Photo via Facebook/CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa
Hurricane Patricia, the monstrous Category 5 storm that loomed over Mexico's Pacific coast paradise of Vallarta Nayarit, is gone - and tourists are being welcomed back with open arms.
The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board released a statement Saturday, stating, "Puerto Vallarta is fully operational with 100 percent of its hotel and restaurant facilities open, as well as its International Airport (PVR), marina, cruise port and Convention Center. All domestic and international airlines as well as buses, taxis and other ground transport companies have resumed their normal service schedule."
Tourists evacuated to shelters and hotels outside Puerto Vallarta have all returned and are "enjoying a day of clear skies and sunshine," the statement said.
Cruise ship schedules have stayed the same, the tourism board said. Disney Wonder, with 2,400 aboard, will show up Monday and both Norwegian Jewel and the Ruby Princess will arrive Wednesday.
Yahoo Travel reported that in addition to Puerto Vallarta's airport reopening, airports in Manzanillo, Tepic, and Colima are up and running.
Vallarta Nayarit hotels and resorts are taking to Facebook en masse to announce their reopening:
The Westin Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta posted a video showing perfect weather poolside. Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta simply put up two photos of their lobby's beach view, revealing a pristine seaside scene with no damage, as did Now Amber Puerto Vallarta.
Grand Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Adults Only announced that it "is fully operational and ready to welcome guests after the (passing) of Hurricane Patricia. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor official communications in order to safeguard our guests, (especially) in the areas affected by tropical storm Patricia."
An identical announcement was made by The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, and they added that there was no damage.
A statement from Marriott International was posted on CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa's Facebook page, stating in part, "We are grateful the storm had no impact on the resort. The hotel is open and our dedicated associates are welcoming guests. In advance of the hurricane we proactively closed and evacuated the resort and assisted guests with travel plans and relocation to Guadalajara. The safety and security of our guests and associates is always a top priority. As is the Marriott culture, we continue to work closely with our associates to gauge if they may need assistance as a result of the storm."
Hilton Puerto Vallarta posted video interviews with guests about their storm experiences. One vacationer, identified as member guest "Bob" stated, "It was easily the most frightening (experience) of my life, but at the same time I have to compliment the people here at the hotel and just the Mexican people in general…I can't express my appreciation enough to them. Thank God we're all safe."
UPDATE: 4:45 PM ET 10/25/15
Stephanie Turner, CTC, president and CEO of Brentwood Travel in St. Louis reported no cancellations for future Mexico travel and no inquiries from clients.
One of her agents had one couple in Puerto Vallarta but they flew home before the storm hit.
"Mexico is huge for us," she said, though most of her business in the country is on the East Coast.
For clients, she calls this time of year for Mexico the "rainy season," not hurricane season.
"The odds that they will be hit by a hurricane - or have a problem - are minuscule," Turner said. The fall for Mexico is the slow season and clients can save about 50 percent off the winter season, she added.
All in all, she called hurricane Patricia a non-event.
UPDATE: 7:45 PM ET 10/25/15
The first Hurricane Patricia-related deaths have been reported by Spanish news service EFE.
An official from Jalisco's Attorney General Office told EFE an Argentine woman and a female from the northern Mexican state of Coahuila were crushed by a tree blown over by the storm's winds Friday. The deceased were part of a group camping in Tapalpa forest, located about 124 miles from the coast when Patricia hit.
According to EFE, a friend of the dead told Televisa that the campers were not aware of the storm and many were in tents when it struck.
A third member of the group has been hospitalized with a back injury.
EFE said there were media reports that two others, including an off-duty soldier, were killed in motor vehicle accidents caused by hurricane conditions in Tapalpa and Ciudad Guzman, but these deaths were not confirmed by state officials.
Yahoo pointed out the efficient efforts at getting people out of harm's way, placing the number of evacuees in the region at 50,000, all moved in a span of 24 hours.
Gustavo Rivas-Solis, spokesman for Puerto Vallarta Tourism, said to Yahoo Travel, "We were lucky, but we were prepared. We had practiced evacuation drills before and moved 4,000 tourists to shelter in one day."
Patricia still had an impact on some touristed areas of Mexico, as well as Texas, dumping 12-20 inches of rain and causing widespread damage.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory Saturday, warning U.S. citizens about "the continued threat of landslides," and advised them to "verify travel plans prior to travel, as some hotels remain closed and some flights may have been canceled."
Yahoo also pointed out the possibility of power outages, drinking water tainted from flooding and damaged or blocked roads and advised contacting the hotel, vacation rental or residence before the trip.
Mashable put together a list of agencies that are accepting donations for Mexico and Texas hurricane relief, these include the Mexican Red Cross, International Medical Corps, Save the Children, UNICEF, Oxfam and the Salvation Army.
travAlliancemedia Executive Editor Robin Amster contributed to this report.
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