This is a large and important (water!) section. If it doesn't fit somewhere else on CaboAction.com, then it's here.
That picture to the right? It's a typical beach scene in Cabo. Vendors stay behind the line.
Here's what we cover in Basics:
Did you know
Mexico sells most 'prescription' medications over the counter? There are plenty of pharmacias in Cabo. Just ask for your poison and it's yours. No questions... until you get back to US customs! If you want to bring back a few pills, carry an innocuous aspirin bottle to tote your stash over the border.
If you're into the whole ganja thing, just wear a Grateful Dead shirt and you'll get plenty of offers. (They'll usually offer a pipe too!) As with all shopping, you should bargain and dicker with pills too.
How bout cigars? Yep. You can buy Cuban cigars in Cabo too. Give it a shot!
We wanted to call this section Montezuma's Revenge! but the PR guys leaned and we caved. Though the Centers for Disease Control's scary-ass site would have us believing that travelers diarrhea is caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites common in Mexican food and water, Cabo's water is (by some accounts) (allegedly) (cross your fingers) relatively free of the pathogens known to cause the drippy nasties. Not convinced? Additionally, hotels are required by law to filter their water.
If you're not instilled with a sense of security after that blurb, we can tell you this much... It is 99.9% safe to shower and even brush your teeth. (Spit!) It's almost as safe to consume ice (the sly demon of diarrhea) in alcoholic beverages. If you need more courage just observe the thousands of freshly showered, margarita drinking tourists surrounding you. Some of them will wow you with brave stories of consuming tap water with no ill effects. If you're like us, you'll do the bottled water thing.
Bottled water. It's your friend. You can't go wrong with it. Or can you? There are several brands of Mexican bottled water of which we'd never heard. Are they safe? Chug a few bottles and then drop us an email, then we'll know! We recommend good ole imported US water. You can purchase gallon bottles of recognizable brands and refill smaller bottles at will. Pick up a handy belt-hook carabiner bottle holder (at right) and you're all set. Oh yeah, buy water in town. Many hotels charge about five to ten times the going rate. $3.00 bottles of hotel water are not uncommon.
Always dicker. It's that simple. Even classy restaurants and stores try to gouge tourists. Practice these lines:
Start low when bargaining. When you find common ground, both parties are happy. Saying it in Spanish is even more convincing, so whip out that phrase book!
Another money-saving technique is to eliminate or bribe the middle man. E.g. Buy your water taxi ride directly from the boat or bribe the bartender with a big pre-tip.
ET wouldn't have phoned home from Cabo. He'd have to whore his sister out on the corner to afford it. Cell phones? They won't help ET either. Most US mobile plans don't provide Cabo service and those that do, usually charge hefty international roaming fees. Ouch!
What to do? You can grab a calling card (above) and get rates of about 20 cents per minute, but $20 is the smallest denomination they sell. Most hotels also offer special international payphones at about $0.50/min. Your best option is to pony up the $3/min from your room phone for the quick, "Ring me right back!" call. Your pal back home will pay a small fraction of what you would've and hotels don't charge for incoming calls.
Some people will tell you that you don't need to change dollars to pesos because every vendor in Cabo will accept dollars and count them as ten pesos! Those chisellers aren't exactly lying, but you shouldn't trust them. Their option sounds awfully convenient, until you realize that the exchange rate is closer to twelve pesos per dollar. Every time you pay in US currency, you're paying a 20% surcharge. Lame. Clearly you need to change those bucks into pesos.
Hotels and resorts tell you that they'll give you a swell rate. They're lying too. They'll give you a crappy rate. There are two solid options that'll save you some coin. Change your money in the US at your bank or a AAA office. Airport exchange services offer acceptable rates but usually charge excessive fees. Your best bet while in Cabo, and a decent solution overall, is a trusty ATM, assuming your bank doesn't gouge there. Convert wisely and you'll be happy.
Knowing español is not necessary, (almost all Cabo natives speak a little english,) but it can be fun and helpful to speak a little. Grab a small spanish phrase book for your Cabo vacation. Even if you only use it a couple of times it'll be worth the $8 you spend.
Too cheap for a book? Here are a few key phrases to start you off...
Cabo weather is warm and sunny year round. But the calendar is still important when planning your Cabo trip. It all depends on what you want. Throngs of Mexicans invade the Cabo hotel beach over the Easter weekend. Officials close the whole bay to watersports for the long holiday, so if you plan on boating or renting a wave runner, avoid Easter. Why close the ocean?! Legend has it drunk revelers caused one too many problems a few years ago. Better safe then sorry.
Spring Break is another weird one. It's the perfect time to visit Cabo if you want to be around loud drunken teenagers. Otherwise... skip Cabo Spring Break. When is it? That's another weird one. Colleges and high schools stagger their breaks from the third week of February through the first week of April.
If you want more information, just ask - . We'll add a new section for you lickity split!