Driving to Cabo San Lucas is recommended because of the amazing scenery along the way. Hertz and CABAJA are possibly the only car rental companies(in San Diego) that will rent into Mexico, get the extra insurance.
If you are flying into San Diego, you can also get transportation across the border to Tijuana and rent a car there. Be sure to purchase Mexican auto insurance, as you must have Mexican 3rd party liability insurance. If you get into an accident and don’t have this insurance, you will very likely be taken to jail until the Mexican authorities are satisfied you can pay for the damage to others’ vehicles or property. This liability insurance can be purchased from a variety of companies including AAA, Mexpro, the rental car company (if you’re renting the car in Mexico), and various stands on both sides of the border. Keep in mind that this liability insurance covers only damage you do to others’ property and if you’re driving your own car be sure to check with your insurance company as to whether they will cover damage to your vehicle in Mexico — some companies do not, and many have restrictions.
The trip to Cabo is amazing, wonderful and very, very long. From Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas it’s 1692 km ( 1049 miles) If you travel to see the sites, take at least three days to do the trip down. If you drive without the scenic part, it takes two full days with no night driving. Do not drive an open Jeep Wrangler or similar; you will need air conditioning all the way and the sun is fierce.
Here are a few tips for the road:
1. Stay away from driving at night or even dusk – it’s hard to see animals such as cows, goats and horses that are in the road.
2. Don’t eat at roadside stands; it’s better to take food in the car and eat it on the way down.
3. Take lots and lots of photographs, especially of the desert (that comprises most of your drive) and the huge boulders as big as buildings.
4. Don’t walk in the desert; it is full of scorpions and other dangerous creatures.
5. Watch the road – it twists and turns on a dime. The mountainous part of the road can get very windy and is cut into the edge of cliffs – so watch the road!
6. Try to buy gas at every single gas station on the way. Even if you have ¾ of a tank left, buy it anyway.
7. Cell phones from the U.S. or Mexico usually don’t work during most of the trip down.
Note: The original information for this thread came in large part from this forum thread about driving to Cabo from San Franciso.
For more information about driving the Baja Peninsula, check out the resources on Baja Insider, which has road reports, stories about driving the peninsula, and information on road conditions, distances, signs, cautions and places to see on the way down. There is also a lot of useful information at AllAboutCabo.tv along with a very interesting webcam.
Driving the Baja is not as dangerous as some might like to make it out to be and the road is in the best shape it has ever been. It is still important not to drive at night or at excessive speeds just to be safer and as well to enjoy the scenery.
Have a safe and wonderful trip but “mucho Ojo” (a phrase menaing keep your eyes open) and you should have a fun time while exploring all the this wonderful peninsula has to offer.