I just got back from San Jose Del Cabo – yes, I was there during the Category 3-4 hurricane on Sunday, September 14th, one of the worst that Cabo has ever seen. All of both cities are devastated – every hotel was destroyed either partially or totally. The airport was destroyed. No electricity, running water, cell or internet. No communication; looters and rumors running rampant. With 30,000 tourists stranded and a quarter million people affected, it’s just crazy how there is almost no media coverage on this event on the news in the U.S.
We had several beautiful days there before the Hurricane Odile hit – the weather was hot but we got to enjoy snorkeling at Chileno Bay, paddleboarding at Medano Beach, dinner at the Seven Seas grille at the Cabo Surf Hotel, and dinner at the amazing Flora Farms. My heart is broken that these places have been hit. Here are some pics of Club Regina at the Westin Hotel, about midway between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas before the hurricane:
We had lovely dinners at Flora Farm:
and at the Seven Seas Grille at the sweet boutique hotel, The Cabo Surf Hotel:
On the day of the hurricane, the Club Regina staff had everyone take shelter in the official storm shelter of the hotel – we started off here and when the storm barriers started flying away, we ended up in the stairwell and basement – here is a before and after of the shelter:
When one of the windows covered with thick, hard plastic hurricane protectors blew out, the staff led us underground to the stairwell, where we spent the night (photo from AP/Weather Channel:
The staff took great care of us, keeping us safe and providing us with food and water the entire time. When we heard later that staff at other hotels had abandoned their guests, we were very thankful. We were allowed to return to our rooms after they were checked for damage – here is the walkway to our rooms and living room portion of our suite after the hurricane:
I rented a car at Club Regina and when I tried to return it at 3 pm before the hurricane, the Budget agent had left and was nowhere to be seen, so I gave the keys to reception. The valet stand had blown away and all they keys they had were lost. This is what we found when we went to see the car:
Here is are the rooms and Lobby of the hotel portion of the resort – The Westin:
One of the the things that kept us going during this scary time was humor – we found this little guy among the rubble in the Club Regina Lobby:
There was so much confusion about whether it was safe to go to the airport. We knew all the flights were cancelled the couple days after the hurricane, as was our flight on American Airlines purchased by British Airways Avios (15k points round-trip). There was no way to communicate with the airlines and we had no idea whether the airport was ok (it was not) and when there would be flights. There were rumors that the Mexican armed forces would be flying people to Guadalajara or Mazatlan. There were rumors that the lines were hundreds or over a thousand people long, standing in the hot sun with no shade, no water, no food, no bathrooms (all true) and that they were spending the night there in the lines (not sure if this was true in the beginning but not true when I was there). Luckily, we got to the airport at the exact right time on Wednesday and waited in line for about 3 hours, then amazingly got on a Southwest flight to LA. Wow. Couldn’t believe it how lucky we were. The Southwest crew had volunteered to fly down to Cabo to help us, even though we did not have a Southwest ticket – they were so kind and caring – I will always be a loyal Southwest client after this ordeal. American Airlines was nowhere to be found on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but I hear that they resumed flights on Thursday.
I had used 15k British Airways Avios to fly on AA to SJD round-trip, but since AA did not have any flights on Wednesday and since Southwest volunteered to take us to LA free of charge, I didn’t use the return portion of my AA flight (which was rescheduled by AA to Friday) and British Airways refunded 7,500 miles back into my Avios account.
I am now back home and I feel so blessed to have come out of this situation safe and sound. It is astounding to me that there is so little coverage on the news here in the US. People have no idea about the devastation there. You can help by donating to organizations that are aiding in relief efforts in the Cabo area: The American Red Cross, Waves for Water, GoFundMe for Flora Farm.