This is everything you need to know before your first trip to Cabo San Lucas. It’s one of my favorite places in the whole world and today, I’m sharing my top 10 things to know before you go to Mexico. Cabo San Lucas is a great place to start if it’s your first time traveling to Mexico. Most vendors, shops and restaurants accept the American dollar, so you don’t need to exchange for pesos. Also, many people speak English so it’s a great first introduction to Mexico. We also head to Todos Santos for a road trip just outside of Cabo. Sometimes people like to focus on the dangers of traveling to Mexico, but I’ve never had any issues and I find it’s a very safe and one of my favorite places!  I hope you enjoy these Cabo San Lucas travel tips.

Today I’m going to be sharing with you everything that you need to know before you go to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico in the peninsula of Baja.

So let’s get started and all the things that you need to know before you go to Cabo

The airport in Cabo is actually in San Jose del Cabo which is about a 30-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas and my suggestion is that you go ahead and you book your transportation in advance of getting here.

It’s not very expensive, maybe 22 to 30 bucks each way per person.

If you’re going to get a private driver you can also do a shared shuttle as well, but honestly, I think it’s just worth having a private driver. We have chosen Danny Boy Tours and they picked us up and they organized to drop us off.

We did everything before we arrived in Cabo.

When you arrive at the airport – a couple of things that are extremely important in Mexico in general:

Number one is you get a little piece of paper with your immigration – it’s ripped off and stuck in your passport. You have to hold on to that because you have to turn that in when you leave the country. Don’t lose that! It’s big fines and a big ol hassle, so you definitely don’t want to lose that.

Also, when you’re in a big tourist area, you kind of have to run a gauntlet when you come through customs. What it is is everybody hawking their wares and it’s also a bunch of people trying to sell you tours and timeshares.

Again, as I mentioned just a couple of minutes ago you want to have your own transportation booked in advance so you can make a beeline to somebody standing outside with your name and you’re on your way to your hotel.

Another suggestion that I have for you is to not do an all-inclusive. It’s quite common in Mexico to do all-inclusive hotels.

The food is so incredible in Mexico – the sauces and the spices and the meats in the sea food and the tortillas – it’s just so yummy why would you waste your time doing all inclusive.

You can get tamales on the beach. You can stop and get a taco almost anywhere for two or three dollars. So it’s not worth doing an all-inclusive.

Another tip that I have for you is to bring lots of cash from the US if you’re coming from the US. Everybody is using American dollars so if you’re coming from Canada or another country then definitely bring US dollars.

Even though credit cards are widely accepted, it is best to have cash with you and in small bills. And, it is best to have US dollars because then when you go home you don’t have to exchange it back!

Something else to know about Cabo San Lucas there are two distinct Cabos here in Cabo San Lucas: you have on one side of the highway, on the beach, you have the tourist area; on the other side, on the inland side of the highway you had the locals area.

My suggestion is that you cross over into the locals area because that’s where you’re going to find the real Mexico.

My suggestion to you – and this is my number one suggestion – while you’re in Cabo San Lucas is go on a Avocabo, as in “avocado” – Avocabo food tour.

They have a tour called “Eat Like a Local,” a seafood tour, and a taco tour. Again, I have put the link in the description below and you will definitely want to go on one of the food tours with Jonathan and Robin who are the owners of Avocabo Food Tours.

Another suggestion for my trips: always go on a food tour the first night you’re in town. The hosts always give you so much information, they provide so many details. You get to learn what they drink and what they do on a daily basis. You get tips and tricks, and then, you have a local’s phone number in case something happens that you can always call up and ask for help.

Speaking of getting around in Cabo San Lucas, it’s really important to pick a hotel based on your style of travel. We have chosen a hotel Pueblo Bonito Rose, and it is I would say three and a half star hotel, and it is about a 15-minute walk into town, into the marina and all of the things that are happening including the clubbing at Mandala and Cabo Wabo and all of that as well.

So if you want to be near the nightlife, near a bunch of the restaurants, you want to be staying as close in Cabo San Lucas as possible. If you were looking for a relaxed low-key place to stay – you just want to beach and not want to worry about anything – then I would suggest staying at one of the resorts between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Resorts like La Blanca and there is a Thompson Hotel here that is absolutely magnificent.

If you’re looking for “bohemian chic” away from everything, try the Hotel San Cristobal near Todos Santos.

Speaking of the beach – the beaches are sandy beaches. you can see right behind me. They’re a beautiful sand, they’re easy to walk on. You don’t need walking shoes like some of the places in the world where there are pebbles. It’s very easy to walk on the beach.

But something to note: there is a huge undertow in Cabo San Lucas.

There are a lot of bays and a lot of places on the beach that you cannot go swimming. Be very very careful and very mindful of the green, yellow, and red flags that are out.

The actual bay is on the Sea of Cortez, but when you go over and look at the arch and go to Lover’s Beach and Divorce Beach, they’re on the Pacific side. And the undertow is so bad, it will suck you right out.

Every year there are lots of injuries, people end up in the hospital, people getting sucked out… It’s not worth trying to swim where you’re not supposed to.

Another thing that I find in Cabo, this city is extremely safe. I’m sure there pickpockets here but I have had no issues and honestly everywhere I go to Mexico I don’t have any issues.

Here in Cabo, all of the hotels have a purified water system so it’s okay to drink the water, to eat ice. Personally, I still drink bottled water everywhere I go in this world, I always want bottled water but at the hotels it is all safe.

There were all kinds of rumors back in the day about “you can’t eat lettuce,” “you can’t eat fruit.” My suggestion is you peel the fruit, make sure you wash it yourself, but everything is relatively safe here in Mexico.

I love Mexico. I come to Mexico three or four times a year. I love the culture. I love the people. I love the food. I love everything about it. I love the service as well and the way that we are treated when we are here in Mexico. It’s my heart. I love Mexico.

A couple travel tips in general, things that are extremely important: make sure to put a travel alert on your credit cards and ATM so you can use them in a foreign country. Also make sure to have a photograph of your passport and email it to you just in case something happens. You never know if you might lose your passport.

And make sure that you have a great time being adventurous. Go see the sights. Step on the other side of the street where you don’t think you’re supposed to be, but not down a dark alley – I don’t recommend that.

Go out and try new things. Enjoy tasting foods and have a fantastic time in Cabo San Lucas.

I am Kim the Abundant Traveler and I’ll see you on the next adventure!

Cheers from Cabo San Lucas!

My Top Travel Tips for Cabo San Lucas

Book Your Transportation from the Airport in Advance

The airport in Cabo is actually in San Jose del Cabo which is about a 30-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas and my suggestion is that you go ahead and you book your transportation in advance of getting here.

It’s not very expensive, maybe 22 to 30 bucks each way per person.

If you’re going to get a private driver you can also do a shared shuttle as well, but honestly, I think it’s just worth having a private driver. We have chosen Danny Boy Tours and they picked us up and they organized to drop us off.

Hang On To Your Mexico Tourist Card

When you arrive in Mexico, you get a little white piece of paper with your immigration. It’s called your Mexico Tourist Card. It’s ripped off and stuck in your passport. You have to hold on to that because you have to turn that in when you leave the country. Don’t lose that! It’s has big fines and can cause a big ol’ hassle, so you definitely don’t want to lose that.

Bring Plenty of US Cash to Use

Another tip that I have for you is to bring lots of cash from the US, if you’re coming from the US. Everybody is using American dollars so if you’re coming from Canada or another country then definitely exchange them to US dollars before you arrive.

Even though credit cards are widely accepted, it is best to have cash with you and in small bills. It’s also convenient to have US dollars because then when you go home you don’t have to exchange it back!

Don’t Do All Inclusive

That’s right: DON’T do an all inclusive. You’ll miss out on some truly amazing experiences. It’s quite common in Mexico to do all-inclusive hotels.

The food is so incredible in Mexico – the sauces and the spices and the meats and the sea food and the tortillas – it’s just so yummy why would you waste your time doing all inclusive?

You can get tamales on the beach. You can stop and get a taco almost anywhere for two or three dollars. So it’s not worth doing an all-inclusive. You’ll have a better time experiencing Cabo on your own.

If you want a good start, book a tour with Avocabo Food Tours. They have a tour called “Eat Like a Local,” a seafood tour, and a taco tour. Again, I have put the link in the description below and you will definitely want to go on one of the food tours with Jonathan and Robin who are the owners of Avocabo Food Tours.

Always Do a Food Tour on the First Night You’re in a New Place

The hosts always give you so much information, they provide so many details. You get to learn what they drink and what they do on a daily basis. You get tips and tricks, and then, you have a local’s phone number in case something happens that you can always call up and ask for help.

Explore the Local Side of Cabo San Lucas

There are two distinct Cabos here in Cabo San Lucas: on the beach side of the highway, you have the tourist area; on the other inland side of the highway you have the locals area.

My suggestion is that you cross over into the locals area because that’s where you’re going to find the real Mexico.

Choose a Hotel Based on Your Lifestyle

it’s really important to pick a hotel based on your style of travel. We have chosen a hotel Pueblo Bonito Rose, and it is I would say three and a half star hotel, and it is about a 15-minute walk into town, into the marina and all of the things that are happening including the clubbing at Mandala and Cabo Wabo and all of that as well.

So if you want to be near the nightlife, near a bunch of the restaurants, you want to be staying as close in Cabo San Lucas as possible. If you were looking for a relaxed low-key place to stay – you just want to beach and not want to worry about anything – then I would suggest staying at one of the resorts between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

Resorts like La Blanca and there is a Thompson Hotel here that is absolutely magnificent.

If you’re looking for “bohemian chic” away from everything, try the Hotel San Cristobal near Todos Santos.

Walk on the Beaches

The beaches are sandy beaches. They’re a beautiful sand, they’re easy to walk on. You don’t need walking shoes like some of the places in the world where there are pebbles or shells. It’s very easy to walk on the beach.

Respect the Undertow

Something to note: there is a huge undertow in Cabo San Lucas.

There are a lot of bays and a lot of places on the beach that you cannot go swimming. Be very, very careful and very mindful of the green, yellow, and red flags that are out.

The actual bay is on the Sea of Cortez, but when you go over to the arch, Lover’s Beach, or Divorce Beach, they’re on the Pacific side. The undertow is so bad, it will suck you right out.

Every year there are lots of injuries, people end up in the hospital, people getting sucked out… It’s not worth trying to swim where you’re not supposed to.

Cabo Hotels Run on Purified Water

Here in Cabo, all of the hotels have a purified water system so it’s okay to drink the water or eat ice.

Personally, I still drink bottled water everywhere I go in this world, I always want bottled water, but at the hotels it is all safe.

There were all kinds of rumors back in the day about “you can’t eat lettuce,” “you can’t eat fruit.”

My suggestion is you peel the fruit, make sure you wash it yourself, but everything is relatively safe here in Mexico.

Relax, You’re Safe

Another thing that I find in Cabo, this city is extremely safe.

I’m sure there are pickpockets here, but I have had no issues and honestly everywhere I go to Mexico, I don’t have any issues.

That being said, don’t just go wandering around in a city you don’t know or aren’t familiar with. Be smart and you’ll be just fine. It’s okay to relax and feel safe.

Put a Travel Alert on Your Cards & ATM

Make sure to put a travel alert on your credit cards and ATM so you can use them in a foreign country.

If you don’t notify your bank, they could prevent you from being able to withdraw money and cause a headache.

Take a Picture of Your Passport on Your Phone & Email a Copy to Yourself

Make sure to have a photograph of your passport and email it to you just in case something happens. You never know if you might lose your passport.

This will help prevent a real headache in tracking down passport records from a foreign country.

Be Adventurous and Have Fun

make sure that you have a great time being adventurous. Go see the sights. Step on the other side of the street where you don’t think you’re supposed to be, but not down a dark alley – I don’t recommend that.

Go out and try new things. Enjoy tasting foods and have a fantastic time in Cabo San Lucas.