Los Cabos roaring back after storm

Published on: December 31, 2014 | Last Updated on April 1, 2016
El Arco, Land's End at Los Cabos
El Arco, Land's End at Los Cabos

El Arco, Land’s End at Los Cabos

New social media campaign woos travelers back to Los Cabos after Hurricane Odile.

Los Cabos, Mexico, the municipality on the southern tip of Baja  California, has long been a favorite celebrity getaway. In the 1950s, stars like John Wayne, Bing Crosby and Lucille Ball visited the area when it was only reachable by private yacht. In recent years, the destination has attracted well over a million visitors annually.

Tourism came to a halt, however, when Hurricane Odile, one of the most destructive hurricanes ever to hit the region, barreled over the Baja Peninsula on September 14, 2014. The Category 3 storm wreaked havoc on the international airport, bridges, and roads, and pummeled hotels and resorts. More than 30,000 tourists were left stranded and many residents lost homes.

With grit and determination, the popular destination has made an impressive comeback.

Marina then and now

Cabo San Lucas Marina Then and Now

Downtown Cabo San Lucas

Downtown Cabo San Lucas Then and Now

“The good news is that the Los Cabos coffers are flush (both government and private sector), and recovery and rebuilding have surpassed even the most optimistic expectations,” says Zachary Rabinor, CEO of Journey Mexico, a luxury travel company.

Rabinor notes that while some top hotels such as One & Only Palmilla, Rosewood Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Esperanza and The Resort at Pedregal, are still closed, he is still selling other hotel rooms and luxury villa rentals.

Hotels along the tourist Corridor between Cabos San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo took the biggest hit, says Julie Byrd, a vice-president at “But well over 60 percent of the hotel inventory is back to normal,” she says. “The destination looks great and upgrades made at many properties are an added bonus.”

To repair the destination’s digital image, the Mexican Tourism Board asked the Lapiz/Leo Burnett ad agency to enlist the help of the newest generation of celebrity Cabo-lovers, including Reese Witherspoon, Rosario Dawson, Mario Lopez and Nick Jonas. Using the hashtag #unstoppable, the celebs took “selfies” and posted them on social media; the selfies were taken in the same locations as those posted by fans before Odile.

Mario Lopez Selfie (Mexican Tourism Board-Lapiz/Leo Burnett)

Mario Lopez Selfie (Mexican Tourism Board-Lapiz/Leo Burnett)

The Mexican Tourism Board also created a special website offering updates on accommodations, restaurants and flights. Live webcams on the site offer visitors a peek at various area locations for themselves.

[This article was previously published in the Chicago Tribune and the Carroll County Times on December 30, 2014.]

  • Reply
    Suzanne Fluhr
    December 31, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Happy New Year! I have yet to explore Mexico’s Pacific coast, including Los Cabos. So many places, so little time.

    We own a townhouse in Brigantine, New Jersey — a long way from Cabo, but which also had to rebuild after a killer storm—Post Tropical Cyclone Sandy. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Resilience rocks.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

      Glad you are able to enjoy Brigatine once again! I’m sure Cabo will come back, too.

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    January 1, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    We’re still in Cabo right now – and loving it. Most of the luxury resorts on the Corridor still aren’t open (One & Only Palmilla, Las Ventanas). And several near San Jose del Cabo suffered major damage. Down in Cabo San Lucas, a few on Medano Beach are rebuilding their restaurants and/or other areas, but are open and buzzing quite happily. (The Melia is closed altogether.) On the Pacific side, everything is business as normal. The upshot is that Cabo is quieter than usual, without its normal Xmas/New Year energy – but that suits us fine :-).

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks so much for the update from the front, Janet. I’m so glad that you are able to be there and enjoy its incredible beauty.

  • Reply
    January 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I’ve seen some TV commercials too. I hope your place is repaired soon, Irene.

    • Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      January 3, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Thanks, Laura! Although we will miss visiting Cabo this winter, I feel worst for the locals who still have a long haul ahead of them.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2015 at 1:50 am


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