Safety First: My Cabo Trip During the Pandemic
I traveled from LAX to San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, during COVID-19 in late July. After taking the necessary calculated risk, I stepped on board the plane and took off! (After all, safety first!) A quick note: there is a travel ban to visit Mexico, but it is for land crossings only. Air travel is currently permitted for American citizens with no quarantines.
As a travel advisor and independent affiliate of TravelStore, I travel a lot, so that I can experience as much as I can to share with you. The more I travel, the more I can advise about our world and where to travel when it is safe to do so. Cabo has been on my list to re-visit since because many new resorts have recently popped up. Now was the perfect time with all safety and cleanliness protocols in place for me to go.
I proceeded to make my appointments with each resort and sales team I wanted to visit. I visited 14 resorts, including some villas, and I stayed for a night or two at four of these resorts. Each resort differed in size, number of rooms, amenities, location, food, and service level, and they each will appeal to a variety of different traveler interests and budgets. However, the one thing they all had in common was their mindfulness to the new laws and protocols of cleanliness and safety due to COVID-19. I would like share some of my experience with you.
The resorts I visited were: the brand-new Four Seasons Resort Los Cabos at Costa Palmas on the Sea of Cortez; Viceroy Los Cabos; Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve; Soloz Los Cabos; Esperanza Cabo San Lucas; Nobu Hotel Los Cabos; Hotel San Cristobal in Todos Santos; the Cape, a Thompsons Hotel; Chileno Bay Resort and Residences, La Datcha Villa, Garza Blanca Resort and Spa Los Cabos, Gran Velas Los Cabos; Montage Los Cabos; and Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort.
To begin, I flew American Airlines in first class on the outbound and economy on the return. The flight was full in both directions. Upon boarding, I was handed a small white bag, which contained a small bottle of water, cookies, and a sanitizer wipe. During the flight, it was announced by the flight attendant and the captain several times that it is mandatory that everyone wear their face mask unless eating or drinking. 98 percent, as I estimated, of the passengers abided by this rule. During flight, in first class, I was given a snack box of fruit, cheese, and crackers, all of which were wrapped carefully.
The airport experience, both at LAX and San Jose, Mexico, was excellent and so impressive. All safety precautions were in place with social distancing signage, barriers at check-in, and hand sanitizer stations offered everywhere. Masks were worn by all airline employees as well.
Upon arrival at the San Jose Airport, social distancing was in place and handled very seriously. Going through passport control, there were large decals placed on the floor for distancing while waiting to be called forward. The decals were also at the baggage claim area while waiting for luggage. One baggage handler took each piece of luggage from the carousel and lined it up. Easy!
Exiting the airport, once getting through all the taxi drivers offering rides, our Classic Vacations driver was waiting with signage welcoming us, with hand sanitizer and cold water in hand. The driver wore a mask and gloves, and besides the vehicle being spotless, it had a plexiglass shield between the driver and rear seat.
In Los Cabos, a “clean point” quality certification from the Mexican government was given before a hotel could open, assuring a clean, hygienic property. Upon arrival at all hotels, whether for check-in or a site inspection, our temperature was taken. Masks were worn by all hotel employees, and we were told about the cutback of some of the services, like restaurants and spa facilities, due to the limited occupancy and health and safety precautions. Every hotel I visited had a very strict protocol in place, and each differed slightly from the other. However, each hotel was limited to a maximum 35 percent occupancy rate, and believe it or not, each resort visited had nearly reached its maximum. Those traveling were mostly Californians, Texans, and Mexico nationals. I was amazed at how many were traveling and enjoying Los Cabos!
At Las Ventanas al Paraiso, for instance, after I checked out, no one would be checked into my room for 72 hours. It is sterilized from top to bottom and sealed with a ribbon across the door until the next guest. Other resorts may be 24 or 48 hours until the next guest is set up in the same room after sterilization.
In the restaurants, tables were not set until the guest arrived at the table, and menus are all downloaded onto your mobile device. No more paper menus! In fact, even the spa menus and room information, which are normally in a binder, are all downloaded to your mobile device.
Tables in restaurants are spread out, just like here in America, for social distancing. Spas had a limited menu. Some resorts mandated that both the guest and masseuse wear a mask. For others, it was a choice whether or not the guest wore a mask. Some resorts are choosing to shut down their hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas, while others have not. Personally, I used the spa at Las Ventanas, and while the locker rooms and wet rooms were shut, I did have a fabulous massage.
All employees at all hotels have their temperature taken upon arriving at work and are asked health questions. And at some hotels, employees are required to wash their hands every 20 minutes.
Upon entering most hotels, there was a mat to be stepped on that had disinfectant. At check-in, there is a shield between the guest and the front desk personnel. Pens are sanitized between use after registration. Room amenities always included a kit with face masks, hand sanitizer, and even gloves, if you preferred to wear them at some resorts. And turn-down service or daily housekeeping is optional, depending on your preference. All magazines have been removed from rooms as well, since they are too difficult to keep sanitized.
Although each resort had slightly different protocols in place, all of them had my safety in mind. I was very impressed! In all, I felt very safe. (Except in a couple of instances when some people congregated in pools or bars, but I easily avoided these areas.) The beach was always a good option with lounge chairs and umbrellas spread out.
At every hotel I visited, the hotel staff went above and beyond to be helpful and friendly. Not because I was a travel advisor. But truly because they were thankful I was there to support them. And it brought me so much pleasure to offer gratuities for the fabulous service I received! After all, the hospitality and travel industry has been one of the most severely affected during this pandemic worldwide. (Yes, that includes travel advisors.)
I returned home from Los Cabos, and my two-week quarantine is coming to an end. I feel completely fine! I hope to plan another international trip as soon as borders open.
If you have any questions about a particular resort, please feel free to reach out to me via email or by phone at (310) 545-3085.
As you know, the health crisis that we are in is incredibly serious, and the thought of traveling may, of course, feel more uncomfortable than it has in the past. And it’s okay to feel that discomfort. It’s more than okay to feel that discomfort. Whenever you are ready to travel again, I am here for you. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, and stay connected with TravelStore and me!