Cabo San Lucas offers a combination as an excellent venue for sports, dining and social activities, and pure beach relaxation.

Located in Mexico’s tip of Baja California, its proximity makes it a favorite American holiday destination. It is the second-fastest-growing resort destination in all of Mexico. Therefore it is in high demand, especially during the 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.

Timeshare predators at the airport

As many of the visitors are jet-setting business travelers or well-to-do celebrities, timeshare offers 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 for a bounty of discounts and privileges you thought were exclusive to you.

These folks are paid to bring warm bodies to the designated hotel,; there’s nothing wrong with that. It gets nasty when you start agreeing (signing) to over-one-sided terms.

The safest way to deal with it is just saying you have already committed to another timeshare and will need a hefty exchange (demand cash if need be!), loads of freebies (tickets, discounts, and all) just for them to bring you to the venue — but say no in the end. There’s no way they can pry that credit card or force you to sign a contract you’re never interested in.

Taxicabs at the airport

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 unsurprising to be overcharged from the airport to their hotels by these drivers who see virtually no competition.

To avoid such a 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.

Musicians approaching you at your table

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 you with songs. Although this is not a scam, and music quality is often good, you may be too embarrassed to drive them away while your partner enjoys the atmosphere.

Still, if this is not what you expect, you can prepare a dollar or two and move on with your dinner.

Pay to take a photo with animals

Some people bring with them exotic animals and carry them unto their shoulders. It sometimes looks good to carry them yourself while they offer to take a photo. But this is not free at all. If you insist on taking a picture with the ever-wandering celebrity animals, prepare a few bucks.

Popup stores when cruise ships are in town

When cruise ships are docked in town, be aware that markets and shops nearby will likely 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 for alternative places to go, and not be counted as cruise passengers who fall victim to overpriced goods at Cabo San Lucas.

Cabo San Lucas beach
Cabo San Lucas beach

Paying by credit cards

If possible, pay by cash and avoid paying by card, especially when dining in restaurants. You don’t know if your card has been tampered with or used without your authorization until they reflected on your credit card bill!

We understand staff are underpaid and overworked, so patrons tip to make up for this shortfall. But stealing or improper use of someone else’s credit card is just unacceptable.

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 jetskis. Ensure there is no damage in the vehicle before agreeing to use and pay for its rental. Take a photo as proof if it has scratches, cracks or other minor damage before using it. Otherwise, insist on a perfectly working, damage-free motor vehicle to avoid an argument later.

Jewelry scam

In one of your transactions — hotel bookings, restaurant visits or beach club entry — you may receive discount cards redeemable during your vacation stay. Most others may 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 the 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.

Tour scams

Some tour companies may overcharge or misrepresent the services they offer, such as charging extra for activities that are advertised as included in the price.

Fake police scams

Be cautious of individuals posing as police officers who demand payment for supposed infractions or fines. Always ask for identification and call the local police station to verify the officer’s legitimacy and the fine.

ATM skimming scams

Some criminals may install skimming devices on ATMs to steal credit card information. It is recommended to use ATMs located inside banks or hotels and to cover the keypad when entering your PIN.

Restaurant scams

Some restaurants may add extra charges to your bill, such as for items you did not order or for inflated prices. Always check your bill carefully before paying.


Such scams exist not only at Cabo San Lucas, but also be aware of what scammers and fraudsters are up to these days. It’ll save you the trouble and focus on enjoying your holiday.