Recently, I went to Cabo San Lucas. I hope my tips and experience will help if you are going or plan on visiting Cabo San Lucas. Cabo San Lucas does recommend that you wear a mask when you are walking but I noticed most people did not have a mask on. Everything is open but they do have a max capacity of 50% because of COVID-19. I suggest making reservations if you want to visit high-end restaurants.
How I spent under $20/day in Cabo San Lucas:
-Staying at a hotel that offers free breakfast! That helped me save money on breakfast and coffee expenses! My hotel also supplied two bottled glasses of water daily (You can only drink bottled water in Mexico).
-I googled authentic Mexican food and found nice hidden gems that were cheap! The average taco was between $1.00-1.50 USD
-I stayed in Cabo San Lucas, about a five-minute drive from the marina area. I stayed at the City Suites Plus Express hotel. My hotel was $61/night. The Wi-Fi worked well and it was very clean! I know most people go to Cabo and want nice views but honestly, I had no issues sacrificing views to save money!
The hotel was about a five-minute walk to a lot of plazas and Walmart! I ended up going to Walmart and getting lunch for under $3USD. They have a hot food bar and sushi as well! Uber is about USD 3 one way to the marina/downtown area of Cabo San Lucas. I saved money by walking there!
I noticed that most of the high-end resorts were closer to the water so the walk towards the main road is farther away.
Honestly walking was a good idea because there is an actual walking path so you will be fine! I also spotted and found hidden gems walking versus being in a car. They also have a bus that runs but I never got on it. I am quite sure it’s cheaper than Uber. I did catch Uber back to the hotel if I found myself out late.
It is possible to visit Cabo San Lucas on a budget! I did splurge two days but was excited to know that it’s doable!
You can book the same flight here
I went in January and the weather averaged to about 70-75 degrees daily. I wore shorts and t-shirts the entire time and was quite warm! I would suggest carrying so sort of light jacket and sweater. When the sun sets, It does get a bit cooler. The beach was open and warm enough to swim in. Sunny not one rainy or cloudy day.
Staying in Cabo San Lucas vs San Jose del Cabo:
When I was trying to book a hotel, I was a bit confused about which area to stay in. From my experience, there is a difference between the two. San Jose Del Cabo had a more historic and rustic feel while Cabo San Lucas gave me more of a party/social vibe. I found San Jose Del Cabo to be perfect for those who want to be isolated or prefer more of a quiet environment. I did tour San Jose and found it to be a bit more difficult to walk on foot versus Cabo San Lucas.
I stayed in Cabo San Lucas and was within walking distance from Walmart and other shopping plazas! It was so convenient to be able to walk. Personally, it is a personal preference. When I visited San Jose Del Cabo, I did see coffee shops and restaurants but most of the hotels are located off the highway. The drivers drive much faster in San Jose vs Cabo San Lucas.
When I visit again in the future, I will stay in Can San Lucas! San Jose is also a twenty-minute drive to Cabo San Lucas (where Medano beach is located). Medano beach is pretty much the only swimmable area for both. Unless you are renting a car, Uber/taxis can get costly. Almost all of the activities are located at the Marina (Cabo San Lucas). San Jose is more secluded.
I booked a one-way airport transfer to the hotel in advance. I paid USD 36 for two people through Viator. The shuttle was on time and I had no issues. Now getting to the airport was a different story! I called an Uber, the Uber driver came and told me he could not take me to the airport. Larger shuttle and private transfer companies hate Uber and will not allow them to access the airport! The driver told me if he risked taking me to the airport, they could confiscate his car, money, and everything in his possession if he took me.
I confirmed this with the hotel staff. This is a major issue in Cabo. Some drivers take the risk but others will not. I would avoid using Uber to and from the airport altogether. I almost missed my flight! I was lucky to have a random cab driver in the lobby who offered me a ride for USD 36. The Uber was USD 20.
I did use Uber to get around Cabo and San Jose and had no issues! One of my drivers told me to be discreet when ordering an Uber from downtown Cabo San Lucas. Police do not care too much for Uber drivers and side more with local cab companies. I ordered Ubers in the downtown area with no issues and saw a lot of police! I heard the cabs are way more than Uber. I even heard that some hotels won’t even allow Uber drivers to enter the premises! My hotel had no issues!
Their currency is the Mexican peso; however, they prefer USD! If you have ever visited Mexico before, you know typically they prefer their currency. It was different in Cabo! Most places prefer to accept cash so I highly recommend you take cash out before visiting!
I had an issue with withdrawing money at an ATM at the Marina Mall. First, the transaction would not go through. Then the ATM stopped working. I found another one and was charged an additional $15 by my bank. Another tourist told me she tried to take out USD 500 and only USD 40 came out of the machine and she was still charged! Save yourself the hassle and keep CASH.
A few of the restaurants I visited started to only accept cash. From what I understand, most businesses cannot afford merchant fees (Covid-19 related) so they are only accepting cash. I tried to use my AMEX and had quite a difficult time finding places that accepted it. VISA/MASTERCARD is preferred.
I had not one bad food experience during my entire time in Cabo. I found the food to be so good that I cannot pick which restaurant was my favorite. Food was not expensive at all. You cannot go wrong with also trying some of the food on the food trucks in downtown Cabo. I went to McDonald’s just out of curiosity and the prices are pretty much similar to America.
(The free breakfast served at the hotel)
Of course, you have to visit the famous ARCH. I found that booking activities online were much cheaper. The hotels are more expensive. The mall located in the Marina area had great prices as well!