Traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico presents unique safety considerations. Despite recent news about Acapulco and broad travel advisories, specific local insights reveal a nuanced safety landscape, particularly in tourist-favored Los Cabos. Yes, Cabo San Lucas is safe to visit!

Is Los Cabos Safe?

It’s important to clarify that Acapulco, located in Guerrero state, is not the same as Los Cabos, which is in Baja California Sur. Los Cabos is considered safe for travelers and doesn’t have any travel warnings from the US State Department.

Recently, authorities found 10 bodies scattered around Acapulco, a city that was once popular among the wealthy but has faced violence linked to organized crime in the past decade. Unfortunately, this violence has made Acapulco one of the world’s most dangerous cities. Additionally, the city is still recovering from the devastation caused by Category 5 Hurricane Otis in October, which resulted in at least 52 deaths and severe damage to many hotels.

On May 15th, 2024 it was reported that in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas resulted in the deaths of at least 11 individuals. According to reports from local media, among the casualties are two nuns and a teenager. The violence in the region stems from disputes between the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) over territorial control. Later that week additional murders happened in Acapulco, on the mainland on the Pacific Coast. 

Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, is heavily affected by drug trafficking, resulting in a high number of murders. In 2023 alone, there were 1,890 murders in the state due to disputes between cartels. Because of this ongoing violence, the US State Department advises Americans to completely avoid Guerrero, along with five other states in Mexico, citing concerns about crime and safety.

Key Takeaways:

  • Los Cabos is generally safer compared to all other states in Mexico.
  • Specific government advisories should be considered but contextualized to local conditions.
  • Comprehensive safety measures, including private security options, are advisable for optimal safety.

How safe is it to travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico?

Cabo San Lucas, located in the Baja California Sur region, is considerably safer than many other parts of Mexico. The local government prioritizes security, particularly in tourist areas, resulting in lower crime rates compared with national averages. Travel advisories exist but should be tailored to the specific contexts of Los Cabos.

Safety while traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico is an interesting discussion – you’ve likely heard or seen travel advisories that say things like “avoid all but essential travel to Mexico” or some other kind of similar notice.

And these notices do make sense to an extent, as the purpose of travel advice is usually to help people stay safe overall. So, sending out advisories with blanket statements that could help a large number of tourists all at once works, at least from the perspective of government travel agencies.

But when it comes to Los Cabos itself, the area is generally much safer than Mexico as a whole, overall. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how one of these general safety advisories could be missing some key details and a lot of context that isn’t possible to include when discussing the safety of an entire country.

How safe is Cabo San Lucas?

So, is Los Cabos safe or not?

Overall, the threat of crime and violence in Baja California Sur – specifically Cabo San Lucas – is much lower than the rest of Mexico. With that being said, as the region continues to grow commercially with no signs of slowing down, it’s always a good idea to prioritize your safety during your Cabo trip. [ Read US State Department Advisory on Traveling to Mexico ]

Mexico is unfortunately infamous for some kinds of violent crime, but most of the time this is relegated to organized crime – meaning, if you don’t personally involve yourself in shady activities, you will almost certainly have no issues while traveling here. In fact, Los Cabos is considered one of the best Honeymoon locations in the United States in 2024.

Crime in Cabo San Lucas against tourists usually includes things like robberies; drug cartels and other organizations are not targeting tourists, so you shouldn’t worry about that unless you’re making terrible decisions.

If you end up diving into the paper we’ve linked above, the main idea you’ll come across is that when tourists are victims of violent crime, it’s usually due to unlucky circumstances – wrong place, wrong time. Again, this is because most Cabo crime occurs between organized factions.

Travel advisories for the Baja California Peninsula

Cabo Airport Private Transportation

Although Cabo is a safe place to visit for your vacation, many governments around the world have issued blanket statement travel advisories for the country of Mexico. This means that despite its laid-back vibe, Los Cabos is included in these announcements. For example:

And while you should pay attention to these statements and maybe consider picking up some travel insurance, the reality is that anywhere you travel is going to include some degree of danger – it’s simply not possible to travel to a country you aren’t familiar with, and be completely insulated from this.

Mexico travel warnings can be interpreted quite differently for areas like Cabo San Lucas compared to a place like Mexico City; both of these areas operate under their own local government, and react to travel restrictions and notices according to their own needs.

Police and soldiers are common in Cabo San Lucas

Los Cabos is an important economic hub for tourism in Baja California Sur, and for this reason, the government of Mexico has deployed military members to the region for protection for over a decade now.

While hanging out in Cabo San Lucas, it’s not an uncommon sight to see an individual or group of soldiers and police patrolling or standing guard at high-traffic areas like beaches, nightclubs, or hotels and resorts. Often armed with military-grade rifles, Cabo’s security force is considered by many who live there to be slightly unnecessary – either way, this constant protective presence means you won’t have much to worry about if you avoid spending lots of time at seedy locations.

Of course, not every police officer is honest. While guards and officers are stationed there to protect this highly popular tourist destination, you’ll want to exercise caution while interacting with them similar to how you would in any other country. The government of Mexico recently extended the presence of these security forces to keep Cabo San Lucas safe into the near future – you can expect them to stick around until about 2028.

How commonly is English spoken in Los Cabos?

Not every local (or tourist) you come across will speak perfect English, but overall Cabo is known for being an easy place to get by when speaking English only, or very basic Spanish. Not only are there plenty of expats and English-speaking natives who live and run businesses in Cabo San Lucas, but most locals who work and party there are also highly proficient in the language.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that booking a vacation to another country without making any attempt to learn the language presents a few problems. While you’ll most certainly enjoy your stay in Los Cabos either way, having a basic grasp of Spanish will allow you to immerse yourself in the local culture and make local friends much easier.

Aside from that, it’s simply just a bit rude to make zero attempts to learn Spanish before traveling there.

Is it safe to drive in Cabo San Lucas?

Driving in Los Cabos can be a bit tricky. First of all, services like Uber should be avoided – not only are they unregulated, but they can be a source of danger or theft if you happen to be unlucky.

With that in mind, you should make it a priority to book with a Cabo transportation service like ours to avoid any funny business. Relying on a licensed driver while in the area will eliminate a major source of stress for many travelers as the roads will be unfamiliar, driving laws are different, and the surrounding area in general sometimes has poorly maintained roads.

For example, say you want to visit downtown San Jose del Cabo for a quieter dinner or some great golf. In the East Cape Baja to spend some time snorkeling or hiking in Cabo Pulmo. Or maybe you want to take a day trip to Todos Santos to surf some waves and check out some beach clubs. If you like kite surfing and a small, old-town feel, head up to La Ventana where it’s very safe and you’ll get a taste of old-time Los Cabos! 

Either way, these fun activities (which are definitely worth it) require you to drive a good distance, and many of the roads on the eastern part of Baja California Sur are dirt – so it can sometimes be hard to figure this out even with Google Maps; hiring a local driver simplifies this.

Book With SJD Taxi: Downtown Cabo Shuttle Service

Is it safe to eat food and drink water in Cabo San Lucas?

Bottled Water in MexicoFood safety while traveling is something that some people forget about. In general, you should always avoid drinking tap water in Mexico while visiting – bottled water is preferred by most locals as well. If you plan to visit Cabo San Lucas, being aware of the issues with tap water is essential.

Doing your laundry or dishes and taking showers with this water is okay, but drinking it has a high possibility of exposing you to microorganisms or pollutants that could leave you strapped to your toilet for days at a time. Aside from tap water, generally, the water you’ll be served at hotels and resorts has been purified and filtered, but it’s a good idea to ask as well.

In terms of food, you’ll have to exercise a good amount of caution but this will largely depend on where you are and what kind of meal it is. You’ll mainly want to avoid eating lots of fried food, food that may have been washed with tap water (like salads), or anything that looks like it’s going to upset your stomach.

Hiring vacation chaperons and security in Cabo San Lucas

Chaperone Service in Los CabosIf you travel to Cabo San Lucas, you do have the option of hiring security guards and chaperons in Los Cabos for your protection. Whether you’re a worried parent trying to keep your kiddo safe during spring break or someone who simply wants peace of mind while traveling – there are a number of specialty services to choose from, including:

  • Bodyguards and security for bachelor and birthday parties
  • Chaperons for young adults partying during spring break
  • Armed protection for your villa or home while visiting
  • Airport transfers and protection while shopping and dining
  • Kidnapping prevention and rescue (hopefully never needed)

Not everyone is going to want this kind of protection, but high-profile visitors and those who need a bit of an edge should definitely explore some of these options. Navigating the Cabo area safely can be confusing, especially if you’re here for business and traveling around off the beaten path.

Cabo Security Chaperone

Is Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo safer?

In terms of where you should stay if you want to maximize your safety, you’ll want to stick to the tourist-heavy downtown locations. Safety in numbers is a real thing while traveling, and sticking to popular downtown Cabo San Lucas hotels of famous restaurants like Taco’s Gardenias is a good idea.

There’s also San Jose del Cabo: this area – connected to Los Cabos by a tourist corridor – is a more low-key version of Cabo itself. If you aren’t keen on partying or doing the whole tourist thing every day, you could consider staying there.

Just a short drive from Los Cabos, the city of San Jose del Cabo is still lively but much quieter and can serve as a home base for those who would prefer to drive to Cabo for weekend parties and such.

General tips for staying safe during your Cabo vacation

To summarize what we’ve discussed, stick to this short list of simple rules we’ve put together covering Cabo San Lucas safety:

  • Avoid all recreational drugs in Cabo San Lucas – it’s simply not worth it in any circumstance!
  • Keep your drinks safe and covered among friends or family; don’t leave your drinks or food alone with strangers, and refuse free offers from people you don’t know
  • Try not to wear expensive jewelry or flash around lots of cash or expensive tech
  • Walking around Cabo San Lucas during the day is generally safe, especially in tourist areas
  • Don’t walk back to your hotel or resort alone or late at night – this is an invitation for trouble, especially if you’re traveling through areas with poor lighting
  • Keep all your important documents like passports safely stored in your room; consider using an in-room safety box or stashing them in protective luggage and bags
  • Avoid Uber in Cabo, as it’s not regulated in the area – instead, book your rides with a reputable shuttle service like SJD Taxi’s
  • If you’re worried, stick to the tourist corridor of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – these are the safest areas filled with travelers
  • Hire a guide for any day trip excursions – as locals know the area best

YES, Cabo Is Safe!

Cabo San Lucas is one of the top spots to check out when traveling around the state of Baja California SUR. The government of Mexico has made it clear that keeping Cabo San Lucas safe is a priority for them, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise increased caution or make smart decisions while touring the Baja California Peninsula.

Whether your staying in downtown Cabo San Lucas or taking a day trip over to San Jose del Cabo, remember to keep your wits about you and hang out near your hotel room or the tourist corridor if you feel unsafe.