December 12, 2014 | By Wendy Hart
Los Cabos is a rugged beach destination ringed by mountains and desert, located at the southern end of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. It’s composed of two towns, with Cabo San Lucas located on the southern tip and its sister city, San Jose Del Cabo, located slightly to the north on the Sea of Cortez. With it’s easy access from the U.S., it has been a beloved tourist destination for many years, offering a variety of activities and accommodations ranging from small and quaint to five-star resorts. Los Cabos offers a total of 14,000 hotel rooms.
Los Cabos suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Odile on Sept. 14, 2014, which stranded many travelers, closed the airport for almost 3 weeks and damaged most hotels, resorts and popular tourist attractions in the area. As an example of the strength of the storm, furniture from one resort was found up to a mile away!
I was invited by Travel Weekly and the Mexican Tourism Board to visit in early December 2014, in order to witness the subsequent cleanup, repair and rebuilding efforts. We visited many hotels and resorts that have reopened and are now welcoming guests, including the Sheraton Hacienda Del Mar, Playa Grande, Sandos Finesterra, Secrets, Fiesta Americana and many others.
As a whole, the area has been quick to recover, largely in part to the fortitude of the local residents who rallied together immediately after the storm to begin removing debris. Throughout my stay, I heard stories of residents in the area affected by the storm. Many hotel employees reported for work in the days immediately following the storm, although their own homes were destroyed and their families in crisis mode. Many worked unpaid for the first several days.
Some resorts that were severely affected have taken this opportunity to completely remodel and will not reopen until March 2015. Some opted to partially open with ongoing repair and remodeling in progress and others have opened fully. It’s apparent that landscaping has been replanted including bushes, shrubs, flowers and even palm trees. With the temperate climate, the plants are flourishing and soon the hurricane’s aftereffects will be only a memory.
Inside, the resorts have been scrubbed from top to bottom and soft goods which may have been tired previously have been replaced and are bright, crisp and new. Hard goods such as furniture, computers, televisions and other electronic devices are also new. Both interiors and exteriors have been repainted and doors and windows replaced. Combine all of this together with the warm hospitality you will receive and the finished product is the feel of a newly-opened/just built resort.
One of the unexpected changes noticed since the storm is that some beaches have become safer! In the past, many of Cabo’s beaches weren’t safe to swim at due to the dangerous undertow. Such an enormous amount of sand was shifted by Hurricane Odile that it changed the underwater geography a bit, dragging the sand out and creating shallower swimming areas without the dangerous undertow. As always, you should still observe the caution flags found along the beach which indicate the safety level.
With the winter season fast approaching and peak travel season ahead, there are many promotional offers to encourage travel to Los Cabos. As an added incentive, I will waive my service fees for any bookings which include air and hotel, booked before January 31st, 2015 with no restriction on travel dates.
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