Is Cabo San Lucas Safe?
It’s a question I received a lot while I was living in the Los Cabos area and one I think is important to discuss.
Maybe you’re concerned about current Covid restrictions in Cabo San Lucas. Or about the news and statistics that state that Los Cabos is one of the most dangerous places in Mexico.
We’ll look at all of the safety concerns you may have about visiting Cabo San Lucas and I’ll offer some tips for staying safe if you plan to head out and party.
If you want to see other options, check out this article for some of safest places to visit in Mexico.
I have been living in Mexico for over five years now. I spent many of those years living in Mexico City and I moved to Cabo to be somewhere safer, somewhere quieter, somewhere with more of an outdoor lifestyle.
Living in this region of Mexico has brought me a lot of joy and I hope to share why this is such a special (and safe) place for you to live or travel to.
If you are interested in traveling to other parts of Mexico, check out my safety guides to those locations as well.
A Brief History of Crime in Cabo San Lucas
About 10 years ago, Cabo San Lucas and indeed much of the municipality of Los Cabos (read about the difference between Cabo and Los Cabos here), was something of a cartel battleground.
In the 1990’s, the municipality had something like 3,000 residents and today there are nearly 300,000.
This growth brought with it many growing pains. Including which cartel would get to provide all of these people’s desires for illegal drugs. The conflicts were almost entirely between the battling cartels and despite the growing number of violence in the city, tourists were almost completely unaware because nothing was happening around the tourist area.
However, the locals of San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas had had enough. They wanted their cities back. They marched through the plaza of San Jose del Cabo. The people demanded that the government do something to make their home safer And it worked.
If you’re interested in learning more about this, I highly recommend taking this tour with Cabo City Tour which is in San Jose del Cabo (about 25 minutes from Cabo San Lucas). I made an entire video about it on my YouTube channel which you can watch here.
Kristian, the owner and main tour guide is so knowledgeable and shares some really fascinating insight into how Los Cabos turned its image around and became a safe and magical place for both domestic and foreign tourism.
Is it Safe to Travel to Cabo San Lucas?
According to the US State Department Website, visitors to Baja California Sur (the state in which you find Cabo San Lucas, not to be confused with Baja California) should exercise increased caution when traveling there due to crime.
As someone who has been living in this area for nearly a year (and in Mexico City before that for four years), I think it’s important to know that there are some small risks, but not to let it damper plans for your trip.
Crime does occur here, just as it does in every part of the world. But it is incredibly unlikely to occur in the tourist areas of Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo.
The government and tourism sector have worked incredibly hard to ensure that tourists not only feel safe while traveling to Cabo San Lucas but actually are safe while exploring this stunning region of Mexico.
As of January 2024, all covid restrictions in Cabo San Lucas have been lifted.
You do not need to wear masks inside or outside. You do not need to wear masks on public transportation and you do not need to show any proof of vaccination at any stage of your trip to Mexico.
Some restaurants or shops may still hand you some hand sanitizer or have sanitizing mats when you enter, but these are incredibly rare at this point.
Is it Safe to Travel to Cabo Right Now in 2024?
Since the end of 2022, reports of Covid-19 risk have remained very low.
The area itself is also incredibly safe in general when it comes to travel in Cabo San Lucas and the surrounding areas.
Whether you want to drive between Cabo and San Jose del Cabo or you want to road trip to Todos Santos or over to the East Cape, there are almost no security risks other than wandering cows and other drivers.
I tend to joke that your biggest risk when visiting Cabo San Lucas is a hangover.
That being said, of course, you always want to take precautions if you leave the tourist areas when it comes to general pickpockets. But I lived in this region for six months and I have lived in different parts of Mexico for over five years. Cabo San Lucas is a perfectly safe place to vacation in 2024.
How to Keep Up-to-Date with Safety in Cabo San Lucas
If you are planning a trip for later in the year and want to keep up to date with all of the safety issues that could arise as it gets closer to your vacation date, be sure to sign up for my monthly Mexico newsletter here.
In the newsletter, I keep readers up to date with any changes in safety and any reports of incidents that have happened around the country. I also discuss weather shifts like impending hurricanes or damage from recent earthquakes (which is not really a concern for Cabo San Lucas!).
The newsletter is also a great resource for exploring all of the wonderful things there are to see and do around Mexico. Sign up here.
Tips for Staying Safe When Traveling to Cabo San Lucas
If you are visiting Cabo San Lucas for the first time or even more excitingly, Mexico for the first time, you may have some concerns about safety.
When I told family and friends that I was moving to Mexico in 2016, most of them were terrified for me. They thought it was a dangerous country and I was going to certainly get myself kidnapped.
Of course, this does happen in Mexico.
However, it is incredibly unlikely to happen to you unless you decide to go looking for trouble.
You’re far more likely to deal with problems like sunburn, jellyfish, and perhaps a doozy of a hangover (have I mentioned there are some great bars and restaurants in Cabo San Lucas?).
Here are some tips for staying safe in Cabo San Lucas:
- Avoid drugs at all costs. There are some people who may try to sell them to you at a club, by the beach, in an empty plaza. Always say no.
- Don’t travel with too much cash at any given time. While it is pretty safe around the tourist zone, there are always opportunists who know there are rich Americans and Canadians wandering around Cabo. Pickpocketing can happen. But there are police everywhere, so it’s rare. There is no reason you need to carry around hundreds of dollars with you. I usually keep one credit card on me and leave the rest in the safe of my hotel room. Then I take about $50 worth of Pesos with me, that’s about 1,000 Pesos. Everywhere in Cabo takes credit cards, so you don’t really need to carry much cash with you. A card like the Chase Sapphire gives you lots of points AND doesn’t charge you when spending in foreign currencies. Read more about handling money in Mexico here.
- Don’t drive at night. This is just a general tip for driving in Mexico, but if you plan to rent a car in Cabo and want to take any day trips, always drive during the day. The biggest safety reason for this is that Baja California Sur is open pasture land. This means that farmers take their cattle out to graze wherever they want. That could be the side of the road in San Jose del Cabo. It could be along the highway on the way to Todos Santos. There are no street lights on the highway. So it would be impossible to see them at night before it’s too late.
- Keep up to date about Travel Restrictions. It’s always good to check the latest information from the US State Department before you plan your trip to Cabo San Lucas. Things can change quickly in Mexico.
- Know that most people here are incredibly nice and can help with any questions you have. Cabo San Lucas is a melting pot. Thanks to the booming tourism trade here, people from all over Mexico live here. You’ll meet people from Acapulco. There are a lot of people from Mazatlan. Lots of people from Mexico City and Chihuahua have moved here. It’s safe for them to raise their families and the money in tourism here is excellent. People are here because they want to be. They are happy to help tourists however they can.
Travel Tips for Visiting Cabo San Lucas
I lived in neighboring San Jose del Cabo for several months. I visited Cabo San Lucas a lot. It’s a short bus ride between the two cities and well worth exploring both.
I have a lot of articles on the blog about Cabo San Lucas which you can find here.
I also made a TON of YouTube videos during my time in Baja California Sur. You can watch them from the beginning here.
I spent so much time in this beautiful state and fell in love with it so much, I even wrote a guidebook! You can purchase a digital copy of that here or head over to Amazon to purchase it as a paperback here.