“An artist community is a way of life, a place where people live and produce. If you want to find the artist community you … have to meet the people.”
Los Visitantes by C. M. Mayo, Tameme, Inc.
I am ready to go. My personal butler Aemando hands me fresh towels for the road ” You are going to need those miss senhora the weather is very dry out there” and while he opens the door of my jeep he adds: “Enjoy Todos Santos, I am sure you will love it, and please stay fresh!
The road is among the most different I have ever been.The main vegetation associations are composed of xeric scrubs, which have been subdivided in diverse categories according to dominant species and the ecological conditions in which they occur. Thick-stemmed trees and shrubs, growing on rocky volcanic soils, cover the highest parts of the mountain ranges. What’s most interesting is a variation of Cacti species , extremely tall ones, reaching at times more than 5 meters of elevation..
Highway 19, which runs from La Paz to Cabo San Lucas and passes through Todos Santos, was built in 1986, about the time a pair of well-known artists from New Mexico—Charles Stewart and Ezio Columbo—moved to town. This duo played an integral part in perpetrating the American and Canadian artist migration to this tranquil Mexican town. The surfers came on their own, lured by tales of never-ending, pristine beaches and perfect waves—Endless Summer Baja style. Avid surfer-rocker Chris Isaak recorded a CD (Baja Sessions) here.
Todos Santos is nestled above a large huerta, or palm grove, on the Pacific coast, of Baja California Sur midway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, but it’s as different from both of these cities as they are from each other. Founded in 1724, it was a remote, inaccessible outpost until the late 1800s when its vast aquifer was discovered. Sugarcane farmers rushed in and it grew into a booming agricultural community overnight.
Today, all kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables are grown in and around the town. Not only has it retained its colonial charm; it’s become a bi-cultural oasis—a tropical paradise with a diverse selection of art galleries, shops, a few boutique hotels and several astonishingly good restaurants. You won’t find mega-resorts or cruise ships here, and you won’t find Burger King or McDonald’s either.
I stop the car to buynear a gas station ever-seen gigantic mangoes, while taking a few pictures of the road landscape I ask the friendly vendor to tell me more about the little statue representing a saint with some flower and candle offerings. ” Es nostro San Christovan el patron de motoristas e vendedores de fruta senhora“. Intrigued, I check my blackberry IT for more information:
Saint Chritopher apparently is the patron for automobile drivers, boatmen, bus drivers, cab drivers, floods, fruit dealers, drivers, mariners, market carriers, motorists, porters, sailors, storms, sudden death, taxi drivers, toothache, transportation, transportation workers, travelers, truck drivers, truckers, watermen. Juan the vendor, amused by my curiosity gives me back my change, an extra mango and a free toothless smile. ” Gracias” I reply as I quickly get back in the car car doubled with protection and delicious fruits on my lap.
We arrive in a quaint, tranquil, quiet, relaxing small Mexican town, one of another world. It took us about one hour drive from Cabo San Lucas . The town of Todos Santos , I read out loud in the guide from Las Ventanas concierge, was officially designated a Pueblo Magico, or Magical Town on June 17, 2006, by thr the Tourism Secretary and The Annual Art Festival is usually held during the first part of February each year.
In a stroll through its streets I am now walking and admire the colonial architecture that still preserves buildings of the nineteenth century. One of them is the “Casa de la Cultura”, the beautiful church and many art galleries and craft shops.
Casa de la cultura is a Cultural center that today houses five museums, plus an ethno botanical garden, a library and a small auditorium, The Church of Our Lady of Pilar, was built around 1733 and although it has been renewed several times, it remains as a beautiful example of architecture.
Each October 12, I am told by the waiter in a curious cafe, that residents of Todos Santos and nearby towns and cities celebrate a festival with pilgrimages, dances and a kermesse.Thanks to its climate, abundant vegetation and beautiful beaches,Todos Santos has become a point of inspiration for the realization of beautiful artwork, reason why in this village there are over 20 galleries where artists present their work to visitors.
The new-hippie town is home to numerous fine artists. Many have galleries in town or in their homes. Galería de Todos Santos and Hotel California feature multiple artists. Jill Logan, N.E. Hayles, Charles Stewart, Libusche, Catherine Wall and others have galleries showcasing their personal art.
My favorite, the artist Gabo provides a bright spark in the extensive art community in town. His art speaks loudly and profoundly to the spirit. Gabo expresses an intense exposure to life. His colorful art has a definite sense of humor. His art is reminiscent of art by Tamayo, Miro, Calder and Picasso. – “Esta Noche Las Santas Pasíones Andan Sueltas” Tonight saints of passion walk loose) Noches de Todos Santos Mixed Media on Canvas – 60″ x 70″is the one I like best
Other artists are not so easy to locate in Todos Santos. You have to look to find them. They work behind fruit stands, have day jobs as cooks, own bed and breakfast inns, sell real estate, or operate the town’s classiest accommodations. But talking about passion, the day, the town and its people , I am now diving silently into quite waters of La Poza Beach in Todos os Santos and dream already of my next adventure. It’s a magical sunset in Todos os Santos…
The Artists: Find them here
Other Magical towns: Pueblos Magicos
The Magic retreat Casa del Lago and Alegrias Vilas La Poza Beach
Artistic and eco accomodation” Pousada La Posa
The Source: Todos os Santos
The restaurant / bar: Tequila Sunrise Br & Grill Calle Juarez, Todos Santos, Mexico (612) 145-0073