Do you need a passport to go to Cabo? Generally, the answer is yes but it really depends on several factors including how you’re entering Mexico, your nationality, and the length of your stay. Whether you fly, take a cruise, or drive, this guide helps you determine whether or not you need a passport to travel to Cabo.
In this guide, we’ll also outline some additional travel documents you may need to visit Los Cabos including the FMM tourist permit, the passport card, Trusted Traveler cards (SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST, and Global Entry), the Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TIP), Mexico visas, and more. This guide caters mostly to American and Canadian travelers. Most of the information also applies to travelers of other nationalities as well.
Key Takeaways – Do you need a passport to go to Cabo?
Yes, most travelers need a passport to travel to Cabo. If you’re flying to Cabo, you need a passport book. If you’re driving to Cabo, you can use a passport book or card.
It is possible to travel to Cabo without a passport on a closed-loop cruise. All you’ll need is a driver’s license and birth certificate.
Table of Contents
Do You Need a Passport To Go To Cabo?
In general, yes. You need a passport to go to Cabo.
In the past, it was possible for most visitors to travel to Mexico without a passport. The only required documents were a driver’s license and a birth certificate. The rules changed back in 2009 when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) passed. These days, most visitors need a valid passport to travel to Cabo. If you haven’t traveled to Mexico in a while, this might come as a surprise.
There are some exceptions to this. Whether or not you need a passport depends on whether you’re entering the country by land, sea, or air.
Flying to Cabo
Cabo is located at the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. It’s about 1000 miles south of the border. The fastest and most convenient way to get there is to fly.
A passport is required to fly into Los Cabos International Airport (SJD). Only passport books are accepted for air travel into Mexico. Passport cards and other types of travel documents, such as enhanced driver’s licenses, are not accepted for international air travel.
Everyone needs a passport when flying to Mexico. This includes children and babies. There are no exceptions. Once you arrive in Mexico, the immigration authority will check your passport and stamp it. Your passport is the only document that you absolutely need to bring when flying to Los Cabos.
In addition, immigration authorities might also ask to see supporting documents about your trip. For example, they may ask for your address in Mexico. You’ll need your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb accommodation.
If you’re staying with a friend, you’ll need their address. You could be asked for proof of onward travel. You may need to show a confirmed ticket out of Mexico either to your home country or a third country.
If you plan to stay in Mexico long term, like a month or more, you may be asked to provide proof of sufficient funds. In other words, you need to prove that you can support yourself for the duration of your stay in Mexico. In this case, you could show a recent bank statement. Sometimes, simply having a credit card is sufficient.
In most cases, you won’t be asked for these documents but it’s best to be prepared. Most commonly, you’ll be asked for proof of onward travel.
In the past, you needed to complete an FMM form to fly into Cabo. The FMM form is currently being phased out. When you fly into Cabo, you no longer need to fill out this form. These days, you just receive a stamp in your passport. All of the entry rules are still the same. The only difference is that you receive a passport stamp instead of a card when you arrive.
Taking a Cruise to Cabo
Cabo is a popular cruise destination. It is possible to take a cruise to Cabo without a passport.
In order to take a cruise to Cabo without a passport, you must be on a closed-loop cruise. The cruise must start and end in the United States and it must not stop at any ports outside of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
A closed-loop cruise is a cruise that starts and ends at the same port. It makes a round trip. For example, your cruise might start in San Diego, travel to Cabo, and then return to San Diego.
To travel to Cabo on a closed-loop cruise, all you need is a government-issued photo ID and proof of citizenship. You could use your driver’s license or state ID card and an original copy of your birth certificate, certificate of citizenship, or naturalization certificate. No passport is required.
It’s also important to note that many cruise lines require that you have a passport, even if it’s not required by law for your specific trip. They want every passenger to have a valid passport. In other words, you may need a passport, even if you’re taking a closed-loop cruise. Before you leave home, check the cruise company’s policy so you have time to get a passport if the company requires one.
If you’re not traveling on a closed-loop cruise, you will need a passport book or passport card to travel to Cabo. You will need a passport to enter Mexico. For example, maybe you’re taking a one-way cruise or a cruise that continues to Central America. You’ll need a passport.
If you’re entering Mexico with your own boat, you will need a passport. You will also need to get an FMM tourist permit or a passport stamp. You can get your FMM at your first port of call in Mexico. It’s a good idea to double-check ensure the port of entry that you plan to use is equipped with immigration and customs offices. Some smaller ports do not offer immigration. The port of Cabo San Lucas is a major port with immigration and customs offices.
If you’re traveling to Cabo with your own boat, you will also need to get a temporary boat importation permit (TIP). You need to arrange this before you cross into Mexican waters. You can’t get the boat TIP in Mexico. For more info on temporary boat importation, check out this guide.
When traveling to Cabo by sea, it’s always best to bring a passport book, even though you may not need one. It will come in handy in an emergency situation. For example, maybe you experience a medical issue or maybe there is a family emergency and you need to fly home unexpectedly. You’ll need a passport to do this. Maybe the ship has a mechanical issue and you need to fly home. You’ll need a passport.
Driving to Cabo
The drive to Cabo makes for an excellent road trip. The scenery is stunning. You’ll pass through some of the most beautiful desert landscapes. There are miles of deserted beaches on both the Pacific and Gulf of California. There are plenty of interesting pueblos to visit along the way to keep you entertained.
You need a passport to drive to Cabo. Both book and card-style passports will work. There are also a few supporting documents you’ll need for your drive to Cabo.
First, you and everyone in your vehicle will need to get FMM tourist permits. You can get these at the border or online. All you need in order to apply is your passport. Everyone needs their own passport or passport card.
The driver also needs a driver’s license. Your regular driver’s license will work fine. An international driver’s license is not required to drive in Mexico. The only requirement is that the driver’s license must be written in the Latin alphabet (the alphabet you’re reading). If your driver’s license is written in a language that uses another script, such as Chinese, Korean, or Russian, you’ll need to get an international driver’s license.
In addition, you also need temporary Mexican auto insurance for your vehicle. This will protect you in the event that you’re involved in an accident in Mexico. It is also a requirement to have insurance while driving in Mexico. You can buy insurance at a kiosk before crossing the border or online.
I recommend Baja Bound Mexican Insurance. They offer reasonable prices. You can get a free quote in just a few minutes.
It’s not necessary to get a temporary vehicle import permit (TIP) to drive to Cabo. You can drive anywhere on the Baja Peninsula without a TIP. It is a ‘free zone.’
If you plan to take the ferry from Baja to mainland Mexico, you will need to get a TIP before crossing the border. I’ll talk more in-depth about this document later on.
If you prefer, you can also rent a car and drive to Cabo. You’ll have to rent a car in Mexico. Most American rental agencies won’t let you drive their cars across the border. You could walk across the border to Tijuana, rent a car, then drive it to Cabo on a one-way rental.
To rent a car in Mexico, you’ll need a passport, an FMM permit, a driver’s license, and a credit card. The driver will also need to be at least 21 years old. You will also need Mexican auto insurance. You can buy insurance from the rental car company.
It’s also possible to take a long-distance bus to Cabo. Busses to Cabo depart regularly from Tijuana. Several companies operate this route. The main one is called ABC (Autobuses de Baja California). To take a long-distance bus to Cabo, you will need a passport. A passport is required for non-resident visitors to buy bus tickets in Mexico.
This is a pretty long road trip. Cabo is located at the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula. It’s a long drive from the U.S. The driving distance from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas is 1060 miles if you take Highway 1. This is a drive time of around 24 hours. It’s a long haul but worth it. The drive is beautiful.
Do Children Need a Passport to go to Cabo?
Whether or not a child needs a passport to travel to Cabo will depend on the mode of travel. When flying to Mexico, all children need a passport book. Even babies. There are no exceptions or alternative documents that can be used.
Children who are 15 years old and below can travel to Los Cabos by land or sea without a passport. They just need a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship, or a naturalization certificate. These documents are accepted for both entering Mexico and re-entering the U.S.
Those who are 18 and below are also able to travel to Los Cabos without a passport. They just need an alternative document such as a birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship, or a naturalization certificate. In addition, they must travel with an adult chaperoned organization. For example, they must be traveling with a school group, sports team, religious organization, or a social or cultural organization.
The Parent Authorization Letter for Minors Traveling to Mexico
When an individual parent travels to Mexico with their children, they must carry an original notarized letter of consent from the other parent or legal guardian that they are not traveling with. This is a travel requirement.
This document will be required when re-entering the United States. This rule was put in place to prevent child abduction and child trafficking. It ensures that both parents are aware that the child is traveling internationally. If one parent doesn’t consent, the child can’t leave the country.
When a child under 16 is traveling alone, they will need written permission signed by both parents or legal guardians. The document must also be notarized. These documents must be in Spanish or English.
One parent must also complete a SAM form (Formato de Salida de Menores). This is only necessary if the child is a Mexican Temporary Resident, a Temporary Student Resident, or a Permanent Resident. This is required by INM (Mexico’s immigration department). It’s Mexico’s version of the parental authorization letter. It serves the same purpose. To prevent child abduction.
Do You Need a Visa to go to Cabo?
No. Most travelers do not need to arrange a visa in advance to travel to Cabo. Instead, you will fill out an FMM form on arrival. Alternatively, you can apply for an FMM online before your trip. All you need to get an FMM is a passport. If you’re flying to Cabo, you won’t need to fill out the FMM. You’ll simply receive a passport stamp.
To see if you are eligible to enter Mexico without applying for a visa in advance check to see if the country that issued your passport is on this list.
There are a couple of scenarios where you need to arrange a visa before you can travel to Mexico. First, if you plan to stay in Mexico for longer than 6 months, you will need to apply for a temporary resident visa in advance from your nearest Mexican consulate or embassy.
This visa allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 1 year and can be renewed for up to 3 additional years for a total stay of 4 years. If you plan to work in Mexico, you will also need to apply for an appropriate visa and work permit.
Some nationalities also need to apply for a visa in advance before they can travel to Mexico. If your passport was issued by one of these countries, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you can visit Los Cabos. To do this, you will need a valid passport. There are a couple of exceptions. For example, if you have a U.S. or Canadian visa, you may be able to enter Mexico without a visa as well.
For more info, check out my guide to Mexican entry requirements.
Do I Need an Import Permit for My Car When Driving to Cabo?
No. A temporary vehicle import permit is not required to drive to Cabo. The states of Baja California and Baja California Sur are exempt from this requirement. You can drive anywhere on the Baja Peninsula without a temporary import permit.
If you’re planning to drive outside of the Baja Peninsula, you may need to obtain a temporary import permit for your vehicle before you enter Mexico. For example, maybe you’re planning to cross the Mexican border at Tijuana, drive to Cabo, take the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan, and then continue your trip in mainland Mexico. You’ll need a TIP for this trip. I’ll talk about the TIP more in-depth later on.
What are Valid Travel Documents for US Citizens Entering the US?
The documents required to enter Mexico and enter the United States can be different depending on your mode of travel and the country you come from.
You must present a passport before boarding your flight into the United States.
If you’re entering the U.S. by land or sea, you’ll need one of the following documents:
Enhanced driver’s license or enhanced identification card
Permanent Resident card (green card).
If you’re traveling on a closed-loop cruise, you can re-enter the U.S. with your driver’s license and birth certificate.
You cannot re-enter the U.S. with just a Global Entry card, Nexus card, or Fast card. You need to present a valid passport book or a passport card in addition to these trusted traveler cards.
If you are not a citizen of the United States, you will probably also need a visa to enter the U.S. Some nationalities are eligible for the visa waiver which can be obtained online. Others need to apply for a visa in advance. For more info, check out this guide.
Can Canadian Citizens Travel to Cabo Without a Passport?
Generally, no. Canadian citizens are required to present a valid passport when traveling to Cabo They can stay in Mexico for up to 180 days. If you’re flying from Canada to Cabo, you will need a passport to board the flight.
There aren’t any other alternative travel documents available to Canadians. Canada doesn’t issue passport cards, as far as I know. In the past, Canada issued enhanced driver’s licenses but these were discontinued.
Canadians planning to stay in Mexico for longer than 180 days or 6 months will also need to apply for a temporary residency visa at their nearest Mexican embassy or consulate before traveling to Mexico.
What Happens if I Travel to Mexico Without a Passport?
If you attempt to fly to Los Cabos without a valid passport, you simply won’t be permitted to board your flight. The airline won’t even issue you your boarding pass.
In the past, it was possible to walk right into Mexico without a passport because nobody checked documents. These days, passports are checked when walking to Mexico. An immigration official may deny you entry if you try to cross into Mexico on foot without a passport or equivalent travel document. Immigration checks everyone’s travel documents to make sure they meet the entry requirements.
You may be able to talk yourself in if you have a photo ID and birth certificate or a Trusted Traveler card but it’s not guaranteed.
It is possible to enter Mexico without a passport or any other form of ID. When you drive across the border from the U.S., there is no passport control in most cases. You simply drive in. Nobody stops you.
If you manage to enter Mexico without a passport or alternative travel document, you can create several problems for yourself. Most importantly, you will be in Mexico illegally. You won’t have a valid FMM tourist permit. If you’re stopped at a security checkpoint or pulled over by a police officer, you could be fined or detained and deported from Mexico.
You will also run into issues when returning to the U.S. You won’t have a valid travel document to present at immigration to get back into the country. Most likely, you will be pulled aside for a secondary inspection where you will be questioned by an immigration officer. You’ll also have to prove your citizenship and identity before you’re allowed to re-enter the U.S.
Is a Passport Required for Flying Domestic in Mexico?
Yes. You need a passport to take a domestic flight in Mexico. You must present some form of identification, such as a passport. Of course, you also need your boarding pass to board a domestic flight in Mexico. If you are not a Mexican citizen or resident, most airlines will only accept a passport as ID. In addition, you may be asked to show your FMM visitor’s permit to prove that you entered Mexico legally.
There are some exceptions. You may be allowed to check in and board a domestic flight with just a driver’s license at some airports. Some airlines are more lenient than others.
It’s not worth taking the risk because there is a chance that you get turned away. If you plan to take a domestic flight, bring your passport.
It is possible to fly domestically in Mexico without a passport. In order to do this, you must be a citizen or resident of Mexico. All you need is a photo ID issued by the Mexican government, such as a residency card.
Can I Fly From Tijuana to Cabo Without a Passport
No. You need a passport to cross the border and get an FMM. You will also need to show your passport when checking in for your flight to Cabo.
That said, the flight from Tijuana to Cabo is a domestic flight. You may be allowed to board with just a photo ID. It depends on the airline. People have done it before. To be safe, you should bring a passport with you if you plan to fly in Mexico.
Is a passport Required to Take a Long-Distance Bus in Mexico?
Yes. In most cases, a passport is required to take long-distance buses in Mexico.
When purchasing a long-distance bus ticket in Mexico, you must present valid identification. For foreign visitors, the only accepted form of identification is a passport. You may need to show your passport again before you’re allowed to board the bus. This rule isn’t always enforced but it often is.
In the past, you didn’t need to show any type of identification in order to buy bus tickets in Mexico. This rule was instituted to reduce illegal immigration to the United States.
You can still ride local buses without having to show identification. On these buses, you hop on and pay in cash. No ticket is necessary.
Some long-distance bus companies don’t check IDs. Some may accept a driver’s license instead of a passport. To be safe, you should bring your passport when taking a long-distance bus in Mexico.
Information About the Various Travel Documents You Can Use to Travel to Cabo
Depending on where you’re traveling in Mexico and how long you’re staying, there are some alternative or additional travel documents that you may need. In this section, I’ll outline all of the travel documents you may need to travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
What is the FMM Form (Forma Migratoria Multiple)?
The Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM is a travel document. It allows people from many countries to travel to Mexico without having to apply for a visa in advance. You’re eligible if your passport was issued by one of these countries.
The FMM is available to passport holders from a number of countries. You can apply for an FMM if you hold a passport from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. Check the list linked above to see if your passport makes you eligible. To apply for an FMM, you need a valid passport book or passport card.
You aren’t eligible for an FMM if you come from one of the countries on this list. In this case, you will have to apply for a visa before you can go to Cabo. You can apply for a visa at your nearest consulate or embassy of Mexico.
The FMM allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 6 months. During that time, you can participate in tourism, study, or volunteer work in Mexico. You are not permitted to work or earn money in Mexico while traveling on an FMM.
You can obtain an FMM tourist permit on arrival at the port of entry or online in advance. The FMM is available at land crossings, sea ports, and international airports. It takes just a few minutes. Every traveler needs their own FMM including children who are two and older.
To get an FMM visitor’s permit, you simply fill out a form and hand it to an immigration official along with your passport. The form requires basic travel information such as your name, date of birth, passport number, nationality, the purpose of your trip, how long you intend to stay in Mexico, where you’re staying, etc.
There is a fee for the FMM. If you’re staying in Mexico for less than 7 days, the FMM is free. If you’re staying for more than 7 days, it costs 687 pesos (about $38).
It is up to the immigration official processing your entry to determine how long you are allowed to stay. In most cases, you’ll automatically receive the full 180 days. In some cases, you be granted a shorter stay. The official will determine how long you’re allowed to stay based on the information you provide on the FMM. If you indicate that you’re only staying in Mexico for a week, they may only grant you a week on your FMM.
For more info, check out my guide to the FMM Tourist Permit.
Note: Mexico is currently phasing out the FMM document. When you fly into Cabo, you will not need to fill out an FMM. You will simply receive a stamp in your passport. The rules for entry, the fee, and the duration of stay are still exactly the same. You just no longer need to fill out a paper form.
What is the Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TIP)?
The Temporary Vehicle Importation Permit or TIP allows you to drive your vehicle anywhere in Mexico. It is valid for a predefined period of time. The TIP works kind of like a Carnet De Passage but it’s easier and cheaper to get. The TIP is available for all types of vehicles including cars, motorhomes, motorcycles, and boats.
You only need a temporary import permit if you plan to drive outside of the “free zones”. The free zones include Baja California, Baja California Sur, most of Sonora, and the border zones ( the areas 20-25km or 12-15 miles from any land border). If you’re just driving to Cabo down the Baja Peninsula and back, you do not need a TIP.
If you’re planning to take the ferry from La Paz to Mazatlan or Topolobampo in Mainland Mexico, you will need a TIP. if you’re planning to drive to Mazatlan or Topolobampo and then take the ferry to the Baja Peninsula to go to Cabo, you will need a TIP. You will be asked to show this document when boarding the ferry and during various checkpoints and police stops.
You’re only eligible to apply for a temporary import permit if you are traveling in Mexico on an FMM entry permit, with a Temporary Resident Visa, or if you’re a Mexican citizen who lives abroad Those with a permanent resident visa aren’t eligible. Mexican citizens who live in Mexico also aren’t eligible. The TIP remains valid for as long as your immigration document which is typically 6 months with an FMM or 1 year with a temporary resident visa.
In order to apply for a TIP as a tourist, you need a valid passport book or passport card and an FMM tourist permit. You will also need your vehicle’s registration and proof of temporary Mexican auto insurance.
The TIP is issued by Banjercito (a Mexican bank). You can apply for the temporary import permit on their website (recommended). You can also apply in person at Bajercito locations at most border crossings as well as some Mexican consulates. Reservations aren’t required. I recommend applying online if possible. It saves time and it’s much more convenient.
There is an application fee of about $50 for the temporary import permit. You’ll also have to pay a deposit of $200-$400 depending on the age of the vehicle you’re importing. The deposit will be refunded when you drive your car out of Mexico and cancel the TIP at a Banjercito location. You must cancel your TIP when you exit or you can’t get another TIP. You also won’t get your deposit back.
If you’re traveling to an area where a TIP is not required, such as Cabo, you still need your vehicle’s registration. Your vehicle could be impounded if you can’t prove ownership.
You will also need temporary Mexican auto insurance. You can buy insurance at a kiosk near the border before you cross or online before your trip. I recommend Baja Bound Mexican Insurance. Of course, you also need your driver’s license.
For more in-depth info, check out my guide to the Temporary Import Permit.
What is a Passport Card?
A passport card is a wallet-friendly version of a passport book. The passport card contains the same identification information as a passport book. This includes your name, photo, passport number, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, and signature.
The passport card proves your U.S. citizenship and your identity. It allows you to re-enter the United States when returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, or Bermuda.
The main benefit a passport card offers over a passport book is the size. It fits in your wallet. A passport card is the same size as a credit card or driver’s license.
It is also $100 cheaper than a passport book. A passport card costs $65 while a passport book costs $165 for a new applicant. It’s even cheaper if you buy a passport card and book together.
Passport cards also feature radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that contains your identification information. The RFID chip is scanned at immigration. This allows immigration officials to quickly and easily identify you. This allows you to use the ‘Ready Lane’ when crossing back from Mexico to the U.S. overland. This can save you a good amount of time.
Passport cards can only be used for land and sea travel. They are not valid if you’re flying. So if you’re planning to fly to Cabo, stick with the passport book.
As far as I know, Canada does not offer passport cards at this time.
What is a Trusted Traveler Card?
Trusted Traveler Cards are special ID cards that are only issued to low-risk travelers. These cards are issued by the United States government. These cards allow the holder to use special lanes at airports and land borders to expedite the entry process.
The four types of Trusted Traveler Cards available include:
SENTRI: used for air, land, and sea travel between the United States and Mexico.
NEXUS: used for air, land, and sea travel between the United States and Canada.
FAST: used for transporting goods by truck between the United States and Canada or Mexico.
Global Entry: used for air travel into the United States from any foreign country.
For traveling to Mexico, the SENTRI card is the best choice. Global Entry is a good alternative.
To apply for a Trusted Traveler card, you must complete an online application, undergo a background check, and in some cases, attend an in-person interview. Once approved, you can use your card to access dedicated lanes at select border crossings. These cards are usually valid for 5 years. After that, you must re-apply.
Trusted Traveler cards are not available to everyone. Those with certain criminal convictions may not be eligible. Those who the U.S. government believes may potentially pose a security risk may also be ineligible.
If you plan to travel to Cabo regularly, consider applying for a SENTRI card, Global Entry card, or NEXUS card. It can save you a lot of time when re-entering the United States.
What is an Enhanced Driver’s License (EDL)?
An enhanced driver’s license or EDL is a special type of driver’s license that proves your identity and your U.S. citizenship. It allows the bearer to cross into the U.S. from Canada, Mexico, or some Caribbean islands without needing a passport. It’s kind of like a combination of a passport card and a driver’s license.
To apply for an enhanced driver’s license, you need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship and your identity. An enhanced driver’s license can be renewed just like any other license. It is valid for 4-8 years depending on the state that issued it.
Enhanced driver’s licenses are only available to those who live in Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont. These are the only states that issue EDLs. An EDL typically costs around $30-$40 more than a regular driver’s license.
If you don’t have a driver’s license, you can get an Enhanced ID card that offers the same benefits without the license to drive.
In the past, Canada also issued EDLs but they were discontinued in 2019.
What is the Best Way to Travel to Cabo?
For most people, the best way to get to Cabo is to fly. Flying is fast and convenient. From most of the U.S., you can fly to Cabo in just 3-5 hours. Flights are frequent. Direct flights are available from many large American and Canadian cities. Flights are also affordable. It’s possible to buy a round-trip ticket to Cabo for less than $250 if you shop around. If you live in Southern California, you can also save some money by using the Cross Border Xpress and flying from Tijuana.
Taking a cruise is also a great option if you’re looking for an all-inclusive experience that doesn’t require any planning on your part. Most closed-loop cruises to Cabo depart from Southern California. Most cruises also make additional stops along Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Taking a road trip to Cabo is also an excellent option. When it comes to road trips, few destinations compare to the Baja Peninsula. The region is home to some of Mexico’s most stunning scenery. From the crystal-clear waters of the Sea of Cortez to the rugged landscapes of the Baja California desert. it’s stunning. There are also plenty of interesting towns to visit along the way including Tijuana, Ensenada, San Quintín, Bahía de los Ángeles, San Ignacio, Loreto, La Paz, and more. For more info, check out this Baja road trip guide.
It’s important to note that Cabo is far away. From the U.S. border, it will take at least a full day of driving to get there. From San Diego to Cabo is a distance of just over 1,000 miles. The roads are in good condition and navigation is easy. You can follow Highway 1 all the way down the peninsula. There is a toll road for part of the way. It’s a long but relatively easy drive.
It’s also possible to take the bus to Cabo. For most travelers, this isn’t the best option because the distance is so far. It would take a full day on the bus to get there. Taking the bus from the border to Cabo may also be more expensive than flying. If you want to take the bus, consider breaking up the journey and making a couple of stops along the way.
FAQ About Traveling to Cabo San Lucas
Can you go to Cabo with a Passport Card?
Yes. You can go to Cabo with a passport card if you’re traveling by land or sea. This means that you can drive or take a cruise to Cabo without having to carry your passport book.
If you are planning to travel by air, you will need to have a passport book.
How Long Does My Passport Need to be Valid to Go to Mexico?
Your passport must remain valid for the duration of your trip in order to enter Mexico. If you’re planning a long stay, you’ll need to make sure your passport will still be valid when you return home. In addition, you need one blank page in your passport for a visa stamp.
Ideally, you should always make sure there are at least six months of validity remaining on your passport when traveling abroad. This is an entry requirement in most countries. If your passport is going to expire within 6 months, you won’t be allowed to enter.
Mexico does not enforce this rule. If you plan to visit Mexico for 2 weeks and your passport only has two weeks of validity remaining, they will still let you in. When planning a trip to Los Cabos, you need to make sure your passport will be valid for the duration of your time in Mexico.
Can I Go To Cabo With My Birth Certificate?
No. Mexico will not accept a birth certificate as a form of identification. You will need to provide an alternative accepted form of identification to enter Mexico.
There is an exception. When you travel to Los Cabos on a cruise, it is possible to use your birth certificate as one form of ID as long as it’s a closed-loop cruise. You will need a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to go along with it. You must have an original copy or a certified copy.
Minors who are 15 and under can also use their birth certificate to travel to Mexico. Those who are 18 and younger can also go to Cabo with just a birth certificate as long as they are part of an organized tour group. In addition, they will require a notarized letter of consent from both of their parents.
When returning to the United States, a birth certificate is not sufficient identification on its own. However, it can be used as one form of ID if you have multiple forms of ID with you. You will be able to cross back into the United States with a photo and birth certificate. You may be questioned as to why you don’t have a passport with you.
Can I Take a Ferry to Cabo?
Yes. You can take a ferry to Cabo. The ferry departs from both Mazatlan and Topolobampo in the state of Sinaloa in mainland Mexico. On the ferry, you’ll travel across the Gulf of California to the city of La Paz, Baja California Sur. From there, you can drive or take a bus about 2 hours south to Cabo. You can also take the ferry in the opposite direction. You can book a ticket here.
To take the ferry, you will a temporary import for your vehicle if you’re driving. This is because the state of Sinaloa is not in the free zone. You’ll need a TIP to drive there. Once you’re in Baja, you no longer need a TIP.
You will need a passport or a passport card to make this trip. A passport is required to apply for a TIP and an FMM.
What if I Lose My Passport in Cabo?
If you lose your passport while in Cabo, the first thing you should do is call or go to the U.S. Consular Agency. Their phone number is +526241433566. They are located at Carretera Transpeninsular Km 27.5 Local B221, Palmilla, 23406 San José del Cabo, B.C.S., Mexico. Their hours are 8:30 am to 1:00 pm Monday-Friday.
When you’re at the consulate, you will need to prove your identity. You could use your driver’s license, birth certificate, or some other government-issued ID. You will also need a new passport photo. They may ask for additional documents to prove your citizenship as well.
It’s a good idea to take photos or scan your important documents and save them to your email or the cloud so you can access them in case of emergency.
After you prove your identity, the consular agent will then issue you a temporary passport. This passport can be used for travel back home.
When you return home, you’ll need to start the process of applying for a replacement passport. This involves some paperwork. You’ll also need new passport photos. For more info, please visit the website of the U.S. State Department.
Final Thoughts About Traveling to Los Cabos
Whether or not you need a passport to go to Cabo depends on your method of travel, your nationality, and how you plan to enter Mexico. If you’re planning on flying to Cabo, you will need a passport book. There are no exceptions. A passport is the only document you can use to enter Mexican territory by air. If you’re visiting on a closed-loop cruise, all you’ll need is your birth certificate and driver’s license. When driving to Cabo, you’ll need a passport book or card.
It’s important to note that the entry requirements can change quickly and without notice. Before you leave home, it’s best to double-check Mexico’s entry requirements so you don’t end up with any surprises. You could be denied entry if you can’t produce the correct documents. It’s always best to be safe than sorry.
If you’re planning a trip to Cabo, it is recommended that you have your passport on hand. If you need to fly home unexpectedly, you will need a passport to board the plane. By being prepared and having all the required documents, you can relax and enjoy your well-deserved vacation without any stressful surprises.
If you want to breeze through the land border checkpoint with ease and avoid long wait times at the border, look into getting a Trusted Traveler Card. The SENTRI card is the best option for traveling between Mexico and the U.S. Global Entry is also a good option.
Have you traveled to Cabo lately? Share your experience in the comments below!
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Zachary Friedman is an accomplished travel writer and professional blogger. Since 2011, he has traveled to 66 countries and 6 continents. He founded ‘Where The Road Forks’ in 2017 to provide readers with information and incites based on his travel and outdoor recreation experience and expertise. Zachary is also an avid cyclist and hiker. Living as a digital nomad, Zachary balances his professional life with his passions for hiking, camping, cycling, and worldwide exploration. For a deeper dive into his journey and background, visit the About page. For inquiries and collaborations, please reach out through the Contact page. You can also follow him on Facebook.