Los Cabos Travel Tips

Stay safe and sane on your Los Cabos vacation with this helpful advice.


In Mexico, attitude is everything. At upscale resorts, expect prompt attention to detail, but on the streets of Los Cabos, going with the flow is part of the fun. Here are a few tips for navigating the nuances:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection requires a passport for travelers re-entering the United States from Mexico.
  • Workers whose primary jobs involve tourism will speak English.  Others may not. 
  • City buses run between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas well into the evening. There’s no set schedule, but they’ll come along every 15 to 30 minutes. If you take taxis, agree on the fare before you get in. 
  • Most hotels can arrange short-term car rentals. For longer rentals, you’ll get better rates by booking online before you arrive. 
  • Driving in Mexico is not for the faint of heart. It’s rare, but you may still come across the occasional policeman looking for bribes. Ask to be taken to the chief (jefe), and they’ll backpedal, fast.
  • U.S. and Canadian currency is accepted almost everywhere, but you’ll get a slightly better rate if you exchange at a bank or use an ATM. 
  • Where prices are not marked, bargaining is the norm. Know what you want to pay and be willing to walk away if you can’t get it. 
  • Peddlers walk most beaches carrying the same merchandise you’ll find in shops. Most hotels rope off peddler-free zones, but outside of those, you’re fair game. 
  • Safety standards aren’t what they are stateside, so use caution when you’re outside of your resort or hotel. Watch for tripping hazards on streets and sidewalks, and be mindful of balconies from which children could fall. Dial 066, the Mexican 911, for emergencies. For details on safety in Mexico, visit
  • As Los Cabos has grown, so has its petty crime. Stick to known areas after dark and lock your car and gas tank. Gas station attendants are notoriously corrupt. We once paid with a 500-peso bill that mysteriously became a 50. Purchase a fixed amount, show the attendant the currency you’ll use to pay, and count it out loudly as you hand it over.
  • Drinking water is purified at newer hotels and restaurants, but at older, more traditional places, ask for agua purificada. If you’re eating off the beaten path, avoid fresh foods and ice that could be contaminated with unpurified water.
  • Los Cabos’ beaches are gorgeous, but many are unsafe for swimming. Follow the advice and warnings at your hotel, and don’t think it’s safe just because some fool is out where he shouldn’t be. In San Lucas, Playa el Medano is safe, as is Playa Santa Maria (Santa Maria Beach) along the Corridor. In San José, you may swim along portions of Playa Costa Azul (Costa Azul Beach) if the waters are calm. Never swim or kayak on the Pacific side.
  • Mexican long-distance charges are among the highest in the world. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can pick up a Ladatel card and get better rates at a pay phone than you will at a hotel.  Otherwise, the Internet and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone service are your best bets for letting everyone back home know how much fun you’re having.
  • Unless you want to trade a day of vacation testing your resistance to high-pressure sales tactics, avoid timeshare salespeople. They’ll accost you on street corners and in some hotels with offers of free transportation, meals and activities.
  • Businesses open and close in Los Cabos almost daily. For current information, ask one of the gringos who’s made Cabo their home. Lack of sunburn sets them apart. Or pick up a free copy of the Gringo Gazette. If you can read through this local rag without getting the giggles, you’re doing better than I am.

Destinations: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, San José del Cabo

Themes: Beach Vacations, Family Travel

Activities: Shopping

User Comments

EXCITED... I really love hanging anywhere especially if I am with the close friends. We always go to a place that is new and really fascinating to release our stress. But one time we were victimized by a travel scam. Travel scams are all over, and we're not talking about how much you have to pay to get into Disneyland. Do your research and prepare. If you fall prey to a site that pledges a visit to the underwater basket-weaving center on the beach in Omaha, you may end up needing cash advances to be able to eat, or to cope with other travel emergencies – besides needing the portrait with Goofy. No area of life these days is impervious to con artists. When you’re out and about, away from your home, be on your guard to avoid travel scams .

The basics listed - most of it true for many destinations (be careful outside main areas / cook it, peel it or forget it / watch your money / sales cultures are different - but what about specific tips and info on Cabo? CAn you do without a car? Are all-inclusive hotels worth their money? How is the "hotel-food" compared to other restaurants. Overall nice - but not very helpful

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