Earlier this month I enjoyed the opportunity to visit San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas Mexico. While the destruction and devastation from Hurricane Odile was immense and well documented, the greater Cabo region, its hoteliers, residents and workers continue to proceed at a hurried pace to welcome the soon to arrive high-season travelers, some already starting to descend to enjoy the world-class sport fishing season.
Considering the damage inflicted upon the greater Cabo area I would be remiss not to mention the efforts of hoteliers, locals and the Mexican military in their efforts concerning evacuation of vacationers stranded post Hurricane Odile. The rapid response and the assistance offered to guests were truly awe-inspiring. Various locals I met shared stories of local residents and employees who had lost their homes and possessions yet continued to be on the front-line assisting the evacuation of guests to other areas of Mexico for eventual transport home.
My contacts on the ground advised they were prepared for Hurricane Odile however the voracity of the Hurricane caught many by surprise. While most hotels, resorts and developments prepared for the hurricane, the overall strength and duration exceeded preparations, Odile will go down in the history books as one of the most powerful to hit the Cabo area since detailed record keeping began.
Airport: The airport is open and operating however damage is evident and repairs continue throughout Terminal 2 (the International Terminal).Most of the repairs concern cosmetics. As of mid-November, 2014 36 flights/day are landing and most are full which is not uncommon with the start of sport-fishing season The small sundry market prior to security on Level I is open and operating offering bottled drinks, candies and other snacks perfect for your flight home (sans liquids which must be purchased past security). On the 2nd level, Starbucks is open. The large Duty-Free Store was being repaired and at present the VIP Lounges were still closed yet being repaired.
Road to Cabo San Lucas: The main highway is in good condition and does not impead any overland access. Upon entering Cabo San Lucas the destruction is truly hit and miss. While the Simply Market (for groceries) is open and operating as are most retailers and dining establishments the McDonald’s and Hooters are literally construction shells as are some of the hotels and resorts including the Hilton and Dreams (both scheduled to reopen March 1, 2015).
In the general area a few well-known deluxe and luxury resorts including the Hyatt Place, One&Only Palmilla, Esperanza and La Ventanas are not slated to open until early or mid-2015, The Westin is closed until June 2015. Within Cabo San Lucas The Sheraton Hacienda reopened the first week of November. Hacienda Encantada and The Marina Fiesta are open and welcoming guests.
Other resorts of note, The Melia is scheduled to reopen in June 2015 as the ownership/management is upgrading the resort to their Paradisus brand of service and amenities. New construction continues including Palace Resorts constructing a brand new Le Blanc to open in 2016. In Puerto Los Cabos, construction continues on a new Marriott and a Starwood branded St. Regis. Of note, 12,000 rooms are currently available and by the December 2014 holiday period the available inventory should increase to 15,000 rooms.
San Jose del Cabo, the quieter, more traditionally Mexican of the two towns, suffered more damage than Cabo San Lucas as the area was inundated with mud and debris. However if one visits today, the destruction is literally an image of the past. While there are signs of damage, it is mostly relegated to the landscaping and exterior cosmetics of buildings.
Within Cabo San Lucas, the popular Marina and Golden Zone while having sustained damage are truly on the mend. Luxury Avenue was undergoing repairs of a cosmetic nature. The surrounding shops and restaurants are open and functioning and welcoming guests including the influx embarking on sport fishing excursions departing from The Marina.
As noted above the Marina Fiesta, the resort located adjacent to the Golden Zone and Marina is open and functioning. The restaurants within the base of The Marina Fiesta including Baja Lobster Co., Presto, Los Deseos, Jack’s, Imomo, The Cantina and The Sandwich Factory are all open. Close by internationally known steakhouse Ruths Chris (with some of the best outdoor dining) is open.
Concerning off-site activities; 9 of the 12 golf courses around Cabo are open and operating. The remainder should be open by the late December holidays. Other activities including ziplining, sport-fishing, ATV excursions, snorkeling, scuba diving, horseback riding are all open and accepting clients.
In conversations with a few hoteliers, many were able to retain their employees and reallocate resources. For example at one resort the restaurant employees who were technically unemployed during the closure were reassigned to assist in painting, landscape clean-up and other non technical tasks. Amazingly the electrical grid was completely restored within one month of Odile’s landfall. The theme throughout the community is to retain and support local employees and with the assistance of the regional and federal government, capital is flowing in to rebuild and welcome guests now.
One recurring message wherever I traveled was locals advising “we are open for business”. With their economy based on tourism, it is important for travelers, both leisure and business to commit to visiting the greater Cabo area as soon as possible.
The influx of capital is so important to their economy and livelihood. While there are many beautiful destinations worldwide to choose from, anyone who has visited the greater Cabo region knows the area is truly one of the most inviting and desirable vacation areas in the world. The ultimate support we can provide is to visit and spend.
Check back soon for my review of the Haceneda Encantada, a truly enchanting boutique style resort within Cabo San Lucas. With 85% of the 150 suites offering water views, gourmet dining and exemplary service, a resort to consider for your next visit.