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Los Cabos, Mexico City Info
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North America > Mexico
Cancun Los Cabos Playa del Carmen




Population:
25,000

Visitors:
250,000 annually

Location:
In the State of Baja California Sur, in the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula. The capital is La Paz. Approximately 2.5 hours flying time from Los Angeles to Los Cabos.

Elevation:
16 feet

Languages:
Spanish, but English is spoken in most areas.

Time Zone:
Mountain Time Zone The time is two hours behind that of New York City. When it is 11:00am in New York City; it is 9:00am in Los Cabos. Daylight saving time is observed between April and October, the same as in the US.

Weather:
Average Temperatures (in Fahrenheit):
High Low
January - March 79 55
April - June 93 59
July - September 96 74
October - December 90 57

Los Cabos are sunny and mild year round. There is very little rainfall (7.5 inches per year!) There are 360 days of sunshine.

Tourist Assistance:
Secretariat of Tourism
91-800-90392

Consulates:

United States Of America 830272
Plaza Caracol II # 2 3rd Floor 832296

Canada 833360
Plaza Caracol II 3rd Floor #L330 833361

Currency:
The unit of exchange is the peso which comes in paper denominations of N$10; N$20; N$50; N$100 and N$200. Coins come in denominations of five, ten, twenty and 50 centavos and one, tow and five pesos. N$ stands for new pesos which were introduced in 1993 to replace "old pesos." Sometimes the currency is referred to as "m.n." followed by the number of new pesos. The m.n. stands for moneda nacional or national money and is the same as N$. If you see a bill with a high value, in the thousands or millions, that is "old pesos" and you have to drop three zeros from the number to get the true value.

All payments are rounded off to the nearest multiple of 5 centavos. Most places will take US dollars as well as pesos, but will not give as much in exchange as would a bank or ATM machine. It is customary for vendors to set their own exchange rate, and not to rely on the one set by the government or the banks. Please be advised that PEMEX gas stations will not take credit cards or US currency. If you are driving in Los Cabos, be sure to have Mexican cash with which to pay for gasoline purchases.

Banks and Currency Exchange Facilities:
US Dollars are easily exchanged into pesos in banks and major hotels.

Business Hours
Banks are generally open weekdays 9-3. Government offices are usually open to the public 8-3; along with banks and most private offices; they are closed on national holidays. Stores are usually open weekdays and Saturdays from 9 or 10 AM to 7 or 8 PM; shops may also be open on Sundays. Some stores may close for a two-hour lunch break -- about 2-4. Airport shops are open for business seven days a week.

Most credit cards are accepted in shops, hotels and travel agencies. Major purchases are best made with a credit card. You automatically receive the bank rate of exchange, which is higher than the rates given in town or at the hotels.

Credit and Bank Cards:
Before you go, check with your credit card company to get their exchange rate for Mexican pesos. You may find that plastic is more economical than cash for some purchases. However, small stores might charge an extra 10% for credit card sales, so you will need some cash. Cash advances and ATM withdrawals typically come in pesos.

Passports and Visas

Entering Mexico
U.S. and Canadian citizens need only proof of citizenship for entry into Mexico. Tourists from other countries should check with a Mexican consulate or embassy. Minors traveling alone; with one parent; or with a relative or friend who is not their parent need notarized consent from parents. In addition, visitors must carry a Mexican Tourist Permit, which is issued free of charge after proof of citizenship upon arrival. This permit must be given to officials upon departure.

Customs and Duties

Arriving in Mexico
Upon entering Mexico, you will be given a baggage declaration form and asked to itemize what you're bringing into the country. Mexico has instituted a $15 visitor fee that applies to all visitors except those entering by sea at Mexican ports who stay less than 72 hours and those entering by land who do not go past the 16-18-mi checkpoint into the country's interior. For visitors arriving by air, the fee, which covers visits of more than 72 hours and up to 30 days, is usually included in the airline-ticket price. You must pay the fee each time you extend your 30-day tourist visa.

Electricity
For U.S. and Canadian travelers, electrical converters are not necessary because Mexico operates on the 60-cycle, 120-volt system; however, many Mexican outlets have not been updated to accommodate three-prong and polarized plugs those with one larger prong, so to be safe bring an adapter plus. If your appliances are dual-voltage you'll need only an adapter. Don't use 110-volt outlets, marked "For shavers only," for high-wattage appliances such as blow-dryers.

U.S. Embassy
Paseo de la Reforma 305, Col. Cuauhtémoc, Mexico City, 5/209-9100.

Emergencies
Police 114/3-39-77 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-03-61 San José del Cabo.
Hospital 114/3-15-94 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-00-13 San José del Cabo.
Red Cross 114/3-33-00 Cabo San Lucas; 114/2-03-16 San José del Cabo.

Language
Spanish is the official language of Mexico. Basic English is widely understood by most people employed in tourism, less so in the less developed areas.

Mail
The Mexican postal system is notoriously slow and unreliable; never send packages , as they may be stolen. For emergencies, use a courier service or an express-mail service, with insurance.

Post offices oficinas de correos are found in even the smallest villages. International postal service is all airmail, but even so your letter will take anywhere from 10 days to six weeks to arrive. Service within Mexico can be equally slow.

Taxes
Mexico charges an airport departure tax of US$18 or the peso equivalent for international and domestic flights. This tax is usually included in the price of your ticket, but check to be certain. Traveler's checks and credit cards are not accepted at the airport as payment for this.

Many states charge a 2% tax on accommodations, the funds from which are used for tourism promotion. Mexico has a value-added tax of 15%, which is occasionally and illegally waived for cash purchases. Other taxes and charges apply for phone calls made from your hotel room.

Tipping
When tipping in Mexico, remember that the minimum wage is the equivalent of $3 a day and that most workers in the tourist industry live barely above the poverty line. Recommended tips: Porters and bellboys at airports and at moderate and inexpensive hotels: $1 per bag. Porters at expensive hotels: $2 per person. Maids: $1 per night all hotels. Waiters: 10%-15% of the bill, depending on service make sure a 10%-15% service charge hasn't already been added to the bill, although this practice is more common in resorts. Taxi drivers: Tipping is necessary only if the driver helps with your bags -- 5 pesos to 10 pesos.

Telephones
The country code for Mexico is 52. The area code for Los Cabos is 114.

Directory and Operator Information
Directory assistance is 040 nationwide. For international assistance, dial 00 first for an international operator.

International Calls
To make a call to the United States or Canada, dial 001 before the area code and number; Long-Distance Calls One option for long-distance calls is to find a caseta de larga distancia, a telephone service usually operated out of a store such as a papelería stationery store, pharmacy, restaurant, or other small business; look for the phone symbol on the door. Casetas may cost more to use than pay phones, but you have a better chance of immediate connection.

Internet - Public internet service is available in downtown Internet cafés.

National Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day Año Nuevo
Feb 5 Constitution Day
Mar 21 Birthday of Benito Juárez, Mexican president and national hero
Holy Week Semana Santa Good Friday through Easter
May 1 Labor Day Día del Trabajo with workers' parades
May 5 Battle of Puebla commemorates the Mexican victory over the French at Puebla in 1862 Cinco de Mayo
Sept 1 The President of Mexico delivers the annual State of the Nation address
Sept 16 Independence Day
Oct 12 Day of the Race Dia de la Raza Columbus Day
Nov 1-2 The Day of the Dead
Nov 20 Revolution Day: Anniversary of the 1910 Mexican Revolution
Dec 12 Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadelupe
Dec 25 Christmas Day

Emergency:
Local Police 841913/ 842342 Fire Department 841202 Highway Police Federal 841542/ 841107
State Police 841171 Federal Police 887291

Public rest rooms:
Restrooms are difficult to find in most places. You are expected to supply your own toilet paper.

Arriving and Departing

By Air
The Los Cabos International Airport SJD 114/2-03-41 is about 7 mi north of San José del Cabo and about 30 mi from Cabo San Lucas. U.S. and Mexican carriers fly nonstop to Los Cabos from several U.S. cities. Flying time to Los Cabos is 2 1/2 hours from Los Angeles, 2 1/2 hours from Houston, and 2 hours from Mexico City.

Transfers Between the Airport and Town

By Bus
Inexpensive airport shuttles run the 7 miles from the airport to San José del Cabo, as well as to Cabo San Lucas.

By Taxi
In regular official cabs white and yellow, passengers bargain with the driver over the fare, which should average US$10 to Cabo San Lucas.

By Bus
The Autotransportes de Baja California bus line runs the length of the peninsula from Tijuana to Los Cabos, stopping at towns en route; the peninsula-long trip takes 22 hours. The Aguila bus line runs from Santa Rosalia to Los Cabos.

By Car
Mexico Highway 1, also known as the Transpeninsular Highway, runs the entire 1,060 mi from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. The highway's condition varies depending on the weather and intervals between road repairs. Do not drive at high speeds or at night, as it is not lighted. There are exits for all the principal towns in Baja Sur. The road between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas was widened to four lanes and is in good condition, although dips and bridges become flooded in heavy rains, especially from August to November.

Getting Around

By Ferry
There are three ferry services that offer an alternative way of reaching the mainland. One connects the capital of Baja Sur, La Paz, with the Mexican mainland at Topolobampo; ; a second runs to Mazatlán. A third ferry service runs between Santa Rosalia in central Baja and Guaymas, Sonora, on the mainland. Passenger and vehicle fares are separate on all of the ferries.

Intercity Bus
Buses are widely available and inexpensive. They run between all Mexican cities, and provide an excellent way of traveling from one of the Capes to the other.

Cycling
The Cape area is the most popular in Mexico for cycling. Touring and mountain bikes are available for rent. There are many interesting trail rides.

By Car
If you plan to dine at the Corridor hotels or travel frequently between the two towns, it's a good idea to rent a car for a few days. Taxi fares are high.

Temporary Vehicle Import Permits
If you are driving your own US registered car into Mexico, you will need one of these only if you plan to travel on one of the ferries with your vehicle. Any Mexican customs checkpoint can issue one to you upon presentation of proper registration and driver's license information by the vehicle's owner.

Insurance
In order to drive in Mexico, you must have Mexican auto insurance, which runs about $100 a week. You can buy a policy at the U.S.-Mexican border. If you injure anyone in an accident, you could be jailed whether it was your fault or not, unless you have insurance.

Driver Requirements
A valid foreign driver license is acceptable in Mexico. If you enter the country with a car, you must depart with it.

Road Conditions
Since the completion of the 1,059-mi Transpeninsular Highway, also called Mexico Highway 1, in 1973, travelers began gradually to find their way down to Baja Sur, drawn by the wild terrain and the pristine beaches of both coastlines. Baja Sur remains a rugged and largely undeveloped land, and many people opt to fly to the region rather than drive. Highway 1 is in fairly good repair, but there are potholes in some stretches, and services including gas and rest rooms may not be available. Be well prepared with water and other necessities for a long drive in desolate, but beautiful, country.

Rules of the Road
When you sign up for Mexican car insurance, you should receive a booklet on Mexican rules of the road. Read this booklet in order to avoid breaking laws that differ from those of your native country. Mileage and speed limits are given in kilometers: 100 kph and 80 kph 62 and 50 mph, respectively are the most common maximums. Observe the posted speed limits, which can be as low as 20 kph 12 mph.


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