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Los Cabos Cracks Down On Illegal Street Vendors To help Protect Tourists

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Local authorities in Los Cabos are actively looking to crack down on the presence of street vendors that are selling their products on public property without a permit. Members of different government organizations which are looking to eradicate this problem particularly from the popular El Medano beach area recognize that even though the government has taken steps to contain the problem it still remains a major issue and there’s no quick fix in sight. 

Man selling all sorts of swimwear merchendise on the beach

Why These Illegal Vendors Pose A Threat To Travelers 

On the surface the problem with illegal vendors may seem like a simple one. Too many of them on a particular beach means that tourists will constantly be bothered by the presence of people trying to sell them not only souvenirs but possibly illegal substances.

armed police monitoring the activity of a salesperson on Los Cabos beach

While tourists feeling harassed by street vendors is a real problem, the main security threats that worry local authorities is that the presence of these sellers sparks the potential sale of drugs. It Also leaves tourists more exposed to potential scams. Even food or drink from sellers that are not verified by local authorities can pose a health risk for beach goers.

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Armed Guards in Cabo on the beach with tourists all around.

Authorities mentioned that they feel the issue is “contained”, but not fixed. The way that they’ve managed to contain the issue is by limiting the number of licenses that the local government gives out for verified sellers to operate in public areas. Only 600 licenses have been awarded to street vendors in the region. The problem is that more and more people arrive in Los Cabos every day from other parts of Mexico to sell services and different types of products. 

Some of which as previously stated could pose a risk to tourists. Authorities have introduced police operated check points in the main entrance spots to El Medano beach. These are meant to prevent sellers who can’t provide the legal documentation to certify their right to operate on the beach from entering. Scammers, though, are some of the hardest vendors to catch. Since they’re not necessarily carrying tangible merchandise to sell on the beach.         

Vendor Stopped By Armed Guard At The Los Cabos Marina

How To Avoid Being Scammed By Illegal Vendors

There are a variety of ways to verify that the seller that you’re speaking to is certified to operate on the beach. When it comes to sellers of food and drinks the best way to verify that they are licensed sellers is to google if they have a store front. Buying drinks from someone who just carries a cooler around should raise suspicions. 

bar set up right on the beach

When it comes to people on the beach selling tours they are the hardest for police to catch as previously mentioned. The best tip to avoid being scammed by them is to not make any type of payment to them directly on site for a tour that’s set to take place at a later date. This is the most basic type of scam that regularly takes place on Mexican beaches. A person selling a tour asks for a down payment to reserve the spot for the travelers. Only to subsequently disappear with the money. One of the ways to avoid these issues is to book any tours with certified companies online or head down to the Los Cabos marina and book boat tours through the offices that are set up on site. 

boats for rent set up in the Los Cabos Marina

Perhaps the hardest type of purchase to verify as a tourist are those pertaining to any type of memorabilia or pottery that may be sold by someone on the street or in a local beach. At El Medano beach all certified sellers have an official uniform that should help weed out whoever is not a certified seller. Arguably though being sold a cheap pottery item or Cabo themed T-shirt is the least consequential type of scam on tourists.

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mike wladyka

Friday 30th of December 2022

In my first visit to the Cabos we encountered many of these sellers just outside the resort property. We had no issue whatsoever with the sellers and though they were normally aggressive they were not disturbingly so. It was comforting to see that the police were present on the beach but the presence of automatic weapons was something getting used to. I'd go back Los Cabos at the drop of a hat but I think guests at the many beautiful resorts would benefit from a little cultural education and alerts to what was mentioned in the article