I have important issues for you to mull: Why I think places like Cancun are bad. Why tourism on a mass scale can do more than just permanently alter the local economy. Reading this may help: Shifting sands plague Cancun’s restored beach
“Cancun’s beach erosion problems date to the 1970s, when state planners selected an uninhabited spit of flawless beach on Yucatan’s coast for an upscale tourism development. In those days, Cancun’s beach, on a barrier island, stretched nearly 200 feet wide.
Four natural canals connected the ocean to the lagoon on its inland side and acted as a kind of emergency valve during extreme storms, providing an outlet for monster waves.
The channels were filled in as the barrier island was developed, and erosion has accelerated ever since.”
Let’s get narrative for a bit:
After leaving Mexico City, Joy flew into Cancun International Airport, and was alarmed to see so many Americans mulling about the baggage claim area, waiting to get their golf bags. “Dude, there’s some guy selling beer right by the taxi stand,” one man said, his ballcap turned backward on his head. His equally annoying friend replied, “Let’s go!”
Ugh, Joy thought, I can’t wait to get out of here and on the road to Tulum, where a less American beach awaited, where there are no golf courses, virtually no swimming pools, and no buildings higher than two stories. Just lots of little hut-style cabanas. (She also noted the hypocrisy of how she herself was American, traveling to a beach, ignorant of Spanish/Mayan language, and desperately wanting a beer, too. But she considered it a good sign that she simply knew many of the locals can speak Mayan, and that such a language exists.)
On the drive to Tulum, she passed dozens of flashy all-inclusive mega-resorts, with gargantuan, Vegas-like guarded entrances, with water fountains, overwrought landscaping and loads of tired, poor workers sitting on the curb waiting to catch the bus home. She worried these resorts would one day very soon encroach upon Tulum. Thankfully, she discovered, Tulum is still Tulum. And right next door is a lovely protected area.
But, when she got back to New York, her friend had wrote that story on beach erosion and it made her think some more. Was Tulum really all that more eco-friendly than Cancun?