Carless in Los Cabos: A Basic Guide to Public Transportation
Cabo San Lucas, Tourist Corridor, San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Cars are a smart choice for visitors looking to take side trips to Todos Santos or La Paz, but for those sticking to the sister cities of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo, public transportation can be a more affordable option if you are carless in Los Cabos.
NOTE: This article was originally posted in 2013. Some of the prices and times may have changed.
Although Los Cabos lacks the exhaustive public transportation options of a U.S. city like San Francisco, the buses are cheap, run regularly, and provide an easy method of moving back and forth between San Lucas and San José. They are also as an excellent way to explore beaches and other activities options along the Tourist Corridor that connects the two cities. And for those staying in Tourist Corridor-based vacation rentals, or value oriented hotels that lack complimentary shuttle services, buses are a perfect way to spend time in both cities, yet still enjoy the peace and tranquility of a seaside hideaway.
There is no set schedule, but typically service between the two cities begins about 5 a.m. and ends around 10 p.m. To be on the safe side, however, you should get to a bus stop by 9:30 p.m. at the latest. Buses will come by the main stops about every 20 minutes. In Cabo San Lucas, the main stop is near Puerto Paraiso shopping center. It’s on the same side of the street, but half a block away.
Buses generally sit there for about 5 to 10 minutes before departing, so there’s no need to run if you see a bus idling at the stop. Long blue Subur Cabos are the most comfortable public transportation option for tourists, but white school-style buses are more numerous, and appear more regularly.
In San José del Cabo, the main stop is in front of the Mega store, near the turn off to the airport. Trips between the cities cost 27 pesos (about $2 U.S.) per person. If you’re traveling to a destination on the Tourist Corridor, expect to pay 19 pesos. Drivers are prepared to make change, but may not be able to do so with larger bills. Exact change is preferred.
All buses have their itineraries written on the windshield, but trying to figure out where a bus is going can be difficult to decipher, particularly when it’s in motion. My philosophy is to wave first, and ask questions later. Waving is important. Even if you’re at a bus stop, it’s a good idea to wave at the driver. And unlike the in the United States, where drivers are reluctant to pull over anywhere but recognized bus stops, Mexican drivers will generally stop just about anywhere they can do so safely.
Since the majority of bus drivers do not speak English, it’s also good idea to learn a few phrases in Spanish (see below). Not only do prices vary according to your destination, but not all buses will travel to the central downtown area of Cabo San Lucas. You need to ask, or you’re likely to end up heading to an outlying neighborhood like Cangrejos. It’s not a safety issue, but it will make it much more complicated to get to your desired destination.
The following phrases will help you determine exactly how close you can get to where you want to go, and how much it will cost. You can also ask the driver to let you know when it’s time to get off. In San Josè del Cabo, the closest stop to the historic downtown district is at Blvd. Mauricio Castro and Calle Manuel Doblado. From there, it’s about a six block walk to the main plaza.
Can you stop here, please? ¿Puede parar aquí por favor?
How much is it to ….? ¿Cuánto cuesta para ir a…?
Can you tell me when we get to ….? ¿Me podría avisar por favor cuando llegamos a…?
Does this bus go to …..? ¿Este autobús va para…?
Are you going to downtown Cabo San Lucas? ¿Se dirige al centro de Cabo San Lucas…?
How much time until we get to…? ¿Cuánto tiempo se hace hasta…?
For those interested in a comfortable, low-cost alternative to airport taxi service, two public transportation options for accessible shuttles are available in downtown Cabo San Lucas. The Hotel Mar de Cortez, located on Lázaro Cárdenas, offers daily shuttle service at 9:40 a.m., 11:40 a.m., and 1:40 p.m., with a special 3:40 p.m. option on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are always recommended, as specific shuttles may be discontinued if there are no scheduled passengers. To book a seat, call Mar de Cortez at (624) 143-0032. The ride to the airport takes about 45 minutes, and costs $15 U.S. (or 200 pesos).
At Wyndham Cabo San Lucas Resort on the Marina, airport service costs $18 U.S., with shuttles leaving daily at 9:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 1:15 p.m. Again, reservations are recommended. To save a spot, call (624) 173-9300, ext. 1110.