Los Cabos International Airport is the most important airport serving the state of Baja California Sur, and one of the busiest in Mexico, serving some 5 million passengers annually. Located about 8 miles north of San José del Cabo and 30 miles northeast from Cabo San Lucas, the airport has two terminals. It's fairly simple and easy to navigate, but it’s a small airport for the number of passengers who pass through here, so plan for extra time to get through security during high season (spring break and other holiday periods).
Los Cabos Airport Code, Location, and Flight Information
- Airport Code: SJD (San Jose del Cabo International Airport)
- Location: Transpeninsular Highway Km. 43.5, San José del Cabo
- Website: https://www.aeropuertosgap.com.mx/en/los-cabos-3.html
- Flight Tracker: SJD departures and arrivals from Flight Aware
- Los Cabos Airport Map
- Phone number: +52 (624) 146-5111
Know Before You Go
There are two terminals in the Los Cabos airport. Terminal Two serves international destinations. Terminal One is also used for some international flights but primarily serves domestic flights within Mexico.
You may deboard through a jetway, or you may have to descend a set of stairs onto the tarmac before entering the terminal. It's a good idea to wear layers in preparation for Los Cabos' warm weather. Inside the terminal, you will have a few steps to follow before you can get your transportation to your hotel.
- Pass through immigration and show your documents, including your passport and the immigration form (FMM), also referred to as a tourist card, that you should have filled out on the plane. If you weren't given one on the flight, you can fill one out while waiting in line. The immigration official will give you the bottom portion of this form to keep. Save it carefully as you will need to return it when departing Mexico.
- After immigration, continue to the baggage carousel area to pick up your checked luggage.
- When going through customs you will be asked to press a button which will result in either a red or green light turning on. If you get green, you are free to continue to the next step. If you get a red light, your luggage will be inspected.
- After you pass through customs, there’s one more hurdle to get through before you reach the exit. You have to walk through what is sometimes called the “shark tank” which is an area where many timeshare representatives will try to get your attention. Their goal is to get you to attend a timeshare presentation and they can be very pushy and sometimes even deceptive. They will offer to help you find your transportation, give you special discounts, deals or free activities in exchange for attending a timeshare sales pitch. In most cases, the best idea is to just walk directly through this area without paying attention to the salespeople and get outside, where the taxis and transportation companies wait.
The official recommendation is to arrive two hours in advance for a domestic flight and three hours in advance of flight time for an international flight. It’s especially important to give yourself enough time if you’re traveling during a busy period when there can be long lines to check-in and get through security. Departures are on the ground level of the airport. Be sure to have your tourist card ready to return. If you have lost your tourist card, or if it has expired, you’ll have to go to the immigration office at Terminal 2 where they will instruct you on the steps you must follow to replace it, including paying a fine (around US$40).
Be aware that gate changes are frequent, so keep an eye on the flight information screens in the final hour leading up to your boarding time so you’ll know where you need to go to board. Just as for arrivals, some flights require walking along the tarmac and climbing steps to get to your plane.
Los Cabos Airport Parking
Both terminals at the Los Cabos airport have ample parking space, including disabled accessible spots located close to the terminals. There are automated cashiers in the terminals and also in the parking lot. For long term parking, you’ll get a better rate if you park at San Jose Park N Fly, located just across from Terminal 2, which offers special monthly and yearly rates and free shuttle to the airport.
The airport is located on the Transpeninsular Highway, just north of San José del Cabo. When driving from Cabo San Lucas, you have two options: a faster toll road, which takes about half an hour, or a far more scenic but longer route along the ocean, which takes about 45 minutes. If taking the toll road, be sure to have some cash handy, they accept either dollars or pesos but not cards.
Public Transportation and Taxis
For transportation from the airport to your hotel or resort, it’s a good idea to schedule your transfer in advance either through your hotel or with a reputable transportation company such as one of the following:
Taxis tend to be pricey and Uber drivers can't pick up passengers at the airport. If you’re not too loaded with luggage, another alternative is offered by the bus service Ruta Del Desierto which is inexpensive and used mainly by locals. You can catch the bus from Terminal 1, just go up one flight from the arrival lobby to the departures area, out the door and turn left. You will see the bus stop. From Terminal 2, go up one floor to the Departures Level. There’s an escalator that goes upstairs (look to the left after passing the timeshare sales vendors). Up top, exit the doors and go outside; you’ll see the bus stop by the curb to the right, at the far end of the terminal. The buses are purple and yellow and have “Ruta del Desierto” printed in large letters on the side of the bus.
Where to Eat and Drink
Dining options are limited at the airport. Lines can be long and prices are high for what you get, so if you can, purchase food ahead of time to bring with you. There are several fast food options including Subway, Carl's Junior, Sbarro, and Domino’s Pizza, among others. In addition to these, there is a Corona bar in each terminal, as well as a sit-down restaurant, Wings, which is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Restaurant-Bar La Palapa is close to the airport but nearby and offers tasty local dishes such as fish tacos, shrimp cocktail, nachos, etc. as well as cold beer and cocktails.
Where to Shop
If you have some time before boarding to do some shopping, you can pick up a last-minute souvenir or gift at these airport shops:
- Los Cabos Duty Free shop is located in Terminal 2. There is one in the Departures area, open 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and in the Arrivals area, open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
- Pineda Covalin, a Mexican designer shop has clothing and accessories inspired by traditional Mexican designs. Located in Terminal 2, past security.
- Fiesta Mexicana has typical Mexican souvenirs and handicrafts and is located in Terminal 1 past security.
How to Spend Your Layover
The airport is located just a few miles from San José del Cabo so if you have a few hours, take a taxi to the main plaza and you can explore the shops and historical buildings. Any hotel in San José del Cabo is fairly close to the airport, but if you have a very early flight and wish to stay close by, these hotels are very close to the airport and offer free shuttle service:
- Hotel Aeropuerto Los Cabos is adjacent to the airport.
- Hotel Cactus Inn is 10 minutes from the airport.
- The terminal 1 V.I.P. lounge is located past security, on the Mezzanine level above the food court. This lounge is for domestic departures only and is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- The terminal 2 V.I.P. lounge is located past security, facing Gate 8 and is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wi-Fi and Charging Stations
Free Wi-Fi is available at Los Cabos airport, though signal strength varies. Connect to the “GAP FREE” network (GAP stands for Grupo Aeropuerto del Pacifico, the company that runs the airport). Charging stations can be in high demand, so try to bring your devices fully charged from the hotel, or bring a portable power bank.
Los Cabos Airport Tips & Facts
- The airport underwent a major renovation and expansion in 1997. The architect responsible was Manuel De Santiago-de Borbón González Bravos, the Mexican great-grandson of Queen Isabella II of Spain.
- When Los Cabos was hit by Hurricane Odile in September 2014, the airport was severely damaged and was closed for 29 days during which it received only military and humanitarian supplies.
- Between 2018 and 2019, there were renovations done, expanding the areas of immigration, restrooms, and baggage claim, and integrating terminal 2 with the former terminal 3.
- In 2019, the airport served 5,300,000 travelers, and further expansion and renovations are planned for the next few years in order to handle the even larger number of visitors expected to travel to Los Cabos in the coming years.