Expat Living in Mexico: Life in Cabo Still Continues
The Wheels on the Bus
Got no rental car or any other mode of transpo? No worries! The bus system in Cabo San Lucas is pretty easy to maneuver around town in. As there is only one main road, the Transpeninsular Hwy., that tourists and expats mainly use for accessing places they need to go to. Bus drivers are very courteous of tourists and expats and do not take advantage. However, it is still wise to learn your coins and pesos bills to know if you are being jipped or not.
For the most part there are no clearly marked bus stops. Standing anywhere along the side of the road with an outstretched arm, as though you were hitchhiking, will adequately flag down a bus. At first the notion of it may seem weird and unnatural but once you get the hang of it it’s super easy. Take note of how locals do so and soon enough the oddity will subside. Buses can range from a bare bones school bus to a cushy air conditioned mode of transportation. Any will get you there just the same. Though most buses carry the tune of its humming engine, don’t be surprised if your bus jams to some great tunes on the way to your destination. As a mental note when standing in the radiating heat, if you see a bus with the windows down indicating no air condition, you can always wait for a nicer one for a more comfortable ride. As there are no scheduled times for bus routes, waiting for a second bus only takes a few extra minutes if you’re not in any rush.
Prices vary based on where your final location is in respect to your starting location. The closer to your current location, it is $12.50 pesos. A midway location between Cabo to San Jose is $26.50 pesos and traveling to San Jose from downtown Cabo San Lucas is $36.50 pesos.
Time zone change can be tricky anywhere you go during travel. It is always in your best interest to know what time it is in comparison to your home time zone. Not to mention for showing up on time to any engagements you may arrange while there. So when in Cabo San Lucas, it is good to note that their time zone is Mountain Daylight Time (MDT). For cell phone purposes, setting your phone to El Paso, TX or Mazatlan, MX, if you can’t find Cabo San Lucas on the list, will give you the correct time. Oftentimes cell phones can default themselves to your home time zone especially if the time zone change has not yet occurred in Cabo as it would have where you’re from. So to avoid any default resets make sure to make the change a permanent one. Also keep in mind that Cabo’s time change occurs some time during the first week of April for Spring and the last week of October for Fall. This may not coincide with where you’re from.
Mind Your Money
Sometimes the price of the peso isn’t what it seems. When shopping in the stores or at gas stations the pesos can be lower than the peso rate for the day that you will find at the banks. Some establishments don’t bother keeping up with the rate of the day because it fluctuates too often. If the peso for the day per the banks is $14.80 some places such as Walmart may only charge $13.50 pesos. However when you use your debit card and I also believe your credit card, the rate used is at the bank’s exchange rate for the day.
Click here for an accurate exchange rate for Cabo San Lucas, Currency Exchange Table. It's what I used to base my atm withdrawals on to avoid taking out more than what I wanted to.
The ever so popular Medano Beach has more fun than one can stand. People watching, activity enjoying, dining and dancing are all synonymous with Medano Beach. Yet when one only wants to relax and take in the beauty of the beach without all the hoopla, not many expats or tourists are aware of the other many beaches that exist around Cabo San Lucas and San Jose. For those in for visiting beaches with no annoying sellers roaming around and not so crazy with doing any activities, there’s a few beaches to choose from. Ask around to find Chileno Beach, Tule Beach or Palmilla Beach. These are just a few of the beaches that offer a low-key setting and hanging more with locals than party-seeking tourists. So pack your cooler and enjoy the day!
As a side note, Chileno Beach offers some beautiful scenery while hanging with some of the locals. There are also restrooms available at this beach. Tule Beach, offers solitude if you're looking for a truly bare scene. You have view of the oceans and off to the left are some great rock formations to lounge around and view crabs from. Palmilla Beach gives you some beautiful views of the beach and ocean as well. Resorts align this beach but a good time can be had among locals, a few tourists and some great wave chasing.
Cabo offers great grocerys stores that all rival with one another in their prices. Depending on where you’re from, you might see pricing comparable to your own home. Not too expensive, yet not too cheap. But surprisingly cheaper than one would expect seeing how it is a very well-known tourist-attracting location. You will find stores such as Walmart, Mega, Chedraui and Soriana. In Walmart, with its name alone, you will find tourists, expats and locals alike. In Mega you find a lesser amount of tourists but in Chedraui and Soriana you will find more shopping among locals. However, if you’re an expat looking for some familiar or Americanized eats and treats head to Santa Carmela near the edge of entering or leaving Cabo San Lucas. There you might find familiar store finds you’ll see at home that you might can’t find in Walmart or Mega.
When I lived in Cabo San Lucas it was always nice to do things that weren’t so touristy. Expats can find many places among Cabo that they didn’t even know existed. You may find restaurants where you find more American patrons. You might find places that are off the beaten path that may be filled with majority locals brandishing accepting smiles to foreign expats. In whatever scenario you might find yourself wanting to be in, you only have to ask locals and expats that have lived there for some time. They’re never hard to find.