Baja Skinny: A Local Answers Frequently Asked Questions About Cabo San Lucas
Los Cabos is one of North America’s top resort destinations, and anyone who has spent even a few hours in Cabo San Lucas can rattle off the names of top local attractions like Cabo Wabo, The Arch, and Lover’s Beach. Despite the area’s popularity with Americans and Canadians, however, and familiar sights like English language signs and sports bars showing the latest football and hockey games, tourists should always be aware that they’re not in Kansas (or Calgary) anymore! This is Mexico, and many things that you take for granted back home may be done a bit differently south of the border.
As a courtesy for visitors or potential visitors to our Land’s End paradise, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Cabo San Lucas.
Will my cell phone work in Cabo San Lucas?
When visitors arrive in Cabo, they will find that their American (and Canadian) cell phones function in Los Cabos as easily as they do in their native countries, albeit with more expensive international roaming or international text charges. It’s best to make arrangements with your specific cell phone carriers about adding international calls or texts during your stay in Baja. Cell phone signals are pretty consistent in Cabo and it is well worth getting a Mexico plan through your carrier. Long distance calls average $1 U.S. per minute, and the minutes add up rather quickly when you’re talking to friends and family back home about your stay in Los Cabos.
How do I make a local phone call? International?
Making local calls can be done from your hotel or resort by simply dialing the phone number of any restaurant or business using Los Cabos’ (624) area code, unless one is trying to reach a local Mexican cell phone number. If that is the case, you need to dial 044, which indicates that you’re calling a Mexican cell phone, followed by the (624) area code and 7 digit number. In order to make an international call back to the USA or Canada, you need to dial (001) first, then follow that up with the appropriate regional area code and phone number.
Is there internet access in Cabo San Lucas?
There is plenty of internet access throughout Los Cabos. Some hotels and resorts offer complimentary Wi-Fi, while others will charge $10-12 U.S. per day. Many other hotels and resorts have a free Wi-Fi location somewhere on their premises. Some specific places in Cabo that offer free Wi-Fi are fast food restaurants (Burger King and McDonald’s) and coffee houses (Starbuck’s, Cabo Coffee Company, and Cabo Bakery), as well as most bars and restaurants along the Marina and in the downtown area (Baja Peppers, Cabo Lounge, Cabo Blue, Solomon’s Landing, Cabo Cantina, Mango Deck, and Baja Brewing Company). The air-conditioned Puerto Paraiso Mall at the Marina is one area that has been designated by the local government as a free Wi-Fi zone.
What if I have an emergency?
There are many clinics open in Los Cabos that readily accept American and Canadian health insurance, although many do require cash payments. There are also local doctors who will make emergency ”house” calls to any resorts or hotel for a fee. First aid is available at every hotel and resort, and there are several Mexican hospitals in the downtown area (Ameri-Med, Blue Medical Net, and Catholic Hospital). SkyMed is a private insurance company that specializes in evacuating injured visitors back to their country of origin in the event of a medical emergency.
The Bi-national Emergency Medical Care Committee (BEMCC) helps Americans get out of Mexico as fast as possible, sometimes within hours for people with serious medical emergencies. Their U.S. (San Diego area) phone number with bilingual operators is (619) 425-5080.
How do I reach the police? Fire department? Consulates?
Visitors can contact the police and fire department by dialing 066, which is Mexico’s equivalent of calling 911. Unlike 911, however, the operators who answer will not speak English. Local officials in Los Cabos have opened a special district attorneys’ branch (Ministerio Publico) in the Puerto Paraiso Mall dedicated to handling reported crimes against tourists such as automobile accidents in rental cars, stolen purses or credit cards, and bribe attempts by local police. The office’s English speaking staff is available from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., and their phone number is (624) 355-8662.
The American Consulate offices have moved from the Marina in Cabo San Lucas to the Shoppes at Palmilla in San Jose del Cabo. Their office hours are from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and their office number is (624) 143-3566. The Consulate may also be reached by email by contacting Consular Agent Benjamin Krueger at email@example.com.
The Canadian Consulate Offices are located near Costco, and can be reached at (624) 142-4333, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I do if I need medical care?
There are many medical care specialists in Los Cabos – including dermatologists, dentists, chiropractors, plastic surgeons, psychotherapists, and pediatricians – and most are listed online.
Pharmacies often have a doctor onsite that can diagnose and prescribe any medications needed.
Will my ATM card work at banks in Cabo San Lucas?
There are ATM cash machines located virtually everywhere in San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, with currency available in pesos or dollars (both of which are happily accepted in Cabo). In addition to the local fee, you may also be charged a fee by your bank at home. Speaking of banks, all of the major ones in Los Cabos have onsite ATMs, including Banorte, Bancomer, Banamex, Santander, Scotia Bank, and HSBC.
Will businesses accept my credit card in Cabo San Lucas?
Most places in Los Cabos accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit and debit cards, although smaller businesses may only accept cash. Discover credit cards are still not honored in Mexico.
How do I get Mexican pesos?
All ATMs in Baja California offer peso or dollar options when selecting the type of currency desired. Bright red and yellow colored Oxxo convenience stores, Mexico’s version of 7-11, are located on almost every block, offer current money exchange rates, and will accept up to $50 U.S. in return for change in Mexican pesos. Exchange rates vary daily, and are posted in big letters on signs in their store windows.
Can I pay in U.S. dollars?
Everyone in Los Cabos will accept American dollars, but not Canadian currency. Coins like quarters, nickels, and dimes are also not accepted. Because all taxis will quote fares in dollars it is almost better to pay them in U.S. currency in order to avoid haggling over the exchange rate. Exchange rates will vary at different bars, restaurants, and shops, with most of them set at 12 pesos to the dollar. Others charge 11.5, 11, or an even 10 pesos exchange to the dollar. The best way to needlessly lose money to exchange rates is simply to pay in the currency advertised. If a bar is offering two beers for $3, pay in dollars. If a t-shirt is selling for 100 pesos, pay in pesos.
Planning a trip to Los Cabos? Talk to a travel agent at Baja.com.
Baja.com is a comprehensive online source of first-hand travel information for the Baja California Peninsula. We offer Baja travelers expert advice about local restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and activities, as well as guides, maps, complete event calendars and great stories about incredible travel destinations, from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. We also provide free personal travel consulting, planning and booking services in Los Cabos, Todos Santos and La Paz, with prices that match or are below best advertised price. For more information, please call toll-free (US/CAN) 855-BAJA-411 or email us at email@example.com.
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