Monday, June 24, 2024

En Breve Travel: Prefab hotels, Islas Marías discounts and new sea turtle sanctuaries

Guadalajara will open 15 hotels in the next two years

Guadalajara expects to expand capacity to 30,000 hotel rooms in the next two years with the opening of 15 hotels across the city. This would turn Guadalajara into the city with the largest number of hotel rooms after Mexico City.

According to Francisco Martínez Hermosillo, vice president of tourism promotion for the  Guadalajara Chamber of Commerce, the tourism industry in Guadalajara recovered faster post-pandemic than that of Monterrey or Mexico City.

Plaza de la Liberación in Guadalajara.
Plaza de la Liberación in Guadalajara. (Roman Lopez / Unsplash)

In 2020, the tourism industry reported hotel occupancy ranging between 18% and 20%, while in 2021, it reached a hotel occupancy rate of 46%. By late December 2022, the industry estimated that the city would close the year with a hotel occupancy rate of 59%. Data on the actual number hadn’t been reported at the time of publishing this story.

Martínez Hermosillo also reported that Guadalajara has developed many tourist attractions to entice visitors from all over the country. He said that the city’s geographical location — just a five-hour drive away from 13 cities — makes it an ideal destination for both business and pleasure.

Official map of Tulum’s tourist attractions is launched

Tulum’s tourist attractions are now included on an official map, announced local tourism chief Jorge Mario Molina.

The map, written both in English and Spanish, shows 30 landmarks across downtown Tulum starting with the Archaeological Zone. It shows main roads, names of streets and the way to get to the most representative places of Tulum so that visitors can get to know the “cultural, artisanal and commercial attractions” of the city, Molina said.

Tourists can request the map at the Municipal Tourist Information and Business Assistance Center (Citaem), scan the QR code and carry it in their phones.

Tulum’s new map of tourist attractions.

Molina added that this map marks a “before and after” for Tulum, since for the first time ever, the city will have a tool to optimize tourists’ experiences in one of the most visited cities in the world.

Low prices to travel to Islas Marías 

Islas Marías, the former penitentiary island in the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Nayarit, opened its doors to tourism on Dec. 21. Only 13 days  days after  opening, discounts of up to 50% are already being offered by travel agencies and the official webpage of the islands.

When the tourist destination first opened, transfer and lodging prices were criticized for their high price tag: they range from 5,500 pesos (US $287) to just over 8,000 pesos (US $417) and include a two night lodging, buffet in the only restaurant in town and the boat transfer.

The attractions include an agroecological farm, an artisan’s shop and a church dedicated to our Lady of Guadalupe. But  the main attraction is the notorious maximum-security prison, Laguna del Toro.

The whole complex is managed by the Islas Marías Integral Tourism Company under the direction of the Mexican Navy. The archipelago is not the only tourist infrastructure under the administration of the Armed Forces. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for the development of the Mayan Train in the Yucatán peninsula and the army oversees the Holiday Inn hotel at Mexico City’s Felipe Ángeles airport.

The entrance to Puerto Balleto, one of the main settlements in the archipelago.
The entrance to Puerto Balleto, one of the main settlements in the archipelago. (Víctor Ortíz / Semarnat)

Tulum prefab hotels make Condé Nast’s 2023 list of travel trends

Prefabricated hotels are predicted to become a travel trend during 2023, according to Condé Nast magazine. These hotels are based on modular design and prefabricated architecture. Parts of the buildings are created in a factory, packed with a minimum amount of space, and shipped to the destination where they are assembled directly on the ground — and a hotel in Tulum by Habitas revolutionized the concept, according to Condé Nast.

The firm’s first prefabricated hotel opened in Tulum in 2017. The Habitas hotel is described by Condé Nast as a “conscious and sustainable refuge” that, with minimalist simplicity, managed a “perfect balance between low-impact vacations and style.”

In addition to Tulum, the firm has hotels in Bacalar, Quintana Roo; San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and various international destinations including Saudi Arabia, Namibia and Morocco.

Habitas has also built their own factory in Mexico to accelerate the construction of more hotels in Mexico, planned for Los Cabos and Todos Santos. Hotels in Costa Rica and Bhutan are coming soon, according to the Habitas website.

Mexican beaches are recognized as sea ​​turtle nesting sanctuaries

The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) announced late in December  that several beaches in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Yucatán, are now recognized as Protected Natural Areas (ANP) under the category of “sanctuaries”.

Dozens of turtles crawl up a beach to lay their eggs, with several people walking between them in the distance.
Thousands of Atlantic ridley sea turtles lay their eggs at Playa Rancho Nuevo in Tamaulipas every year, one of the highest-density sea turtle nesting events in the world according to the government. (Conamp)

According to the Semarnat, the original environments in these sanctuaries have not been significantly altered by human activity. Thus, the recognition of the 17 ANPs, which cover an area of ​​more than 6,600 hectares, allow for those ecosystems to be preserved and restored.

Mexico’s role in sea turtle breeding  is relevant since six of the world’s seven identified species spawn on Mexico’s Pacific and Caribbean beaches. All those species are in danger of extinction, with two species considered critically endangered — the leatherback turtle and hawksbill turtle.

The new sanctuaries will only allow for research, recreation and environmental education activities that are compatible with the nature and characteristics of the area.

With reports from Players of Life, La Jornada Maya, Aristegui Noticias, El País and Condé Nast Traveler

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