Los Cabos is one of Mexico's success stories. It continues to roll along, posting yearly increases in visitor arrivals, avoiding hurricanes and social unrest, all the while fine tuning its resorts, golf courses and attractions with an eye to responsible development.
Apple Vacations has been sending clients to Los Cabos since 1985. "We've seen Los Cabos grow into a more high-end destination, with great golf courses and upscale spas," says Mark Noennig, vice president/general manager of Apple Vacations. "One of the biggest changes is the growth of the all-inclusive product, which it didn't have initially, and which our customers really like." This is reflected in Apple's Vacation Satisfaction Questionnaire, which is distributed on the return flight. Apple's clients rated Los Cabos an "excellent" destination, and 80 percent say that they would definitely go back for a return trip. Airlift to the destination isn't a problem. "We've added charter product, but a lot of the growth has been on the scheduled air side, which allowed Apple to grow."
Los Cabos is actually comprised of three destinations at the
tip of the
"One of the things that makes Cabo so special is its
weather; we don't have a rainy season," says Francisco Silva, general
manager, Dreams Los Cabos Resort & Spa. "Our location is also a big
plus. We have numerous direct flights from
Carriers flying into Los Cabos include Aero California, Aeromexico, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways West (America West), Continental, Delta, Frontier Airlines, Mexicana and United. Apple Vacations charters include USA3000 out of Detroit, Champion Airlines out of St. Louis and Sun Country out of Minneapolis and Dallas.
Most visitors arrive by air, although Los Cabos is also a significant cruise port, with regular calls from Silversea, Crystal and Seabourn cruise lines.
Los Cabos received 1.3 million tourists in 2006, a record
for the destination, up from 1.2 million in 2005. It's important to remember
that the institution of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative in January
"Some flights to Los Cabos are seasonal," says Antonio Vera, vice president of marketing for the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We have to work with airlines to have the same number of flights in the summer."
Group and incentives are an important market for Los Cabos. "The top 40 percent of room inventory in Los Cabos is dependent on the incentives market and groups," says Vera. "This accounts for 55 percent of business to the region."
Vera is plugged into the Los Cabos hotel scene; he's also area director of sales and marketing for the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort. "Of Los Cabos' 7,500 hotel rooms, 35 percent are all-inclusive; the rest are European Plan," he says. The all-inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Cabos San Lucas, is currently undergoing an expansion that will bring its room inventory up to 1,200. "The expansion of Riu will fill the destination's need for all-inclusives; I don't see more built in Los Cabos," says Vera. He also observes that there's room for five more hotel developments in the 20-mile Tourist Corridor and, in his words, "That's it."
Being at the tip of a peninsula, Los Cabos can only grow so
much. Growth is now moving up the peninsula and to the East Cape, which begins
east of San Jose del Cabo and extends north along the
Increasingly popular are day or overnight trips to the towns
of Todos Santos and
In 2006, the big news on the attractions front was the opening of Cabo Dolphins, a first for Los Cabos. The cost for a 60-minute dolphin swim is $165. Cabo Dolphins is paying a hefty 20 percent commission to travel agents: Make reservations for your clients with Mark Watson, the company's sales director ([email protected]).
Agents in search of educational opportunities have several to choose from. The Los Cabos Tourism Board partners with Destination Ventures to offer travel agent seminars. It also participates with the airlines and wholesalers servicing the destination through trade shows and fam trips for agents that provide an in-depth view of the destination. This year Los Cabos hosted its first annual Los Cabos VIP Summit, welcoming airline partners, wholesalers and top-performing agents to the destination. The exact date for the second VIP Summit hasn't been set, but it will be held in the December 7-15 window. The Los Cabos Tourism Board is seeking discounted air for invited agents who sell Los Cabos; hotel accommodations will be provided free of charge.
Los Cabos Tourism Board: 866-LOS CABOS, www.visitloscabos.org
On the Horizon
The new development of Puerto Los Cabos will be a 1,900-acre community in San Jose del Cabo comprised of three miles of beachfront property. It will include a 535-slip marina capable of handling boats ranging in size from 30 feet up to 240-foot mega-yachts. This is significantly larger than the 300-slip marina in Cabo San Lucas, although Puerto Los Cabos won't be a port of call for cruise ships. By mid-2008, the marina, shop, restaurants and two 18-hole golf courses (one designed by Jack Nicklaus, the other by Greg Norman) are expected to be completed. The complex will also include four top-brand hotels that should be finished by mid-2009. According to Vera, talks are underway with Four Seasons for one of the builds.
Pacific Monarch Resorts Inc. projects a September opening of Cabo Azul Resort & Spa. Award-winning designer Dodd Mitchell will appoint the property's 332 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, as well as its signature restaurants, spa and wedding chapel. Expect flaming fire sculptures, playful waterscapes and artful interiors. Cabo Azul will have an oceanfront tri-level infinity swimming pool and a five-story open-air church positioned to attract the destination wedding market.
The Villa Group is preparing to open Los Cabos' largest spa facility at its enclave of villa-style resorts: Villa La Estancia, Villa del Arco and Villa del Palmar. When the spa opens in late spring, advance bookings for appointments will be able to be made via the company's web site. The Villa Group's three Cabo San Lucas properties collectively offer 845 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, studios and penthouse suites, available for rental and commissionable to travel agents.
After a multimillion dollar renovation, the Melia Cabo San
Lucas has been rebranded the ME Cabo, making it the third property within the
ME by Melia portfolio of hotels and the second of the new brand's properties in
Later this year, Casa del Mar will premiere the first
Guerlain Spa in all of