Cabo Local Customs

Are There Any Local Customs to Consider?

Too many to list.

The first thing to think about is the pace of things. Everything is sloooower outside of the US mainland. If you are in a hurry, don’t leave the US mainland.

In Mexico, it is not customary to bring you a restaurant tab until you ask for it.

It is customary to tip gas station attendants, but only a small amount as in “keep the change” (like at Starbucks or in Europe, for some of you). On the other hand, it is customary not to tip cab drivers in Mexico, but the cab drivers in Cabo are used to it because of all of the Americans that go to Cabo.

There are some odd driving practices in Mexico, like the left turn lane being on the right.

Bargaining to buy things is expected here, with some exceptions like restaurants and shopping in the mall.

You will see children selling small items like gum. The locals do not like you buying from them because they are usually being “run” by an adult such that they are typically being taken advantage of.

How Do I Pay in Los Cabos?

The currency of Mexico is the Peso. In high tourist areas, you can pay with dollars and get change in dollars. US dollars are actually the main form of currency in the downtown of Cabo San Lucas, with prices usually listed in American dollarslinstead Pesos. ATM machine dispense cash in Pesos, not dollars. Avoid the ATM machines in high tourist areas. Shops and restaurants accept credit cards as in the US. You should call before you come and tell your card company where you will be in Mexico and for how long. When paying by credit card, clearly write whether the amount is in dollars (“USD”) or pesos.

When paying in dollars and getting change in Pesos, exchange rates tend to fluctuate from place to place. As with the rest of the world, a common tourist problem in Cabo is short changing of tourists. Most short changing is done when you pay in dollars and getting change in Pesos. You can always ask for your change in dollars in advance. Mexican gas stations are notorious for short changing of tourists. Mexican gas stations are full service. 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 at gas stations is to pay for gas in pesos.

Can I Drink the Water in Los Cabos?

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. It is not 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.

Bottled water is readily available.

Can I Speak English in Cabo?

Spanish is the language in Mexico, or at least the Mexican version of it. With exceptions, English is spoken in the tourist areas of Cabo San Lucas by most, including in the downtown shops and restaurants. Fluency in English tends to be related to pay grade, so, for instance, the maitre d’ and the waiters will typically speak English while busboys and cleaning staff typically will not (just like in the Southern California!). There are some odd exceptions. The car rental agency offices a the airport all have English speakers, but the local car rental offices sometimes don’t. Gate security, even at hotels, don’t always have English speakers, which seems to be fixed by waiving through gringos.

If you are adventuresome and want to travel outside of the tourist areas, you probably should have a Spanish speaker with you.