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Confusion Over New Los Cabos Tourist Tax: Here’s What We Know So Far

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In 2019 Baja California lawmakers approved a tax aimed at international tourists that visit the state for travel and overall leisure purposes. At the time the fee was set at 350 pesos or about $18.50 for any international traveler that spent over 24 hours in the state. The tax was set to debut in November 2019, and apparently it was “charged” for a few months until the COVID-19 pandemic hit. At that point the tax was deemed “non-mandatory” for international travelers. Still in those days how the tax was paid puzzled any traveler that visited the region. 

Paying Bill in Los Cabos

In the later months of 2021 it was announced that the tax would once again come into effect at the beginning of 2022. As we’re heading closer to the middle of the year there’s still not much clarity on how this tax needs to be paid. However, the state tourism and economy secretary Maribel Collins insists that the tax has effectively been paid by tourists since January. In fact, the governor of Baja California Sur Víctor Castro Cosío commented that his government expects to collect over 200 million MXN from the tax this year alone. 

Tourists arriving in Los Cabos

How Much Is The Tourist Tax & Who Expected To Pay?    

Currently this tourist tax is set at 400 pesos. That’s up from the original tax that was implemented in 2019. The law stipulates, as we’ve mentioned, that the tax has to be paid by any foreign national that stays in the region for more than 24 hours. As far as how those payments are to be made or even are being made there’s not too much clarity on that.

Los Cabos Peir

Back in January when the tax was once again set in motion, and labeled as mandatory, Finance Minister Bertha Montano Cota admitted that the government was still looking into potential penalties for tourists that refused to pay the tax. Adding to the confusion though, at the beginning of the year when Montano Cota admitted that a proof of payment system was yet to be set in motion the fee was still the original 350 pesos (18.50 dollars). In her most recent media appearance economy secretary Maribel Collins bumped the fee up to 400.   

Tourists in Los Cabos Beach

Hotels Are Currently In Charge of Charging The Fee

Although it hasn’t been clearly stated that hotels, and companies in charge of running time share properties are charging this fee, it’s understood that this has been the case at least since February. Governor Victor Castro had this to say about the program,

Los Cabos Hotels

“This tax is called “aprovechamiento” it’s been in place since 2016, now we are counting on the tourism industry to help with the promotion (of the tax) this program is headed by the finance minister, and I come along with her to the meetings with the hotels, and time share properties associations”

Tourists in Los Cabos Exhibition

Whether hotels have been honest about the fact that they are charging this fee, or to whom they are actually charging this fee is another matter. Originally there was said to be a platform where tourists could make their payments even before their arrival to the region when booking their hotels. The platform has yet to materialize and therefore, proof of payment is hard to come by these days.

Cabo tourists in Taxi

Los Cabos Hotels Are Also Charing Other Fees 

There are actual other fees that hotels charge besides the 400 peso fee that is meant for international tourists. Any tourist that stays at a local hotel is charged 35 pesos per night as an extra fee that also goes to the local government. This is a fee that is in place in the Los Cabos region only; it’s not a statewide mandate like the foreigners tax.