General Questions & Information
Some are, some are not. You may have been warned by a friend to never swim when you are in Cabo, however, this is not entirely true. Yes, some of the beaches in Cabo carry high recommendations that you do not swim due to the steep drop offs, unpredictable wave breaks, and strong undertows. Please keep yourself aware of your surroundings and obey all signs and official notices. The beaches that we recommend as swimmable for most of the year are Medano, Chileno, Santa Maria, Palmilla, Costa Azul, and Lovers Beach. Here is a link to our blog on some of the beaches in Cabo:
Surprisingly, yes. The water in Cabo comes from the ocean and runs through a special desalination and filtration process. With that said, we still don’t recommend drinking straight from the tap. Many of us don’t drink from the tap when we travel to Los Angeles, NY Ontario or Vancouver….. Many of our villas come with purification systems, which are 100% safe to drink and save your hair from the hard treatment which is normally part of city water. There is also bottled water at every store, mini-mart, and gas station. Ask us about our ‘reducing plastic waste, clean water’ program.
Many people claim the weather here is perfect! Cabo weather experiences between 300 to 350 days of sunshine and about 5-10 days of rain per year. During the winter months, you can expect temperatures around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer, it will be around 90-100 degrees Fahrenheit. Fall is the tropical storm season, but still remains at 75+ degrees every day. And in the spring, it ranges between 70 and 90 degrees. Cabo Hurricane season begins moderately in July and tapers off in October.
Not at all. If you spend most of your time around the marina, downtown, or by the beaches, most people speak English. When you get out of the tourist areas, you will find less and less people speak English, so be aware. While you don’t need to speak Spanish, it is a good idea to know a few common phrases and is always nice to greet and thank people in their language. See some common phrases and words at the end of the FAQs. If you want to learn a few phrases or need a quick review, we recommend the app Duolingo. It is very comprehensive, easy to use and free. They also have a great podcast you can download to your smartphone and listen on the plane.
18 is the legal drinking age in Cabo and in Mexico. Keep in mind, it is still illegal to drink and drive so please take a taxi or Uber anytime you are drinking! That way, you can stay safe while enjoying Cabo to the fullest. As it is legal to walk with open containers in Cabo, we recommend limiting this as much as possible. Always be aware of your surroundings and try not to bring extra attention to yourself, just like in any thriving city.
It is not necessary to exchange all of your cash for pesos. Dollars are accepted pretty much everywhere; however, you will usually get your change in pesos. We do recommend having some pesos on hand because businesses can use any exchange rate they want, thus making the U.S. dollar worth less at some places. Always ask your server, “What is the rate of exchange? – Cual es el tipo de cambio?” Also, always make sure to charge your credit card in pesos. Your credit card company will give you a preferable exchange rate, when compared to your hotel/restaurant.
If you’re local bank does currency exchange, do it there. It will be the easiest process for you and banks will use the true daily exchange rate, meaning you are getting the best possible rate. Check with your bank as they will most likely ask for advanced notice to prepare enough pesos for you. DO NOT use exchanges at the airport in Cabo. You will receive the worst possible exchange rate here. If you do not find a good place to exchange dollars for pesos, you are better off just using cash at stores and getting the change in pesos.
First thing you should do is contact your bank or credit card company to inquire about whether your card incurs international transaction fees or not. If it does, cash is always better. If your cards have no international fees, then using a credit card is a fine option. Most places accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, however there are still some places that are cash only (“Solo Effectivo”), so it is always a good idea to have at least some cash or pesos on hand. Ask your bank or credit card company to activate transaction alerts so you know you are getting charged the correct amount at the time of the purchase.
Yes, there are plenty of ATM’s in and around Cabo. There are ATM’s at banks, stores, the marina, streets, bars, and more. One thing to keep in mind is that these ATM’s usually charge pretty high fees so it is best practice to either do one transaction or arrive in Cabo with enough cash to last during your vacation. Depending on the ATM, you can either get cash or pesos, and some allow you to withdraw both. We recommend using ATMs in the banks, where you actually walk inside of a building; rather than the free-standing ones you will see around the marina.
In Cabo San Lucas, we have a Costco and a Walmart, which are typically the best options for tourists. These stores have a selection that you will be more accustomed to and they are easier to navigate through and get what you need. Outside of those, there is a Chedraui, La Comer (Mexican Walmart), and Soriana. These stores are still great options and give you a little more of a cultured experience, if that is what you are looking for. If you just need something quick and small such as water or beer, OXXO is the local mini-mart that you will find on just about every corner of Cabo. San Jose Del Cabo has a Walmart, La Comer, Chedraui, and Soriana. Keep in mind that your Personal Concierge will be happy to pre-stock your home with groceries and alcohol upon request.
This really all depends on where you are staying and what you are hoping to do on your vacation. Many of our villas are close to downtown and don’t require a car for much of anything. However, if you are staying out on the East Cape or along the corridor and you plan on traveling into San Lucas every day or possibly multiple times per day, it is not a bad idea. Doing this simply allows you to have more freedom of when and where you go, but there are taxis or Ubers always ready to go. Your Personal Concierge will be happy to arrange taxis, shuttles, or a rental car for you. (As of May, 2019, Uber is available, but it is infrequent and you should prepare for a rather long wait time when ordering one. There is also a small dispute with the Taxi companies and there is a potential of some frustrating remarks made by the local Taxi community).
The main International airport in Los Cabos, “SJD,” is in San Jose Del Cabo. From the airport to Cabo San Lucas, it is roughly 28 miles; we say ‘roughly’ because there are two routes you can take: an inland toll road or along the Sea of Cortez, through the city of San Jose. The toll road is much faster and you don’t have to deal with traffic or stop lights. To get to and from the airport, you can get a taxi/call an Uber upon landing, or you can have your Personal Concierge arrange transportation for you. We have connections with great transportation companies that will meet you curbside at the airport and provide first-class service. The private aviation airport is located in San Lucas. It is called “MMSL” and only services private jets and helicopters. It will take about 15 mins to get from this airport to your luxury villa in Pedregal or anywhere around the Marina. Our team works with several private aviation services providers. Let us know if you need assistance arranging personal aviation.
An easier question to ask is, ‘What isn’t fun to do in Cabo?’ There is a reason that Los Cabos is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. While you’re here, you can: swim, surf, paddleboard, take ATV tours, kite surf, zip line, ride a horse on the beach, ride a camel on the beach, charter yachts, deep-sea fishing, play championship golf, snorkel, scuba dive, relax with luxury spa treatments, take romantic sailing excursions, authentic cooking classes, art and pottery lessons, dance lessons, cigar and tequila classes, party at nightclubs, booze cruise, art and culinary excursions, enjoy a waterpark, and so much more! We are going to be providing new blog posts every month so stay tuned and we’ll make you an expert on Things to do in Cabo.
First things first, if you didn’t already know, Cabo is regarded as one of, if not the best fishing destination in the world. There are a number of fishing tournaments held here each year, including the world-renown, Bisbee’s Black & Blue. Almost all of the chartered fishing boats leave early in the morning, around 6am to 7am. The best time of the year to go fishing is dependent upon what type of fish you are looking for. The good news is there isn’t any point in time where fishing is “bad” here. Every single month is a hot time for certain fish so whenever you’re here, the water will be ready and boats will be fired up. If you are curious about what month is the best to go for certain fish as well as what to expect on a fishing trip, check out our blog post by clicking here. (link blog post here).
The summer months (June – November) are recognized to be one the best times to surf because of the warm water and great waves. Even though summer is technically the best time to surf in Cabo, there is no bad time to surf here. The waves always have crisp breaks and the beaches are always welcoming. For beginners, we recommend Cerritos beach with shallow waters and long surf breaks. For next level, we point our guests towards Zippers in San Jose and Shipwrecks on the East Cape.
While there are certain documents you can bring to enter and return from Mexico without having a passport, it is HIGHLY recommended to travel with a valid passport. This will reduce the possibility of any complications when crossing the border. When you are on your plane, you will receive immigration forms that you are required to fill out for customs. You need to keep the part of the form that they don’t take in order to re-enter the country. If you happen to lose this immigration form, you can purchase a new one at the airport for 550 pesos (~$30). Although it won’t break the bank, the time it takes to get this form is cumbersome and we have heard it costing people a missed flight. If you are driving into Mexico, make sure and stop at the border to get your immigration form.
Local area code in Los Cabos is “624” and the country code for Mexxico is “+52”. From a Mexican Land Line or Cell Phone: - To a Mexican long-distance number: 01 + 3-digit area code + 7-digit number - To a Mexican cell phone number: 3-digit area code + 7-digit number - To a U.S. phone number: 00 + 1 + 3-digit area code + 7-digit number From a U.S. Cell Phone: - To a Mexican land line or cell phone: 011 52 + 3-digit area code + 7-digit number - To a U.S. phone number: 00 + 1 + 3-digit area code + 7-digit number - If you have a U.S. plan that allows you to make free calls in Mexico and use the Mexican cell towers, you can Toll Free Numbers: - To a 1 (800) number: 001 + 880 + phone number - To a 1 (888) number: 001 + 881 + phone number - To a 1 (877) number: 001 + 882 + phone number - To a 1 (866) number: 001 + 883 + phone number - To a 1 (855) number: 001 + 884 + phone number Emergency Numbers: - Emergency Line: 066 or 911 if dialing from a local number - Roadside Assistance: 074 from a local number - Police Department: Cabo San Lucas (624) 143-3977; San Jose (624) 142-0361 - Tourist Police: (624) 143-3977 - U.S. Consulate: (624) 143-3566 - Canadian Consulate: (624) 142-4333 - Hospitals: o Hospiten: Cabo San Lucas (624) 145-6000; San Jose (624) 105-8550 o Baja Medical Response: (624) 144-3434 o Blue Medical Net: Cabo San Lucas (624) 104-3911; San Jose (624) 142-3511 o North American Hospitals & Clinics: (624) 142-2700 o One World Hospital: Cabo San Lucas (624) 143-4911; San Jose (624) 142-5911 o Walk-In Medi Clinic: (624) 130-7011
Hello – Hola Goodbye – Adios Thank you – Gracias You’re Welcome – De nada What – Que Where – Donde When – Cuando Why – Por que Who – Quien Which - Cual Please – Por favor Nice to meet you – Mucho gusto Friend – Amigo Brother/Sister – Hermano/Hermana Wife/Husband – Esposa/Esposo Girlfriend/Boyfriend – Novia/Novio Mr/Sir – Señor Mrs/Ma’m - Señora Do you speak English? – Hablas inglés? I don’t speak Spanish – No hablo español Good morning – Buenos dias Good afternoon – Buenas tardes Good evening/Goodnight – Buenas noches Cheers/Bless You – Salud What is your name? – Como te llamas My name is… – Me llamo… What is this – Que es esto? How much does this cost? – Cuanto cuesta How are you? – Como estas? I am good – Estoy bien Check, please – La cuenta, por favor It was delicious – Estaba delicioso I want… – Yo quiero… I would like… – Quisiera… (more polite) I like/enjoy… – Me gusta… I don’t like… – No me gusta… I am allergic to… – Soy alergico a… Take me to… – llevarme al… I have – Yo tengo I don’t have – No tengo For you – Para ti It’s for me – Es para mi
Real Estate Questions
Owning property in Mexico has never been easier or safer. The Federal Government has outlined a modern, standardized set of rules regarding non-Mexicans owning land in Mexico. These rules are in place to protect ownership rights and encourage the sale of real estate to foreign investors. The key is a safe, established and perpetually renewable Mexican Property Trust called a "Fideicomiso". Within this system, a Mexican banking institution holds fee simple title for the beneficiary of the trust, the foreigner, who has all the rights of a Mexican national in terms of usage, rental, sale, collateralization and modification of the property.
The Mexican government established the trust system as a protection for foreigners interested in owning property in Mexico. As a result of Article 27 of the Mexican constitution, which states, "foreigners cannot own property within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the border and 50 kilometers (30 miles) of the coastline."; the government created a way to bypass these restrictions, which is the establishment of a Trust (Fideicomiso). Through this system, the local bank holds legal title to the property in order to act on the foreigner's behalf. This system assures the foreign buyer all rights and privileges of ownership.
Property tax on Mexican real estate is called “predial”. Compared to the U.S. the cost of the predial is quite reasonable. Paid annually, the average is approximately 0.1% of the assessed value of the residential real estate at the time of sale. If you pay earlier in the year you may receive a discount. And if you are a senior citizen (over 60) and a permanent resident, you qualify for an “Inapam” card. This is a senior discount card that enables you to pay only 50% of the predial tax bill.
There are multiple elements that must be considered when determining ROI. The first question to ask yourself is, ‘how much will I use my own home?’ This becomes a factor of the financial analysis. More importantly, this will also determine where you choose to purchase a home: beachfront, in the mountains, guard-gated community, etc. From there, Cabo Platinum can help determine rental rates, occupancy, marketing strategy and other options that will assist the business plan and long-term expectations.
Prior to the US housing crisis and global market-meltdown of 2007/2008, there were 3 large US-based financing companies that provided long-term mortgages to Buyers in Los Cabos. Just as the climate in the US changed, so did lending in Mexico; the 3 companies closed their doors. Since the re-stabilization of the US market, financing companies have slowly been making their way back to Mexico and playing with the idea of creating an institutional lending operation. Although most home purchases in Los Cabos are completed as cash-deals, there are few financing options available. Considering which is right will be dependent upon an individual’s assets and income as each are very selective. Generally, we recommend searching for an Owner-financing opportunity, where this will grant the Buyer with the best financing terms. Cabo Platinum is constantly scouring the market for new financing options. Check with your Cabo Platinum Real Estate Advisor to see what option works best for you.
Cabo Platinum, of course! From lawn care, to pool maintenance, to vehicle check-ups and more. Our team is a dedicated staff of hospitality-focused, service specific professionals. We are here to take care of your home when you are away. Services can be custom-designed to fit exactly what you need from your Property Management. The following are just a few of the elements that we manage for other owners: • Weekly walk-thru inspection • Monthly & Annual bill-pay • Service-staff management • Re-model oversight and management • Shipping/Receiving and parcel logistics • Home maintenance & Housekeeping