Cabo Travel Tips
Enjoy your trip to Los Cabos. Like travel anywhere, there are differences from place to place.
Just about anywhere outside of the US, the pace of life is slower and things are not always well systematized. Expect the pace of life in Mexico to be slooower and less organized. This can be a good thing!
Things to help you:
At the Los Cabos Airport
After you retrieve your luggage, you will have to pass your luggage through a scanner. One person in your group will also push a button (it looks like the walk/don’t walk button). If it is green, you keep going. If it is red, your baggage will be searched.
After customs, you will be met by a hoard of persons trying to sell time shares. They will tell you anything to get you to stop. Some will tell you that you must stop and show them your passport or travel papers. You do not have to. Some will ask you where you are going or what your travel arrangements from the airport are. No matter how you answer, they will tell you they are the person that does that. Unless you want a time share presentation, ignore (politely) all of them until you get outside. Once outside, all the real travel persons are there, usually with signs or shirt tags.
When you look at a map, it is at once obvious that Cabo is not connected to mainland Mexico, nor even close to much anything else. Cabo does not have the same water supply as the rest of Mexico. Also, a major source of water in Cabo is desalinization. The water is generally safe, but there can be occasional concern over the source of delivery.
The water is safe in all of the major hotels and tourist locations. Most of the major hotels have there own desal plants.
You will be staying in the Pedregal. The Pedregal has its own desal plant and water supply system. The water is safe in the Pedregal.
Security in Cabo
The Cabo area is generally as safe as any US beach town. That does not mean you should leave your common sense at home. As in any foreign city, pay attention to your surroundings when walking around at night. Stay on the main roads and at minimum, stay in pairs. The police are used to tourists being passive drunks. Aggressive drunks get in trouble. Common incidents with the police seem to be speeding, illegal parking, illegal U turns, driving the wrong way on a one way street, loud and obnoxious public behavior, or urinating in public. If you get too drunk, leave your car in town and take a Taxi back to the Villa. Do not run the risk of getting put in Mexican jail! It’s not a place to spend your vacation.
You will be staying in the Pedregal. The Pedregal is a gated community with its own roving security. You will feel very safe in the Pedregal. You still need to lock the doors and put away your valuables.
The most common problem in Cabo is short changing of tourists. In most tourist areas, you can pay with dollars and get change in dollars. Most short changing is done when you pay in dollars and get change in pesos. Sometimes it is on purpose or you might be a victim of bad math. You can always ask for you change in dollars in advance.
Mexican gas stations are notorious for short changing of tourists. Mexican gas stations are full service. Most Mexican gas stations do not take credit cards. It is traditional to tip the attendant, but not the usual US tip. A real tip, as in “keep the change.”
If you pay in dollars, do not expect change in dollars at gas stations . The best way to avoid short changing is to pay for gas in pesos. There is a gas station in the Cabo area (hint: on the Corridor near Cabo del San Jose) notorious for having the attendant take a bill from you, such as a twenty, turning around then showing you a single, and claiming you gave them a single. If paying for gas in dollars with a large bill, make sure the attendant acknowledges the bill size when he take it from you. The best tip is to avoid this particular gas station.
Before traveling to Cabo, remember to notify your credit card companies. It is always a good idea to let your credit card companies know ahead of time as often times charges out of the country can raise a red flag, and they will not go through. Also when using your credit cards in Mexico, always confirm on the slip as you sign it whether you are paying in dollars or pesos. It is recommended you actually write “USD” or “Pesos” on the slip near the amount.
Beaches & Ocean
The beaches located on the Pacific side (the shores you see from the decks of the villa) can be very dangerous with strong undertow and powerful shore breaking waves.
The Medano beach is located in town. It’s between the Pacific and the Sea of Cortez. Its waters are usually much calmer, and have many activities that you can do there, such as, parasailing, snorkeling, wave runners, etc. Danger is involved whenever you swim in the ocean or participate in water activities, please follow the rules, use common sense and be careful. Every year there are several drownings in the Los Cabos area, and this is your greatest travel risk.
Good Source of Information
Check out Cabo Gringo Pages