The Baja Report

Real Estate and lifestyle in beautiful Southern Baja

Decoding PDU and Zoning: Navigating Property Investment in the Todos Santos area

Published on: August 30, 2023

Todos Santos was designated a "Pueblo Magico" in 2006 and with this special designation, given only to historic towns and villages throughout Mexico, comes a lengthy regulatory document or PDU outlining building and density regulations in this beautiful area with the vision of protecting the peaceful, village atmosphere feel we enjoy here. Whether you're a seasoned investor or an aspiring homeowner, comprehending PDU and its implications is pivotal in guiding you towards making the right property investment choices. This article aims to unravel the meaning of PDU, its relevance in the Baja Sur real estate landscape, and the significance of grasping various zoning designations.

Understanding PDU: 

PDU or "Plan de Desarrollo Urbano," is a crucial term within the Mexican real estate context, signifying a Land Use Permit and development of the region. Issued by local municipal authorities, this document outlines the sanctioned land usage for a specific property. Essentially, the PDU dictates the permissible activities on a given piece of land.

Diverse Zoning Designations: 

In Todos Santos, as in any location, zoning designations define how properties can be utilized, contributing to a harmonious balance within the community. Here are two prevalent zoning examples and the kind of buildings they typically accommodate:

  1. RT (Residential Tourist): Zoning under RT is often seen in areas primed for single family homes and recreation. This designation allows for various residential and tourist-oriented developments. Think of vacation homes, retirement homes, boutique Inn's, vacation rentals, and charming bed-and-breakfast establishments. The emphasis is on creating an inviting atmosphere for enjoying while maintaining a residential charm.

  2. RM (Residential Medium Density): RM zoning is more geared towards year-round residential living. This designation typically supports townhouses, low apartment buildings, and multi-family dwellings. It tends to be located towards the town centers (although not always). If you're picturing a  residential community within walking distance to shops, markets, and restaurants with a mix of housing options, RM zoning might be a good choice for you.

Why is this Important? 

You spend so much time, energy, and money finding that perfect home to enjoy for years to come so you want to take that extra step  to make sure no one builds a 6 story building right next door to you.
Take the time to get educated on the regulations. Ask your builder, architect, realtor, potential neighbors, etc to tell you what zone you are potentially buying into and what can be developed on surrounding plots of land. 


Grasping PDU and navigating through diverse zoning designations is essential for making well-rounded property investment choices. This knowledge empowers you to explore properties aligned with your vision and objectives. Before embarking on any property journey in Todos Santos, take the time to decipher PDU and comprehend the nuances of zoning. By doing so, you'll ensure that your property aspirations seamlessly integrate into the town's vibrant fabric while avoiding any unwelcome surprises.

Photo: Alec Quevedo Alec Quevedo

Keywords: building restrictions land usage guidelines Land Use Permit mixed-use developments PDU property utilization property zoning zoning zoning designations

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