Hurricane Patricia made headlines around the world on Thursday, October 22nd as the “most powerful hurricane in the Western Hemisphere” with sustained winds of over 200 mph. The hurricane, which especially surprised everyone with its rapid intensification from Category 1 to Category 5 in less than 24 hours, was projected to make landfall along Mexico’s Pacific Coast on Friday evening. Hurricane warnings were issued for the coast of Colima, Jalisco, and Nayarit.
Hurricane Patricia thankfully avoided the highly populated areas of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo and passed between the two cities through a sparsely populated area – making landfall between Costa Careyes and Barra de Navidad around 6-7pm. Upon making landfall, the Category 5 hurricane quickly dissipated into a tropical storm with the Sierra Madre Mountain range helping break up the winds. Despite Patricia’s rapid demise from a Category 5 Hurricane to a tropical storm, The storm still impacted the communities along Jalisco’s remote and beautiful coastline with strong winds, torrential rains, and flooding causing significant damage. 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.
For travelers planning to the Puerto Vallarta – Riviera Nayarit (Punta Mita) area, activity has resumed to normal and the area was not damaged at all. For those with visits planned to the south including Costalegre and Costa Careyes, down through the Barra de Navidad area, please check in with your hotel, tour operator, or other travel service providers for real time conditions; while there has been some damage to the region, hotels, private homes, and other services are being rapidly restored and most damage was superficial and not structural. At Journey Mexico, we’ve been working hard to compile status updates from our friends and hotel partners and have the following updates:
Cuixmala – Cuixmala was in the eye of Hurricane Patricia; fortunately, the team is safe. While there was no structural damage to the property, the Estate did suffer material and natural damages, including fallen trees, unraveled palapas and broken windows. They are currently assessing complete damage while simultaneously initiating cleanup and repair. The Cuixmala Estate is currently closed and as a preliminary forecast, is expected to reopen on December 15th. A formal status update will follow. Gaia Marcaccini & The Cuixmala Team have set up a relief fund and are accepting donations to help the surrounding communities which have been left without food and shelter; if you wish to donate, visit Hurricane Patricia Relief Fund
Las Alamandas – Las Alamandas was thankfully largely saved from significant damage as the winds decreased in intensity quickly moving away from its center. The hotel is currently 95% operational. They report that the Federal Highway 200 between Puerto Vallarta and Las Alamandas was slightly affected with fallen trees, which are being cleared since yesterday and that electricity was initially tenuous, but this too has been restored.
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For more information:
NY Times, Lessons of Past Disasters Helped Mexico Sidestep the Brunt of a Hurricane
Vox, Hurricane Patricia: Why a record storm did surprisingly little damage
AP, Pacific Coast Area Hardest Hit by Patricia Begins to Dig Out
MSNBC, Hurricane Patricia: The Aftermath
Travel Pulse, Don’t Call the Patricia “All Clear” Yet
Travel Agent Central, Checking In On Cuixmala Post Hurricane