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One of the most powerful Category 5 storms ever to strike Mexico’s Pacific coast, Hurricane Otis was packing winds of 165 miles an hour when it made landfall in Acapulco Wednesday, destroying buildings, taking down power poles and claiming dozens of lives.
Otis is one of several hurricanes to hit Mexico in the past month, including Category 4 Hurricane Lidia and Category 1 Hurricane Norma, which hit near Los Cabos just a week ago.
Mexico is the most popular international destination for Americans. But with hurricane season continuing through November, a trip south of the border may pose a high risk for travelers.
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What if You Have a Trip to Mexico Planned?
If you’re headed to Acapulco in the near future, authorities are advising you to cancel or change your flight. Most airlines will allow you to do so without penalty in emergency situations like this. Acapulco’s airport was damaged by the storm and, in the aftermath, is accommodating only a limited number of flights.
In addition, about 80% of Acapulco’s hotels were affected by the hurricane, Guerrero state governor Evelyn Salgado told reporters. As often happens after hurricanes, there’s a high risk of flooding, power outages, mudslides and closed roads for travelers.
If you have flight insurance, call your provider to see what sort of additional refunds or reimbursements you’re entitled to.
The U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico also advises travelers to watch the National Hurricane Center and the Mexican National Meteorological Service for storm and recovery updates.
This comes at a time when many travelers are booking holiday break vacations. Mexico has been the most popular international destination for Americans over the past four years, surpassing trips to Europe and the Caribbean. More than 33.5 million American travelers visited Mexico in 2022, according to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office.
Tips For Travelers to Mexico During Storm Season
Otis wreaked havoc along Mexico’s Pacific coast, but popular tourist areas along the Gulf of Mexico, including Yucatan Peninsula favorites Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, have not been affected by this storm.
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If you have travel plans to Mexico soon, keep an eye on your flight. Many travelers to Acapulco are being redirected to other airports, which could create widespread delays. Consider purchasing travel insurance on an upcoming flight, especially one to a hurricane-prone vacation area like Mexico. The sooner you get travel insurance, the better, because it will be too late for you to get coverage once an incoming storm is named or expected.
When traveling internationally, you may also want to consider a more comprehensive travel insurance policy that covers cancellations, interruptions and delays. If you decide to go ahead with the trip, make sure you check the country’s entry requirements—like entry forms and vaccination policies—ahead of time.
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