Safety in Los Cabos | iTravel - Cabo | Be Safe
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How Safe is Los Cabos For Tourists?

The stats, the facts and what people say…

Last update: July 14, 2017

safety in Los Cabos


It would be foolish to deny that there has been increasing concern over safety in Los Cabos in recent months. It has been widely covered by the media. No doubt you will have read all about it.

And of course, you will be aware that the US State Department issued a new travel warning for Mexico, back in Dec 2016. Cabo was not specifically mentioned in the area warning for Baja California Sur. But La Paz was. 

Remember that Cabo is one very tiny part of a very large country. Mexico has  a population of 130 million. Los Cabos - which includes Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo - has a population of only 287,000. So, a little bit of perspective is required. 

Let’s be clear. What we are talking about here - is safety in and around Los Cabos. Not across all of Mexico.

Cabo - how safe is it?

Right now that is a tricky question. Some will argue that Cabo continues to be one of the safest spots in Mexico. Others will point to the recent rise in crime and violent murders. Another will argue these crimes are only between warring drug gangs. And don’t affect tourists. 

Tit for tat. The debate continues. Whatever your view, “supporting evidence“ can be found. Alarming crime stats, or positively glowing reviews. 

So, let’s just move away from all that. Let’s just look at Cabo. And what is and isn’t true. Over the last few months.


And now, the facts...

It is true that…

there has been a spate of drug related murders from Jan- July 2017 (159 according to the media).

- most of these deaths have been shootings.

- in March ONE female tourist was wounded in the crossfire of a drug related incident in San Jose del Cabo. (Over 300, 000 tourists visited Los Cabos in March)

- tin April there was ONE violent incident in a San Jose Tourist Hotel. But nobody was hurt.

- in May, a reporter, who mainly covered police matters, was shot in La Paz

- In July (and also March) there were some particularly violent incidents and body parts were found in coolers and in plastic bags. Bodies were also found in abandoned cars. All of this  this has been widely publicised in the media. 

it is also true that…

- all deaths have been outwith the tourist areas.

-  the increased presence of security personnel  - Inter Operacion  - is being continued indefinitely in Cabo. (This combines Federal Forces, Gendarmerie, Federal Police, State Police, Municipal Police, Armed Forces and Navy).

- on 05th July, SECTUR (Ministry of Tourism) announced that a security pilot programme will be implemented in Cabo in August (details not yet known).

- on 10th July the Ministry of Interior announced that there will be a 20% increase in the number of Gendarmerie and Federal agents to be deployed in Los Cabos and La Paz.

- local businesses this week pledged their continued funding support for the Gendarmerie.

- a Training Barracks for State Police is to be established in Cabo San Lucas. 

plus…

- tourists can now access help and support 24/7, 365 days a year in Cabo's new CATAC offices (Tourist Assistance Centre). Conveniently located at the Cabo San Lucas Marina. 

- tourism in Cabo is still growing. There has been a 19.9% increase in air passengers in the first 6 months of the year.

- numbers of cruise ships are also increasing None have cancelled. 

- another 3000 hotel rooms will be added to Cabo by the end of 2017. More new hotels have been announced. 

- Cabo hotels, resorts, and golf course continue to win prestigious tourism and travel awards.

- new direct flights are opening. Most recently from San Diego, Oakland, and LA. And discussions are underway to add non-stop flights from New York.

- construction has just begun on a second international airport. It will be located in Cabo San Lucas. Initial capacity will be for one million passengers. But ultimately will accomodate 10 million.

The official line…

Tourism is a way of life here in Cabo. Rest assured that the federal, state and municipal governments have vested economic interests in maintaining  this. This is clearly evidenced by all the extra support they have already brought into Cabo over the last couple of months. Director of Los Cabos Tourism Board, Rodrigo Esponda, said  - 

We have an obligation to let visitors know the situation. But recent events must be seen in context. With two exceptions, the violence and shootings have not been anywhere near the tourist areas. Overall the destination of Los Cabos is perfectly safe. Thousands of tourists have been arriving every day. In the first half of this year Los Cabos Airport has experienced a 19.9% increase in passengers.. This would not be happening if Los Cabos wasn’t safe.

Some words of advice… 

If you are still worried about safety in Cabo, check for any new travel warnings before your trip. Look at recent Trip Adviser reviews on safety. And remember, there is an American and Canadian Embassy in Cabo if you have any concerns while you are here.

Other safety concerns in Cabo…

Of course there is crime in Cabo. And of course tourists need to take care. Stick to busier streets, especially after dark.  Don’t flash your cash too publicly. Don’t party so hard you don’t know what you are doing. Traffic is tricky - take care if you are driving. Watch out crossing the roads. Pavements have pot holes. Pay serius attention to  “no swimming “ signs. Winds can be strong. Currents can be treacherous. Always take care in the sun. Always drink bottled water. Choose carefully if you eat street food.

FURTHER READING:
What To Do In An Emergency In Cabo

Read More >


The truth is… 

That the old, slightly worn out cliché seems to be true. You are still much more likely to be at risk of sunstroke, or a raging tequila hangover, than you are of getting your head blown off by a drug lord. 

Take the same care as you would anywhere. And enjoy everything Los Cabos has to offer.

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What People Say...

It’s also true that people feel safe here. We know because we asked some. Here’s what they had to say...

- Nancy and John from Houston, “This is our second year in a row to Cabo. Yes, we have heard all the safety warnings , and seen what’s been in the media. But after being here last fall, we weren’t at all put off by what we read. We felt completely safe then. And we feel completely safe now. The fact that the armed Federales can be seen around town with guns, just makes us feel safer. They are here to protect us.”

- Dave and Lesley from Scotland, “This was our first trip to Cabo. And we hadn’t heard anything about safety before we came. And to be honest we didn’t even think to check. Yes, we were slightly alarmed when we got here and saw military guys, and policemen going around with guns. Especially when they rolled up at our little restaurant in San Jose. But we asked the restaurant owner, and he explained the situation. And then we checked at our resort. We didn’t feel unsafe or scared at all. Not at any time."

Kate and Douglas, Cruise Ship Passengers, “We’re both 75 years old. We heard all the travel warnings, and it didn’t make us want to cancel our trip. We didn’t even consider it. Look at how pretty this place is – why wouldn’t we want to come? At this age, you can’t let fear stop you.”

Feel safer now? Why not come and see for yourself

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