Recovery efforts are well underway in Los Cabos following Hurricane Odile. The Los Cabos International Airport is on schedule to reopen as early as October 8 to commercial flights. While many hotels in the area are closed to new reservations, they have plans to reopen within the next couple of months. Government officials have relocated their bases to Los Cabos to oversee recovery efforts.
Meanwhile, we reached out to several tour operators and travel agents to find out where they would recommend sending clients who either had travel booked to Los Cabos in the near future, or were considering a vacation there. Overwhelmingly the answer points travelers south toward Puerto Vallarta.
“The majority of U.S. travelers headed to Los Cabos are from California,” says Hope Smith, owner of Born To Travel. “California travelers are going to think about where they can get to in Mexico that is as convenient as Los Cabos. I would say the next best would be Puerto Vallarta. The beauty of Puerto Vallarta is that you have an old type of village setting in the old style of Mexico. You also have access to Riviera Nayarit, which gives way to towns like Nuevo Vallarta and Sayulita. It gives you a true flavor of Mexico.”
Robert Whorrall, vice president of sales and marketing for Beach Bum Vacation, agrees with Smith about Puerto Vallarta. “Our number one on the west coast of Mexico is Puerto Vallarta, hands down,” he tells Travel Agent. “It does not get directly hit by hurricanes, where Cabo seems to get directly hit twice a year on average for the 14 years we have been in business. Cabo’s beaches are 90 percent non-swimmable, and the water is not warm until June. In Puerto Vallarta, there is authentic, great shopping. The food is WOW, the sunsets are gorgeous, there is fishing, whale watching, zip lining in the mountains. With so many new resorts in the region to choose from like Iberostar Punta Mita, Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, Hard Rock Vallarta and Secrets Resorts, there are more new options for every traveler’s wants and needs.”
“Many of our customers who are booked in the next few weeks are being relocated to either the Puerto Vallarta or Cancun/Riviera Maya areas,” says Mitch Toren, chief vacation engineer at TripGuy Travel. “Each case is different based on the client’s wants and needs, departure city, and other criteria. In general, our hotel partners have been great in allowing us to work with us on rates to ensure that our customers are not being greatly inconvenienced for higher rates booked at the last minute.”
Toren continues, “For those reservations that are not in the near term, we’ve generally been in a wait and see mode, especially knowing how quickly hotels have been cleaned up and renovated from past storms in Cancun. We’re hoping that most of these guests keep their reservations to the Cabo area to support the people and economy there.”
“As Los Cabos continues to recover, there are a number of exciting and worthwhile alternative destinations along Mexico’s Pacific coast,” says Elizabeth Moriarty, MLT Vacations’ vice president for product development. “Of these, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit are truly great escapes. They have relatively short flight times from U.S. origins and each destination offers its own unique blend of tropical paradise with an array of quality hotels, an abundance of recreational opportunities and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scenes.”
Pleasant Holidays attended the Los Cabos Strategic Meeting held last Thursday in New York City, which included most major tour operators, airlines and hotel companies. “It is our impression Los Cabos recovery is well underway with the Los Cabos International Airport scheduled to open for commercial passenger flights on October 8, 2014,” says Jack Richards, president and CEO, Pleasant Holidays. “There is significant focus for a speedy repair and recovery of the destination for Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 travel.”
“Of the 12,000 total rooms in Los Cabos, approximately 5,000 will reopen by October 15th, 6,500 will be open by November 1st, 7,500 by November 15th and 100 percent should be open by December 20, 2014,” he continues. “For those scheduled to travel to Los Cabos during the next few weeks, Pleasant Holidays recommends Cancun/Riviera Maya, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit, Ixtapa and Mazatlan with a variety of all-inclusive resorts, world-class spas and extraordinary cuisine.”