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.

📢 Editor’s Note: This Los Cabos safety article is based on the personal experiences of the writer who is currently living in Cabo San Lucas. We do not edit or correct people’s experiences but we do a fact check before publishing.

I am writing this because I read a random article 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.

is los cabos safe

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 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?

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⛔ 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.

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!

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 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!

is los cabos safe

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!

✨ 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.


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.

🏊‍♀️ Is it safe to swim 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

🚕 Is Uber safe 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

🙋 FAQ: Cabo Safety

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.

🇲🇽 Cabo Travel Guide

  • For thrill-seekers, Cabo’s ATV Adventure is a must. Ride across the desert landscapes for an exciting and unique way to sightsee.
  • Jump in and explore Cabo’s underwater world. See bright fish and beautiful reefs when snorkeling in the clear waters.
  • Relax and enjoy Cabo’s stunning sunset from a cruise. See the changing colors over the sea and coastline! Meals are included in some tours.
  • Cabo’s vibrant nightlife hits the high seas. Join the party boat for a full day of dance, music, and ocean-side revelry. Live it up, Cabo-style!
  • Join a Cabo food tour and unveil Cabo’s rich culinary scene, featuring local cuisines and flavors that are not only delicious but educational.

  • Visit Cabo’s most iconic natural landmark, the Arch of Cabo San Lucas, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. Boat tours offer a close-up view of this unique rock formation and the sea lions basking nearby.
  • A must-visit for beach lovers, Medano beach is the main swimming beach in Cabo. Its gentle waves and crystal clear waters are perfect for water sports, while beachside eateries serve up local flavors.”
  • Go on a leisurely walk or boat ride to Land’s End. This captivating landscape includes dramatic cliffs, hidden beaches, and panoramic ocean views, ending at El Arco.”
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Cabo Pulmo is home to one of the oldest living reefs. Snorkeling and diving here offer an extraordinary glimpse into vibrant marine life.”
  • Explore the vibrant art scene of the nearby town, San José del Cabo. This weekly art walk showcases a variety of galleries, with local artists often present to discuss their work.”

  • Experience luxury at Villa La Valencia, offering stunning ocean views and state-of-the-art amenities. This resort combines comfort and style, with spacious suites, pools, and on-site dining, for an unforgettable stay in Cabo.”
  • Perfect for travelers wanting to be at the heart of the action, Medano Suites provides modern comfort steps away from Medano Beach. Each suite is fully equipped, offering a homely setting with the convenience of nearby eateries and nightlife.”
  • Nestled in Cabo’s marina, Hotel Tesoro combines charm and value. Its comfortable rooms, outdoor pool, and easy access to local attractions offer a welcoming base for exploring the best of Cabo.”
  • Cabo San Lucas is a resort city, so you may consider booking an all-inclusive resort. Some of them also have a la carte options.

  • Cock’s Cantina: This lively bar in Cabo’s downtown offers an array of drinks and classic Mexican eats. With its friendly atmosphere and live music, Cock’s Cantina ensures a fun-filled night.”
  • Rooftop 360: Offering stunning panoramic views of Cabo, Rooftop 360 is a perfect spot for cocktails at sunset. Their menu features a blend of international dishes and creative drinks.”
  • Pancho’s Restaurant: A classic spot for traditional Mexican cuisine. Pancho’s Restaurant serves a variety of flavorful dishes and boasts one of the largest tequila collections in Cabo.”
  • Mi Casa: With its colorful décor and vibrant ambiance, Mi Casa provides a truly authentic Mexican dining experience. Their extensive menu offers regional favorites and house specialties.”
  • Chamuyo: This Argentine steakhouse is known for its quality cuts of meat and cozy atmosphere. Chamuyo is a top choice for those looking for a hearty meal in a warm, rustic setting.”
  • Funky Geisha: A fusion of Japanese and Mexican culinary traditions, Funky Geisha offers an exciting menu of sushi rolls, tacos, and teppanyaki. Its modern, stylish décor complements its innovative cuisine.”

  • Plaza Artesanos: A true gem for unique handcrafted souvenirs, Plaza Artesanos hosts over 100 vendors offering a variety of local crafts, from ceramics and leather goods to silver jewelry and traditional textiles.
  • Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall: For high-end souvenirs and designer brands, head to this exclusive shopping mall. Besides international luxury brands, you’ll also find Mexican designers, adding a local twist to your shopping spree.”
  • Puerto Paraiso Mall: Located in the heart of Cabo San Lucas, this sprawling shopping complex is home to a mix of international and local shops. Pick up traditional souvenirs, beachwear, or local art to remember your Cabo trip.

  • Cabo San Lucas is a walkable town. You don’t need any mode of transportation while there, especially if you are staying in the center. You must take an airport taxi service from San Jose del Cabo Airport, and that’s about it!
  • If you plan to drive around Cabo area or to nearby towns, a rental car is highly recommended when visiting Los Cabos.

  • You need travel insurance to Mexico! Ekta Traveling is the recommended insurance (for travelers ages 2 months to 100 years old).

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  1. Hi Trisha, thanks for the article. I’ll be in town on a cruise with 2 daughters (13 and 10). Do you think it’s safer for us to take an Uber or a taxi from the cruise pier to go to Corazon Beach Club? Thanks!

  2. Don’t try to walk home. Last night we were followed for 30 minutes after leaving a bar. We had are our wits about us and did not make eye contact or talk to the man but he tried to follow us home. At one point we had to hide and watched him walk by us. Not safe. Terrifying.

  3. Truth be told, tourism is very important in Los Cabos, very important and lucrative. I’d never live there personally, but for those who do, I hope you stay well and safe. Living like this puts you in a kind of bubble because as it was said, “it’s like paradise” and with all the basic amenities, sometimes upscaled just because of the tourism and foreigners living there. So many people of different backgrounds, races, ethnicities, etc. visit or live in such a place because it is set up to be a pleasurable experience to either keep you coming back or continue living there. Luckily for most, they just live their lives enjoying the sun, ocean, food and activities while there. However, I really do believe there will come a day when this secure feeling of tranquility and beauty will be something that will lessen if anything were to shatter this idyllic view of this part of Mexico and other hot spots in Mexico in general. Just one incident, or maybe many multiple ones over a span of time, who knows? I have read, researched and spoken to those who tell me. “it’s great until it’s not”. Once something happens that involves someone who is not native to this country, well let’s just say in the kindest possible way, don’t always expect the same level of care, concern or treatment unless you have a certain status. Be prepared and stay vigilant.

  4. You are living my dream 🥲. I just returned from a one week trip in Cabo. I’m freezing now – and I live in California! I’m seriously considering… but know it’s too crazy for me me alone….but to buy & live in Cabo is looking maybe possible soon. It’s always been my favorite place to go. Now that it’s “open”, I’m afraid waiting will cause it all to be too much but I had to tell you. Live that beautiful life for me! I miss the people & sunshine each day. Take care. ❤️Lorraine

  5. 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?

    1. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Just came back from staying at the Westin resort
    Five of us really never left the resort because everything was there except the sunset dinner cruise. I felt very safe. The only thing is different ppl coming up yo you at the airport to do a hotel timeshare presentation and mostly bombarded at the marina by little children trying to get you to buy bracelets with a few exceptions of other things they were attempting too sell. Had an amazing time there!

  10. Great article Trish! Yes Cabo is probably one of the safest city in the planet 🌎!! We came here 40 years ago, it was supposed to be only for six months and time flys! The schools are wonderful your children grow up bilingual with a much better understanding of the USA culture n Mexican culture!! Without a doubt much more opportunities in life!! At this moment the population is approximately 74% American & Canadian populations and getting more British too!! The weather is fantastic with very low humidity except in mid august through October 15 the heat n humidity is yucky 😩! That too is our hurricane season! Best time to avoid Cabo is September! I consider those our (winter🤮)after mid October it’s like a switch it automatically you wake up no humidity and the temperature drops to perfection and 78/88ish! Pack light we have Costco The Mega store Walfarts🤣 (walmart) a wonderful Mall with Luxury Lane we even have Home Depot! I’m a developer and building some affordable retirement homes! Absolutely way better than retiring to Florida where the humidity is dreadful and guns are allowed!! Our school kids parents never have to worry about shootings in school because guns are outlawed! If anyone is interested in further information on our development I’m happy to respond! Thank you 🙏 love Trish for your fabulous article we should meet soon!
    Cheers 🥂 to all and Welcome to paradise!!!

    1. Hi Gina. I would love to get some information regarding upcoming developments that you are building. My husband and I are looking for a vacation property.

  11. The premise of the article is that she “feels” safe, hasn’t been trained or assaulted, and doesn’t understand the crime statistics – therefore Cabo is safe…

    1. I live here and have many years of experience and training in Internet journalism so I am assuring you, there is now way I am making up these things. Where do you live? I will definitely take your advice in the city you are living in, no matter where it is. Also check our photo journalism as they are not stock photos.

  12. Hi and thank you for the article.
    Is it expensive to I’ve in Cabo? I’m retired and have thought about moving there.

    1. Yes it is. Goods & services are on avg 7 times higher than in the interior of Mexico. They know people who go to Cabo have money and push the envelope on pricing. Nothing is cheap in Cabo.

  13. Hi Trish,

    Thank you for sharing your views on Cabo! I’m visiting on August 6th and can’t wait. This will be my 5th visit. I love Cabo and even got married there. I’m planning to live there in the next few years. I’d love to connect and learn more about Cabo.
    Take care,

  14. Hello Trishia I plan to retire to baja californiamay be in less than Year.Can you tell me what is what I need to get a Mexican residence visa?

  15. Do you offer your services to tourists? My family is having a girls trip in 2023 and would love to hire you to show us around for a day!

  16. My husband and I will be in Cabo for our first time in September. It would be amazing if you would show us around.

  17. Hi Trish.
    I am renting a villa in San Jose Del Cabo area in September. Do you know any chefs that work to prepare meals for private homes. Also would love to connect with you on seeing some of the sites outside of the Cabo corridor.

  18. I’ve been to Los Cabos and never felt unsafe. I plan on returning and possibly buying a home there. It’s absolutely beautiful! Just use common sense and don’t look for trouble. I rented a car a did not encounter any police looking for bribes. Just don’t speed or drive drunk, just like anywhere else.

  19. I own a home in San Jose del cabo for 30+ years. We have been drinking the tap water for the last 10 years in restaurants and our home. We don’t get sick. You’re wrong, the water is safe to drink and has been for years

    1. Hi Katherine! I think that drinking tap water in Mexico is personal and subjective. I don’t get sick from drinking tap water but I also live in a gated community (Quivira) where pipe systems are different than the previous areas I live in Mexico. Some tourists even blame restaurants for giving them tap water so for everyone’s benefit (as we are all different human beings), I just tell tourists not to do it for their own good. And yes, you are correct! I drink tap water in Quivira but I have traveled to 100+ countries (including Africa) so my body is used to tap water with no issues. You can’t really say to someone you don’t know on the Internet that they can drink tap water in Mexico without knowing them personally so it’s safer for me to advise not to do it at all costs. We are different human beings. Drinking tap water in Mexico is PERSONAL and based on people’s physical abilities so if you and I don’t get sick (as we live in Cabo), that doesn’t mean it applies to everyone.

  20. Hi Trish! I am moving to Cabo in 2023 as soon as my new house is finished. Thanks for your tips. I feel safe there too and I’m looking forward to my new adventure. I’m hoping to meet lots of expats there! See you around.

  21. For the most part your article was informative, however the part about “Swimming in Cabo” being safe was incorrect and could put tourists at risk for drowning. Cabo is known for rip currents and beaches with steep drops. Please consider rewriting your article.

    1. Gracias, Claudia! But Medano Beach is safe (Sea of Cortez side). I live in Quivira which is on the Pacific side and we can’t really swim here. But Medano Beach is safe for swimming,

      1. Great article Trish, I have a casa in brisas del Pacífico and have always felt safe. When I’m back down in the fall maybe you could help me with getting a Mexican residency.


  22. What are your thoughts about flying Aeromexico with a connection in Mexico City? It is much less expensive, but is it worth the hassle/anxiety of making a connection in an unfamiliar out of country airport? Also, I do not speak Spanish.

    1. I am an expat. I have lived in Mexico since 1994. The last time I was in the States was 1997. I now have Mexican citizenship. Los Cabos is safe. As is most of Mexico. I have been to more places in Mexico than any Natural born Mexican I have ever met. The only problem with Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo where I live is that it is way too crowded now. So I will be moving to La Ribera in a few years. Which is how Cabo was 30 years ago.

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