1. RENT A CAR
There’s so much to see, and cabs cost a fortune. Buses, while cheap, are limited in their routes. Get a four-wheel-drive car or a truck if you plan to explore the canyons and other outlying areas. The best spots are reachable only by unpaved roads, and a truck will provide a smoother ride on this terrain. (I signed on to take a hike with Baja Outback, and was embarrassed at being picked up in a Hummer. But after a turkey vulture crashed into our windshield as we drove down the highway, I was thankful to be in a big, sturdy vehicle.)
2. DARE TO DRINK THE WATER
This isn’t advised in most parts of Mexico, but filtered water is the norm in Los Cabos. In fact, it’s often filtered two or three times, and it’s freely used in cooking and for ice cubes. If you’re worried that your resort doesn’t filter, just ask. Most places pride themselves on their water purification and will bring it up during check-in or orientation.
3. EAT AT TACO STANDS
There’s nothing better than a Baja fish taco—a corn or flour tortilla wrapped around fried or grilled fish (marlin, cod, tuna or whatever’s fresh-caught that day), then garnished with add-ons chosen from a salad bar stocked with shredded lettuce, hot peppers, at least four different sauces and more. The average cost is about $2 each, so you can sample different styles at every meal. Try the ones at Hangman in San Jose del Cabo.
4. NEVER PUT YOUR PURSE ON THE FLOOR
On this trip I learned about a superstition (held by many Hispanic people) that if you set your purse on the floor, you’ll have bad luck with money. In acknowledgment, Cabo restaurants offer everything from freestanding tableside purse holders to a chair with a slide-out handbag tray.
5. TRY TO SPEAK SPANISH
While most of the Mexicans in Cabo speak English, they’re embarrassed at what they call their “bad English” (though it’s usually pretty great). To make them feel better, haul out your Spanish, however rudimentary. A little “buenos días” goes a long way!
Hangman: Corner of Pescadores and Marinos streets; 52.172.2093