After the category three Hurricane Odile hit Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas region on September 14 — bringing harsh winds, floods, and structural damage to Baja California — airlines and hotels are finally on the rebound. Los Cabos International Airport finally reopened on October 3, with public transportation and cruise ports also back in operation. While travel lodgings are still somewhat limited, travelers might find some great deals if they’re flexible and willing to do a bit of research.
The storm was a shock to all, since the Pacific coast resort area doesn’t usually experience topsy-turvy weather patterns of other warm-weather destinations in the fall. It’ll take a few more months before Cabo recovers completely, but the region has put the horror stories of stranded tourists, looting, and communication chaos behind it. If you can read Spanish, updates are being provided by SECTUR, the official voice for the Cabo tourism region. The latest release called Cabo “unstoppable” after flights finally resumed last week. On October 8, flights arrived from Los Angeles via Alaska Airlines and from Houston on United Airlines, together bringing 300 flyers. With Virgin America returning October 25, and domestic routes also starting to come back, the tourism board is expecting around 30 daily flights by the end of this week.
Other airlines are also starting to resume service and waiving rescheduling fees if you’d rather wait to visit. Delta has generally resumed service, though they’ve said flights still may be canceled on a case-by-case basis (travelers whose itineraries are affected will be entitled to a refund). They’re also offering free rebookings for reservations between September 16 and October 16, to be booked by December 15, 2014 for travel by December 15, 2015. Southwest, which had discontinued flights through today, is being equally amenable. Those who have made bookings for flights between September 14 and November 1 can be either refunded or be rescheduled without penalty.
Hotels are coming back into commission, too, after dozens suffered physical damage or lack of electricity. The Hotel Association of Los Cabos reports that 15 properties are currently open for business. The reason that visitors might still want to wait? It’s still a case-by-case basis in terms of lodging. Some of the more exclusive hotels in the region, like Esperanza in-the-mid Corridor section, have pushed reopening dates back into December, while others, such as Las Ventanas al Paraíso, are still keeping mum or hinting at spring 2015. Another tip: Travelers might want to call hotels directly to inquire if property might be under construction as it reopens — or if any properties next door might be undergoing renovations that would affect noise levels in surrounding buildings.
The good news is that we’ve already seen hotel discounts as an incentive to bring business back to Cabo and are anticipating more. The all-inclusive Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, for example, is offering a junior suite for $119 per person, per night, complete with spa and golf credits. This deal is valid until December, traditionally the high season where prices would be much higher. So if your schedule can allow for off-chance flight changes and you have time to make a few calls to the hotels, it could be a very affordable, quiet time to visit.
And if you’ve already made plans that have been affected? Some resorts are redirecting guests to sister properties that are unaffected and to resorts in other locations in Mexico, or are giving the option for a full refund without penalty if a reopen date is unclear. Starwood, for just one example, is waiving all change or cancellation fees for Westin Resort & Spa, for stays up till the anticipated reopening date of March 1, 2015.