Yucatan still in state of recovery

With the U.S. spring break weeks away, the question of whether to vacation in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after Hurricane Wilma is on the minds of many travellers.In an effort to provide potential tourists with clear expectations about a Yucatan holiday, Travelocity sent delegates to the region and polled customers who visited in the last three months.

The survey shows 90 percent of the Travelocity customers who traveled to the Yucatan over the last three months said that they would recommend travel to the region.

Travelocity representatives agreed but also provided more detail on the recovery.

A traveler should be prepared to see an area that is still recovering on numerous levels - the most obvious is the cosmetic.

Overwhelmingly, the team felt it possible to travel to Cancun, Cozumel, and the Mayan Riviera for a full and restful vacation, and that current tourism levels offered a break from the larger crowds one might typically experience.

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Each location, however, is recovering to different extents, and construction to bring hotels, restaurants, and shops back to normal is widely evident, notes Travelocity’s Mexico editor, Jennifer Catto.

Furthermore, people are working hard to lure back tourists, and the Travelocity team noted that everyone from shop-owners to fruit vendors in the markets was extremely hospitable, hoping others will enjoy all the area has to offer, once again.

“It’s as safe to travel to the Yucatan right now as it was before the hurricane, but be prepared to encounter re-building efforts - it’s a work in progress to varying degrees, and the Mayan Riviera is probably your best bet for peace and quiet,” Catto said.

“Many hotels in the region are using rebuilding funds to make upgrades and enhancements while under construction so booking now for the months ahead may mean snagging a great deal on what could be an upgraded hotel by the time you arrive.”

Status of Yucatan Recovery:

Travelocity on-the-ground teams found that most hotels are open, beaches are in the process of being restored, and many attractions and activities are operating. Specific details include:

Mayan Riviera:

Despite its close association with Cancun, it is hard to tell that Wilma made her way to the Mayan Riviera.

This stretch of coast has rebounded quickly - most destinations are open and fully operational.

Because the island of Cozumel served as a barrier, this coastline was spared for the most part, and beaches were not as eroded as in Cancun.

Most restaurants, shops, tourist sites, and nightclubs have reopened for business, and all hotels are aiming to be completely back to normal soon.

The Travelocity team reports that the Mayan Riviera feels more peaceful than Cancun because resorts are more spread out and feature more spacious grounds, making construction less obvious.

Cancun:

The city was exposed to perhaps the harshest effects of Hurricane Wilma. Almost all hotels in the area were impacted by the storm.

The Travelocity team notes that while travelers can relax on the beach construction abounds and most hotels are making improvements daily.

Hard hats aside, there are enough hotels and activities open to have a full vacation, and the atmosphere is very up-beat.

There was beach erosion at some of the resorts in Cancun, meaning that some of the wider beaches now are smaller, though still inviting, while other properties gained beach.

Cozumel:

While construction is evident throughout Cozumel, the good news is that some beaches on the island actually gained sand as a result of the hurricane, making them wider and even more inviting.

Beaches that did suffer erosion are being replenished by a government-sponsored program, which restores shores to their pre-hurricane beauty. Some coral reef dives are off-limits, as their natural recovery is in process, yet other dive spots have revealed hidden caves that will appeal to adventure seekers.

Last November, cruise ships returned to Cozumel, docking offshore and ferrying in passengers, as the docks required extensive renovation and are scheduled to be rebuilt by summer. By May, Cozumel hotels and beaches are expected to be 100% fully recovered.
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