Escape to Todos Santos

Posada La Poza offers peace and serenity at the bottom of Baja

By: Janice Mucalov

Baja beach lovers looking for a respite from trendy Cabo San Lucas should set their sights on the expat artists’ colony of Todos Santos, an hour’s drive north along the desert coastline. There, on the town outskirts, a bumpy dirt lane will lead them to the Posada La Poza, an intimate seven-room oasis nestled behind terracotta walls. Owned and operated by former Swiss banker Juerg Weisendanger and his artist wife, Libusche (Lily), the boutique inn offers one of the most serene stays imaginable.

We arrived in time for lunch on the rooftop terrace, shaded from the sun by a slatted stranglewood roof. In front, a marsh lagoon protecting a bird sanctuary curved around like a painter’s palette. Snowy egrets and herons graced the marsh edges; pelicans glided low over the water; and hawks circled above. Beyond, the turquoise Pacific Ocean tossed up magnificent breakers on the golden sand, and farther out, gray whales breached and spouted as they passed by on their annual migration from Alaska (mid-December to March).

Facing such a picture-perfect scene, it was hard to concentrate on lunch. But the delicious tuna cones (a gourmet version of fish tacos) with local organic salad, accompanied by a crisp, white Mexican wine (the inn’s wine list showcases noted wines from the vineyards of Northern Baja) did a good job of keeping our attention.

Afterward, Lily checked us into our junior suite, handing us a basket stocked with binoculars (for watching the birds and whales) and a selection of classical, jazz and blues music for the CD player in our suite. Set in two adobe-colored buildings, all seven rooms are charmingly furnished with Mexican bookshelves and armoires, and oil paintings and sketches by Lily decorate the walls. But the two junior suites have the added feature of a stone hot tub outside on a private patio overlooking the garden. Beside the hot tub, a hammock and patio bench piled with pillows looked inviting we made use of them later but sunning by the pool won out that afternoon.

The pool, with a large adjacent hot tub, is set in a pine, cactus and bougainvillea garden by the lagoon. A white-sand beach was created along the shore of the lagoon; it provides an idyllic spot for relaxing in a hammock and bird watching.

Later in the afternoon, we roused ourselves to walk from the inn along a scenic sand trail beside the lagoon, past giant cactuses hundreds of years old, to the endless wide stretch of beach. Except for a few fellow walkers and their dogs in the distance, the beach was deserted and the only footprints in the sand were ours.

That evening, we sampled more of Juerg’s cooking (he’s also a chef), this time dining in the inn’s El Gusto! restaurant. He served up fettuccini with white truffle oil and Parmesan cheese, for which he is famous locally.

While he helps out in the kitchen at night, Lily’s influence is found at breakfast. Morning coffee and cookies are available in the garden at 7 a.m. A hearty breakfast is served later and might feature Lily’s warm cranberry-and-fruit bread pudding, fruit muesli, cheese omelette with bacon and a basket of fresh-baked pastries.

For clients who want to do absolutely nothing except read, doze in a hammock, eat well and revel in a slice of Baja tranquility, the Posada La Poza is an ideal retreat.


Posada La Poza

The Posada La Poza is recommended by various luxury guides, but its rates are moderate. Depending on the season, a junior suite goes for $215-$240 a night for two, including breakfast.

Todos Santos is perfect as a two- to four-night addition to a Cabo San Lucas vacation or for a total escape, as a vacation destination itself.

A car rental is needed to get from the Cabo San Lucas or La Paz international airports.

Commission: 10 percent


Clients can stroll the town’s crafts stores, handmade silver jewelry shops and art galleries. At the beach at nearby Punta Lobos, watch the local fishermen in the afternoons skillfully battle the waves as they return in their pangas (fishing skiffs).

Guests can also visit the Todos Santos Cultural Center and view the old black-and-white photos of Baja missions as well as the recreated house and barn showing how the early rancheros lived. A day trip to La Paz is ideal for snorkeling with sea lions in the wild at Los Islotes.