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Op-Ed: Cabo safety in the words of an expat living in Los Cabos

Is Los Cabos safe? Mexico Insider’s Editor-at-large Trisha Velarmino speaks about safety in the place she now calls home.

I am writing this because I read a random article that appeared on the first page of Google when I searched for the most dangerous cities in Mexico.

I live in Mexico and I wouldn’t really use this search term on a normal basis but I was on my way to Ciudad Juarez (near El Paso, TX) and heard that it is a very dangerous city.

While browsing this list, I found Los Cabos to be number one. I was very shocked and confused. I live in Cabo San Lucas and I never felt unsafe here. It’s really frustrating when you see these types of articles on the Internet because people will always believe them.

I understand that safety is your concern when traveling to Mexico. This is also a country that is notoriously known for being unsafe but as someone who lives here, I will try my best to give you my genuine and honest experiences about safety in Los Cabos.

Now let’s answer your burning question…. is Los Cabos safe?

los cabos

⛔ Is Los Cabos safe?

ABSOLUTELY! Los Cabos is a popular destination with Americans and Canadians. You can fly directly to Los Cabos from every major US airport, which makes it easier to do a Cabo weekend getaway.

Many Mexican nationals come to Los Cabos to work, particularly from nearby towns in Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, and Sonora. Tourism produced many jobs in Los Cabos which is why it is a hotspot for local workers.

As one of the most visited destinations in Mexico, the government will not do anything to interrupt this growth. Imagine if something happens to you as a foreigner in Los Cabos, it will be all over the news and tourism here will be totally ruined.

Nobody wants that since everyone earns from tourism here. This is the reason why no one dares to tarnish that reputation.

Think of all your friends from back home and people you know who frequently visit Mexico – where do they go? Los Cabos. It is very tourist-friendly and they will do everything to protect you here.

is los cabos safe
I moved to Cabo San Lucas in September 2021. I never expected to fall in love here so I decided to buy a house here!

⁉️ Is Cabo San Lucas safe?

Cabo San Lucas is very safe. It is the center of tourism and all young foreigners go here. The streets are active until 5:00 in the morning because of the Cabo San Lucas nightlife.

You can walk on the streets at night with no problems. I used to live 2 blocks from the marina and I always walked with no problems!

I live in Cabo San Lucas right now so if you want to meet up, feel free to get in touch and I’ll definitely show you around!

Personally, I will never choose a place to live in Mexico if it is dangerous. I will never put myself in harm as I have very high qualifications for how my life should be.

Living in Los Cabos gives me a feeling of security and I am so happy that I live here!

is los cabos safe

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is los cabos safe

✨ Cabo safety from an expat’s POV

Why I feel safe in Los Cabos

Before I fully nested in Cabo San Lucas, I first did my Baja California road trip with the dogs that went from North to South. In general, I felt very safe driving alone. I feel really at home here!

Of course, I do have dogs which makes me feel safer because Mexicans are afraid of dogs. They will always ask if your dogs bite and even if they don’t, I tell them they do anyway. My dogs can be very reactive when they feel like harm is coming my way. They traveled a lot with me so they are well-trained.

I was also lucky enough to have really great neighbors my age. We always went out together and they showed me what the real Cabo is. As for the older neighbors, they are very protective and can sometimes be invasive as they know all my activities.

When I am traveling (which is quite often), my neighbors in Cabo always text me and report the activities of my pet-sitter. Sometimes, it’s really funny because I’m not even asking – they just volunteer to inform me!

We also have a Whatsapp group in my neighborhood where you can ask for everything. I love this group because we always look out for each other! As a foreigner living in Mexico, this is a really big plus for me.

What I also noticed that greatly helped is the ability to speak Spanish. I am thankful that I am fluent in Spanish (from living in Spain and traveling around South America extensively).

I feel like speaking the language gives you a higher vantage not just in Mexico but in whatever country you choose to visit or live in.

weekend in cabo
My brother and friend immediately visited from the US when I moved to Cabo.

Crime rate in Los Cabos

In 2014, Mexico recorded 24.5 million Americans who visited the country, not just Los Cabos. If you Google the crime rate in Los Cabos, you wouldn’t really get a concrete number so I won’t talk about the numbers since I do not have any idea.

I have never been harmed nor pick-pocketed in Los Cabos. A good friend of mine has been living in Los Cabos for over 15 years and he told me that he was never a victim of a home invasion.

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I leave the windows of my house open when I leave with no problems. None of my neighbors told me not to do it and it is the same when I was living in Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta.

As a woman living alone, I had to worry about these things but in Cabo, it never happened to me. There are reported home invasions in bigger vacation houses but only if it’s empty.

is los cabos safe
The mandatory Cabo picture at the marina each time friends visit from the US.

Is it safe to walk in Cabo San Lucas at night?

As a single woman in my 30s’, I always went out at night. The nightlife in Cabo San Lucas is so vibrant plus I am tasked to take out my American friends when they visit. They love to party in Cabo!

When I was living 2 blocks away from the marina (about 7 minutes walk), I always walked and never took an Uber. I only started taking an Uber when I moved to my new house (current) which is 15 minutes away from the marina.

But still, I walk 40 minutes from my house (now) to the marina because it’s a safe walk. I am also fortunate to be living in an upper-scale neighborhood and believe me, my previous neighborhood in Cabo was super sketchy as all the girly bars were located on that street. Still, I never felt harmed or scared.

is cabo san lucas safe
What makes me so comfortable about living in Cabo San Lucas is finding a great local community!

Drinking tap water in Los Cabos

Whatever you do, do not drink tap water not just in Los Cabos but all over Mexico. It is not clean and it can make you sick.

Most Airbnbs and accommodations in Los Cabos will have potable drinking water on the property. If it’s not provided for, then you can ask your host for it.

Always order bottled water in restaurants and don’t drink the house water that they offer. Restaurants in Los Cabos don’t have the ‘house water’ option anyway.

Swimming in Los Cabos

Swimming is safe in Medano Beach (Los Cabos tourist spot) as the water is calm and it is in the Sea of Cortez. This is also on the opposite side of the Pacific so you don’t have to worry about swimming here.

The only difference is when you go to the Cabo Arch (which is on the same side of Medano Beach), the waves can be strong and it will be hard to swim. I actually do not recommend it if you are not a good swimmer.

When you check into a resort, they all have beach access but most of them do not allow swimming because of strong currents. It’s always ‘swim at your own risk’ when staying in resorts.

They also don’t have lifeguards to watch you when you swim on the beach so they always put ‘no swimming’ signs so they are not to be held liable when something happens to the guests.

is los cabos safe

Road safety in Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas is walkable. The traffic is slow in the city center and cars will always stop for you. Just remember that most streets in Cabo San Lucas are one-way. Always look at where you are going!

There have been many motorbike accidents but Baja California Sur is not really suitable for motorbikes and bicycles so I never dared to get on one.

The roads of Los Cabos are also super flat. I enjoy driving here because of the desert and ocean views. Plus, most of the best beaches in the state are outside of Cabo San Lucas.

If you have the time, rent a car in Cabo and drive out! You will find that Baja California Sur has way more beautiful spots than Los Cabos. Plus, they are all less than 2 hours drive!

is cabo san lucas safe
My dogs are sometimes unleashed on the roads but we live in the desert part of San Lucas, not in the tourist area. Meet my dog, Archie!

Police presence in Los Cabos

I actually feel more scared when there is a lot of police presence because it absolutely means that something is up. There are many different types of police forces in Mexico and in dangerous cities, you will see the policia federal and the marina more.

You will find this in places like Acapulco or Guadalajara where there is every police on the corner. It really makes me cringe and scared if they are around!

In Los Cabos, the tourist police are around but we don’t have federal police or any military present. Tourist police will stop you for identification and that’s about it.

One time, my friends stayed until 3:00 AM without me and they were stopped by the police. They had beers on their hands and were walking around town shirtless so the police had to take them to the station.

They also did not have identification but they gave my number to the policeman. The police called me to pick them up and explained they were being detained because of their drinking and no ID.

Remember that in Mexico (except in small towns), you can really sit down in the gutter or walk around the streets with alcohol. Don’t ever do this in Cabo!

is los cabos safe

Uber in Los Cabos

Unfortunately, I had a bad experience riding with an Uber but it was a one-time thing. My mistake was that I sat in front and the driver started to misinterpret it.

He touched my legs and I immediately asked him to stop. He stopped right away and didn’t talk. I reported it to the Uber app and it turns out that this driver gets a lot of bad comments from women.

He did not force himself on me but I also realized that those kinds of Uber harassment happen anywhere. I told my friend about it and he said to never sit in front.

Other than that, I feel very comfortable riding Uber in Los Cabos.

is cabo san lucas safe
Sunset walks with this one.

Hospitals in Los Cabos

I’ve only been hospitalized once while living in Los Cabos and I can say that medical care is good here. It is just way more expensive than the rest of the country.

San Jose del Cabo has the fanciest hospital amenities and in Cabo San Lucas, there is a street we call “Medical Avenue” where all types of doctors and hospitals are located.

Discrimination in Los Cabos

Mexico is very accepting of all races, religions, and nationalities. You will not get discriminated against here – take it from me as I am of Asian descent.

The gravest form of discrimination I had encountered was by Americans and it was directed at me. I was in an infinity pool in a resort in Cabos when this black couple joined in.

The white couple that was in the pool with me immediately vacated the pool and said they will report it to management. I did not even understand what they were reporting but I went on and chatted with the black couple.

is los cabos safe

🙋 Cabo Safety FAQs

Whatever you do, do not travel to Mexico without travel insurance. I use SafetyWing and I only pay US$40 per month. They are very reliable and you can even get insurance at home after your travels!

A common misconception in Mexico is the drug cartel dangers but let me tell you they don’t care about us unless we are involved with them.

Trouble usually come to tourists who risk buying drugs from people they don’t know. You can enjoy your vacation in Cabo without doing drugs so you’ll be fine without it.

Do not buy drugs in Mexico at all costs and spare yourself the trouble.

Cabo is a credit card society (thank God!) so you won’t really need cash. Unlike other parts of Mexico, Los Cabos accepts Amex and all types of credit cards.

It’s also easier so you don’t have to worry (or be paranoid) about having lots of cash in your wallet every time you go out.

✈️ Ready for your trip to Los Cabos? If you need more information about safety in Los Cabos, we’d be happy to update this post – just leave your questions below or join our Facebook community where we answer questions without a cost.

🇲🇽 Los Cabos Travel Resources

  • ✈️ Flights to Los Cabos: the airport that serves Cabo San Lucas is San Jose del Cabo (SJD). Use the code MXINSIDER to get flight discounts upon checkout on WayAway.
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  • 🚗 Los Cabos car rentals: go on a road trip around Baja California Sur – rent a car from US$55 per day! Search for the best deals on Rental Cars Los Cabos.
  • 🚌 Los Cabos bus transportation: book bus tickets online to and from Los Cabos and the whole Baja California, up to Tijuana. Search BusBud Los Cabos for instant booking confirmation.
  • 🏄‍♂️ Los Cabos Activities: find boat cruises, desert adventures, trips to the Cabo Arch, and fishing charters. We recommend Viator Cabo for great deals!
  • 🧭 Los Cabos Tours: support our work with the local community of Los Cabos. Use the code MXINISDER10 upon checkout on our tour page.
  • 🏨 Los Cabos Hotels: this city is not just all about resorts. There are affordable boutique hotels from US$75! Check out Booking.com Los Cabos for great deals.
  • 🏖️ Resorts in Cabo San Lucas: of course, the resorts in Cabo are what everyone comes for. Find all-inclusive deals on Expedia Cabo for as low as US$350.
  • Los Cabos Trip Planner: we have local staff on the ground in Cabo and we live here! Bachelorette parties, weddings, birthdays, or simply a family trip to Cabo – we can help you plan your trip. No hidden fees, just simple charges. Get in touch now!
  • 🏥 Mexico Travel insurance: do not travel to Mexico without insurance. Check which plans work for you for as low as US$40 for full travel coverage.
  • 📧 Los Cabos Updates:: subscribe to our newsletter and get honest and transparent updates about Cabo. You will love our monthly news in your inbox! NO SPAM. NEVER.
  • Buy us coffee: readers who support Mexico Insider help us continue bringing you the most honest content about Cabo San Lucas. Consider donating to our coffee fund if you like the content that we do.

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Mike

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Trish thanks for the very informative article! I’ll be staying at a villa in Pedregal Bay Side with some friends Sept 23-26. Are there bars/clubs near that area within walking distance? Or is it a cab ride away?

Trisha Velarmino

Wednesday 21st of September 2022

Hi Mike! Pedregal is actually private, so it depends on the distance of your villa from the guardhouse. The Pedregal guardhouse/entrances have easy access to town with bars and clubs. But you need a car if your villa is on the top of the hill in Pedregal. It is a big area. You can also use Uber if you don't want to rent a car in Cabo. Enjoy!

Colby Menning

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Interested in staying in Cabo near the locals dining and nightlife. Dislike resorts. Want advice desirable locations comfort and accessible walk to beach or dine.

Skid

Sunday 18th of September 2022

Hi Trish. I agree with you that Los Cabos are mostly safe...until they're not. I read the same article you did about Los Cabos being the most dangerous places in Mexico- that seemed to me like somebody with an axe to grind. It's not based in reality. I've been to Los Cabos a few times and never had trouble, just like hundreds of thousands of other tourists. Having said that robberies take place, murders happen and Cartel activity is on the rise. So what to do? Be careful. Take all the usual precautions and more. Always tell people if your going off the beaten track and when you're expected back. A small amount of paranoia is a good thing in Mexico. People who have property or businesses in Mexico tend to discount the risks, for obvious reasons. But they're real Knowing that increases your chances of a safe and happy trip.

Randy Yoon

Friday 12th of August 2022

Of course it is safe and fun city. People are so kind.

Eric

Sunday 7th of August 2022

Hi Trish… Great article, thank you for shedding some light on my upcoming vacation. I’m coming the beginning of October for 14 days. Would you be interested in showing me around a day or two? I will pay you for your time if that’s what it take. Please contact myself if your interested so I can plan accordingly Thank You Eric

Trisha Velarmino

Monday 22nd of August 2022

I live in Los Cabos and hopefully, I will be in town when you visit. Send a message and let's see if our schedules match! Would love to show you around my city!

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