Mexico editor Gay Nagle Myers is in Los Cabos to report on the destination’s recovery progress since Hurricane Odile whacked the region on Sept. 14. One sign of progress was that the third annual Los Cabos Film Festival took place on schedule, Nov. 12-16. Here is Gay’s first report.
CABO SAN LUCAS — Yes, there are some fairly dramatic signs that a major storm slammed through here on Sept. 14. Some big hotels are still closed along the 25-mile tourist corridor that links Cabo San Lucas with San Jose del Cabo, the two major towns that make up the Los Cabos region.
San Jose del Cabo, the quieter, more traditionally Mexican of the two towns, suffered more damage than Cabo with some resorts, such as the Hyatt, One&Only Palmilla, Esperanza and La Ventanas, not slated to open until early or mid-2015.
The Sheraton Hacienda reopened on Nov. 1 and Secrets Puerto Los Cabos officially welcomed guests on Nov. 15, although 113 guests already had checked in several days ahead of that date.
“We lost our beautiful gardens and many roof tiles, but the flowers will bloom again, the tiles have been replaced, the beach is wider then ever and now we await our guests,” said Evelyn Sordo, sales manager.
Workers crouch on rooftops all over the region, replacing miles of red tiles that blew off in the high winds that buffeted and tore at structures.
“There’s a six-week wait for red roof tiles. Most of them come from Guadalajara,” said Raul Lopez, developer’s representative at Los Cabos Golf Resort, where 58 of the 74 rooms reopened Nov. 2.
I saw palm trees, dead and brown, being lifted out of the ground by cranes along highway medians. The 7,000 light poles that fell victim to the 100-mph winds were replaced in record time by utility crews that came from all over Mexico to help out.
For the most part, Cabo San Lucas looks pretty darn good. The marina down the street from the Hotel Bahia where I’m based is chock full of fishing boats and yachts and the crowd that is turning out for the film festival could top last year’s numbers of 14,000-plus.
“I’ve been coming here for years. These people know how to get things done and they’ve cleaned up, repaired and hope that the tourists come back. That’s what is needed now,” said Joe, a San Franciscan who was winding up a 10-day stay.
Most of the visitors I’ve encountered thus far are film types to preview a number of foreign and Mexican films before their general release.
Actress Reese Witherspoon was the A-list draw on opening night. Her film “Wild” was shown prior to its December release.
Her message resounded very well with tourism officials when she told her audience that “Los Cabos is unforgettable and it is unstoppable [a reference to the #UnstoppableCabo promotional campaign]. It’s one of my favorite places. Tell everyone you know to come here.”
The venue for opening night was an open-air amphitheater, a fill-in for the original, indoor theater, damaged in the hurricane.
The Los Cabos angels must have been listening because it did not rain. The night sky was brilliant and the evening a resounding success.