Los Cabos aims to lure visitors under the sea

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LOS CABOS -- This Pacific coast Mexican destination might be synonymous with golf, but tourism officials believe its underwater attractions deserve equal billing.

During the last four years, Los Cabos' hotels and dive operations have staged a number of scuba-diving events in an effort to promote the destination to that lucrative market.

The next such event, Los Cabos Summer Dive Fiesta, is scheduled for Aug. 17 to 25. Sponsored by the Los Cabos Hotel Association and local dive centers, the nine-day Dive Fiesta will include underwater photo contests, underwater treasure hunts, cocktail parties, diving seminars and diving gear demonstrations.

The event also will enable divers to test the gear and underwater cameras.

The week will kick off with a party at the Hotel Solmar, where clients will have an opportunity to win prizes in one of several raffles scheduled for the event. Prizes include diving equipment and a return trip to Cabo.

To promote the event, hotels in every price category are offering reduced rates and scuba packages that pay 10%. Several hotels are offering four nights for the price of three, five nights for the price of four and a week's stay for the price of six nights.

At the Westin Regina, a seven-night package (one night is on the house) starts at $1,186 per person, double, and a five-night package (one night is free) starts at $821.

At the Solmar Suites, a seven-night package (one night is free) costs $995 per person, double, in a junior suite, including two dinners per person. A five-night package (one night is free) costs $558, also with two dinners.

All hotel packages include airport transfers, two daily dives, equipment and event activities.

For nondiving companions, participating properties will offer 25% off the cost of "resort courses" during the event so clients can get their scuba certification; guests who accompany divers on the daily excursions will be given free snorkeling gear to use during the outing.

In addition to regular daytime dives, clients will be able to participate in specialty dives such as night dives and wreck dives in the Sea of Cortes.

For information about the dive event and packages, call the Los Cabos Tourism Board at (866) LOS-CABOS or visit the destination's Web site at www.visitcabo.com.

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