Just because the rich-and-famous flock to Cabo San Lucas doesn’t mean it’s not perfect for your vacation—on any budget!
In Part 2 (Check out Part 1 here!), we’re giving you even more tips for how to achieve a cheap Cabo vacation, including:
- Cheap food
- Cheap fun
- Cheap transportation
- Cheap money
One tourist wrote about the food, “Most of the locals in Cabo are not ‘from’ Cabo but born in other states and come here for work (think Vegas). So, there is really not Cabo cuisine but rather dishes brought from other states where people have lived for centuries.”
Food costs more in Cabo because supplies come from the U.S. or by ferry from the mainland, but you can find almost everything you crave at a price you can afford.
1. Ask a local where they eat.
If you don’t want to pay a lot for your meals, don’t eat at tourist-y restaurants.
Here are a few recommendations from our staff:
- Los Claros for fish tacos
- Taqueria El Paisa for meat tacos
- La Mexicana for traditional fonda—fixed menu that comes with a drink, appetizer, main course, and dessert
- Campestre for traditional food with big servings
- La Michelada for pozole on Thursdays. Locals come for the banda music—traditional music from northern Mexico.
2. Drink less or no alcohol.
Opt for a soft drink or water instead of alcoholic drinks—or at least between them. You’ll save some money on cocktails and last longer too!
3. Make a meal.
Hostels and vacation rentals tend to have shared kitchens you can take advantage of to cook your own meal(s). Browse a grocery store for something that looks familiar, or ask an employee for a recommendation!
Remember the waiter, housemaid, bellhop, and tour guide. Good karma is the best deal!
You’re on vacation to have fun, and there’s no reason your budget should hold you back.
5. Take advantage of the Los Cabos Tourism Board.
They can tell you about:
- Free events
- Local fiestas, as well as parties for tourists
- Special offers
6. Bring a discount travel card or voucher.
Buy one online in advance to receive significant savings at participating restaurants and vendors. A voucher is for a particular place, while a card can be used at many different places.
7. Use our 15% discount on adventures and excursions!
Cabo Expeditions offers a 15% discount when you book any tour online.
8. Check out local fiestas.
The intense, often expensive, and tourist-y nightclub scene doesn’t monopolize entertainment in Cabo. See what’s up in the plazas and beach bars!
The Marina is the heart of Cabo San Lucas. It hosts the Circuito Cultural—local artists display their work from noon to about 10 PM, and music and folkloric dance is featured from 6 to 11 PM every Saturday from October through July and once a month in August and September. Check it out on the Marina Boardwalk between the Cultural Pavilion and Baja Cantina.
And, of course, many beach bars like Cabo Wabo™ Cantina offer live music!
9. Go to the Natural History Museum.
Admission is about $1 US! The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM and Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM. Find it on the Plaza Amelia Wilkes in Cabo San Lucas.
10. Take in the culture of San Jose del Cabo.
The town is only a bus ride away from Cabo San Lucas and features beautiful, historic colonial churches and neighborhoods, along with many art galleries.
San Jose del Cabo Church was founded in 1734. Its white bell towers and beautiful interior honor its martyred Jesuit priest. And Thursday night is Art Walk in the Gallery District, where high-end and traditional art are on display.
11. Go birdwatching.
Birdwatching around Los Cabos is phenomenal, especially in San Jose del Cabo Estuary, located less than 20 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. Many bird species find protection here, and it’s free!
Getting around in Cabo doesn’t have to be expensive. You can travel from the beach to your next adventure without working out your wallet.
12. Rent a car.
Did you know: The car insurance company you use at home may also offer deals on car rentals?
While getting yourself around on your own is fun, don’t drive if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The risk isn’t worth it!
13. Take the bus.
Buses (suburcabos) run all day between the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. They cost less than $2.50 (about 28 pesos) per ride and run about every 15 minutes, every day, between 5:30 AM and 10 PM. Catch one in front of the Puerto Paraiso Mall in Cabo San Lucas and on the main highway near Mega supermarket in San Jose del Cabo.
14. Go with Cabo Expeditions.
When you sign up for snorkeling with Cabo Expeditions, we’ll take care of your transportation to the best and safest beaches. And make sure to sign up online to get the discount!
It sounds like an oxymoron, but there are a few things you can do to make your money work for you while in Mexico.
15. Google “CURRENCY:MXN” for today’s exchange rate.
Mexico’s currency is the peso, but the exchange rate fluctuates from day to day and is subject to global financial and political influences. The exchange rate is still favorable to the strong U.S. dollar, but the peso is ticking up from its low of nearly 22 pesos to $1 in January in reaction to the U.S. election. Since then it has made quite a recovery!
U.S. dollars are widely accepted in Cabo, but expect to pay a little more for the convenience of using them.
16. Convert some money before you travel.
Before you leave home, convert a bit of your currency into pesos to carry with you from the airport to your lodging. Use an ATM in a hotel or bank, such as CiBanco, when you need more pesos. Costco is said to offer good rates too.
17. Pay with your card.
Pay for everything you can with a credit card—from booking your flight to souvenir purchases. Not only can you build up points, your issuing bank can resolve any disputes that arise.
18. Use the right credit card.
If you travel a lot, you’ll want one that earns you miles. And choose one that has no foreign exchange fee.
19. Invest in travel insurance.
Well worth it. Do it. You’ve invested your hard-earned money in a vacation. Why risk losing it all if you get sick? Stuff happens.
For more hints for the penny-pinching, adventurous traveler, check out Part 1 of this two-part series. It’s fabulous to have a great time on vacation, but it’s even better to make it affordable!