Getting to and Around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Flights, Cars, Boats

Getting to and Around Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: Flights, Cars, Boats

Getting to Baja California Sur in Mexico is easy for anyone living in Southern California, like me, where nonstop flights abound. As a travel writer who literally lives on the beach next to Los Angeles International Airport, the most complicated part of the trip is when I arrive at Los Cabos International Airport and have to figure out my transportation to which part of the area I’m visiting first. I usually like to stay in two different places during my stay, which lasts from four days to a week or more.

I like to have a car, so I usually rent one when I land. But sometimes I want to leave the driving to someone else and book a transfer to my first hotel or just walk out of the airport and take a taxi waiting in line. The airport is not very big and is very manageable for first-time visitors.

Getting to Los Cabos: Los Cabos International Airport

Los Cabos . International Airport

Los Cabos International is your number one choice to fly to the region.

Daniel Slim/Getty Images

Los Cabos . International Airport is my favorite airport in the region, and flights to it are plentiful from various parts of the US, Canada and other Mexican cities, serving about 550 per week from about 40 destinations, many of them non-stop. The US airlines Delta, American, United, Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue, Southwest, and Spirit fly non-stop to the airport, so airfares are often reasonably priced due to the level of competition. High season (October to April) means higher prices with most carriers.

Visitors from more distant countries can find good connections through major US cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Dallas, as well as Mexican hubs in Mexico City, Tijuana and Guadalajara.

Driving isn’t really an option from the US border unless you’re inclined to be in the car for 1,000 miles, which is the distance between Tijuana and Los Cabos. Getting across the Sea of ​​Cortez by car is possible from the Mexican state of Sinaloa by taking an eight-hour ferry ride from Topolobampo, but the car and ferry routes are for the more adventurous. Driving from the US border is not recommended, as much of the journey is through empty desert past dusty towns with few amenities, such as hotels and restaurants.

Getting Around Los Cabos and Baja California Sur

Cars in Cabo san Lucas, Mexico

Cars are your best option for getting around the region.

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Rental cars

Before arriving at the airport, decide how you want to get around during your stay. Renting a car gives you complete freedom to roam, and driving a stick shift will save you hundreds of dollars on rent. There are numerous car rental companies at the airport, including the major players National, Alamo, Hertz, Avis, Budget and Thrifty, as well as Sixt, Ace, Firefly and local companies.

Prices are usually comparable between the different companies, but it is important to book in good time, especially in high season. I like to stick with the more well-known companies like Avis, Alamo, Hertz, and Budget because they’re less likely to run out of cars and leave me scrambling.

Car services

Leave the driving to others if you plan on staying at a resort along the Tourist Corridor, in Cabo San Lucas, or outside of Cabo town to the Pacific side of the Baja California Sur tip, for once you get to your hotel (plan to spend $60 to $75 on a car service/taxi from the airport) most adventure/excursion companies will pick you up and drop you off there. Taxis are also plentiful in Los Cabos, especially in Cabo San Lucas. Airport rides take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on where your hotel is.

If La Paz becomes your home base, expect a 2.5-hour drive north from the airport. There are private car services, taxis and shuttles to get you there, but a rental car allows you to explore the area along the way, which I recommend. The two routes to get to La Paz are both interesting, and each takes about the same amount of time. Passing through Los Barriles on the east side of the peninsula is wilder and more beautiful, while the west journey takes you through Todos Santos, one of the Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, or Magical Cities† Just be sure to purchase a vehicle large enough for both your luggage and your diving/fishing equipment.

Once in La Paz it is best to get around on foot, with a rental car or a taxi. There too, adventure/excursion companies will arrange transport to and from your hotel on the days you travel with them.

Check out Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Cabo San Lucas and Baja California Sur, Mexico