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Tips for Expats Driving in Cabo San Lucas

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Cabo San Lucas.
|-Tips for Expats Driving in Cabo San Lucas

1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Cabo San Lucas, can be a unique experience. The driving culture is different from many other countries, with drivers often being more aggressive and less likely to follow traffic rules strictly. It’s important to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers. Also, be aware that traffic signs and signals may not always be in the same places or mean the same things as in your home country.

2. Choosing the Right Car

It’s recommended to have a car that can handle various types of terrain. While the main roads in Cabo San Lucas are paved and well-maintained, some side streets and rural areas may be unpaved or in poor condition. A compact SUV or a car with good ground clearance can be a good choice.

3. Parking in Cabo San Lucas

Finding parking in Cabo San Lucas can be challenging, especially in the downtown area and near popular tourist attractions. However, there are several paid parking lots available. The cost of parking is generally not expensive, but it can add up if you’re parking frequently or for long periods.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Mexico with an international driver’s license for up to 180 days. After that, you will need to obtain a Mexican driver’s license. It’s important to always carry your license, passport, and car registration when driving.

5. Obtaining a Mexican Driver’s License

To get a Mexican driver’s license, you will need to visit the local Department of Motor Vehicles (Secretaría de Transporte). You will need to provide proof of residency, a valid passport, and a valid driver’s license from your home country. You will also need to pass a written test and a driving test. The tests are usually in Spanish, so it may be helpful to bring a translator if you’re not fluent in the language.

6. Be Aware of the “Right of the Left”

In Mexico, the “right of the left” rule applies. This means that if you’re turning left, you must yield to oncoming traffic. This can be confusing for drivers from countries where the opposite rule applies, so it’s important to be aware of this when driving in Cabo San Lucas.

7. Watch Out for Speed Bumps

Speed bumps, known as “topes”, are common in Mexico and can be quite large. They’re often not well-marked, so keep an eye out for them to avoid damaging your car.

8. Be Prepared for Checkpoints

Police and military checkpoints are common in Mexico. If you’re stopped at a checkpoint, remain calm and cooperate with the officers. They may ask to see your documents, so have them ready.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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