Last updated: 02:03 PM ET, Wed October 28 2015

Opinion Home | Magic of Mexico

  • Greg Custer | October 28, 2015 2:03 PM ET

    Don’t Call the Patricia 'All-Clear' Yet

    Don’t Call the Patricia 'All-Clear' Yet

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    Hurricanes come and go. They are a fairly routine meteorological happening in our world of selling travel. When Patricia, the strongest hurricane in recorded history, made landfall in Mexico over the weekend, we all took notice of the network news reports and posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

    Fortunately for thousands of visitors and hundreds of thousands of Banderas Bay residents, Patricia folded like a tent, becoming quite quickly a weakened tropical storm.

    As media, we are often quick to shout the “all clear” message after a storm’s passing, and indeed, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit emerged relatively unscathed. Friends in Puerto Vallarta reported almost no significant wind and only light rainfall. We can all get on with our travel careers, selling one of the world’s truly special bays.

    But there’s more to the story of Patricia.

    This Category 5 hurricane did in fact greatly impact the Mexican coast, albeit in a sparsely populated area that is not on most visitors’ “must see” list. If you are familiar with Mexico, you’ll know this region as the CostAlegre and Barra de Navidad.

    The area has a very unique mix of supreme luxury (Las Alamandas, Cuixmala, Costa Careyes), and funky beach towns (Chamela, Barra, Melaque), as written about in this very blog. While hurricane recovery in Mexico is almost always swift, it’s important to remember the thousands of Mexicans who have now lost homes, jobs and futures.

    Our friends at Journey Mexico tell us “Mexican authorities have so far reported at least 3,000 damaged homes, 8,650 acres of farmland with unusable crops and more than 250,000 people without power. For residents in the affected areas, they are expecting a long journey back to the basics and years to rebuild their homes.”

    A “long journey back” indeed. Zach Rabinor, owner of Journey Mexico, partners in selling the area’s tourism assets. For him, the “all clear” was premature. He’s calling on all of us to help out. If your business has built clients and careers thanks to Mexico’s tourism wealth, this would be a good time to lend a hand.

    You can help by contributing to such local relief funds as the International Community Foundation and the Hurricane Patricia Relief Fund, Cuixmala.


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Greg Custer Magic of Mexico

Greg Custer Greg Custer is a California native with more than 35 years working in various international travel industry capacities. He spent 14 years in aviation (TWA, Mexicana, Aerocalifornia). With a love for studying all things Latin America, (BA/MA UCLA, Latin American Studies) he is a leading authority on travel agent educational programs for Latin American tourism boards. Greg is fluent in written and spoken Spanish and has conducted hundreds of training workshops for travel agents. He is an accomplished travel photographer and author (with wife Jane) of the “Magic of Mexico” travel agent study guide. He resides in Ajijic (Jalisco) Mexico, enjoying one foot in the modern world and the other in Mexican pueblo life.
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