Vacation No-No’s: 16 Things You Shouldn’t Do in Cabo

Are you planning a trip to Cabo? Well, hold your horses! Before you pack your bags and grab your sunscreen, there are a few things you need to know.

We’ve all heard about the things you should do, but what about the things you shouldn’t?

Here are the top 16 vacation no-no’s in Cabo that will save you from embarrassment, awkward situations, and even trouble.

Trust us, you don’t want to be the person who ruins their vacation by making these common mistakes.

1. Avoid using ATMs

Even if you prefer using cards, bring plenty of cash when visiting Mexico and avoid exchanging money beforehand for the best rate.

To ensure more pesos stay in your pocket, it’s wise to separate your cash into multiple places in case you drop it or get pickpocketed.

You can use your US dollars, but be prepared to receive some colorful pesos in change.

Mexican art in Cabo San Lucas Mexico
Mexican art in Cabo San Lucas Mexico

2. Paying Full Price

When visiting Mexico, remember that bargaining is the local language! Not paying full price is a must: it’s part of the game no matter where you’re shopping.

If a vendor tries to sell something at the first price they mention, be courageous and negotiate with them – after all, no good deal comes without a bit of back and forth.

And when in doubt, don’t be afraid to make like an eagle: spread your wings and fly away to find better offers elsewhere!

3. Don’t Forget Sunscreen

If you’re planning a trip to Cabo, the last thing you want is for your vacation photos to feature a lobster-red complexion.

Before indulging in some fun in the sun, don’t forget sunscreen! Packing your own or buying it from the local marketplace are both great options, but avoid purchasing it from hotels and touristy areas, as the prices will be marked sky high.

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4. Getting Distracted at the Airport

Landing in Cabo can be exciting, but don’t let the thrill of arriving distract you from your goal: getting to your destination.

From the moment you step off the plane, you will undoubtedly encounter someone trying to sell you all sorts of things – timeshares, rental cars, tour excursions. Whatever it is, beware – they won’t take no for an answer!

If you want to avoid being caught off guard during this most crucial part of your vacation journey, stay strong and don’t get roped into any sales banter.

A polite shake of the head should be enough to get them on their way, and hopefully keep them from wasting your hard-earned vacation time!

Cabo Real Golf Course Ocean View
Ocean View Photo of Cabo Real Golf Course by Jeff Shewan

5. Missing the Chance to Play Golf

One of the biggest blunders in Cabo San Lucas is not taking advantage of some prime golfing time.

The courses here are plentiful and perfect for beginners and advanced players alike. Take, for example, Cabo Real Golf Club or Cabo Del Sol – both offering a variety of greens and challenges that make it worth your time.

So don’t miss the chance to sink some holes outside (and maybe even meet a famous golfer), you won’t regret it!

6. Research Before Booking Tours

Don’t set yourself up for a robbery full of regret by trusting any shady companies offering convenient, cheap tours.

Investigate companies online, read reviews and even take a peek at YouTube videos from past travelers.

After researching what’s good out there, pre-book your tours online or over the phone as soon as possible. Our favorite place to book excursions is Viator.com.

When you finally arrive in Cabo San Lucas, bring along confirmation for all your bookings just in case anything fishy goes down!

No one likes an unexpected surprise when vacationing, so do your research beforehand to save yourself from negative experiences down the road.

7. Don’t Drink Tap Water

One thing you don’t want ruining your vacay is an upset stomach after drinking the tap water – definitely one of the top things not to do in Cabo!

Thankfully, it’s easy enough to avoid this uncomfortable experience as bottled water is everywhere; from resorts to restaurants and stores.

Generally, anywhere with heavy tourist traffic, like beach clubs and bars, has safe ice in their beverages, so feel free to order that mojito or margarita.

All-in-all, it’s best to keep clear of the tap; your stomach will thank you later.

US Passports with airline tickets
US Passports with airline tickets

8. Keep Your Passport Safe

When it comes to passports, it’s best to keep them tucked away in a safe location.

After all, despite how much fun you’re having, eventually, that precious document will help ensure an easy journey back home.

So while the nightlife may be calling your name, don’t get too wild and lose track of something you can’t replace easily – your passport!

TIP: Make photo copies of your passport, should the unthinkable happen. 

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9. Book Transportation in Advance

When you plan a trip to Cabo, it’s important to remember to book your transportation in advance.

Taking an offer from someone approaching you at the airport might seem like a helpful solution, but it can easily become a nightmare.

Your safest bet is to arrange your ride with your resort or use an established company in the area – that way, you won’t have to worry and can just focus on enjoying your trip.

10. Falling for Scams

Cabo San Lucas is a popular tourist destination, but unfortunately, it’s also a hotspot for scammers and fraudsters.

Don’t be fooled by offers that seem too good to be true, like free tours or heavily discounted activities. Always do your research and book through reputable companies.

If someone approaches you on the street with an offer, be skeptical and use your common sense. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

11. Don’t Rent a Car

Sure, you can rent a car if you want an adventure, but why make things difficult for yourself?

With its tourist traffic and unfamiliar roads, it’s easy to get turned around or stuck in a mini jam of your own.

Play it safe: get someone else to take the wheel and let your driver escort you from place to place with ease. No unwanted adventures here!

12. Leaving Your Belongings Unattended

Cabo San Lucas is a relatively safe place, but like any tourist destination, it can attract pickpockets and thieves.

Don’t make it easy for them by leaving your belongings unattended on the beach or in public areas.

Keep your valuables with you at all times, or use a locker or safe if available.

It only takes a few seconds for someone to snatch them up and disappear into the crowd.

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13. Swimming in Areas with Strong Currents

Swimming in Cabo San Lucas? Sounds like a great idea, on the surface – but don’t jump into that ocean just yet!

The Pacific side of Cabo may look inviting, but those hazardous waves and undercurrents definitely aren’t.

Save yourself some headaches and take your swimming to another beach – Medano, Santa Maria or Chileno are all known for their calm waters and safe swimming in Cabo.

Don’t be tempted by the adventure you might find out in the open waves, let’s keep it safe and stay near the shore.

famous arch in cabo san lucas sp
famous arch in cabo san lucas

14. Don’t Buy Without a Prescription

In Cabo, the lure of pharmaceuticals for sale without a prescription can be tempting, but don’t go down that road!

It’s illegal, and your holiday could end with it including an uncomfortable encounter with local law enforcement.

If you think that awesome deal you got on a name-brand medication at one of the popular Farmacias is too good to be true – it probably is!

15. Don’t Wear Anything Flashy

If you’re planning a trip to Cabo, you might want to leave your bling at home. As a tourist, it’s best not to wear anything flashy.

We know, you want to look fabulous in all those vacation photos, but trust us on this one.

Flashy jewelry and designer clothes can attract unwanted attention and make you a target for pickpockets. Plus, you don’t want to be that person who sticks out like a sore thumb.

Embrace the casual beach vibe and opt for comfy clothes and simple accessories.

Hey, who needs diamonds when you’ve got sand between your toes?

16. Time Your Souvenir Shopping Right

Planning to re-stock your souvenir collection? Make sure you stay away from the shops when cruise ships are in port, otherwise be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for those spur-of-the-moment trinkets.

Instead, take a chance at bargaining during other days of the week. With any luck, you may find some unique pieces that can’t be found anywhere else – all at a much more reasonable price!