Todos Santos Pages
History / Culture

Joe Cummings' History | Todos Santos Book's History | Art Galleries

todos santos pueblo magico

theatre and church
Zocalo in the Center of Town

Contemporary Todos Santos

Descendants of the mestizo families that began ranching in the area in the early 19th century still make up most of the town's population. Most have never left Baja, and only in the last decade have many children finished secondary school. Family ties are strong and good manners, a tradition. Visitors to Todos Santos will find few Mexicans speaking English, though an increasing number of English-speaking Mexicans from the mainland are discovering Todos Santos' charm and are relocating here.

The town's prosperity now comes from vegatable farming, orchards, fishing, ranching, and increasingly, from the renewed influx of tourists and from foreign residents who are generating a demand for goods and services.

highway 19 baja mexico
Mexico Highway 19
sugar mill ruins
Sugar Mill Ruins
…The completion of Highway 19 in the late 1980's (webmaster's note: Highway 1 was completed in 1973 but bypassed Todos Santos) brought more rapid changes…As the nucleus of foreigners developed, it in turn attracted kindred spirits. Most who arrived preferred the pleasures of a slow paced, creative life over the hard partying style popular in many resort communitities, were interested in learning Spanish and forming bonds with the Mexican community, and preferred to remain for months or years rather than a week or two.
todos santos art festival 2000
Todos Santos Art Festival 2000
…By the end of the 1990's, nine more art galleries and a half dozen restaurants opened. Accommodations ranging from a youth hostel to a first class inn are now available. Both foreigners and Mexicans have restored the crumbling old buildings in the central area. The annual Historic Homes Tour now draws many visitors and raises substantial funds for community projects. The art festival, held each year in February, has been another big attraction for foreigners throughout the Cape Region since the early 1990's.

Prior to 1995, telephones were relatively rare. Then cellular phones appeared on the scene, followed quickly by credit card machines, and then the Internet. All of this has made the town yet more attractive to visitors who have come to rely on these conveniences. Foreign capital is creating jobs and promoting services that bring prosperity to the whole community.

Changes brought about by a growing foreign presence are arriving simultaneously with apparent changes in the Mexican government. Increasingly it is tolerant of criticism and opposition, and many Mexicans are responding with feelings of power and hope that have long been absent from their world view. Local students study English, computers and tourism, pursue greater educational opportunities in La Paz, and imagine a life beyond the boundaries of Todos Santos.

todos santos book

(excerpted with permission from "The Todos Santos Book"
by Janet Howey and Lee Moore ©2001
published by El Tecolote Libros)


For a peek at the past history of Todos Santos, please visit Joe Cumming's Brief History of Todos Santos page and Janet Howey and Lee Moore's more in depth history page, reprinted with permission from the Todos Santos Book.

Todos Santos is located on the Tropic of Cancer in the southern portion of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico just one hour
north of Cabo San Lucas and one hour south of La Paz. Long known as a cultural, artistic and agricultural center, the
town is a desert oasis, 1 kilometer from the Pacific Ocean at the foothills of the Sierra de La Laguna mountains. Since
the mid 1980's, the area has become a tourist / retirement destination and home to numerous art galleries, artists,
fine restaurants, elegant hotels, unique vacation rentals and local festivals.

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last update: April 28, 2007