Limousine operators in Mexico range from small local operators, to mid-size tourist shuttle companies, to large-scale modern limousine fleets with armored vehicles.
Cabo San Lucas and Cancun attract many international visitors, while cities such as Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City are seeing an increase in international corporate travel. In each case, the operators report a boost in service quality that correlates with rising demand.
Stevie Bee, owner of Cabo Limousine in the tourist town of Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of Baja California, says demand for limos is lower than he’d like, with weddings and airport transfers as the primary work. But as supplemental income to his charter yacht business, which generates most of his revenue, the limos are profitable. He also uses them as perks for his yacht bookings — “a door-to-dock ride in a limo,” Bee says.
Cabo Limousine runs two stretch Hummer limousines, one red and one black, and SUVs. Their signature look, good quality, and value price makes them a popular choice for visitors looking for an upscale ride. Bee says his customer service sets his company apart and brings him business. He networks with local hotel resort concierges.
Stevie Bee (R), owner of Cabo Limousine
with friend Ildikó Csereklye in front of the company’s signature red stretch Hummer limo.
Tourism Fights Through The Storm
The Cabo Agency, a transportation provider in Cabo San Lucas that caters to the tourism industry, packages much of its transportation bookings into pre-ordered travel plans. Having invested in SEO, The Cabo Agency’s chauffeured transportation branch, “Cabo Limo Service,” ranks high on Google search. Many of its orders are booked and paid for online.
The company has been a specialist in the city for 23 years, “back before it was the hotspot it is now,” says Rory Rogers, head of transportation at The Cabo Agency. Cabo Limo has 10 vehicles, a mix of SUVs and passenger shuttle vans.
“We branched out into transportation and limousines because the number one thing all tourists need coming into Cabo is transportation,” Rogers says. “The airport is 45 minutes from Cabo San Lucas. They can get a cab, pick a random shuttle, or use a service like ours, where a driver is waiting for them when they get off the plane.” The transportation bookings include rounds of golf, fishing excursions, zip lining expeditions, and horse trail riding, Rogers says.
Bee receives many calls for limo airport pickups, and explains the buyer’s logic. “It’s expensive here to get a sedan or SUV from the airport. It can cost about $100. You can get a limo for $250 bucks, and it’s luxurious and has more space, so a lot people go for it.”
Visitation to Los Cabos, as measured by the number of tourist arrivals to the destination, has recovered strong following the economic downturn that began in 2008 and the H1N1 alert issued in 2009, according to the Global Hotel Network. In 2011, total tourist arrivals increased from 803,669 to 900,921, or 12.1%, compared to 2010. 2013 was projected to have a 13% increase in tourism compared to 2012.
Rogers reports tourism activity increasing during the last few years, even amid the hurricane that struck in September. Nearly 30,000 tourists were evacuated out of the city in three days. The storm was the strongest in the history of Cabo and caused much damage, especially to local communities. Rogers had the fleet locked up and the vehicles came out unscathed. The company is helping aid in local rebuilding efforts, and Rogers says cruise ships and airports began bringing tourists back by early October.
Reliable Corporate Cars
Godandi & Sons
is a premier limo service provider stationed in Mexico City. It can supply bookings for armored SUVs like these pictured at Teotihuacan, The City of The gods.
Mexico City-based Godandi & Sons, with 73 fleet vehicles and affiliates nationwide, aims to become the largest in Mexico with its growing corporate clientele. Specializing in upscale corporate transportation, owner Salvador Garcia has sons Yoalli, Nikan, and Franz, working alongside to bring the company to a new generation. The company dates back to 1952 when grandfather Garcia first started a cab and taxi business. In 2000, Salvador Garcia saw luxury transportation as the future and invested in Town Cars.
“One of the things I believe characterizes our company is we look to be on the front line,” Yoalli says. “We definitely watch and learn from U.S. companies and I think we’ll soon be recognized as the number one limo operation in Mexico: by the size of our fleet, quality of our service, and level of our standards.”
Godandi & Sons has contracts with large companies that do business in Mexico, especially in the oil industry. Yoalli says the extra security precautions his company takes — such as offering armored cars and trained security chauffeurs — has made Godandi & Sons a preferred provider by many North American vendors. But he says Mexico still suffers much from its violent stigma.
The Cabo Agency
in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, runs a fleet of 10 SUVs and shuttle vans. It caters to the tourism industry, servicing airport transfers, destination weddings and recreational outings.
“This is a very important topic,” Yoalli says. “Most people, especially in North America, have a perception that Mexico is so violent they shouldn’t send their employees. But it’s not that way. Visitors come here and are surprised by how safe it is compared to other countries.” Yoalli reports no violent incidents in Godandi’s history, but chauffeurs are trained in evasive maneuvers and tactical escape plans in case of an emergency.
The company also has witnessed the rise of Uber in Mexico City. “It is getting more popular here,” Yoalli says of the TNC. “It’s not used for corporate service, but it is taking a piece of our pie.” He says Uber violates traffic and transportation laws. “They are illegal taxies; no licenses. no insurance.”
To combat this, Godandi practices duty of care, which involves records of insurance, chauffeur background testing and vehicle information. For tourist and corporate travelers alike, the need for reliable, safe, and accountable ground transportation in Mexico has only gone up since the increase in violence reporting. Yoalli believes that by improving the quality of service, he helps change the perception of the country’s security among foreign businesses.
Location: Los Cabos, Mexico
Owner: Stevie Bee
Main service region: Los Cabos
Vehicle types: Limousines, SUVs, vans
Fleet Size: 11
Contact: (619) 780-9403
The Cabo Agency
Location: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Owner: Jason Hollander
Transportation director: Enrique Mora
Main service region: Los Cabos, La Paz
Vehicle types: SUVs, vans
Fleet Size: 10
Contact: (866) GO-2-CABO
Godandi & Sons
Location: Mexico City, Mexico
Owner: Salvador Garcia
Sales manager: Yoalli Garcia
Main service region: All of Mexico
Vehicle types: SUVs, sedans, buses, shuttles, vans, armored vehicles
Fleet Size: 73
Contact: (800) 704-2942