Authorities in Cancún mounted a task force to remove obstacles that mark off so-called private beaches.
Mexico’s constitution does not allow for private beaches. The coastline is considered to be a common good shared by all citizens.
The task force began work at 6 a.m. Tuesday and included police officers and members of Mexico’s national guard and marine forces.
Large barriers at a beach club located behind Plaza Forum were among the first to be dismantled.
A beach club called Club Mandala was also targeted. Local authorities had received several complaints that the club had been cordoning off sections of the beach and claiming that it was private.
Other businesses such as massage huts and vending stalls were also quickly removed. Authorities say that this was done because they occupied spaces legally concessioned by others and also made inappropriate use of public spaces.
Last year, Mexican legislators passed a law to reiterate that no private person or company could take possession of any section of the country’s coastline.
“Access to beaches, coastlines and the terrestrial territories which are immediately contiguous to them must not be restricted, obstructed or conditioned in any way,” says Mexico’s common goods legislation approved by the Senate in 2020.
Companies or individuals who break the law are liable for fines of up to 1.5 million pesos.
Despite the clear mandate, it is not uncommon for hotels, resorts, theme parks, and other types of businesses to operate defacto private beaches.
For example, parks such as Xcaret or Xelha could be said to operate private beaches, as they charge a sizable admission fee, and it is virtually impossible to access the coastline adjacent to their property by any means.
Hotels and resorts should — but rarely — ensure that pathways to the coastline remain open free of charge.