Cabo San Lucas offers a combination as excellent venue for sports, dining and social activities as well as for pure beach relaxation.
Located in Mexico’s tip of Baja California, its close proximity makes it a favorite American holiday destination. In fact, it is the second fastest growing resort destination in all of Mexico. Therefore it is in high demand, especially during winter months spanning from November to January.
Unfortunately, this is also a time when scams proliferate and target visitors, especially newcomers. So get to know what are the most common scams and forms of fraud that target Cabo San Lucas guests.
1. Timeshare predators at the airport
As many of the visitors are jetsetting business executives or well-to-do celebrities, time share offers are abound, often with exaggerated promises. Many will approach you as you arrive at the airport, with fake IDs of resort hotels and offer to bring you to their territory in exchange of a bounty of discounts and privileges you thought were exclusive to you. Make no mistakes, these folks are paid to bring warm bodies to designated hotel and there’s nothing wrong with that. It gets nasty when you start agreeing (signing) to terms that are overly one sided.
The safest way to deal with it is just say you have already committed to another timeshare and will need a hefty exchange (demand cash if needed be!), loads of freebies (tickets, discounts and all) just for them to bring you to the venue — but just say no in the end and there’s no way they can pry that credit card or force you to sign a contract you’re never interested to begin with.
Not every taxi driver is a crook so this only refers to those who start to pick up your luggage at the airport and bring them into their taxicabs — the only ones allowed in the airport. It is not surprising to be overcharged from airport to their hotels by these drivers who see virtually no competition. To avoid such nuisance, it is possible to hail a cab outside the airport — only after dragging your luggage at a certain distance. Or hire a car throughout your entire stay in Cabo San Lucas.
3. Musicians approaching you at dinner
When you enjoy the gentle sea breeze and large steak, a group of musicians approach you (especially when you’re with your girlfriend or wife) and serenade with songs. Although this is not a scam and music quality is often good, you may just be too embarrassed to drive them away while your partner is enjoying the whole atmosphere. Still, if this is not what you expect, you can prepare a dollar or two and just move on with your dinner.
4. Pay to take a photo with animals
Some people bring with them exotic animals and carry them unto their shoulders. It sometimes look good to carry them yourself while they offer to take you a photo. But this is not free at all. Prepare a few bucks if you insist on taking a photo with the ever-wandering celebrity animals.
5. Stores and markets when cruise ships are in town
When cruise ships are docked in town, be aware that markets and shops nearby are likely to markup on the goods they sell. That might be because they feel tourists from these ships are desperate to buy wares they sell — at any cost — during their brief stopover. So it pays to research well for alternative places to go, and not be counted as cruise passengers who fall victim to overpriced goods at Cabo San Lucas.
6. Paying by credit cards
If possible, pay by cash and avoid paying by cards especially when dining in restaurants. You don’t know if your card has been tampered with or used without your authorization until they reflect in your credit card bill! We understand staff are underpaid and overworked, that is why patrons do tip to make up for this shortfall. But stealing or improper use of someone else’s credit card is just unacceptable.
7. Jetski scam
As stated above, Cabo San Lucas can be a great venue for water sports. But be careful when renting water vehicles such as jetski. Be sure to check there is no prior damage in the vehicle before agreeing to use and pay for its rental. Take a photo as proof if has scratches, cracks or other minor damage before using it. Otherwise insist on a perfectly working, damage-free motor vehicle to avoid argument later.
8. Jewelry scam
In one of your transactions — hotel bookings, restaurant visit or beach club entry — you may receive discount cards redeemable during your vacation stay. Most others may just ignore it but if you feel you are holding a coupon that entitles you to huge savings, be sure to check online if the deal is genuine and price is the same as indicated in the coupon. If you fail to do your assignment, you might realize later that your coupon is completely useless — you can buy that same jewelry much cheaper online even without that discount card.
Such scams exist not only at Cabo San Lucas, but just the same be aware what scammers and fraudsters are up to these days. It’ll save you the trouble and focus on enjoying your holiday.