The best way to get around in Cabo is by walking, because Cabo is a walking town. We have great mass transit like the city buses that cost almost nothing.
Taking the bus is one of the best ways to see the city, too. A lot of people say that they come here and didn’t see anything. My best advice to anybody who is going to any city in the world is to hop on a city bus and take the 50 cent tour. Take the bus all the way to wherever they go and then come back to the original point where you started. That is the cheapest and easiest way to see a town.
Cabo is very convenient. The main part of the town is located right on the marina so there are tons of restaurants and shops that go all the way around the marina, which is probably about one mile or a mile and a half walk all the way around. Then the main street has restaurants, hotels, etc. That is local Cabo. Of course there are beautiful mega resorts that are outside of town as well but if you’re in town there are local hotels that you can stay at for really reasonable prices like US $30 to $50 a night and you don’t need a car; you just walk to the bars and everything else.
If you want to go further out of Cabo, we have buses that go to area towns and we have a bus that goes all the way from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz and make stops along the way. You can also hire private transportation. We have different people who do little local tours and they will take you places and take you shopping.
The taxis go to the grocery stores so a lot of people take a taxi to the grocery store, buy the groceries, grab a taxi, the taxi driver helps pack the things they shopped for, and then takes them home. You don’t really need to have a car here if you are here short time. If you were going to be here to retire, you would probably want to have a car because you are probably going to want to go outside of the city and discover other areas. Baja is very beautiful and it is very diverse. The East Cape, which is on the Sea of Cortez side, has beautiful towns along with mega mansions that sit out on the ocean. Jesse Ventura, for example, who I have met down here, has a house out on the East Cape in Baja.
If you have a car, you have to know that parking is always at a premium just like in any resort town or any big city, for that matter. However, the parking is very inexpensive. For example, the mall Puerto Paraiso has parking for around $2 per hour and around 50 cents per hour after the first hour so you could park there for a day for $10. Compare that to parking in Manhattan, which costs about $25 an hour. I always laugh where people here complain that parking is too expensive and in my head, I say, “No, you’re just cheap.” We have even tried parking in the more expensive areas and still it cost us only $15 for parking there from 6 AM to 5 PM.
La Paz has its own airport, so if you are flying to La Paz, you could just take a taxi to wherever you are going in La Paz. Overall, La Paz is also very much a walking town. For example, if you were an expat, you rent an apartment or if you’re renting a house that’s in La Paz proper, it is very easy to get around. The malecon (boardwalk) is about a 3-mile stretch and all along there are restaurants, hotels, etc. If you go up another five blocks, you would see the banks and the business district as you go along the way. Around that, there is all kinds of shopping, stores, clothing stores, etc. You name it. La Paz is very much a walking city.
A lot of people in Mexico rely on public transportation. They don’t have their own cars. So the public transportation is extensively good. It is easy to get around. You just have to know which bus to get on and things like that. It is not that hard and you will learn it. If you have a place where there is parking available and you choose to bring your car down, you can do that.
You can bring a car into Baja without having to import it but you do have to keep your plates if you are not going to nationalize the car and turn it into a Mexican-plated vehicle. You have to keep your plates up to date in the US and your tags need to be up to date, too because they do look for that and if your plates are expired you will be penalized for it. Also, if you are going to bring your car down here, you have to have Mexican insurance coverage. It is pretty inexpensive. I just paid for my two cars for a year and it cost me $400 for the year for the Mexican coverage.
In the event that your plates expire while you’re here, but you do have your registration, you could go ahead and pay for your registration in the state where your car is registered and you would have proof of payment even though you may not have the actual sticker. You could ask the state to send you a copy of your most updated registration even though you didn’t have your tag. As long as you have that on you, at least you would have a semi-legal argument that you just do not have the sticker but it is paid for.
(Home in East Cape, Baja California Sur, Mexico, pictured.)