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Is Cabo Expensive? How Much to Budget For Your Trip

So you’re planning a vacation to Cabo. But you’re wondering: Is Cabo expensive to visit?

Well, you’re right.

Los Cabos is the most expensive holiday destination in Mexico. Heck, it’s expensive compared to many other places around the world!

But don’t let this scare you off.

We’ve been vacationing in (and writing about) Cabo for years. We know quite a few tips and tricks to help save you money.

With a bit of savvy planning, you can find budget-friendly digs plus fun Cabo activities that won’t break the bank – and make Cabo your next dream vacation.

You don’t have to sacrifice style to spend less!

Note: Unless otherwise noted, prices below are in USD.

Land's End in Cabo San Lucas
Who’s keen to go to Cabo?

Why is Cabo so expensive?

Let’s first talk a little about why Cabo San Lucas is expensive.

One: It’s a really popular tourist destination.

Stunning beaches, almost-perfect weather (most times of the year), whales in winter, world-class golf courses, a foodie-worthy restaurant scene and interesting day trips all add up to a slice of paradise that’s on everyone’s bucket list.

And high demand equals high prices.

With beaches like Lover's Beach, no wonder Cabo is a popular vacation destination!
With beaches like Lover’s Beach (above), no wonder Cabo is a popular place to vacation!

Two: Cabo is easy to get to.

If you live on the west coast, it’s barely a hop, skip and a jump. Okay, it’s a little more.

But the flying time from L.A. to Cabo’s main airport (i.e., the Los Cabos International Airport or SJD) is just under 2½ hours. (Alaska Airlines, Delta and American Airlines all have daily or twice-daily direct flights.)

It’s 2 hours and 51 minutes from Dallas to Cabo.

From Atlanta, you can be sipping lime margaritas on the beach in Cabo in less than 4 hours.

Three: Many of Cabo’s resorts and hotels are luxury-oriented.

It costs more to stay at a Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria or Auberge resort (all brands that are in Cabo) than at a Holiday Inn. The costs associated with maintaining these high hotel standards can drive up prices too.

And four: Because of its geographical location at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, much of the food and supplies need to be imported from mainland Mexico and elsewhere.

Still, if you’re coming from a major city like NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Chicago, Cabo San Lucas prices are less than what you’re used to paying back home.

Cabo? Cabo San Lucas? Los Cabos?

If you’re confused about all the different “Cabos,” you’re not alone.

Los Cabos (aka “Cabo”) is the entire legendary resort destination in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur.

It comprises the two towns in the area – Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo – plus the 20-mile Tourist Corridor stretch of coastline that connects the two towns.

The confusing part is that while “Cabo” is used to refer to the whole of Los Cabos, it’s also used as the shorter name for the resort town of Cabo San Lucas.

And sometimes people say “Cabo San Lucas” when they really mean all of Los Cabos.

We’ll try to be clear here. If we mean specifically Cabo San Lucas town, we’ll say so. Otherwise, we’ll use Cabo and Los Cabos interchangeably.

How much is a trip to Cabo for a week?

It’s difficult to come up with an average cost of a Cabo vacation.

The cost can vary wildly depending on many factors, including:

  • Accommodation – whether you go affordable or super splurge
  • Food and drink – whether you eat like a local or at fine dining restaurants
  • Activities and tours – whether you pick budget-friendly group tours or deluxe ones

The following are some rough estimates.

Budget Cabo vacation cost

In general, a budget vacation (excluding airfare) might cost around $1,000 to $1,500 per person for a week (assuming you share hotel costs with your spouse, partner, friend or other person).

This includes a decent hotel room with A/C and a private washroom (we’re not talking no-frills accommodation like hostels), cheap eats and a few activities.

Depending on where you’re coming from and/or if you score a seat sale, you could even squeeze the cost of airfare into your total cost (if the fare is only $200 or $300).

Is Cabo expensive? Yes. But you can enjoy Cabo on a budget.
Sure, Cabo is expensive, but it’s still possible to enjoy a wallet-friendly Mexican getaway here!

Mid-range Cabo vacation cost

For a mid-range experience (excluding airfare), costs might run from $1,500 to $3,500 per person for a week.

This could include a stay at a nice hotel, meals at a mix of different restaurants and some cash for whatever adventures catch your eye (excluding, say, pricey private tours).

Luxury Cabo vacation cost

If you’re going full luxury, expect to pay upwards of $4,000 each for a week (excluding airfare) – or even a lot more. Swank hotels and top-notch dining can really jack up the cost. 

How much money do you need for Cabo?

So how expensive is Cabo exactly? Let’s dive deep into specific vacation prices in Cabo.

Cabo hotel prices

How much does a Cabo trip cost in terms of hotels?

Hotels are the big expense in Cabo.

Average Cabo hotel price

As reported in the Gringo Gazette, the average hotel price in Cabo is $532 a night. (Certainly, when we’ve looked for beautiful beach hotels in Los Cabos, we’ve had a hard time finding ones for less than $500 a night.)

Rooms at the top 5-star hotels like the Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal and One&Only Palmilla (see our One&Only Palmilla review) go for anywhere from $1,500 a night to a stratospheric $3,500 a night.

And if you want a suite or casita with a private pool, butler, space galore and maybe your own screening room (you’re a Hollywood celebrity, right?), the sky’s the limit.

Private pool suite at the Waldorf Astoria Pedregal Los Cabos
Fancy a private pool suite on the beach? (Credit: Waldorf Astoria Pedregal)

Cost of cheap Cabo hotels

That’s not to say you can’t find cheap hotels in Cabo. You can.

You can find pleasant 2-star and 3-star hotels in Cabo for under $100 a night in the shoulder season. (Keep reading for specific hotel suggestions.)

But the average cost in the high season is closer to $150 for a 3-star hotel with a pool and a restaurant.

Average cost of all-inclusive trip to Cabo

As for all-inclusive resorts in Cabo, most start at around $500 a night for 2 people sharing a room.

But we’ve also seen rates at some all-inclusives that start at about $300 a night (more on these specific resorts below).

For a family vacation in Cabo at an all-inclusive resort (with 2 kids under 12 sharing the same room as Mom and Dad), the cost starts at about $400 a night.

Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos
The Hyatt Ziva is an upscale all-inclusive resort in San Jose del Cabo’s hotel zone (Credit: Hyatt Ziva)

Most all-inclusive resorts charge an average of $750 a night per room (for 2 people) in high season.

For example, the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos starts at about $550 a night in high season for 2 people sharing a room.

A junior suite at the Paradisus Los Cabos (one of Cabo’s top adults-only all-inclusive resorts) can be had for about $650 in high season.

Or you can splurge on the ultra-deluxe Grand Velas Los Cabos – about $1,200 a night and worth every penny! (We loved our stay there.)

Then again, at the other end of the price scale, a couple of all-inclusive resorts that we’ve scouted out can be had for a wallet-friendly $330 a night per couple in high season.

Cabo food prices

Accommodation apart, the cost of living in Cabo is less than what it costs to live in the United States or Canada. So grocery prices are less.

If you’re staying in a place with a kitchen, your grocery bills could be at least 25% less.

Cabo restaurant prices

On average, you’re looking at around $15 to $25 for an entrée when eating out at a restaurant in Cabo.

Steak and lobster always cost more. Expect to drop $40 to $50 for a good steak or lobster dinner.

Then if you add an appetizer, drinks and possibly dessert, you’re looking at anywhere from $100 to $200 and upwards for dinner for 2 people.

Mexican dishes are typically the least expensive.

And who can resist a great taco! Modern fish tacos originated in the Baja area.

Shrimp tacos in Cabo
Yumm! The shrimp tacos in Cabo are our fave

You can find some of the best tacos in Cabo at:

  • Gardenias: Clean open-air taqueria, where mouthwatering shrimp tacos go for about $3 USD each
  • Las Guacamayas: Small spot specializing in tacos al pastor (tacos made with shaved pork from a rotating spit, pineapples and onions)
  • La Lupito Taco & Mezcal: Trendy eatery serving delicious hibiscus mezcalitas and over 25 types of creative tacos, like tacos made with breaded scallops, mint and chipotle mayo; popular with tourists, La Lupito’s prices are higher, e.g., dinner for 2 with drinks costs about $100

Cabo transportation prices

Cabo taxi prices

While taxis (typically vans) are convenient, they’re an expensive way of getting around Cabo.

You’ll pay a minimum of $80 for a taxi from the airport to Cabo San Lucas for up to 4 passengers. Each additional passenger costs $20 p.p.

A cab ride between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo costs between $60 and $70.

If you just want to go from your Cabo San Lucas hotel to a restaurant in town, that’ll set you back somewhere between $15 and $20.

A blue taxi van in Cabo
A taxi in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo airport transfer prices

We suggest pre-arranging your transportation from the Los Cabos airport with one of the reputable airport shuttle services in Cabo San Lucas.

That’s what we do.

The vehicles used are usually a van or large SUV like a Suburban.

Prices vary, depending on the location of your accommodation.

San Jose del Cabo is closest to the airport, so these transfers are the least expensive. Transfers to hotels on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo San Lucas are the most expensive (these hotels are the furthest away from the airport).

You can opt for a private or semi-private transfer.

Shared transfers – where you share with another couple or small group arriving at the airport at the same time – range from $18.50 to $25 a person for transportation to Cabo San Lucas hotels.

A private shuttle – which takes just you and your traveling companions – ranges from $80 to $150 to Cabo San Lucas. It can cost up to $175 for a private shuttle to Pacific-side resorts like the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach.

We’ve done a ton of research on this and tried out many different Cabo transfer companies over the years.

The cheapest shared airport shuttle that we’ve sussed out is with Gray Line Los Cabos.

Their cost is $37 USD a person for a return transfer between the airport and Cabo San Lucas (which works out to $18.50 for a one-way transfer).

It’s a bit less if you’re staying in San Jose del Cabo ($30 round-trip).

It’s $45 round-trip for resorts on the Pacific Coast side.

Gray Line Los Cabos offers cheap Cabo airport shuttle transportation.
Gray Line Los Cabos offers cheap Cabo airport shuttle transportation (Credit: Gray Line Los Cabos)

The cheapest private airport shuttle is $139 for up to 5 passengers in a van (round-trip transfers) with Legacy Transportation.

If you have a group of up to 10 people, then your best bet is with Ballard Tour Services. They offer the cheapest private one-way transfers to Cabo San Lucas at a cost of $154.

Cabo Uber prices

Uber is used in Cabo.

If you’re staying in Cabo San Lucas and want to go to San Jose del Cabo, you can hop on an Uber for about $20 to $25 (one-way trip).

Be aware that Uber isn’t totally accepted in Los Cabos – especially by taxi drivers who see Uber as a threat to their business.

So you might not be able to catch an Uber from your hotel lobby; you might have to walk out to the road to hop in.

And Uber to and from the airport is iffy.

Cabo car rental prices

Many travelers like to rent a car in Cabo, at least for some of the time. We like to get one for the day when making a road trip to Todos Santos, for example.

In high season, expect to pay somewhere around $55 a day or more from big-name agencies like Avis, Hertz and National. (That price excludes insurance.)

For some of the cheapest rates, check out Discover Cars. This site compares rental prices from reputable car rental agencies to come up with the best rates.

Cabo prices for tours

As for tours in Cabo, the costs really vary.

You can spend $700 to $1,500 and upwards for private boat tours.

At the other end of the spectrum, a water taxi ride to the Arch can be had for as little as $20 a person.

Glass bottom boat ride to the Arch in Cabo San Lucas
Water taxi and glass-bottom boat rides in Cabo San Lucas are fairly cheap

The average tour cost is between $75 and $150 a person.

If you’re interested in a top-rated, 3-hour ziplining eco-adventure, this price is a little under $70 p.p.

A top-rated, guided hiking tour in the Canyon of the Fox costs $145 a person.

Cabo Adventures’ famous camel ride with tequila tasting and Mexican buffet goes for between $90 and $110 (depending on special offers).

Camel ride in Cabo San Lucas
Is a camel ride on your Cabo bucket list? (Credit: Cabo Adventures)

Tipping in Cabo

Tipping in Los Cabos follows North American standards.

Think 15% to 20% at restaurants and bars. For really good service, your server would love a 25% tip (which isn’t out of line).

It’s nice to leave your room cleaning maid a dollar or two a day also.

How to keep your Cabo hotel costs down

Choose inexpensive hotels

You can save a lot of money by steering away from the luxury beachfront hotels and booking smaller 2- and 3-star places in Cabo.

Most affordable hotels and resorts in Los Cabos are located in the towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, not on the beach.

You can also find some decent and downright inexpensive hotels in Cabo San Lucas. Some go for under $100 USD a night.

The following are some recommendations:

Hotel Los Patios

Located between the Costco and Walmart, the 3-star Hotel Los Patios is one of the cheapest hotels in Cabo San Lucas town.

Rooms go for about $85 to $130 a night.

Hotel Los Patios
This hotel isn’t walking distance to the beach, but it’s good value! (Credit: Hotel Los Patios)

Siesta Suites

If you want to stay right in the heart of downtown Cabo San Lucas, check out the 3-star Siesta Suites.

We love its onsite eatery, Salvatore G’s. It’s one of Cabo’s most popular Italian restaurants.

La Marina Inn

La Marina Inn is a cute hotel in Puerto Los Cabos near El Ganzo Beach.
La Marina Inn is a cute hotel in Puerto Los Cabos near El Ganzo Beach

When it comes to San Jose del Cabo, we were impressed by the quality and cleanliness of this 3-star hotel in Puerto Los Cabos (on the edge of San Jose del Cabo town) when we inspected it recently.

La Marina Inn has a sweet location if you want easy access to one of Cabo’s best swimmable beaches – El Ganzo Beach.

Hotel El Ganzo, one of our favorite boutique hotels in Los Cabos, is right across the road from La Marina Inn, and you can use their free water taxi for the 5-minute ride to El Ganzo Beach.

La Marina Inn also has its own small pool and onsite restaurant. A room costs about $160 a night in the shoulder season (about $180 in the high season).

If you don’t have your own car, you can take an Uber for the 7-minute drive to downtown San Jose del Cabo restaurants.

It’s not close to Cabo San Lucas town, so bear that in mind if the nightlife there appeals to you.

Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel

Welcome to the hotel! (Credit: Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel)

This new and modern hotel overlooking the 3rd hole of the Vidanta Golf Course is a great find for the price.

In the shoulder season, the air-conditioned rooms at the Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel are just over $100 a night. And they’re clean, quiet and comfortable with rain showers in the bathrooms.

The hotel is a 20- to 30-minute walk to the historic part of San Jose del Cabo (or a short Uber ride).

Pool at Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel
This San Jose del Cabo hotel has a pool too (Credit: Six Two Four Urban Beach Hotel)

Mar del Cabo

We love this gem!

It’s not a 5-star luxury hotel. But it’s one of the best hotels for a boutique stay on the beach that doesn’t cost a bundle.

With lots of Mexican charm and pink bougainvillea, Mar del Cabo is one of our favorite boutique hotels in Los Cabos!
With lots of Mexican charm, Mar del Cabo is one of our favorite boutique hotels in Los Cabos!

For adults only, Mar del Cabo has 48 one- and two-bedroom suites, offering either ocean views or garden views of the beautiful pink and purple bougainvillea that abounds.

Vibrant Mexican tiles adorn the bathrooms and kitchenettes (all suites come with mini-kitchenettes).

Its on-site restaurant, Encanto Farm & Sea, gets deservedly great reviews.

Two young women nosh on tacos on lounge chairs on the beach at Mar del Cabo, Los Cabos
Nosh on seafood tacos from Encanto while chilling on the hotel’s beach (Credit: Mar del Cabo)

You pay more to stay here than the others on our list (a tad over $300 a night in the shoulder and high season months) – but you’re getting so much more. And it’s still a whole lot less expensive than many other Cabo resorts and hotels.

As Mar del Cabo is located on the Tourist Corridor, you’d probably want a car to get around.

Stay at an all-inclusive (preferably on a deal)

All-inclusive resorts usually cover not just your accommodation, but also your food, drinks and activities like yoga classes and pool aerobics. Family-oriented all-inclusives often have complimentary kids’ clubs too.

If you’re hunting for an affordable vacation in Cabo, an all-inclusive resort can be an excellent option. You’ll know roughly how much your trip will cost before you leave, and there’ll be no nasty surprises at the end.

Here are three of the most affordable all-inclusive resorts in Los Cabos:

Riu Sante Fe

The Riu Sante Fe offers a budget-friendly all-inclusive experience on Medano Beach.

The Riu Sante Fe
The Riu Sante Fe

It has over 1,000 rooms plus multiple pools, restaurants and bars.

In the winter high season, rates go for less than $300 a night for 2 people sharing a room.

Royal Solaris Los Cabos

Royal Solaris Los Cabos
This all-inclusive is loved by families and offers good value (Credit: Royal Solaris Los Cabos)

Also known for its value, the Royal Solaris Los Cabos is an all-inclusive family resort near San Jose del Cabo.

It has 390 rooms, three outdoor pools (one for adults only), a mini-water park with several waterslides, a kids’ club and a teens’ club.

Rates start at about $330 per couple a night in high season.

Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa

Overlooking the Cabo San Lucas Marina, the Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa offers an all-inclusive option (about $400 per room per night).

Guests love the swimming pool with swim-up bar. And the close-in location is fabulous.

Balcony view from the Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Now, this is a balcony view! (Credit: Marina Fiesta Resort & Spa)

Rent a vacation condo

Cabo has a huge variety of villas and condo-style places to stay.

In fact, Cabo has a reputation as a vacation spot with lots of posh villas, complete with gourmet kitchens and swimming pools.

But along with those high-end villas, you can find lots of ordinary (but very nice) vacation condos in Cabo, all with kitchens.

And as we all know, cooking and eating in is less expensive than eating out – especially for families.

We like Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner). It’s like Airbnb, but they feature fully private accommodations (no rooms in a house, for example).

You’ll find a host of great Vrbo properties in Los Cabos.

9 More tips for enjoying Cabo on a budget

1) Travel to Cabo in the low season

Winter is the busiest time in Cabo.

This is the high season (from mid-December to the end of April) – when everyone wants to escape the cold up north and fly down south for warmth and sunshine.

But the best time to travel to Cabo isn’t necessarily the high season.

If you’re keen on swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, scuba diving, sea kayaking, snorkeling with sea lions and other water sports, then the shoulder season months of October and November in Cabo are perfect.

This is when the water temperatures are a bath-like 80 to 84 F degrees (27 to 29 C).

Woman snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas
The snorkeling in Cabo is best in October and November

(If, on the other hand, you visit Cabo in January or February, the water is too cold for most people to comfortably snorkel for long, and there are usually no tours to snorkel with the sea lions near La Paz. But it’s whale watching season!)

May and June in Los Cabos are also very pleasant shoulder season months.

Your accommodation costs will be less than in high season and you’ll enjoy fewer crowds. (Keep an eye out for deals and special pricing.)

Plus the weather in May and June is lovely and warm! The average temperature in May, for example, ranges from a low at night of about 70 F (21 C) to daily highs in the mid-80s and low-90s F (27 to 33 C).

For the best deals, the cheapest time to go to Cabo San Lucas is in summer – from June to the end of September.

Just be aware that this time coincides with the rainy season (and the hurricane season). Also, August and September are particularly hot and humid months.

2) Eat like the locals do

To save money on food in Cabo San Lucas and elsewhere in Los Cabos, skip the tourist restos (the most expensive places) and opt for local eateries.

Eat like a local and you’ll get a taste of real Mexican cuisine at a fraction of the cost, while helping to support family-run businesses.

Mexican food at a local Mexican restaurant
Mexican food at local Mexican restaurants costs way less than other restaurant dishes

Look for small family-run restaurants and taquerias that serve authentic Mexican food at much lower prices compared to fancy restaurants.

Don’t be shy to ask other visitors and locals for their favorite eateries – they’re usually happy to share their recommendations.

Some great but cheap restaurants in Cabo San Lucas include:

3) Hang out on the beach

Family having fun on the beach in Los Cabos
There’s no charge for having fun on the beach!

The beaches are probably a big reason you’ve escaped to Cabo, right? And they’re free!

Medano Beach on the Sea of Cortez is the most popular beach in Cabo.

You can shake out your towel anywhere on its glorious golden sands and soak up the sun, go for a swim and people-watch – all without spending a single peso.

Or up the experience by renting a beach chair and ordering some food and drinks at a beach club or bar.

We’ve written all about the best beach clubs in Cabo. For something casual and super affordable, Tabasco Beach Restaurant & Bar is a great pick (go early to grab a front-row beach lounger).

During spring break, the beach clubs and bars turn Cabo San Lucas into one big party, with crowds of young people letting loose and having fun.

4) Take the public bus

Bus from Cabo airport

If you’re looking for a cost-friendly way to get from the Los Cabos airport to your hotel or condo rental, skip the private and shared transfers and hop onto the Ruta del Desierto bus! (This is easier if you don’t have too much luggage.)

The buses are purple and orangey-yellow and run every 15 minutes from the airport to downtown San José del Cabo, the Tourist Corridor and Cabo San Lucas.

They operate from 4:30 am until 11:00 pm daily.

Ruta Del Desierto bus in Los Cabos
The public bus is cheap and usually reliable (Credit: Ruta Del Desierto)

These buses aren’t luxury-class. But they’re comfy enough, coolish (with some air-conditioning) and best of all, easy on the wallet. The super affordable fare is 85 pesos (around $4.20 USD).

Be prepared for several stops along the way. Depending on traffic, it’s about a 60- to 75- minute journey to Cabo San Lucas from the airport.

If you’re arriving on an international flight, your arrival terminal is Terminal 2. You’ll find the bus stop upstairs on the Departures Level of Terminal 2.

For domestic wanderers, your stop’s right outside Terminal 1.

And when it’s time to say good-bye to your Cabo vacation, you can catch your ride back to the airport from the Ruta del Desierto bus stop outside the Puerto Paraiso Mall in Cabo San Lucas.

Bus in Los Cabos

The Ruta del Desierto bus is also an inexpensive way to get from Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo (or any place along the Tourist Corridor).

We’ve used it on several occasions.

It’s safe and runs regularly (around every 15 minutes).

Between Cabo town and San Jose del Cabo, the public bus only costs about 40 pesos (less than $2.50) a person.

You have to use pesos, though. If you hand over a $20 USD bill, you likely won’t get any change back, as dollars aren’t accepted.

In Cabo San Lucas, the main bus stop is near the Puerto Paraiso Mall on the Transpeninsular Highway or Hwy #1 (the main highway). In San Jose del Cabo, you’ll find the main stop in front of the La Comer grocery store, close to the airport turnoff.

There are bus stops along the way between the two towns, and the bus will drop you off wherever you want too. If you’re on the highway waiting for the bus, you can flag the bus down, and it will usually stop to pick you up.

5) Shop for less

Cabo has its share of high-end jewelry shops and designer brand boutiques – just pop into the Luxury Avenue Mall on the Marina.

But you don’t need to burn a hole in your wallet to snag some cool and inexpensive souvenirs and gifts from Cabo.

For inexpensive finds, shop for souvenirs at flea markets and local crafts stores in Cabo San Lucas.
For inexpensive finds, shop for souvenirs at flea markets and local crafts stores

Head over to local markets and handmade craft and artisan stores, like the ones in Marina Mercado and Artesano’s.

Do a little wandering, and you’ll come across a treasure trove of handcrafted goods and interesting mementos (pewter bowls, ceramics, beach sarongs and more).

Costco and Walmart are also great places to pick up snacks, bottled water, alcohol, sunscreen, beach stuff and the like. And they’re good for stocking up on groceries if your accommodation has a fridge or kitchen.

6) Enjoy free things to do in Cabo

Yes, there are free activities in Cabo.

We mentioned beaching.

Here’s something else – one of the absolute best things to do in Los Cabos is to go to the Art Walk in San Jose del Cabo. The fact that it’s free is just a bonus.

It takes place every Thursday evening, starting at 5:00 pm, between November and June.

The San Jose del Cabo Art Walk is one of the best free things to do in Cabo!
Don’t miss the San Jose del Cabo Art Walk! (Credit: Art Cabo Gallery District)

Stroll the historic art district in downtown San Jose del Cabo, perhaps with a free glass of wine in hand offered by an art gallery. On Thursdays, the galleries stay open late for visitors to browse and meet the artists.

The streets are closed to vehicle traffic, and musicians and performers wander about entertaining visitors.

It’s a wonderful cultural event!

Other free Cabo activities?

Watch the sunset, stroll around the Cabo San Lucas Marina and volunteer at the local Los Cabos Humane Society by taking a rescue dog for a walk.

7) Choose cheap things to do in Cabo

The next best thing to free is cheap. And while “cheap” and “Cabo” don’t usually go hand-in-hand, you can find affordable activities.

For one, there are reasonably-priced group tours.

If you’re looking at sunset cruises, PezGato offers a fun sunset party cruise that’s less than $80 a person.

If you want to pamper yourself at a spa in Cabo – but don’t want to shell out $300 or $400 (or more!) for a treatment – avoid the luxury hotel spas.

Eden’s Spa in Cabo San Lucas offers 90-minute massages for $70 USD. You can even get massages for less at their mobile spa on Medano Beach.

8) Drink beer or tequila (not wine)

Beer and tequila are generally the least expensive alcoholic drinks.

You can buy domestic beer brands, like Corona and Pacifica, for under $3 USD a bottle at many casual bars and local eateries.

Corona beer with lime on the beach
Ahhh, a good cold Corona

And as tequila is made in Mexico, this helps to keep its costs down compared to imported spirits (and compared to what you’d have to pay for the same brand back home). You might want to do a tequila tasting while you’re here to see which type you prefer (blanco or anejo, for example).

Mind you, Cabo knows visitors love margaritas, so these cocktails average $10 (much the same price as other cocktails). But you can save on the 2-for-1 specials at many places, which are especially common at sunset.

As for wine, we’ve found a glass of wine (even Mexican wine, which can be very good) is often more expensive at a restaurant than a margarita.

9) Pay with Mexican pesos

The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso.

Today, $1 USD is approximately 17 pesos.

Your money will go further in Cabo if you pay in pesos

Paying in pesos in Cabo (rather than American dollars) can help you save a little money as you’re likely to get a better exchange rate.

Pssst! You’ll notice that prices in Cabo are displayed with the same symbol as the US dollar ($), which can be a bit confusing.

To make it clear that the prices are in US dollars and not pesos, they usually add “US” at the end. So when you see a price like $20 US, it means it’s in US dollars, not pesos.

Is Los Cabos expensive? Last words

It’s no secret that this Mexican paradise usually comes with a fancy price tag.

But while Cabo can be expensive, you can still visit Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas on a budget.

Look out for hotel deals, go in the shoulder (or low) season, ride the bus, eat at local eateries for authentic flavors and take advantage of free activities like exploring the beautiful beaches.

With a little savvy, you can enjoy a fabulous and budget-friendly Cabo adventure you won’t forget!

Planning your trip to Cabo?

Here are our favorite travel resources:

  • Resorts: is great for scoring a “wow” hotel in Cabo – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
  • Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
  • Tours: For the best local guided tours in Cabo, see Viator and GetYourGuide.
  • Car rental: Renting a car in Los Cabos is one of the best ways to explore. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
  • Travel insurance: SafetyWing is designed for frequent travelers, long-term adventurers and digital nomads. It covers medical expenses, lost checked luggage, trip interruption and more. We also have and recommend Medjet for global air medical transportation and travel security.

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Photos: 7, 12, 15 © Janice and George Mucalov, Cabo Visitor

About the authors

Award-winning travel writers Janice and George Mucalov are frequent visitors to Los Cabos. Here on Cabo Visitor, they share their essential tips for discovering the best of Cabo!