The road is graded but not paved beyond the first few miles south of La Ribera. Most standard rental vehicles—and even small RVs—can negotiate the washboard and patches of soft sand, but the going will be slow, especially as you get farther south, where the road tends to be in pretty bad shape. High clearance is always helpful. During the rainy season, the road may be washed out in parts. Ask for updates before you plan your drive.
The government has had plans to pave the entire Coastal Road from La Ribera to San José del Cabo for at least a decade. So far it hasn’t come to pass. In early 2006 local government officials staged a press event to commemorate the beginning of work on an eight-kilometer-long paved road to Los Frailes ; however, the earthmover that was to be the star of the show reportedly got a flat tire and the event was canceled.
The machine stayed by the side of the road for weeks after, but no dirt was ever moved. Plans to pave the road have been repeatedly delayed in recent years, to the relief of local residents, who fear the arrival of mainstream power and phone service will change their towns forever.
In spite of the difficult access (or perhaps because of it), a few enclaves along the way are growing into full-scale developments. You can still camp for free on the beach in places, but as is the case all along the coast, access is becoming increasingly limited as new developments lay cinder blocks and finish their first few homes.
In the midst of all the change, a few traditional ranchos continue to raise livestock—typically without fencing to keep the animals off the road.
To reach the Coastal Road from the north, take the paved road signed La Ribera  east at Km. 93 off Mexico 1 (at Las Cuevas) and go 20 kilometers to a Y intersection near the Lighthouse restaurant and town athletic fields. Bear right here, and you’re on the beginning of the Coastal Road. It is paved for the first few miles and then becomes dirt the rest of the way south.