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Cabo San Lucas, Mexico begging tourists to come back

Pisces Sportfishing crew in front of waterfront Cabo San Lucas office. The owner of Pisces Sportfishing in Cabo San Lucas e-mailed me the accompanying photo of her crew with the caption: "Come on down, everything is fine here, weather is fantastic and we are waiting to catch you some fish.”

Everything is not fine. The mega-resort community at the tip of Baja California is in dire straits, thanks to the same factors that affect tourism in all of Mexico: global recession, drug-related violence and the swine flu scare.

It doesn't matter that the latter two issues are localized in other areas. As far as many non-Mexicans are concerned, because of what they've seen on TV or read, the entire country has plague.

In Cabo, which was built initially around sportfishing, the main drag is all but deserted. Hotels are nearly empty. Cruise ships aren't coming. The number of flights have been reduced. Tracy Ehrenberg, longtime Pisces fleet owner and wife of a prominent politician, said the town is emptier than it was in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strikes and a subsequent devastating hurricane.

But tourist destinations throughout Mexico, as the worst of a flu-related heath crisis seems to have passed, are begging people to come back--and some are doing so imaginatively. 

According to a story in the Latin American Herald Tribune, eight hotels in Cancun and the Riviera Maya are offering full refunds and free vacations for up to three years to anyone who contracts the swine flu virus during their vacation.

While there have been cases of the virus in Cancun, there have been none reported in Pacific coastal destinations such as Cabo San Lucas and the entire Los Cabos region; Zihuatanejo, Puerto Vallarta or Mazatlan, according to Jose Angel Cordova, Mexico's health secretary.

East Cape anglers poke fun at the swine flu reports after catching, and masking, a large dorado.

In Cabo and throughout Baja California Sur's East Cape region, locals occasionally make fun of a swine flu issue that they believe was blown out of proportion by the media (see photo). But in reality, anyone who makes a living off visiting fishermen or other tourists is feeling a major pinch and knows this is no joke.

This will pass, however, and tourists will regain confidence and resume traveling to Mexico and elsewhere abroad; but when it will pass is anyone's guess.

-- Pete Thomas

Photos: Pisces Sportfishing crew in front of waterfront Cabo San Lucas office. Courtesy of Pisces. In second photo, East Cape anglers poke fun at the swine flu reports after catching, and masking, a large dorado. Courtesy of Mark Rayor

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Comments (11)

We go to Mexico every fall and after some thought we decided to continue with our vacation plans. We spent an incredible 2 weeks in Cabo with another family and would have stayed longer is we could have. The food as always was fabulous and not once was I worried about swine flu while on vacation.

Swine Flu...As soon as we got back from vacation, we found out that a boy on my son's football team was in Pediatric ICU with complications from the swine flu and pnemonia. Good thing we were in Cabo. Bottom line is we will all be exposed to swine flu this year...Don't stop living your life because something could happen.

To repeat what several other said, "If you are looking for trouble you will find it." AND those looking for trouble will find it wherever they are at.

I Love Mexico...and I especially love it when there are less tourists because you can get great deals on flights, resorts, and activities. Feel free to stay away, but I am going!

..i have been to mexico twice this year...flew to mexico city then to my destination and by the way,,,its not near any beach...i had a great time and was perfectly safe...going back again soon.....stop all the crazy talk...

When your in the cabo area you are atleast 900 miles away from the border violence. Your biggest chance of injury is a SUNBURN. I really don't mind everyone scaring the hell out of potential tourist, because it just means better prices and empty waves for me. So please spent alot more money and go to a SAFE place.

The dangerous\bad people in Cabo are the white people that bring their bad habits and thier white collar and blue collar crime mentality with them, i am white American and lived there 2 to 3 years... the Mexican Locals are for the most part very familiy oriented, hard working and religous...it is the Americans who really screw the place up...THAT IS A FACT! like it or not...

i went to a wedding in Cabo during the "shutdown" may 1-6th and it was perfectly safe. as always, the hospitality and weather were incredible, and prices for food and drink were much cheaper then other surf destination like Cost Rica. Cabo is essentially and literally an extension of California and you are safer from random violence in Cabo than you are in LA or San Diego. Also, let's be realistic, Tijuana is dangerous because of the US drug trade..

Actually, most American deaths in Mexico are from car accidents.

Cabo San Lucas is like it's own little island. It's been coined the play ground of the rich and famous, and the marlin capital of the world.

I live in Cabo San Lucas and would move out of here in a heart beat if what the media reported were true. Look at a map...we are 1,000 miles away from the violence in a totally different state.

As far as ANY type of flu is concerned, Cabo San Lucas is hot and humid. Two things that flu's just do not thrive in.

We will departing fo rCabo on May 29 .Sharpen your pencils and fish hooks

I am so upset to see miss informed and fearful people discourage travel to Mexico. Like any other foreign country travelers should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings but there is no reason to avoid Mexico! It is a beautiful country with beautiful people and the 10+ times I have gone were an amazing experience. I have a trip planed to Cabo San Lucas in August and I can’t wait to go! In fact, I am more likely to avoid certain parts of L.A. then touristy parts on Mexico like Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.

Hang in there Cabo!

Cabo San Lucas, as far as I am concerned, is a separate country from Mexico. It is safe! The people are friendly, the town is clean and I would eat anything served in the local restaurants.
I would on the other hand, be afraid in Mexico City.

Besafe, you're terribly misinformed. Mexico is perfectly safe if you're not dealing or using drugs.

Yes, American citizens have been killed in Mexico. And yes, some innocents, too, have been killed.

But the vast majority of Americans killed in Mexico were involved in the drug trade.

It pays to actually drill down into the statistics before making blanket statements like "Mexico is not safe!"

If you're a doper? Nope, it's not. If you're a dealer? You may die. If you're a tourist? Mexico is the most gorgeous, culturally rich, welcoming, diverse country and it's a hop, skip and a jump from the US.

Swine flu or not........Mexico is NOT a safe vacation destination period. An alarming 32% of all non-natural deaths of U.S. citizens outside this country occur in Mexico. Many of these deaths are a direct result of poor or non existent safety standards both inside and outside of the resorts. To read personal Mexico vacation horror stories, many written by heartbroken family members go to: WWW.MEXICOVACATIONAWARENESS.COM


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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.