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Northwest Traveler

Travel news, consumer advice and trip reports for the Northwest and beyond.

January 7, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Bustling Cabo San Lucas is best bet to avoid Los Cabos hurricane damage

In Cabo San Lucas, Medano Beach still has plenty going on, with views of cruise ships and Land's End.  (photo by Brian Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

In Cabo San Lucas, Medano Beach still has plenty going on, with views of cruise ships and Land’s End. (photo by Brian Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

A reader named Joe Durham e-mailed Wednesday morning, worried about an upcoming trip to Los Cabos:

“I’ve been following your stories closely on Cabo because a group of six of us are potentially heading down there in early March.  We don’t have hotel reservations yet.

“What’s the general vibe? Is anyone even out on the Medano Beach area? Are bars bustling?  We are worried it will be a ghost town (or just the sounds of power tools as you mentioned) and many of the top restaurants won’t be reopened.”

I say go, Joe.

Especially if you stay in or near the town of Cabo San Lucas, you might not even know there was a hurricane. The heaviest damage was fairly localized to what’s known as “the Corridor,” the stretch of beach from around the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar, where I stayed Tuesday night, eastward to San Jose del Cabo and the airport.

Tuesday I wandered Medano Beach, the famed bayfront strand in Cabo San Lucas, and the beach bars were selling lots of cold Corona, souvenir sellers were hawking their painted seashells, two big cruise ships bobbed in the harbor, and finding parking was just as tough as ever.

The ambience: Pure Cabo. Even Costco is reopened.

The only major hotels currently closed in the town of Cabo San Lucas are the ME Cabo (the obvious place to go for travelers who think “it’s all about me,” I guess), which closed after the hurricane for already-planned renovations, and the Capella Pedregal, which coincidentally closed for renovations just before Hurricane Odile struck in September. If you book anyplace else on Medano Beach or nearby, it’s a safe bet that power tools won’t be a bother. If you have any question about whether a Los Cabos hotel is fully open or not, contact the hotel directly or check with the Los Cabos Tourism Board.

As you visit, keep in mind: This is Mexico. Sometimes it’s tough to tell if a place is closed and run down because of the hurricane or just because of overreaching ambitions and a difficult economy.

But while some hotels closer to San Jose del Cabo still have weeks or months of fixup, Cabo San Lucas seems just as bustling as ever. For Tuesday dinner, I had some of the planet’s best shrimp tacos (and coldest beer) in an unassuming little family eatery called Gardenias, on the street behind McDonald’s.

Guests at Sheraton's Hacienda del Mar resort inspect a swimming pool. The resort's pools were full of mud and debris after Hurricane Odile in September. (photo by Brian Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

Guests at Sheraton’s Hacienda del Mar resort inspect a swimming pool. The resort’s pools were full of mud and debris after Hurricane Odile in September. The resort reopened Nov. 1. (photo by Brian Cantwell / The Seattle Times)

Also, for your March plans, Joe — A lot of fix-up can happen around the rest of Los Cabos between now and then. In my room at the Sheraton, as I type this my room’s TV is showing a slideshow of the hotel’s damage the day after the hurricane. It was gruesome: swimming pools full of mud, broken trees tossed like in a game of Pick Up Stix, buildings that looked sandblasted. (See a YouTube video.) Today, the resort is pristine, every building with fresh paint in rich colors of rose, ochre and olive that just light up in the sunshine. Even the palms have been replanted.

“It’s amazing to me that it looks this good so soon,” said Ellen Greenberg, a visitor from Long Island, N.Y., who huddled under a palapa with me during a brief rain shower this morning. “We went through Hurricane Sandy, and coming from the airport we saw those kind of damages.”

The Sheraton’s renewal is a tribute to the “get things done” attitude here. And it’s pretty nice to have the place all fresh and polished.

Don’t be scared away from visiting San Jose del Cabo, either. You can still find bargains on painted seashells, lots of local art in the gallery district, and good tacos, too.

NEXT: How Los Cabos locals weathered the storm.

Comments | More in Hurricanes, Los Cabos hurricane, Los Cabos hurricane recovery, Trip reports | Topics: Cabo San Lucas, Hurricane Odile, Hurricane Odile recovery

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