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Thinking about renting a car in Cabo San Lucas? 💛 You’ve come to the right place! In this article, I will tell you all about the process of renting a car in one of Mexico’s most popular destinations and give you my insider tips on how to avoid mistakes when renting a car in Cabo.
If you do some research, you will find a lot of information on how to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas. We are going to go over everything in this article, so by the time you are done, you will be ready to go 🙌
Where is Cabo San Lucas?
Cabo San Lucas is a popular resort town on the border between the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. It’s 40 minutes away from San Jose Del Cabo, its sister city and home to Cabo San Lucas International Airport (SJD) ✈️ that serves the region.
➡️ Check flights to Cabo San Lucas here.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas?
Expect to pay between $45-60 USD per day for an economy car with full insurance coverage.The price depends on the car rental company and the season, as car rentals in Cabo are more expensive from December through April, the high season in Baja. Summers can be super hot 🥵 in Baja, but that’s when you can score good deals on car rentals in Cabo.
👉DiscoverCars offer some of the most reasonable rates for car rentals in Cabo.
Do I need a rental car in Cabo?
Whether you need to rent a car in Cabo depends on you plans. If you plan to spend your getaway in one of Cabo San Lucas resorts, soak up some sun 🌞 and go on a taco tour 🌮, you might not need a car. But if you want to explore the region and have more freedom, you should rent a vehicle when you arrive in Cabo San Lucas.
👉 Here are some of the reasons why you should consider renting a car in Cabo San Lucas 🚗
Explore more of the region
Cabo San Lucas is one of the most popular places to visit in Baja California Sur 🏝, with millions of tourists coming here every year, mostly from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Renting a car in Cabo will allow you to visit some of the best beaches in Baja California Sur, and explore pueblos magicos like Todos Santos and Loreto.
Visit some of the best surfing beaches in Baja California
If you are coming to Baja California for surfing 🏄♂️, renting a car in Cabo San Lucas is a must! I’m probably not going to surprise you by telling you that you need a car to get to some of the best surfing beaches in Baja California that are located away from major resorts.
Travel at your own pace
Exploring Baja California Sur is a real adventure! 🤩 When you rent a car in Cabo, you no longer need to rely on guided tours and public transport, and can organize your trips however you like.
Get outside the resort area
Cabo is well known for its upscale resorts where you can spend your entire vacation. But as someone who has traveled around Baja quite a bit, I want to tell you that it’s worth getting outside of the tourist zone to learn what this part of Mexico is all about. Renting a car in Cabo San Lucas is the best way to visit some of the best places in Baja California like La Paz, Todos Santos and Loreto on your own terms.
Where to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas?
The best place to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas is San Jose Del Cabo International Airport (SJD).
My top advice for renting a car in Cabo is to book your vehicle early. Baja California is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico, and many travelers rent cars when they come here. The high demand often causes high prices for car rentals, especially from December trough April.
Whether you want to rent a smaller car or a 4X4, book your car in Cabo with DiscoverCars.com 🚗 I’ve rented vehicles with them several times, and always had a good experience!
Which car rentals are in Cabo Airport?
You can find several major car rental companies in Cabo San Lucas Airport like National, Enterprise, Alamo, Avis and Budget.
Is it cheaper to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas Airport?
While car rentals around Cabo San Lucas International Airport are more expensive, you will save a lot of time by going there after landing at the airport. Some off-site car rental offices have cheaper prices but you will spend more time and money getting there, and will not save much in the end.
Your car rental company will pick you up outside the arrivals and will drop you off at the car rental office where you will fill out paperwork and get your car.
How far is Cabo from airport?
The Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) ✈️ is 23 miles from Cabo San Lucas, and 8 miles from San Jose del Cabo.
Why rent a car with Discover Cars?
DiscoverCars is the best platform for renting cars in Cabo San Lucas. They work with major car rental companies in Mexico and offer some of the best prices on many types of vehicles. You can also add a full Mexican insurance for you car rental for less than $10 per day when booking your car with DiscoverCars.
👉 Click here to check prices on car rentals in Cabo San Lucas
What to know before renting a car in Cabo San Lucas Airport
There’s a lot of conflicting information about renting a car in Cabo San Lucas. Many people think that driving a car in Mexico is dangerous and if they get pulled over by police 🚓 something will happen to them.
Driving in Mexico is easier than you think, but it does require some knowledge.
PRO TIP: Never rented a car in Mexico before? No worries! My complete guide to renting a car in Mexico will help you to avoid mistakes and help you to save money.
- Check reviews – When renting a car in Cabo San Lucas, you can find what other customers have to say about a given company. DiscoverCars automatically finds the best rates and you can also check reviews before booking your car rental. 🚗
- Fill up your tank before returning your car – Since there are many car rental companies near Cabo airport, you will have no problem finding a gas station. Fill up your car before returning it because you will get charged extra if you bring back your car with an empty tank.
Tips for renting a car in Cabo San Lucas
- U.S. car insurance is NOT valid in Mexico and car rental companies in Cabo will not accept it ⛔️ Some credit cards in the United States cover rental car damage, but even if you have a credit card offers provides car rental coverage, you will still have to pay for car rental insurance in Mexico.
- When renting a car in Cabo San Lucas, you can choose from three types of car insurance: basic, medium, and full coverage, with basic insurance offering only minimal protection and full coverage protecting you if your car is totaled or stolen.
- Consider a 4X4 vehicle – Baja California is one of my favorite parts of Mexico. It has many hidden corners and compared to other parts of the country it is less developed outside of major tourist centers. If you plan on visiting places like Todos Santos or La Paz and San Jose Del Cabo, a regular car 🚙 will do just fine. If you are going to camp and explore remote parts of the Baja California Peninsula 🤠, you will need a four-wheel drive, as some roads in Baja California are unpaved and require a 4X4.
- You have to be 25 years old to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas – Many car rental companies in Cabo San Lucas require you to be 25 years old to rent a car. Some companies allow younger driver to rent cars, but they typically include a daily fee between $10-25 on top of your daily rate. 🤷♀️
➡️ If you are under 25 and want to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas, carefully check the company’s policy before booking your car.
You can find a good selection of bigger vehicles on DiscoverCars.com 🚘
👉 Click here to book your car in Cabo San Lucas
How to save money on renting a car in Cabo San Lucas
When you look for car rentals in Cabo, you will find many good deals that look fairly reasonable. But these deals do not always include mandatory car insurance. Once you arrive at your car rental office, you are asked to choose an insurance package which will increase your daily rate ⬆️
- Book your car rental in Cabo ahead of time – Booking your car early is a must when traveling during the high season, but booking your car in Cabo San Lucas ahead of time is always good idea. This way, you will avoid overpaying when booking your car last minute.
- Learn to drive a stick shift – Sometimes, when car rentals in Cabo are in high demand, car rental companies have fewer vehicles available. Some of the leftover cars often have a manual transmission, and since fewer people know how to drive them, you could save some money 💰 as they are cheaper.
- Rent at a small company – Bigger car rental companies like Budget, Hertz, and Avis charge higher prices –
Is it easy to drive in Cabo San Lucas?
Driving in Cabo San Lucas is very simple. The town is easy to navigate and you won’t find any major traffic here. Although some tourists are intimidated by the prospect of driving in Cabo, it’s a great way to learn the city and discover the places in the area that can’t be reached by walking like Cabo Pulmo 🤿 or Todos Santos 🌸
Is it safe to drive in Cabo San Lucas?
Generally, it’s safe to drive in Cabo San Lucas, but you need to follow some driving tips to stay safe on the road and avoid tickets. Driving in Baja is slightly different from the rest of Mexico, and if you are traveling the region for the time, your should drive on the Transpeninsular Highway 🚙 that runs through Baja California.
What documents do I need to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas?
Renting a car in Mexico is a straightforward process, and it’s no different in Cabo San Lucas. You will need to provide a standard set of documents and also fill out some paperwork 📝 when you arrive at the office.
Here’s what you will need:
A car rental company in Cabo San Lucas will ask you for your passport and they will also take copies of your documents for their record. 📠
A driver’s license
You will also need to provide a valid driver’s license that should be in the Roman alphabet. If you are traveling to Mexico from countries that don’t use that alphabet, you will need an international driver’s license.
Can you drive in Cabo with US license?
A valid U.S. driver’s license allows you to drive in Mexico, including Cabo and the rest of Baja California. Make sure that your driver’s license is valid for the next six months, so you don’t have any issues when renting a car or crossing the U.S.- Mexico border.
Credit or debit card
To pay for your car rental in Cabo San Lucas, you will need a credit or debit card. 💳
A car rental company will charge you for a car rental plus put a hold on your credit card that normally ranges between a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. When you return your car rental with no damages, the hold on your credit card will be removed.
Mexico car insurance
Car rental insurance is mandatory in Mexico, and you will be asked to choose from basic, medium and full coverage when filling out your paperwork. Check my article about renting a car in Mexico to find out more about Mexico car insurance, since it’s a pretty big topic.
How old do you have to be to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas?
The minimum age for renting a car in Cabo is 21. If you’re under 25, you could still have some age-related restrictions.😔 Many car rental companies charge a daily fee and only rent certain types of vehicles to younger drivers. The fees and other restrictions depend on the company, which is why it’s a good idea to take a close look at their policy before signing paperwork. ✍️
What cars can I rent in Cabo San Lucas?
There are a many car rental companies in Cabo San Lucas, and you will find many car companies that you can find in the United States. Some of the most makes and models among rental cars in Cabo are Nissan, Chevrolet, Toyota and Kia.
✅ If you are renting a car through DiscoverCars you will be able to see its make and model and as well as transmission types. Sometimes, bigger vehicles as well as spots car and ATV’s have a manual transmission, so make sure you know how to drive it before booking a vehicle.
What places can I visit if I rent a car in Cabo?
Most travelers who end up renting a car in Cabo, visit Todos Santos and La Paz, the two most popular places within a driving distance of Cabo San Lucas.
If you have more time, I recommend visiting Loreto, a pueblo magico and a former capital of California’s about 4 hours north of La Paz.
Loreto is full of charm, and it’s also the gateway to the Bahia de Concepcion Parque Nacional, a gorgeous bay comprised of five islands with pristine beaches and wildlife. Another 2 hours from Loreto is Mulege, home to the best beaches in Mexico that is a must-stop on your Baja California itinerary 🗺.
Renting a car in Cabo is the best way to visit these places, as they are located hours away from Cabo San Lucas and are somewhat off the beaten track.
👉 Click here to book your car in Cabo San Lucas
Is Todos Santos worth a visit?
Yes, Todos Santos is worth a visit! It’s a charming town where you can spend a day or two beach-hopping and enjoying the relaxed atmosphere. It’s also one of the most popular day trips from Cabo San Lucas, thanks to a short driving distance and many cool things to do in the area.
Check this awesome guide to some of the best things to do in Todos Santos 😃
How long is the drive from Cabo to Todos Santos?
The distance between Cabo and Todos is 76 kilometers. The drive from Cabo to Todos Santos is about 50 minutes.
What is the drive like from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos?
The highway from Cabo to Todos Santos takes you along the Pacific Coast of Mexico filled with beautiful scenery. It’s a two-lane highway on both sides that passes above Cabo San Lucas, which is especially convenient if you are driving to Todos Santos from San Jose Del Cabo Airport.
Along the highway from Cabo to Todos Santos, you will pass several attractions like ATV trails, and the famous Cerritos Beach which is popular with surfers.
Is La Paz, Mexico worth a visit?
La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur state and is one of the best places to visit in Baja California.💛
While Cabo is mostly known for its parties, La Paz is a gateway to the Sea of Cortez and a popular destination for eco-tourism and whale watching 🐋
La Paz offers some of the best beaches in Mexico like Playa Balandra, and it is also the starting point for tours to Isla Espíritu Santo National Park where you can learn about the biodiversity of the region and even swim with the sea lions.🦭
How long is the drive from Cabo to La Paz?
La Paz is another popular day trip from Cabo San Lucas that is often combined with a stop in Todos Santos.
✅ To save time, do this trip clockwise, heading to Todos Santos first and spending a day there before visiting La Paz. The drive from Cabo to Todos Santos is a straight shot along the highway, the same as the drive from Todos Santos to La Paz.
If you decide to head to La Paz from Cabo San Lucas, you will have to drive along the mountain pass, and keep going up for a while. The direct drive from Cabo San Lucas to La Paz is close to 100 miles and takes about 2 hours to complete depending on the traffic.
You will also pass San Jose Del Cabo on your way, and you should fill up your tank, as there are few gas stations on the highway between San Jose Del Cabo and La Paz.
What is the drive like from Cabo to La Paz?
The first part of the drive from Cabo to La Paz is pretty straightforward – you drive along the highway and after you get through San Jose Del Cabo, the road becomes a two-lane highway and takes you through several small pueblos. It’s a scenic drive 🤠 with little traffic and you can relax and enjoy the views 🤩
Once you get to the outskirts of La Paz, you will have to slow down because of all the traffic and tons of 🚦 along the way. Depending on where you are trying to get in La Paz, getting through this part could take you anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
The outer parts of the city are not that pretty, but you will be treated to the spectacular views once you get to Malecón (waterfront) where you will also find many stores and restaurants 👩🍳
General tips for driving in Mexico
After renting a car in Cabo San Lucas, it’s time to get on the road. You might want to know that driving in Mexico is pretty straightforward but it does come with a few caveats.
Watch out for speed bumps (topes in Spanish)
Speed bumps are common in many parts of Mexico. Some of them are very tall and can damage your vehicle if you hit them at full speed. There are typically road signs warning you about speed bumps ahead, but always make sure to slow down when you drive around cities and towns in Mexico.
Don’t pump your gas
Mexican gas stations have attendants who put gas in your car when you get to the pump. Make sure to specify the amount of gas that you need and clarify the price before they begin doing it. Many people who work at gas stations make only minimum wage, so it’s a good idea to leave a little tip before driving off.
PRO TIP: Pay close attention to how much money you are giving to a gas pump attendant. A gas pump scam is one of the most common petty scams in Mexico, and if you are not paying attention, you could easily get ripped off.
Be prepared to stop at checkpoints
Checkpoints are not uncommon in Mexico, even around the country’s tourist corridors. Be prepared to stop and open your vehicle for inspection, if you are asked to do so. As a tourist, you will most likely be asked a few simple questions, unless you manage to draw some suspicion.
Learn some Spanish
Knowing basic Spanish is one of my top Mexico travel tips 🇲🇽 Not only renting a car in Cabo San Lucas will become a much easier process, the whole trip so much easier!
It will help you communicate at gas stations, restaurants, and everywhere else. The further away you go from a tourist zone, the fewer people will speak English, so some Spanish skills could be a huge help.
Always carry cash
From tipping gas station attendants to giving a few coins to people who might come up to wash windows while you are sitting in traffic, carrying cash is a good idea while you are driving around Mexico. Also, the street vendors who sell drinks and snacks on the side of the road accept only cash.
Mexico uses kilometers not miles
In case you are traveling to Mexico from the US, be aware that Mexico uses kilometers, not miles. One mile equals about 1.6 kilometers, but when it comes to driving, your best bet is to just follow the posted speed limit to avoid the trouble.
Use toll roads
Toll roads might be not the cheapest option (you will need to have cash in your car to pay for them), but they are the best option if you are traveling between major cities and want to get around quickly. They are also considered safer for traveling than smaller secondary roads and better, as they have fewer potholes.
When it comes to traveling around Baja, you have only one major highway, so you will not have a lot of options for secondary roads.
Be ready to pay a bribe … or not
If you have done a little bit of research on renting a car in Mexico, you probably read about instances of Mexican police asking motorists for money in exchange for getting out of a ticket.
As a rule, I say don’t cave in, if they say that you will get a fine unless you give them money. You can just take a ticket and pay for it later. But this depends on the situation (and what they stopped you for), so my advice is to follow your instincts and do what looks to be the best way to skip the trouble.
Follow the rules
Your best bet to avoid trouble is to follow the rules. Wear a seat belt, respect the signs, follow a posted speed limit and put down your phone. This will help to avoid any unwanted attention and not get pulled over by police in the first place.
Drive during the day
Depending on what region of Mexico you plan to visit, you might want to limit your driving to the daytime. Some parts of Mexico are considered less safe than others, and you should check the most up-to-date information before planning your trip.
If you are traveling to Mexico from the United States, check information on the U.S State Department ahead of your visit.
Renting a car in Cabo San Lucas: FAQ’s
What is the best way to get around in Cabo San Lucas?
The best way to get around in Cabo San Lucas is on foot or by rental car 🚘 You can easily explore downtown Cabo San Lucas by foot, but if you want to explore some of the best beaches near Cabo and take a day trip, renting a car is the best option.
Is it safe to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas?
Yes, renting a car in Cabo is completely safe. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo are some of the safest places for tourists in Mexico. Your best bet is to rent a car near San Jose Del Cabo International Airport (SJD) ✈️ This will help you to save time and avoid public transportation or private transfers.
✅ You can find many good deals on car rentals in Cabo through DiscoverCars, one my my favorite websites for renting cars in Mexico and other countries.
What if I get pulled over by police while driving?
So many travelers are scared of getting pulled over by police in Mexico. It’s probably one of the biggest concerns I hear over and over again when speaking with fellow travelers. 🤷♀️
✔️I think this fear goes back to the stereotype of Mexico in the American media, which is sad but not surprising given the amount of negative news about Mexico in the U.S. If you follow the rules, stay away from drugs and don’t exceed the posted speed limit, you are not likely to get pulled over in the first place.
If you get pulled over while driving in Mexico, answer questions, and be prepared to open your car for an inspection. Unless you have drugs or any other illegal things in your car, you have nothing to worry about.
Is there Uber in Cabo?
Yes! There’s Uber in Cabo San Lucas and also San Jose Del Cabo. They can pick you up at any time, but unfortunately can’t drop you off at the airport terminal, but can do a curbside drop-off in which case, you will need to do some walking to the terminal doors.
Is there Uber at Cabo San Lucas Airport?
No, there is no Uber at Cabo San Lucas Airport ✈️ and you can only get a regular taxi from the airport grounds if you are trying to get to Cabo San Lucas or to you car rental company.
Catching Uber from Cabo San Lucas airport could be tricky, since they can’t pick you up at the terminal, and the area around the airport is not walkable. If don’t want to rent a car in Cabo San Lucas airport and want to get to Cabo San Lucas, you can book a transfer ahead of your trip.
Renting a car in Cabo San Lucas: final thoughts
Although many travelers come to Cabo San Lucas to enjoy its beaches and party in all-inclusive resorts, you should get outside the tourist zone and explore Baja California. The best way to do it is by renting a car in Cabo after you land a car at San Jose Del Cabo International Airport.