Cabo FAQs


How Do I Pay in Los Cabos?Cabo FAQs - Questions and answers about Cabo San Lucas and Los Cabos

The currency of Mexico is the Peso. In the high tourist areas of Los Cabos, you can usually pay with dollars and get change in dollars, as long as not too high an expenditure. US dollars are actually the main form of currency in the downtown of Cabo San Lucas, with prices usually listed in American dollars instead of Pesos. Many ATM machine dispense cash only in Pesos, not dollars. Some ATMs are very expensive to use, so try to use one at a bank that is affiliated with your bank. Banamex is affiliated with Bank of America, Santander is affiliated with Wells Fargo and Bannorte is affiliated with Citibank. 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, you should 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 occurs when you pay in dollars and getting change in Pesos. You may become a victim of nothing more than bad math. You can always ask for your change in dollars in advance.

Most merchants will not accept US dollars that are torn or have writing on them.

Mexican gas stations are notorious for short changing of tourists. Mexican gas stations are full service. Many 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 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 throughout the area, 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 in Los Cabos?

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.

Are There Any Local Customs to Consider in Los Cabos?

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, 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, in the right side parallel road, in many places.

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.


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