What can I use as proof of citizenship to enter Mexico?
In general to enter Mexico you need to obtain a Tourist Card (FMM). To get your Tourist Card you will need to prove citizenship, and now passports are the only accepted form of ID for travel by air. A photo ID is very helpful when in town, so you don't need to move around with your valuable passport. A passport can serve as proof of citizenship and photo ID. Airlines will furnish the Tourist Card. Be sure to save the FMM, as you must present this document when leaving Mexico. Things have changed lately so be sure to consult the latest rules regarding foreign travel and documentation, more information.
What is that green-white piece of paper I kept when entering Mexico?
The green and white (FMM) piece of paper you are given when you enter
the country is your Tourist Card, and it's very important
that you don't lose it. You can get another, but the process
is a pain, and you'll spend too much of your vacation in government
offices and line-ups. Keep it in a safe place until you leave, along with your passport and other documentation, preferably
a hotel security box. If you can't find it on the way out of the country you might be fined.
I was wondering what the customs at the Los Cabos airport are like when I arrive (will I be searched?).
Upon arrival at the Los Cabos International Airport you are asked to push a button on a random red-green ‘stoplight’ system that will determined if you are searched or not. If you get a green light, you are free to leave; if you get a red light, your luggage is searched. Check rules before entering the country.
Will I be able to use my credit cards? Can I get cash from the banks with my credit cards?
Yes, to both questions. All major credit cards (except Discover and Diners)
are widely accepted. American Express has lost market in Mexico and mostly large business chains accept them, but smaller shops and stores don't, so don't expect AMEX to cover all your credit card needs in Cabo. If you are to eat in a restaurant, it is best to ask before
ordering, not every business in town accepts credit cards, just as
back home. All of the banks will give cash advances, most
have ATM machines at their locations, for after hours cash.
What is Los Cabos’ time zone?
Los Cabos is Mountain Standard Time and follows Daylight Savings time, more info in our What time is it in Cabo San Lucas section and out time zone section.
Currency and money matters...
The peso is Mexico's official currency, but almost all purchases can be paid in US dollars with change in pesos. Dollars are accepted almost everywhere, however large bills can be difficult to break. It's a good idea to bring along plenty of $1's, $5's, and $10's or use ATMs. If you go on an adventure out of the main tourist areas, take small denominations of pesos. Before traveling to Los Cabos, we suggest you have $100 US in small bills for tips and unexpected expenses, etc.
What about tipping and taxes?
Your waiter will only bring you your check when you request
it. Tips range from 10% to 20% of the total bill. A 15% IVA
(VAT) tax is applied to all products and services. Take care, some unscrupulous restaurants include a service fee in the bill, this is not legal and you can dispute it, in these cases you can contact PROFECO.
What will the weather be like in Los Cabos?
Most of the year the weather in Los Cabos is warm and sunny, with an average temperature of 78ºF., or 26ºC. Occasional rains fall in the stormier months from August to October. Winters are cooler and nights can be chilly on the water. Late summer is hot, with temperatures in the high 90ºF, and warm nights. Check the current weather using the webcam.
When is the hurricane season.
The official hurricane season is June to October, however most storms form in September, the hottest month. The best time to visit is from late October to late May.
Can I buy Cuban cigars? Can I take them back with me?
Yes, you can buy them, and yes, they are expensive. No, you cannot take them back to the US, but if you are returning to Canada, they are legal. Be careful of counterfeit cigars and buy from a reputable shop.
Postal services, stamps, and snail mail?
Stamps are available from the post-office (Servicio de Correos Mexicana), open Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm. A stamp for a postcard or letter to the US and Canada is currently $11.50 pesos, and takes approximately two weeks to arrive at its destination (with good luck, otherwise it can take even longer...). There are post offices in on Lazaro Cardenas near McDonald’s in Cabo San Lucas and on Boulevard Mijares near the Red Cross (Cruz Roja) in San Jose del Cabo for other offices and details visit their website at Correos de México.
Where and how can I make International phone calls?
International telephone calls from Mexico can be very expensive,
it is better to use your own national phone credit card service
(ask for Ladatel phone cards, they come in different denominations,
30, 50 and 100 pesos) or simply call collect.
Best option to date: use Skype.
We advise not
to use the phones on the street offering international
dial ups. You may be charged a connection fee if you use your
phone card from your hotel room. To dial direct to the United
States or Canada you dial 001, the area code, then the local
Long distance calls to other parts of the world are
preceded by 00 and then the country code, city code and the
corresponding telephone number.
What is I.V.A.?
I.V.A. (Impuesto al valor agregado), is the Mexican sales tax, it is 16% in the state of Baja California Sur. Many items that you wish you purchase will have a notice: "tax included" or " I.V.A." not included.”
Can I drink the water?
Stick to purified water, which is served in nearly all restaurants, hotels, and bars throughout Los Cabos. But it doesn't hurt to ask. In most hotels and restaurants, you will get purified water, if in doubt - ask: (Agua purificada?)
Will my cell phone work in Mexico?
There is local cellular service. Very few cellular services
will allow you to roam in Mexico. Most cellphones from USA and Canada can be reprogrammed for local use in Mexico, unless they are SIM-locked. Visit a TELCEL or IUSACELL office to find out and check out the rates.
(Main local cellphone companies: Telcel - Iusacell - Movistar).
Can I use my laptop computer to get my e-mail and have Internet access? Wi-Fi?
You can bring your laptop computer, iPhone, iPad and similar electronic devices, Cabo offers a growing number of free hotspots, as do most hotels. If you are going to stay at a hotel,
make sure they offer Wi-Fi connections, most are free, but some offer it with a surcharge fee. Bringing a laptop computer
into Mexico is a legal and accepted practice, no hassles with
Aduana (Customs). Check out our list of companies that offer Wi-Fi in Cabo.
Can we get married in Los Cabos?
YES! Los Cabos is one of the most popular wedding destinations in North America with experienced and professional wedding planning services. If you want to get married, check out our wedding information section.
Is it safe to walk around the town at night?
You should feel much safer in Los Cabos than in the United States. There is very little crime here, and what does exist is usually petty compared to the U.S. Private citizens are not permitted to own firearms. In any case, use common sense, like you would anywhere else.
What is the distance by car to...?
Locally, it is 20 miles between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. From Cabo San Lucas, it is 30 miles to the International Airport, 45 miles to Todos Santos on the Pacific Coast, one and a half hours to Los Barriles on the East Cape, two and a half hours to the capital city of La Paz, and 24 to 36 hours to Tijuana at the US-Mexico border, depending on how long you choose to be on the road each day (we do not suggest driving this route after dark).
How will I know if I am getting a good deal on merchandise?
This is one question that nobody but you can answer. A good rule of thumb is, with street or beach vendors, try to get at least a 30% discount. In most stores, the prices are fixed, just as they are at home. If you are making large purchases or if there are several people in your party that are buying something, you can always ask for a discount. If you’re happy with the quality and price of an item, then you are getting a good deal.
Mexican pottery, is it any good, where can I get some good quality handcrafts?
Because Mexico has so much to offer in the way of variety, quality and good prices, shopping has become one of the highlights of a visit to Los Cabos. There are many quality stores - read more in our shopping section.
What about hospitals and doctors?
There are some very competent doctors in Los Cabos, medical tourism is a growing enterprise that depends on quality service on all levels. Many speak English. Check with your hotel for the name of an English-speaking doctor, write the phone number down and carry it with you. If there is any doubt in your mind about a doctor, procedure or medication, check with your doctor at home, if possible.
Are beaches private or public? Are the beaches safe?
All beaches in Mexico are public property, and are open for everyone, even the beaches in front of the hotels. While most hotels usually don't have a problem with visitors walking through their grounds to get to the beach, it's a good idea to ask, and to be more careful about crossing over private property to get to some of the other beaches. There are few lifeguards here and many beaches are not safe for swimming. Read the beaches section carefully and stay well above the tide line on all Pacific beaches, especially around the arch area and Solmar Beach on the Pacific side of Cabo San Lucas.
I was wondering if there are any nude beaches in Los Cabos?
No, there are no official nude beaches in Los Cabos, but there are many remote areas where you can have more personal freedom. Please remember you are in a country where most people are Catholic and nudity in public is illegal. Please respect the local customs.
We are very interested in extreme sports, is there anything like that here?
Surfing, rock climbing, skydiving, zip-lines and other extreme adventures are all available in Los Cabos. Check out tours and activities section for more information.
When does the ferry leave for Puerto Vallarta?
There used to be a ferry service from Cabo San Lucas to Puerto Vallarta but it has been discontinued for many years. There is an overnight 18-hour ferry that goes from La Paz to Mazatlán and back, available 120 miles north at the Pichilingue terminal near La Paz, the state capital.
Any Golf course information?
Please check our golf section.
I want to bring my children with me, but safety is always my top concern. Is there anything for kids to do in Los Cabos?
Los Cabos is a very safe area, you won't have problems bringing your children. Mexican people adore children and they will go out of their way to make you feel welcome (in restaurants for example). Beaches are endless entertainment for kids. There are many boat excursions that are safe for kids and lots of watersports activities. Check out our "What to Do section."
How can I get to Los Cabos by sea?
Arriving by sea, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, and Holland American line among others, all serve Los Cabos from Los Angeles and San Diego, CA.
Are there dress codes, and how late will I be staying out?
The dress code is casual, some clubs do not accept sandals, tank tops or shorts, but generally anything goes, as long as you are wearing shoes! You can stay up as late as 5 am in some bars in Cabo San Lucas, known as the party capital of Mexico.
Author: M. A. Gallardo
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