Is Living in Los Cabos Right For You?

This quick guide to living and retiring in Los Cabos will help you determine if living here is right for you.

But first, let’s get into some specifics about the area known as Los Cabos. Did you know that Los Cabos has two cities?

The tourist hotspot of Cabo San Lucas gets a lot of attention. But its sister city, San José del Cabo, is equally (or even more) attractive for foreigners moving to Mexico. 

Let’s dive into the details of each city: 

Living in Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas, on the southern end of the Baja Peninsula, is a world-renowned tourist destination. It’s about a 2-hour drive from La Paz – the capital of Baja California Sur. 

The city attracts Hollywood celebrities, spring break partygoers, sports fishing enthusiasts, and all types of tourists.

While it is an expensive place to live in Mexico, the cost of living is still lower than in many U.S. and Canadian cities. And you can lower your costs by living outside the tourist areas.  

Cabo San Lucas has great healthcare, shopping, food, nightlife, and all the comforts you need to live in Mexico. 

See this guide on Living in Cabo San Lucas

Living in San José del Cabo

San José del Cabo is 20 miles from Cabo San Lucas. 

The lifestyle in San José del Cabo is more relaxed. The city has a Mexican vibe, with its colonial architecture and artistic atmosphere. 

Fewer expats live here. And the cost of living is slightly lower than in Cabo San Lucas. 

The city is also great for anyone after an active lifestyle beyond the beaches. There’s plenty to do, like hiking, ziplining, and other outdoor activities.

San José del Cabo is home to one of Mexico’s busiest international airports, offering direct flights to many U.S. and Canadian cities. 

See this quick guide on Living in San Jose del Cabo.

Population in Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas

About 200,000 people live in Cabo San Lucas. The expats are speculated to make up around 5-10% of the population. 

The city attracts many snowbirds and a continuous flow of tourists. You’ll also find Mexicans from all over the country living here. 

San José del Cabo

Over 135,000 people live in San José del Cabo. The majority are Mexicans. 

While it’s less famous, the city also gets many foreign visitors.  

Weather in Los Cabos

Both cities have a tropical desert climate with some differences:

Weather in Cabo San Lucas

The average temperatures are around 69-84F all year long, with daytime highs reaching 79-91F. The weather rarely falls below 55-60F, even in winter. 

The rainy season is from July to January. The city is dryer than San José del Cabo. But it still gets some rain and hurricanes. 

Weather in San Jose Del Cabo

It is slightly warmer here than in Cabo San Lucas during summer. The average daytime highs from June to October go above 90F. 

The rainy season is from July to November. There’ve been a few hurricane disasters in the past 60 years. But such incidents are rare.  

Both cities offer warm days and cool evenings ideal for beachside activities and relaxing. 

Cost of living in Los Cabos

(Sources: NumbeoLivingcost.org, and data from our customers)

Rent 

Cabo San Lucas

  • 2-bedroom apartment in the city center – MXN20,000-30,000, or USD1,000-1,500
  • 2-bedroom 2-bath house outside the city center (Neighborhood: Brisas del Pacifico) – MXN14,000 or USD700

San José del Cabo

  • 2-bedroom apartment in the city center – MXN20,000-25,000 or USD1,000-1,250.
  • 2-bedroom 2-bath house outside the city center (Neighborhood: Monte Real) – MXN17,000 or USD850

In both cities, you’ll see 2–3-bedroom rentals in tourist areas for as high as $2,500-$3,500 a month. But you can find affordable rentals with good facilities outside the city center.

Utilities

Approximate monthly figures for two adults in both cities:

  • Water – MXN300-400 or USD15-20 
  • Gas – MXN400 or USD20
  • Electricity – MXN400-2,000 or USD20-100 (depending on the AC use.)
  • Internet – MXN600 or USD30. You can get fiber optics in many areas. 

Eating out

Cabo San Lucas

  • 3-course dinner at a mid-range restaurant (for two) – MXN1,200 or USD60
  • Seafood taco at a local restaurant – MXN40 or USD2
  • Pint of domestic beer – MXN40 or USD2

The city has plenty of food options, from high-end dining to local taquerias. Seafood is the regional specialty and an absolute must-try. 

We recommend Claro Fish Jr on Lázero Cárdenas street for some amazing seafood tacos at reasonable prices. 

If you’re looking for affordable and tasty food with an atmosphere, check out Baja Brewing inside Corazon Cabo Resort & Spa. You can enjoy your meal with ocean views and live music.

San José del Cabo

  • Dinner for two at a mid-range restaurant – MXN600-800 or USD30-40.
  • Seafood taco at a local restaurant – MXN20-30 or USD1-1.50
  • Pint of domestic beer – MXN35 or USD1.75
Like in Cabo San Lucas, seafood is a specialty here. 

We recommend Taqueria la Otra for tacos. If you like something more culinary, visit Yamuna kitchen. Here you can get a wonderful mix of native food. 

If you love a good breakfast experience with nature views, check out the Frida Cabo Restaurante.

Groceries 

Cabo San Lucas

Monthly groceries for a couple can cost about MXN8,000-10,000 or USD400-500.

The city has convenient grocery shopping options like Walmart and Costco. You can also find specialty food stores. Remember that imported items are expensive. 

Cabo San Lucas is a great shopping destination, but the touristy areas will have the gringo-tax (a higher tourist price). Visit the Patio Los Cabos mall for Mexican stores with lower prices. 

San José del Cabo

The grocery costs and shopping options here are similar to Cabo San Lucas. 

Fresh produce markets aren’t popular in the Los Cabos area. But you’ll find good quality produce at large stores like Walmart, Soriana, and Chedraui. 

Getting Around in Los Cabos

It’s easy to get around Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, despite the fewer public transport options vs. some other regions when living in Mexico.

Both the city centers are great for walking. And there are plenty of taxis and rideshare services like Uber and Didi. The local bus costs around USD0.50-1.00 for a short ride. 

Traveling between the two cities

  • Bus – MXN40-100 or USD2-5 (comfortable with AC)
  • Taxi – Around MXN2,000 or USD100
  • Shared shuttle – Around MXN400 or USD20

The taxi fares vary. So, always check before getting in. 

And if you like to buy a car, there’re plenty of vehicles for sale at competitive prices. 

Total cost of living in Los Cabos

Cabo San Lucas

A couple can live well for MXN50,000-60,000 or USD2,500-3,000 a month. 

San José del Cabo

You can reduce your living costs by a few hundred dollars here. But expect to spend about MXN50,000 or USD2,500 as a couple.  

Keep in mind that these are only approximate figures. Some expats spend more. And many residents also live on much less. 

Healthcare in Los Cabos

Los Cabos has some of the best hospitals in Mexico. 

Both cities are popular for medical tourism. Some medical centers even organize airport pick-ups, drop-offs, accommodations, and appointments.

Cabo San Lucas

The city has many private and public hospitals and clinics. And there are many English-speaking doctors.

A private consultation with a general physician costs about MXN600 or USD30.

San José del Cabo

Like in Cabo San Lucas, the healthcare here is top-notch. 

Expats in Mexico can visit the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) hospital here. Consultation rates start at about MXN500 or USD25. Remember, you must first register for IMSS (a public healthcare program).

To know more about healthcare in Mexico, including IMSS, read my article: What are your healthcare options in Mexico?

Things to do in Los Cabos

Many expats will agree that Los Cabos is one of the best places to live. Whether you’re a single adult in your 20s or someone looking to retire in Mexico, there’s something for everyone. 

Let’s look at a few activities:

Cabo San Lucas

Pickleball

Cabo san Lucas has a few pickleball courts around town. One of the most notable ones is in the Esperanza resort. With 3 pickleball courts, this resort is sure to have at least one court open for you and your friends.

Games start at $35 USD for up to 4 hours.

Go fishing

If you love sports fishing, this is the place to be! Cabo San Lucas is world-famous for fishing tournaments. October is the tournament season. 

You can also hire a boat and go fishing any time of the year.  

The ocean has a lot to offer

Playa el Medano is a popular beach by the resorts. And there’re many other great beaches for swimming and relaxing, like Playa Santa Maria, Playa Chileno, Playa Coral Negro (and more).  

Take a glass-bottom boat tour to the famous Arco San Lucas – a magnificent rock formation. You’ll get to snorkel and see the stunning marine life around here.  

You can also enjoy watersports like parasailing, kitesurfing, kayaking, and whale watching (in winter).

Soak in the nightlife

As you probably know, Cabo San Lucas is a party spot. There are many bars and clubs here. Check out the vibrant street called Lázaro Cárdenas.

San José del Cabo

This city offers a slower lifestyle that’s very family-friendly. It is also ideal for adults looking to retire in Mexico. 

Like Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo is also popular for its picturesque beaches and water sports.  

But that’s not all:

Try a farm-to-table experience

Visit a coop-style restaurant where they grow their own produce. Keep in mind that these are more expensive than regular restaurants. 

If you like the idea, we recommend Tamarindos. You can also take cooking lessons here.

Spend time in nature

Visit the estuary (also called Aguada Segura) – a protected ecological reserve. It has a beautiful freshwater lake near the ocean, separated by a narrow beach. The estuary is great for birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. 

You can also enjoy other outdoor activities in San José del Cabo, like golfing, hiking, and ziplining.

Experience the city and its culture

If you’re an art and history fan, you’ll love the city’s historic center, architecture, art galleries, events, and atmosphere, in general. You can see the works of many local artists here.  

Watch my videos about Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo to get a glimpse into living in each city.

Is Los Cabos Safe?

Los Cabos area is safe for expats and tourists. But it’s not 100% crime-free.

Avoid any high-risk activities. And be aware of your belongings and whereabouts when you’re out at night. 

Relocation Tours in Los Cabos

If you’re excited at the thought of living in Los Cabos, here’s the good news: You can easily visit both cities from North America. 

We recommend you consider our private Mexico relocation tours. We show what living in Los Cabos is like, beyond the tourist path. You’ll get an expert guide who can show you everything about living here, including tips to reduce your cost of living. Since we customize these tours, you can set the tour length and select the activities.    

Already Decided To Move to Mexico?

Wonderful!

See our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide to make sure you’re prepared to start your new life hassle-free. In the guide, we cover the most important basics of moving to Mexico. And we also include our complete directory of contacts like immigration facilitators, realtors, healthcare agents/brokers, and more!

Mariana Lange

Mariana Lima-Lange was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She spent every summer visiting family throughout Mexico and is very knowledgeable about Mexican culture, lifestyle, and traditions. She is fluent in both Spanish and English.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Charles Latting says

    Mariana, there is no way I can express how grateful I am for your emails and information. I am an old widower with a young mind. I played professional football in the US, spent 10 years as an officer in the Marines and 25 years as an FBI agent mainly in California. I’m retired and living n Atlanta, Georgia near one of my sons. I want to visit Mexico with the idea of moving there. I’m so bored here. Thanks for all you are doing.

    • Mariana Lange says

      It’s my pleasure!
      I hope you’ll join my newsletter
      MexicoRelocationguide.com/newsletter

  2. Mark Koontz says

    I’ve heard it quoted, for temp visa, of an income of $1650 and also $2600. I know it varies by consulate, but do you think Mexico is trending to the lessor amount (or more expensive)?

    I think this (fairly) high amount will put a damper on emigration to Mexico.

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi. There is only one consulate that is offering a temp residency for those who met an income of at least $1725
      However it is no longer taking appointments for the rest of the year
      The other consulates all require at least $2500-$2600 USD a month for the last 6 months

  3. Tom Coulon says

    I have been looking at Real Estate to retire to for the past year. I see that the consulates require at least $2500-$2600 USD a month for the last 6 months.
    Is this direct earned income or do the consulates consider a savings account and or an IRA part of this requirement?
    I intend on selling my home in the USA and purchasing a home in Merida but this financial requirement may put a hold on my dream for a while😂

    • Mariana Lange says

      Consulates consider IRAs and other investment accounts for the savings portion of the economic solvency. The savings amount required for temporary residency is currently $43k for the last 12 months

  4. cheryl M lecher says

    Hello,
    Getting to the Mexican consulates in US is very difficult and they are not in every major city. What si the process for starting the citzenship in Mexico stateside?
    Thank you,
    Cheryl Lecher 727-424-3863

    • Mariana Lange says

      Hi Cheryl,

      If you were born to Mexican parents, then you can start the dual citizenship process at a Mexican consulate.
      You will need to prove your relationship to your Mexican-born parent.

      But if you are a foreigner who has no relationship with a Mexican national, then the process has to be done in Mexico. And the requirements are that you live in Mexico for at least five consecutive years. Along with additional paperwork to submit to the Mexican immigration authority or INM.
      If you need help in the process, we can connect you with our recommended immigration facilitators, that can help you sort out how to obtain citizenship and when you are eligible.
      Our recommended contacts come included in our directory when you purchase our COMPLETE Mexico Relocation Guide.
      mexicorelocationguide.com/guide

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