Random Things You Should Know
I have compiled the answers to the most frequent questions I get asked. Read here for random things you should know!
The number 1 random thing you should know is tipping in Cabo San Lucas is expected when good service is provided to you, especially in places where you sit down and receive table service. Taxis, Uber, excursions, and massages, to mention a few, all “expect” a good tip. An average tip in Cabo is generally 10-20% of the total bill. Suppose you encounter subpar service, tip closer to 10%. Likewise, if you experience excellent service, a 15 – 20% tip is encouraged.
If you rent a car and get gas, you should tip the person who pumps your gas about 5 or 10 pesos. If you go to the grocery store and someone bags your groceries, you should tip them about the same depending on how much shopping they bagged up.
Do you need to know Spanish?
English is spoken more in Cabo San Lucas than I expected. Most people at the airport, hotels, or resorts will speak moderate to excellent English. Every restaurant will have serving staff who speaks English, there are plenty of tour guides, and even most vendors around downtown speak English usually, very well.
After saying all this, no, you don’t need to know Spanish if you plan a vacation in and around Baja California Sur. I encourage you to learn and use the most common phrases, hola, gracias, buen dia, to name a few. Locals are very proud of their culture, not unlike how we feel about our homeland. They will be happy to offer assistance in conversations, especially seeing that we are trying to use their language.
If you plan to head off the beaten path a little bit for hiking or exploring smaller towns, you will encounter less English. But even then, there is usually someone who will understand you and be able to help you in broken English.
I have found that most of the staff in places like Walmart, Home Depot, Costco, and grocery stores do not speak English or at least very little and are not comfortable doing so.
The best resource that I still use every day is Google Translate. You can scan printed words for translation, transcribe or use the conversation feature. I would say this app on your phone is a lifesaver. However, you will need Wi-Fi or data to run this. I do touch on cell phone service below.
My quest to be fluent in Spanish is ongoing. I am learning more and more every day but still not conversationally fluent.
Using Your Phone in Mexico
If you are from Canada or the US and have a phone contract, you should call them before coming to Mexico. Your provider should be able to add-on to your phone plan or pay the extended daily fee when needed.
You can still use your phone’s Wi-Fi to get Ubers or look things up if you don’t have data. Most restaurants will have this available for your use as a guest. Be careful not to rack up roaming fees!
Getting a SIM Card in Mexico: If you’re going to be in Los Cabos or traveling around the country for an extended period, you may want to consider getting a pay-as-you-go SIM card to use while you’re here.
TELCEL is the best provider in Mexico. You can pick up a SIM at Oxxo anytime, which is super easy.
Just make sure that they activate it. Top it up with 200 Pesos, and you will have unlimited use of your phone for 30 days.
Renting a Car in Baja California Sur
While driving in Los Cabos may sound daunting, it’s surprisingly simple and can open up a new side of Cabo to you. While you might wonder if it is safe to drive in Los Cabos, you’ll find it easier than you expect and safer than you would have thought. Multiple rental cars are available at the airport, but if you want to rent for a couple of days during your stay, you can also acquire one in the downtown area or even arrange one through your us if your staying at one of our Vacation Rentals.
Los Cabos has so much to offer outside of your resort. I highly recommend getting out there and enjoying the small towns and beautiful beaches off the beaten path!
Until next time,