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Is Cabo San Lucas Safe for American Tourists in 2024?

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Are you heading to Cabo and wondering, “Is Cabo safe?” Safety is a top concern for many travelers, and given the media’s portrayal of Mexico, it’s understandable if things seem a bit murky.

Yet, the on-the-ground story from millions of visitors paints a much brighter picture. So, just how safe is Cabo San Lucas for 2024?

Get ready for a quick and practical guide to safety in Cabo San Lucas—what to expect and some easy tips to ensure your experience is nothing short of amazing in all the best ways!

There is a misconception among some—fed by what are often one-sided portrayals in the U.S. media—that México is wracked by drug-related violence and unsafe for travel.

That isn’t the case, as anyone who has visited the country can attest.

While it’s undeniable that México, like every country in the world, suffers from crime and has some undesirable areas, most of its cities and communities—like Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo in particular—are incredibly safe.

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is los cabos safe

U.S. State Department Travel Advisory for Cabo San Lucas

Let’s start with advice from the U.S. State Department. Click here to see if there is any specific Cabo San Lucas travel advisory for the time you plan to travel.

This department assigns a travel advisory level to destinations based on their social and political climate.

These four levels serve as a guide, indicating to travelers the caution they should exercise when visiting or whether reconsidering their travel plans is appropriate.

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There are four levels of travel advisories issued by both the U.S. and Canada (and they’re roughly equivalent) for various places around the world:

Level 2 – Exercise increased caution

Level 3 – Reconsider travel

Level 4 – Do not travel

If you are researching whether Cabo San Lucas is safe, the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory is the first place you need to check.

In Baja California Sur, where Cabo San Lucas graces the map, the travel advisory is comfortably at level 2, nudging travelers to up their caution.

Level 2 is like the green light—it suggests the region is generally safe for exploration.

While an extra dose of awareness is encouraged, there is no need to be worried about safety concerns. No restrictions hang over Baja California Sur, giving the green signal to visit Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and La Paz.

Now, the million-dollar question: Is Cabo San Lucas safe for tourists? Absolutely, as long as you play it smart.

Stick to reputable accommodations and well-lit areas, and exercise the usual caution.

As with any spot on the globe, steering clear of solo nighttime adventures and excessive partying is wise. The consensus?

Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and the Tourist Corridor, which connects the two cities, are the safest places for Americans to visit in Los Cabos.

There are no restrictions for the destination of Baja California Sur, which means visiting Cabo San Lucas, San Jose Del Cabo, and La Paz is safe.  

You’re not likely to be killed by an organized crime group in a resort city like Cabo San Lucas; instead, you’re more likely to have your valuables stolen.

Almost all of the American tourists that have been killed in Mexico are due to buying drugs from the cartel because they were too afraid to fly with weed. Someone thought it was a good idea to buy drugs in a foreign country. 

If you’re not participating in illegal activities, you have nothing to worry about.

Is Cabo San Lucas Safe for Families? 

Cabo, a go-to spot for families, welcomes countless folks each year, mine included, and guess what? Smooth sailing! Families, including ours, have been making memories here without a hitch.

Whether it’s the cozy, all-inclusive resorts or the epic family adventures, like catching a glimpse of whales from a pirate ship, Cabo knows how to cater to the family crew.

It’s not just a destination; it’s practically a family tradition!

Is Cabo San Lucas Safe for Female Solo Travelers

    Cabo San Lucas is a safe destination for solo female travelers, provided that certain precautions are taken.

    While Cabo has seen security improvements, it’s still important to prioritize your safety. Opt for well-established accommodations in reputable areas and inform a friend or family about your travel plans.

    Utilize authorized transportation options, such as taxis or Uber Ridesharing, and avoid walking alone late at night.

    For solo female travelers who decide to visit Cabo solo, here are some quick and helpful tips for staying safe:

    1. Learn common, handy phrases in Spanish.
    2. Share your travel itinerary with friends and family, and keep in touch.
    3. Avoid traveling around alone at night.
    4. Enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Scams in Cabo San Lucas

Every popular destination deals with its fair share of folks trying to pull a fast one on unsuspecting travelers.

If you’ve traveled before, you’ve probably encountered these Cabo-style shenanigans – the smooth talkers at the airport and the sneaky pickpockets in busy spots.

Here are the five most common scams in Cabo San Lucas and tips on how to avoid them:

  1. Taxi Overcharging: Some taxi drivers might overcharge tourists, especially if the fare is not agreed upon before the journey. To avoid this, insist on using licensed taxis, request an estimate before starting the ride, and ensure the meter is used if available.
  2. Timeshare Presentations: Visitors are often lured into attending timeshare presentations with promises of gifts or tours. These presentations can be high-pressure sales tactics. To steer clear, politely decline such invitations and avoid giving personal information to strangers.
  3. Fake Excursion Packages: Scammers might sell counterfeit or overpriced excursion packages. Always book activities through reputable agencies or directly with your hotel. Research online reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow travelers.
  4. Counterfeit Money: Be vigilant when receiving change, especially in busy places. Counterfeit bills occasionally circulate. Verify the authenticity of larger bills and be cautious when dealing with unfamiliar currency.
  5. ATM Skimming: Criminals sometimes install skimming devices on ATMs to steal card information. Use ATMs located in well-lit, busy areas, preferably inside banks. Cover your hand while entering your PIN, and regularly check your bank statements for any unauthorized transactions.

Additional Scams to be aware of in Cabo


Street Games Shuffle:
Sidewalk setups coax unsuspecting travelers into rigged games, which act as a smokescreen for accomplices to steal their valuables.

Stay Sharp: Refrain from diving into street gambling and keep your belongings secure.

Pub Pal Ploy: Scammers pose as newfound buddies cozying up to tourists in bars. They then steer them to another joint where the unsuspecting victims get hit with exorbitant drink charges. To add insult to injury, some tourists end up at the ATM to cough up more cash.

Safe Sips: If strangers invite you to another bar, demand a drink menu to avoid being ripped off. Better yet, don’t go anywhere with strangers.

Camera Conundrum: A scammer will request you snap a picture with their camera. Upon return, they “accidentally” drop it, blaming you for the damage.

Shutter Savvy: Politely decline camera handovers unless you know them personally!

Cabo Safety vs. Major U.S. Cities

Let’s compare the safety of Cabo vs. the good old US of A.

Both the U.S. and Cabo have their share of places with a bit of a rowdy reputation. But here’s the kicker: Cabo doesn’t even appear in the top 50 most violent cities globally.

Can you believe it? Now, want to take a wild guess at who’s hogging the limelight on that list?

St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans are the contenders. Clocking in at 60.59 homicides, down to 36.87 per 100,000 people.

Yeah, those are pretty hefty numbers, but here’s the twist—all four cities still manage to pull off the “safe to travel” card and host major shindigs that draw crowds by the hundreds of thousands.

Even Cancun, arguably Mexico’s most visited hotspot, throws its hat into the ring. It’s right there on the list. And get this: in 2022, it made history with a whopping 40 million tourists.

So, despite the digits, it seems like its popularity is on a steady incline.

Statistically speaking, U.S. travelers are safer in Cabo San Lucas than they are in most U.S. cities, despite media sensationalism.

Cabo’s currently has a crime index of 43.24. When you look at the crime rate in Memphis, Cancun is much lower than the rating of 76.27. See the comparison here.

Drug Cartels in Cabo San Lucas 

Concerns about drugs and drug cartels have been prevalent among travelers contemplating a trip to Mexico, especially in regions like Cabo and Baja California Sur, where incidents related to these issues have occurred in recent years.

However, it’s important to note that most violence doesn’t directly impact tourists. The most effective way to avoid such situations is by refraining from purchasing drugs or engaging in drug-related activities while in Cabo.

While this doesn’t guarantee safety, it significantly reduces the risks. Unfortunately, drug and gang-related violence, as evidenced by incidents in other popular tourist spots in Mexico, can occasionally spill into tourist areas, potentially involving visitors inadvertently.

Ultimately, the safety of visiting Cabo involves assessing these risks. Many tourists find that violent or drug-related crime is not a concern during their stay, so Cabo San Lucas is often perceived as a secure destination.

You are more likely to encounter scams at the airport or have valuables stolen than to become involved in organized crime in Cabo.

Police Extortion in Cabo San Lucas

We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops south of the border. With stories ranging from extortion to kidnapping, the police in Mexico and the rest of Latin America do not have the best reputation.

However, the authorities cracked down hard and dismissed hundreds of officers, including some top officials. They claim the problem is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, you will be asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. You will also be told what you did wrong.

Of course, in the U.S., we would then be issued a ticket requiring us to pay a fine or appear in court later.

If it is a minor infraction, don’t bribe them. Even so, they may ask you for some money; the amount depends on the seriousness of the infraction. If you pass a red light, it is better if they only give you the traffic ticket.

If you drive without a license, the car must be impounded, and the fine is higher; in that case, I suggest you offer 200 pesos (if you look Mexican) if you are blond with blue eyes, maybe about 500 pesos.

The key is to remain calm and accept your mistake, and when it is inevitable that they take you to jail, then subtly offer the bribe; it is like a negotiation: start with a low amount, and they will go up to agree on an amount.

10 Tips to Stay Safe in Cabo San Lucas

Although a travel advisory is in effect, it’s important to remember that tourists flock to Mexico every year without incident.

The Mexican government is highly motivated to keep tourists safe to preserve the tourist trade but you must also do your part when traveling to Mexico.

Traveling anywhere requires some safety precautions. So, remember to enlist these general rules during your vacation, and you will not have to ask continually if Cabo is safe.

Here are some precautions that you can take to make sure your trip goes as planned:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date about safety news through a few methods. First, talk with your travel agent and/or hotel concierge about safety updates and where to go. They’ll have the most current read on the situation. As an American Citizen, you should also consider signing up for STEP, the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program. This will sign you up for travel alerts, put you on the consulate and Embassy radar, and make it easier to work things out if there’s an incident. 
  2. Keep your valuables locked up when you leave the hotel.
  3. Research your destination: Ensure you are current on travel warnings. 
  4. Don’t walk around yourself late at night: You are asking for trouble.
  5. Be careful taking money out of the ATM: these are good spots to rob people. 
  6. Use a money belt or a crossbody bag: Keep the thieves at bay.
  7. Don’t get scammed: If someone is asking you for your personal information, you are likely scamming.
  8. Don’t wear flashy jewelry – looking like you are balling out of control will get you robbed. Leave your LV and Gucci in the States. 
  9. Don’t try to buy drugs: Don’t ask about buying drugs, and don’t even think about buying drugs.
  10. DON’T travel at night: Most crime occurs at night.

Is it Safe to Drink The Water in Los Cabos?

Even the locals don’t drink the water in Mexico.   

You can buy bottled water anywhere, but when you buy water, ensure it is factory-sealed to guarantee it is safe to drink. Crystal is one of the most famous brands in Los Cabos.

Use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Most ice in the area comes from factories and is purified. If you are uncertain about the ice, ask your waiter.

Many travelers take risks with food and water. Being sick for a few days isn’t such a big deal if you are on a long trip.

If this is a week-long vacation with your bestie, do you want to spend half of it sick just because you were too lazy to get bottled water when you brushed your teeth?

Beach Safety In Cabo San Lucas

One of the main reasons Americans travel to Cabo San Lucas is to enjoy the warm weather and the relaxing beach. 

The beaches in Los Cabos do not have lifeguards, though most resorts have access to medical personnel. Travelers should be careful when they swim and not take risks like jumping off rocks or swimming near coral.

Finally, while I understand you are in Mexico and “drinking” is at the top of your to-do list, remember the heat and too much alcohol do not mix well and can lead to massive dehydration.

Avoid swimming at the beach when a black warning flag is posted.

Wear Sunscreen in Cabo San Lucas

You didn’t fly to Mexico to stay inside, but please beware that Mexican rays are intense and can lead to severe burns or sun poisoning, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

The sun in Cabos San Lucas is pretty strong and high in damaging UV rays. Stay hydrated and limit the sun you get based on your skin type.

Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Cabo San Lucas?

For the most part, bus travel is the best way to get around in Mexico, but if you are anything like me, I prefer to rent a car, be on my own time, and not have to wait on other people. 

I like to explore and make up my itinerary as I go, and those tour buses do not give me the freedom, and they may not cover every place I want to see. 

The Yucatan, for example, is especially suited to driving: Many beaches, barely developed ruins, and intriguing villages lie a reasonable distance from the main road.

Highways are well-maintained, constantly improved, and so straight that the slightest curve bristles with warning signs and reflectors.

Driving in Los Cabos is generally safe, but I suggest parking your car at night and not staying out too late.

IS IT SAFE TO CRUISE TO MEXICO? TIPS FOR A SECURE VOYAGE

Cruising to Mexico offers a captivating blend of vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and delicious cuisine.

While safety concerns may arise when planning such a trip, it’s essential to note that Mexico is a popular cruise destination millions of tourists enjoy yearly.

By taking certain precautions and staying informed, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience exploring Mexico’s coastal gems. 

  1. Research and Choose Reliable Cruise Lines: Select a reputable cruise line prioritizing passenger safety. Look for companies with a strong track record of delivering secure and enjoyable voyages to Mexico. These cruise lines often have comprehensive safety measures, experienced staff, and well-planned itineraries prioritizing passenger security.
  2. Review Mexico Travel Advisory and Warnings: Before embarking on your cruise, stay updated on travel advisories and warnings from your home country’s government. These advisories provide valuable insights into potential risks, areas to avoid, and safety recommendations. They can help you make informed decisions about your itinerary and allow you to take necessary precautions.
  3. Choose Popular and Well-Traveled Ports: Opt for popular ports of call in Mexico that are frequently visited by cruise ships. These ports typically have well-established tourism infrastructure, enhanced security measures, and a focus on ensuring visitor safety. Some of the popular cruise ports in Mexico include Cozumel, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas.
  4. Book Shore Excursions through the Cruise Line: When planning activities ashore, it’s advisable to book excursions through the cruise line. These excursions are often vetted for safety, and the cruise line assumes responsibility for the passengers’ well-being during these organized tours. Additionally, local guides associated with the cruise line are usually knowledgeable about the area and can offer insights and assistance.
  5. Stay Vigilant and Be Aware of Your Surroundings: While exploring Mexican ports, maintain situational awareness. Be attentive to your surroundings and exercise caution, especially in crowded tourist areas. Stay away from unlit or unfamiliar places, and avoid displaying signs of wealth or carrying excessive amounts of cash or valuables.
  6. Use Reliable Transportation: Use trusted and licensed transportation options when venturing outside the port area. Taxis recommended by the cruise line or reputable companies are typically reliable choices. Avoid unmarked or unofficial taxis, as they may pose a higher risk. If possible, arrange transportation in advance or rely on services offered by your cruise line.
  7. Respect Local Laws and Customs: Respect for local laws and customs is crucial when visiting any foreign country, including Mexico. Familiarize yourself with the local customs, traditions, and cultural norms. This will help you blend in and contribute to a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Travel Insurance is a Must

I’ve traveled without insurance, and trust me, you don’t want to get sick on your vacation. I’ve had flights canceled and got sick in the Czech Republic. Travel insurance will help you keep peace of mind.

Depending on your needs, you can find a policy that fits them.

Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure!  I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.

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Things to do in Cabo

Are Mexico Resorts Safe

There have been incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, which have left some potential visitors with questions and doubts. 

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly when inhaled in high concentrations.

Common sources of carbon monoxide include faulty fuel-burning appliances, such as gas heaters, furnaces, and water heaters.

In recent resort incidents, carbon monoxide poisoning deaths have been linked to faulty ventilation systems or poorly maintained equipment.

The Risks at Mexico Resorts: While incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning are rare, they have occurred at some Mexico resorts.

Staying Safe at Mexico Resorts:

  1. Research and Choose Reputable Resorts: Before booking your stay, research the resort’s safety record, reviews, and certifications. Look for resorts prioritizing guest safety, regularly inspecting their facilities, and maintaining proper ventilation systems.
  2. Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector or inquire whether the resort provides them in guest rooms. These devices will alert you to high levels of carbon monoxide and provide an early warning in case of a leak.
  3. Familiarize Yourself with Resort Safety Measures: Upon arrival, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the resort’s emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, fire exits, and safety guidelines. Ensure you know how to report any concerns about gas appliances or ventilation to the appropriate resort staff.
  4. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: Be cautious of any signs of potential carbon monoxide leaks in your room. If you experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, or confusion, it could be an indication of carbon monoxide poisoning. Immediately exit the room, alert the resort staff, and seek medical attention.
  5. Seek Professional Inspections: For added peace of mind, consider hiring a qualified inspector to assess your resort room’s ventilation and gas-burning appliances before your stay. This step can help identify any potential risks and ensure the room is safe for occupancy.

Best Places to Stay in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Where to stay in Mexico

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▶︎ BOOK the Waldorf Astoria Cabo San Lucas now! (Photo: Expedia)

If you are a couple looking to stay in the thick of things while in Cabo San Lucas, I highly suggest the marina area because it offers a range of luxury hotels, including the Hacienda Beach Club & Residences and Breathless Cabo San Lucas Resort and Spa or my favorite The Cape.

There are many restaurants and shops in the marina area, and you will most likely leave from one of the many tours you can book, whether snorkeling or renting one of those clear boats, so it’s the ideal place to get to know Cabo.

The best hotels in Cabo

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▶︎ BOOK The Cape Cabo San Lucas now! (Photo: Expedia)

ASSISTANCE FOR U.S. CITIZENS

  • U.S. Embassy Mexico City
  • Paseo de la Reforma 305
    Colonia Cuauhtemoc
    Mexico, D.F., Mexico C.P.
    06500
  •  Telephone
  • 011-52-55-5080-2000
  •  Emergency
  • American Citizen Services: 01 800 681 9374 (toll-free in Mexico) / 81 4160 5512 (from within Mexico) / 844 528 6611 (toll-free in the U.S.)
  •  Fax
  • 011-52-55-5080-2201
  •  Email
  • ACSMexicoCity@state.gov
  •  Website
  • U.S. Embassy Mexico City

Is los cabos safe


Conclusion: Is Cabo San Lucas Safe

Is Cabo safe? Yes, if you stay abreast of all Mexico travel warnings, exercise common sense, and pay attention to news about safety in the city you are visiting, I don’t think you will have any issues.

Keep in mind that bad things can happen anywhere, not just in Mexico, but I am sure crimes occur right in your neighborhood. 

No matter where you go in Mexico, follow the common-sense rules listed above, like drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your expensive watches and rings at home. 

Mexico is safe to visit so long as you stay out of trouble, take precautions, don’t buy drugs, and ladies do not allow men to buy you a cocktail, and I don’t care how cute he is.  BUY YOUR OWN COCKTAILS!

You can stop asking why Cabo San Lucas is so dangerous.

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Travel Guide

ADDITIONAL ARTICLES

Mexico vs. Costa Rica Which is Safer

Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico

Best Luxury Resorts in Los Cabos

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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for this fantastic article. I have not been able to find current detailed information that you have provided here. I was specifically looking for opinions for renting a car while in Cabo but found additional very helpful information as well.
    As far as car rental goes, we are planning to stay in San Jose del Cabo the night before and the night after our 5 night all inclusive stay in Cabo San Lucas. I have found we can rent a car for less than the cost of hired transportation, especially staying at multiple locations. I am still on the fence about renting the car due to safety concerns, but sounds like as long we stay on the main roads during the day we should not have any issues???

    1. Cabo is extremely safe. I normally rent a car but this last time I decided to hire a private driver due to COVID and my life is forever changed. I am never renting a car again. It was just so much easier

  2. So many helpful suggestions and advice. Thank you for compiling all of this information. We leave for Los Cabos Thursday, and I’m feeling more at ease for sure.

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