Ok...so that is a bit of an exaggeration! The idea that Cabo's streets are in any way 'mean' is ludicrous. But as the photo proves, you never know quite what you will run into!
There are some basics that you should pay attention to when you visit any foreign country and Los Cabos, Mexico is no different. Here are some streetsmart guidelines that you should follow.
On the streets.
The Cabo streets are interesting to say the least and all life is there, almost 24/7. It is not uncommon when walking back from a nightclub after partying all night to see joggers out running the marina just before dawn. You can be getting up to go fishing and see hordes of Mexicans packing out the taco stands on their way home from work.
In Downtown you are rarely alone, and that, by and large, is a good thing because there are normally other folks around.
Incidences of street crime, whilst not unknown, are so rare that they scarcely bear mentioning here.
Use common sense: Avoid walking in unlighted streets; just take enough cash for your night out and leave credit cards etc. in your hotel; don’t flaunt expensive jewellery in unfamiliar surroundings. Pretty much what you would do in almost every North American city you were visiting for the first time in fact!
Mexicans have a reputation of being aggressive drivers, however, in Cabo at least, you will find most are extremely courteous and will happily wave you on at junctions. They do, of course, expect the same courtesy from you in return. They do require you to be decisive however so don’t hang about - when you commit: commit!
Driving at night outside of the city is widely recognized as something to avoid if at all possible. This is not due to gangs of banditos setting up roadblocks to rape and kill, but because stray cows and other farm animals tend to be attracted to a nice warm stretch of asphalt as a place on which to sleep. And of course there’s also always the question of how sober the other guy coming at you might be. Drinking and driving is a common curse in the area so be aware.
Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way. It’s important to recognize this and wait for large breaks in traffic before crossing a street, however as already stated, most Mexican drivers will politely stop and wave you across if they see you standing there.
Sidewalks in Cabo are really a work-in-progress. You will find them at all heights and widths and in all states of repair. It has been said that the sidewalks are the most dangerous thing in the town.
You should know that in Mexico, a person is liable for their own mistakes! So forget about suing for falling over and breaking an ankle – no one will take your case. Watch our step, particularly after Happy Hour!
The water treatment systems in San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas produce water that meets most standards for purity and cleanliness. However, those ratings are for water as it leaves the plant…the pipes in-between the plant and your accommodation may be old and unhygienic.
Everyone drinks only bottled water, and restaurants universally serve purified water from the standard 5-gallon (18 liters) containers. Ice is delivered from an ice company that uses purified water as well so that scotch on the rocks is safe. Bottled water is also available at every grocery store, from the largest to the tiniest, in ½, 1, and 1-1/2 liter bottles. Stick to bottled water, you can’t go wrong.
Eating out in Cabo is a fabulous experience, however people can and do get sick. It is a hot country which is a challenge to hygiene anyway, and in summer in particular there is a lot of dust blowing around. Despite everyone’s best endeavors, it is possible to get Montezuma’s Revenge and have a day or two of misery.
Look out for basic conditions of cleanliness before eating at street carts. Watch to see that the hands that handle the money are covered in plastic gloves or bags, or that the person handling the money is not handling food. Many guide sites advise against eating from the food carts on the basis of health and sanitation reasons, but in our experience provided you are sensible then it is safe enough. All the carts are regularly inspected for sanitation, and carts serving poor quality food don’t stay in business long. There are a few things you might want to do if you’re concerned. First of all, don’t be first in line when the stand opens as you could get last nights leftovers! Second, only eat at stands or carts that are busy, preferably with locals, as they are selling a lot of food and the ingredients will therefore be fresh. Finally, squeeze some lime (“limon”) on your food before eating it (every cart has limes; the juice is a natural anti-bacterial, and adds a flavorful ‘zing’ to your food).
Mexicans love chili and they’re used to it, but you are probably not. Go easy on the salsas, at least for starters, and also because some people think that old salsa is a major cause of stomach upset. Ask for your food “no picante” (not spicy”) or with “salsa a lado” (salsa on the side).
If you do get sick, best advice is to eat nothing for a day, drink lots of water (with electrolytes if you can get them from the pharmacy) and take Imodium. It will likely last 24-48 hours and then you’ll be fine. If it lasts longer then seek medical assistance, just in case.
You’re on holiday and Cabo is a party-town…of course you’re gonna have a drink! Everyone who comes to Cabo parties too much at least once and the sunglasses you see being worn in the morning are not always because of the sun!
If you do hit the tequila a little too hard, water and a day off the booze is the sensible way back to sanity…but then…you can always have a hair of the dog and party-on!