proprietors weren’t doing something right!  

Where: Calle Centenario #33
When: Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 7am to 9pm, and Monday from 7am to 2pm
Tel: (612) 145-0300

Café Brown
If you thought relaxing and drinking coffee was a rather dull way for people with nothing better to do to sit and kill time, Café Brown will make you think again. Decked out in an exotic bohemian style, with mismatched furniture and an equally eclectic crowd, Café Brown is the epitome of the casual hangout. The gourmet coffee is made with locally grown beans, always freshly crushed after you make your order. Complimented with some great tasting American and Mexican dishes, a friendly crowd, and an unusual selection of evening events, including African drumming, cinema and salsa, you might find that killing time can actually be quite a lot of fun!

Where: The Hotel Maria Bonita
When: Open Wednesday to Sunday from 8 am until 8 pm
Tel: (612) 145-0813
E-mail: iuslegis@hotmail.com

Cafe D'Licia
Three words come to mind: homemade, fresh, and healthy. Todos Santos is an oasis, and Cafe D'Licia is a tropical paradise within this oasis. The landscaping is beautiful and lush, with tropical plants and birds. Enjoy an amazing breakfast, Mexican dish, or one of their delicious homemade salsas, from under their covered patio, as the birds serenading you. Nevertheless, if it’s coffee you’re looking for you can find that too, along with chai and other teas. Credit cards not accepted.   

Where: Camino Guayparin #170, Col. Brisa del Pacifico, (off the Playitas road, near El Sol II Mercado)
When: Open Friday to Monday from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm for Breakfast and Lunch. Sundays - "All you can eat buffet" from 10 am to 2 pm.
Tel: (612) 145-0862     
E-mail: cafedlicia@gmail.com

Santa Fe Deli
This rustic deli is in an old adobe building surrounded by galleries and art, which give it an old world charm, especially with their private patio with canopy of bougainvillea and umbrellas, to shade you from the warm Baja sun. They have a small, but wonderful menu of breakfast and lunch and yes, they have great coffee. Credit cards not accepted.

Where: Calle Centenario in front of the police station
When:  Open from 8am until 3pm daily

Pancho Banano Restaurante
A local favorite, this friendly restaurant serves up much more than a tasty coffee, they have a variety of freshly baked pastries and goodies to enjoy with your favorite brewed beverage. In addition, they have terrific breakfast and lunch of Mexican and vegetarian, as well as cocktails, all to be enjoyed on their curbside patio or inside dining room.  

Where: Calle Hidalgo #11, between Calle Benito Juarez y Colegio Militar
When: Open from 8am until 5pm.
Tel: (612) 145-0885           
E-mail: panchobanano@hotmail.com

La Esquina Cafe
La Esquina Café offers healthy and organic food and coffee in a relaxing atmosphere, with a huge palapa and garden patio. Their menu includes freshly baked breads, cakes, muffins and cookies and salads, soups and a big variety of sandwiches, handmade with organically grown produce and a variety of Mexican dishes, and grilled steak and seafood. In addition, they have plenty to drink; whether its tea or freshly squeezed juice, wine, cervesa or tequila, you will find it, but if coffee is your goal, you will find a great selection of delicious organic coffees to tantalize your pallet. They also provide free wireless internet to their customers. Credit cards not accepted.

Where: Calle Topete and Horizonte
When: Open Monday to Saturday from 7am-7pm for breakfast and lunch.
Tel: (612) 145-0851
E-mail: marimardelmar@prodigy.net.mx