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Baja California is a Mexican state located on the Baja California Peninsula, and it shares a border with the U.S. state of California.
There are plenty of destinations in Baja California that are popular among visitors, but where there are crowds, there are opportunities for local criminals. Here's what you need to know to stay safe in the Mexican state of Baja California.
Since Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabos are situated at the tip of the Baja Peninsula. The locals are welcoming and the two towns are mostly safe, but theft and pickpocketing are the crimes to be most aware of. Always keep your belongings secure, even if you taking time out to grab a bite to eat. Only take what you need with you for the day and be aware of your surroundings – just like you would anywhere else in Mexico.
Be aware, it is not recommended to drink the tap water in Cabo San Lucas. Only drink purified or bottled water while traveling here.
Marijuana also known as “brick weed” or “Mexican brown” is on offer everywhere, but don't be tempted. Even though drugs have been decriminalized in Mexico, anything which occurs as a consequence of drug taking such as injury or property loss is not covered by travel insurance, so it’s best to avoid it at all costs.
Located in northern Baja, just over the border from San Diego, Tijuana is a popular spot for a quick Mexican getaway. The city has a thriving nightlife, great food and culture. Tijuana does have an infamous red light district and a notable crime rate, however, the Mexican authorities have cracked down on drug cartel violence; which has made places like Playas de Tijuana, Zona Rio, Avenida Revolucion and the red light district in Zona Norte safer. But that doesn’t excuse you from exercising some personal safety precautions. Avoid walking alone at night, especially in the red light district.
Pickpockets and snatch-and-grab thieves thrive with the crowds. Some work in groups, others may also carry weapons. So keep your eyes peeled and valuables secured.
If you are crossing from the US into Mexico, the easiest way to get to downtown Tijuana is by taxi. Take the white libre taxis rather than the yellow ones. The white ones are regulated and less likely to rip you off. Sometimes the meter “doesn’t work”, so many sure you negotiate the rate before hopping in (around US$5-7).
A common scam to watch out for when hiring a taxi is the driver may try to take you to a shop or restaurant where they get a kickback from doing so. Be polite but firm when telling them where you want to go and if they don’t want to take you there, keep insisting or find another taxi.
Many travelers say that they have never felt unsafe in Cabo San Lucas and other holiday spots in Baja, but using some common sense can make your night a bit safer. For more tips to stay safe at night, read our nightlife safety article.
Try to swim at beaches with lifeguards present. There have been reports of people drowning at unpatrolled beaches, swept out with dangerous waves and rip currents along Baja’s coastlines. To learn more about how to stay safe while enjoying the ocean, check out these ocean safety tips.
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Friends Tenny and Claire are the first people to hike the US Mexico border – it took them six months to walk 2,000 miles.
Traveling to Mexico? Here's what you need to know about local laws, illegal activities, and staying out of trouble in Mexico.
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