Alegria Villas

Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico Book from

Reviewed by Nadine Mellor
Three rustic, delightful and comfortable thatch-roofed villas for 2-6, overlooking a shimmering lagoon and the Pacific
Privacy, serenity and an ocean view, a mile from arty Todos Santos. At the end of a dusty track, a short walk from the spectacular lagoon and long pristine beach of La Poza, is a trio of adjacent villas whose comforts are considerable and whose lovely high palapa thatch ceilings keep you cool.

Wander the sands, dip your toes in the waves - the current's too strong for swimming - or sit back on your patio with a nice cool beer and listen to the abundant wildlife. La Poza is a wonder of nature: not just dolphins and whales but also frigatebirds, osprey, turtles and exotic vegetation play against that limpid lagoon, those white sands and the sunsets of pink and gold. The villas are rather lovely too, their expressive adobe walls hugging the gated hillside. You get cathedral ceilings and comfortable double beds; there are sofabeds for children too. Villa Adobe is large, Villa Palma gets good views, and both have patios for dining al fresco. Beside them lies spacious Casa del Lago, a former artist's studio with 2 bedrooms over 2 storeys, plus terraces and a private dock with a canoe. No wonder they call it Alegria - Spanish for 'joy'.

Highs

  • Location, location, location!
  • The adobe and palm-thatch architecture is charming
  • The thoughtful staff are efficient and delightful
  • The villas are close to the delights of historic Todos Santos, which is brimming with galleries, arty shops and places to eat
  • You're serenaded by crickets and birds, and fall asleep to the sound of the sea

Lows

  • It's a very bumpy ride from town on a long dusty track
  • The villas are set close together - though that's a plus if you're renting with friends
  • There's no pool, but at some times of the year you can swim in the freshwater lagoon
  • There's no TV or music player (but there is WiFi)

Best time to go

High season is November to April, when the heat, humidity and chance of storms are lowest. Because they're so close to the beach, the villas benefit from cooling ocean breezes for most of the year. July and August are extremely hot; September and October are susceptible to hurricanes and downpours.

Our top tips

During high season (December to April), yoga and meditation classes are held daily in town. There's also a day spa offering all sorts of body wraps and scrubs.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Beach Villas
  • 3 villas
  • Self-catering only
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Maid Service
Room:

Rooms

The 2 smaller villas, Villa Adobe and Villa Palma, snuggle up to each other and are ideal for 2 parties holidaying together. However, they face different ways, so you get privacy too. They lie beside Casa del Lago, which faces the lagoon and has 2 bedrooms over 2 floors. There's also a caretaker's cottage on site.

The most striking thing about the interiors are their lovely, lofty palm-woven ceilings and their earthy-pink adobe walls. The furniture is a mix of comfortable modern (cream leather easy chairs, good new wardrobes) and quirky artisan. All beds have cotton linens with down pillows and comforters.

Villa Adobe has one large bedroom with a kingsize muslin-draped bed, plus a double sofabed and a twin day bed in the living room - perfect for 2, comfortable for 4. A sliding door in the bedroom opens to a small terrace for that lagoon view.

Bathroom fixtures are modern, with a large walk-in adobe-sculpted shower and Neutrogena toiletries. You also get plenty of storage in deep cupboards and shelves, and an iron and ironing board.

Villa Palma offers a separate sleeping alcove with a kingsize bed, and has a sofabed in the living room, which also has leather and rattan bucket chairs around a small table. The house also has a washing machine and dryer.

Largest of all is the adobe and stone Casa del Lago, boasting 1500 sq.ft of terraces, and nearly twice that amount of space inside. The lower floor has a living room with a fireplace, a dining area, a kitchen (with a dishwasher, washing machine and dryer), a pantry, a guest bathroom with a shower, and a studio/office; alongside is the master suite, with a kingsize bed, its own living area, a fireplace, a Jacuzzi, a bathroom and wide views towards the lagoon.

The floor above has a very large terrace with sitting areas, a dining area and partial shade. The second bedroom suite has a glassed kingsize sleeping alcove overlooking the ocean and lagoon, and a bathroom.

Features include:

  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Internet access
  • Oven
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

All 3 villas have kitchens for self-catering. Those in Villa Adobe and Villa Palma are equipped with a fridge, an oven and a 4-ring hob. Other gadgets include a smoothie-maker, a coffee machine and a water dispenser. Adobe's kitchen opens to a large dining terrace, Palma's to a beautiful thatch-shaded patio with spectacular views of the lagoon and ocean, leading to a patch of private garden. Casa del Lago's kitchen includes a full stainless steel stove with an oven, a dishwasher and a fridge. All kitchens are fully stocked with dishes, glasses, pots and pans.

If you love fish, it doesn't get fresher than straight from the local boats. Between 1pm and 3pm the fishermen return in their panga boats to Punta Lobos, a beach a couple of kilometres out of town, with the catch of the day.

As for eating out, you're spoiled for choice: Todos Santos is blessed with an unusual number of good places to eat. For tacos, burritos and papas rellenas (stuffed potatoes) try the taco stand on the main street, next to the El Tecolote bookshop. For sandwiches, soups, an assortment of Mexican dishes, breads, muffins, cakes and great coffee there's Caffe Todos Santos (calle Centenario 33). If you love pizza, they come oven-fired at Il Giardino on calle Degollado.

But for the best food in town - matched by charming Italian service - seek out the Cafe Santa Fe (calle Centenario 4). Sit outside and watch hummingbirds hover as you dine on swordfish carpaccio, lobster ravioli, rabbit in wine, mango sorbet and warm focaccia. It's Italian-run but does Mexican dishes too.

Even closer to home, a minute's walk away with great views over the lagoon, is La Poza, a small posada hotel that serves delicious organic food - Mexican with a touch of fusion. They do lunch and dinner 6 days a week.

Features include:

  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Wander round the cobbled streets of Todos Santos, once a sugarcane village, now a delightful small town brimming with history and creativity. Shoppers will find both high-end galleries and arts and crafts shops; for local hand-crafted cookware from the Baja Mountains, seek out the small pottery shop next to the Catalina bookshop

  • This is a wildlife paradise (85 species of bird), alive with coots, pelicans, herons, grebes, egrets, cactus wrens, frigates, dolphins and whales - watch them from the salt- and freshwater lagoon on La Poza beach, a flip-flop away, or from the comfort of your lounger on your thatched terrace

  • Sunbathe and dream on the secluded Playa la Cachora (the Pacific waves pack a punch so it's unsuitable for swimming most of the year). Or drive south to the lovely beach at La Palma, which has safe swimming and is approached through a palm grove

  • Go surfing: great waves are to be found in nearby Los Cerritos, San Pedrito and La Pastora - all legendary surfing sites. The beach for beginners is Los Cerritos, which has a surf camp on-site, while serious surfers head for San Pedrito (rocky bottom but mega waves)

  • Limited nightlife can also be found nearby: La Garra restaurant has entertainment and dancing at the weekends; on Saturdays, rock classics are played by Flashback at Hotel California (which also does pretty decent food). Otherwise the place more or less closes down after 9pm (roosters apart!). If you love to party, head for the salsa clubs of La Paz, which is an hour north on a good road

  • Go hiking: there are wonderful ocean trails at Punto Lobos and La Palma. A great excursion is the hike to Puerticitos, a spectacular hidden deep-water cove south of Punto Lobos. For those who like mountain hikes, the trek up the Sierra de la Laguna is quite an adventure

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Traditional cultures
  • Whalewatching
  • Yoga

Kids

Children are welcome and baby cots and extra beds can be made up on request. There are sofabeds in the sitting rooms and babysitting can be arranged. Families should book either Villa Adobe, which has space for 4 using the daybed and sofabed in the sitting room; or Casa del Lago which has 2 separate bedrooms and space for extra beds, sleeping a total of 4-6. As the lagoon is deep in places and is unguarded, keep a close eye on little ones.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
9/
Service
8/
Value
8/
Overall

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