Whether you are waiting for your meal to arrive at a restaurant or waiting to board a ferry to the mainland, it helps to know that things happen at a slower pace in Baja than you may be used to at home. Dubbed the “mañana attitude” (as in, everything gets done tomorrow), this flexibility with time is deeply rooted in the Mexican culture. But it doesn’t mean that everyone you meet in Baja will be late to scheduled events or that you should show up two hours late for a scheduled tour. Many businesspeople in Baja know that foreign visitors expect a more punctual approach and will be there on time. If you come with patience and an understanding of the culture, you’ll have a better time when the day doesn’t go exactly as planned.
A related cultural difference between Mexico and the United States is the tendency to avoid answering in the negative to any direct question. This practice can cause confusion for visitors in a variety of situations. For example, when confirming a reservation, you might ask, “Are we confirmed on this flight?” The answer may be “Sí,” even if there is a problem with the reservation. You won’t know until you show up at the airport.
Likewise, if you invite someone to a social engagement, the person may accept, even if they are not able to come, because it is better to accept and not show up than to decline the invitation at the outset.
To avoid getting a false no, try to avoid asking yes/no questions or rephrase the question, giving the person the opportunity to answer in the affirmative (“Do we need to do anything else to confirm our reservation?”).
Many small businesses close for a few hours in the middle of the day, between 2 and 4 P.M., when the owners eat lunch and take care of personal business or relax. The trade-off is they often stay open much later at night than their U.S. counterparts (until 7–8 P.M.).
Hours tend to vary day by day as well. Banks and post offices, which follow regularly scheduled hours, are the exception.
Many of the larger tourist centers in Baja are used to seeing visitors strolling around town in their swimsuits, sarongs, and flip-flops, but this doesn’t mean that anything goes. Outside of Rosarito , Cabo San Lucas , and San Felipe , beachwear should be confined to the beach. If you visit any church or chapel, even for a quick look, you should wear close-toed shoes and long-sleeve shirts and remove your hat.