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Should Tourists Haggle While In Los Cabos?

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In many places around the world, shoppers are expected to haggle with local merchants as it is an important part of the culture.

However, is that same tourist shopping behavior appropriate in the beach resort destination of Los Cabos?

Some say it is part of the culture of Mexico, while others will disagree, saying haggling is inappropriate.

Tour guides however offer that travelers should haggle with local vendors when purchasing souvenir items to take home with them. However, there are some limits to how far visitors should go in the popular shopping style.

Mexico, Los Cabos, streets in the old city center with shops for tourists.

Haggling For Deals

Travelers around the world are often expected to haggle with local merchants to get a good deal on their souvenir purchases.

In fact, many vendors will actually mark their items up significantly, expecting a traveler to haggle with them for better pricing.

However, there are some important considerations to remember when haggling when shopping in locations like Los Cabos.

Small Los Cabos Tourists Shopping

Streets vs Shops

Generally, most haggling will happen with local street vendors, depending on the circumstances.

It is generally not acceptable for travelers to go to an established shopping center, for example, or a well-known retailer to haggle with the sales staff. Many visitors will try, but it is an easy way to be asked to leave.

It is okay to haggle with vendors in open-air stalls on the street most of the time.

Street vendor selling toys on the beach in Los Cabos

Low Priced Items

Traditionally, haggling will not occur with low-priced items. As an extreme example, would it be appropriate to haggle over a small, inexpensive wooden children’s toy costing 50 pesos? Most travelers would say probably not.

Leave the haggling and price negotiations to items that are a bit more expensive in price. Haggling should not be done with every souvenir item, including luxury items.

Buying Multiple Items

female vendor selling artisan craft goods

It may not be appropriate to haggle when buying one item from a vendor. For example, haggling for a single t-shirt may not make much sense.

However, if a tourist is buying multiple items from the same vendor, it may make sense to haggle for a quantity discount. Buying more than one t-shirt, such as three or more, it would make sense to potentially haggle with the vendor based on quantity pricing.

Haggling For Food

Haggling for food items, such as candy or even street food from a vendor really does not make sense. However, many travelers are amazed at how many people actually follow this practice.

Street food vendor in Los Cabos

Generally, haggling over prices of street food, snacks, fruit or even candy really is seen as not appropriate in most places, including Los Cabos.

If a traveler does not like the price of the food item being offered, it is better to move on and choose a different street vendor instead of insulting the food preparer.

Also, haggling for meals in restaurants is also not acceptable.

Easy Way to Haggle

Shopping Area Cabo San Lucas Mexico Pacific Ocean.

Sometimes, travelers are uncomfortable with the whole haggling process. Using rounding can make this a little easier for some visitors to Los Cabos.

If items being purchased come to $1325 pesos, for example. Travelers can say all they have is $1200 pesos in bills on them and offer that to the vendor in exchange for the item.

Instead of directly confronting the vendor and getting pushy about the haggling process, this may be an easier way for travelers to get some better deals for their purchases.

What Travelers Need to Know

Los Cabos Souvenir Store on a quiet street.

Haggling is a popular shopping tactic that is expected in many tourist destinations around the world. However, there is a way to haggle with local vendors and still be respectful of the local culture and the need for local merchants to make a living.

Are there other guidelines you may have around the practice of haggling with vendors in Los Cabos? Be sure to share them with your fellow travelers in the comments below.

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Senior Scott

Saturday 20th of January 2024

1. I bring a few hundred UD dollars in $1s and $5s so when you do reach a negotiated price you can pay in exact change. If you haggle something down to $8 and pay with a $10 bill... they will either say they have no change or give you your change in pesos. This is very typical of taxi drivers. So if the ride is $8... give him exactly $8! Taxi's don't negotiate.

2. Jewelry stores Mark up at least 50% so when you say not to haggle in retail brick and mortar stores, you are wrong.

It amazes me when I see someone pay $800USD for a ring they could have bought for $400... which the true value is $100. Bring it to a Jewelry store in the states and see what its really worth!

3. same for pharmacies. They WILL negotiate. And beware of buying a pill that is made with fentynal. Get a price for 10 pills. Tell them you will buy one now and if it works and doesn't make you sick or kill you, you will come back and buy the rest... (which is still a gamble). Then only take 1/2 to be sure. I say this from experience buying Norco's.

4. Restaurants will buy you the first round of drinks...especially if you have a group of at least 4 people. .. even kids. Know that you are NOT going to get premium alcohol... just shelf. You WILL get a free coke tho. The key to this is NOT to be demanding and be upbeat and friendly to your server / host. This usually works in family run places off the main tourist areas, definitely NOT on the harbor or high end places. Ask for water at Nik San... and you will get a $5 bottle. Better just ask for tap water. Most places follow this practice and most places DO have filtered water which is OK to bring. (Think about are using ice in your drinks right? That comes from them using filtered water!) Make sure to tip nicely if they do buy you a round for appreciation. And don't be offended if they don't.