Yesterday, beachgoers in Playa del Carmen complained that The Fives Hotel illegally installed barriers and placed ornamental plants blocking access to the beach.
Hotels in Mexico do not own beach property, but rather are granted a concession by the Méxican government. Outright ownership of coastline is prohibited by the Mexican constitution and several state laws.
Companies or individuals who cordon off access to Mexico’s beaches are liable for fines of over 1 million MXP.
This is not the first time the same hotel has been called out for similar practices. In 2018 the resort put up “no trespassing” signs, informing the public that access to the beach through hotel property was prohibited to non-guests. Despite the cut and dry nature of the law, complaints and conflicts surrounding beach access are extremely common in Quintana Roo.
Many groups have complained that private resorts and parks such as Xcaret and Xel-Ha block access to some of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches, granting access only to tourists paying upwards of 100 USD per person.
“Attractions such as Xcaret have built their brand around Maya identity, it is ironic that Maya people are only welcome if they fork over what is for them well over a week’s worth of wages,” says Julia Fraga, from Merida’s CINVESTAV research institute.