Getting to Mexico’s Baja California Sur is easy for anyone living in Southern California like me, where nonstop flights are plentiful. As a travel writer living at the beach literally next door to Los Angeles International Airport, the most complicated part of the trip is when I arrive at Los Cabos International Airport and have to figure out my transportation to whichever part of the area I’m visiting first. I usually like to stay in two different places during my stays, which last from four days to a week or more.
I like having a car, so I usually rent one when I land. But sometimes, I want to leave the driving to someone else and will book a transfer to my first hotel or simply walk out of the airport and catch a taxi waiting in the queue. The airport is not very big and is very manageable for first-time visitors.
Los Cabos International Airport is my preferred airport in the region, and flights to it are plentiful from various parts of the US, Canada, and other Mexican cities, with about 550 a week from approximately 40 destinations, many of which are nonstop. The US carriers Delta, American, United, Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue, Southwest, and Spirit fly nonstop to the airport, so airfares are often reasonably priced because of the level of competition. High season (October to April) means higher prices on most carriers.
Visitors from countries farther away can find good connections through major US cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Dallas, as well as in Mexican hubs in Mexico City, Tijuana, and Guadalajara.
Driving isn’t really an option from the US border unless you’re inclined to be in the car for 1,000 miles, which is the distance between Tijuana and Los Cabos. Coming from across the Sea of Cortez by car is possible from the Mexican state of Sinaloa by taking an eight-hour ferry from Topolobampo, but the car and ferry routes are for the truly adventurous. Driving from the US border isn’t recommended, as much of the trip is across empty desert past dusty little towns with few services, like hotels and restaurants, to be found.
Before arriving at the airport, decide how you plan to get around during your stay. Renting a car allows for complete freedom to roam, and if you drive a stick shift, you’ll save hundreds of dollars on the rental. There are numerous car-rental companies at the airport, including the major players National, Alamo, Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Thrifty, as well as Sixt, Ace, Firefly, and local companies.
Prices are usually comparable among the various companies, but reserving ahead of time is important, especially during high season. I like to stick with the more well-known companies like Avis, Alamo, Hertz, and Budget, as there’s less of a chance they’ll run out of cars and leave me scrambling.
Leave the driving to others if you plan to stay in a resort along the Tourist Corridor, in Cabo San Lucas, or beyond the city of Cabo to the Pacific side of the tip of Baja California Sur, for once you get to your hotel (plan to spend $60 to $75 on a car service/taxi from the airport) most adventure/excursion companies will pick you up there and drop you back off. Taxis are also bountiful in Los Cabos, especially in Cabo San Lucas. Airport rides take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on where your hotel is.
If La Paz is going to be your home base, expect a 2.5-hour drive north from the airport. There are private-car services, taxis, and shuttle services to get you there, but a rental car will allow you to explore along the way, which is what I recommend. The two routes to drive to La Paz are both interesting, and each route takes about the same time. Going through Los Barriles on the eastern side of the peninsula is wilder and more scenic, while the western trip takes you through Todos Santos, one of Mexico’s Pueblos Mágicos, or magical towns. Just be certain to get a vehicle large enough to hold both your luggage and your diving/fishing gear.
Once in La Paz, the best ways to get around are walking, driving a rental car, or taking a taxi. There, too, adventure/excursion companies will arrange transportation to and from your hotel on the days you’re going on a trip with them.
View Insider’s comprehensive guide to visiting Cabo San Lucas and Baja California Sur, Mexico.