Beach-goers in Cancún: not many are residents. Beachgoers in Cancún: not many are residents.

‘It’s shocking:’ locals rarely go to the beach

Many Cancún residents spend little time at the seaside

White sand and azure waters draw millions of tourists each year to Cancún but over half of the city’s residents only visit the beach once or twice a year, says an urban research organization.


A study conducted by Observatorio Urbano into the use of free time found that 30.4% of Cancún residents only go to the beach once a year while 29.4% go just once every six months.

Just 4.8% of residents go on a weekly basis.

The study also found that people aged 15-22 are the most frequent visitors followed by those in the 31 to 38-year-old bracket with members of the middle class most likely to visit, followed by the lower class.

Members of the lower middle class are the least likely to make it to the seaside.

“It’s relevant information,” says Observatorio Urbano researcher Celina Izquierdo.

“It’s a shocking fact that in Cancún we only go to the beach once a year. There will be people who consider it normal or insignificant because it’s right there, but that’s not the case. The first thing we have to ask ourselves is are our beaches really within reach of everyone?”


Izquierdo cites accessibility as the main reason locals don’t go to the beach.

Despite efforts to improve it, public transport is still inadequate with many families having to take two or more buses to get there. The journey is made even more difficult when transporting coolers, deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

If they do make it there, locals are often harassed by hotel security, which Izquierdo describes as “a nightmare.”

When she carried out an activity asking boys and girls to draw their surroundings and indicate how they wished they were, they didn’t think to include the sea.

“Nobody drew the sea,” Izquierdo said. “Although it seems surprising, a lot of girls and boys in Cancún don’t know the sea and it doesn’t form part of their imagination.”

Gaudencio Arias, originally from the State of México but a Cancún resident for 20 years, offers another reason.

“I think the main reason . . . is that we devote ourselves to work, work, work,” he says. “If you don’t work, there’s no way to pay your bills.”

Arias, who ironically works at a beachside hotel at Playa Delfines, is one of those who only visit the beach twice a year. While he enjoys showing off the natural wonders to family or friends when they visit from other states he finds it hard to find time in his work schedule to enjoy the beach with his wife and children.

“I love the beach and my children even more,” he says.

“They’d like to be here every week but there’s no way. On Sundays when they are at home, I work so how can I do it? Sometimes I have to change my schedule or ask for leave or a family member visits and we’re obliged to take them. That’s when we make the most of it.”

Figures from the Visitor and Convention Office show that 4 million tourists visited Cancún in 2016, 80% of them to enjoy the city’s beaches. During Easter Week alone, 300,000 domestic and international tourists visited the city, contributing an estimated $400 million to the local economy.

Source:  El Universal (sp)

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  • Mike S

    I’ve spent time in the South Pacific (Tonga, Samoa, Fiji). To them, the idea of laying out in the sun to cook like a lobster all greased up with sun screen trying to get “brown” seems absurd. Of course people from Canada and northern US i.e. “sun birds” try to take in as much sun as possible on their limited 1 week vacations and need a “tan” to show their friends back home they have been someplace warm and beautiful. To much direct sun for long periods causes lots of skin problems later in life. Inland Mexicans and their kids love to play at the beach, but I understand why locals avoid it.

  • WestCoastHwy

    Unlike most so called free democratic Countries, Mexico is at the bottom when it comes to this practice. Mexico is the most restrictive of then all; no representation, no working wage, no free speech……etc.

    What is the most frightening thing about all of this, is if these Mexicans get wise too how much restriction they all are under, imagine what will happen when most realize and Mexico becomes the next Venezuelan.

    What happened to the open market as of the 1st of April 2017?

  • James Madsen

    Strange. In La Paz, BCS (pop. 250,000) the beaches are the focal point of the local community. People play football and volleyball every day in downtown. Holidays fill the beaches with families, elbow to elbow. It is wonderful to see.

    • Gerry Wright

      Obviously. As they are through out the Southern Hemisphere, Cancun is not “local” friendly but neither are the beaches in Jamaica.

  • Gerry Wright

    Have to laugh because the beaches near Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia are very popular with Mexican and El Salvadoran families. I think this might have everything to do with reserving the beaches in Cancun for Tourists from other Countries. Please try harder on the next article.

    • Bonnie McCarthy

      Beaches near DC and Northern VA? Those beaches suck and I can’t imagine anyone from Mexico, especially those from Cancun going near those beaches. Cloudy, cold water, jellyfish from hell is not what I call a beach.

  • Patrick Johnston

    My wife and I have spent the last 10 winters, Nov. tell Apr. on the West coast of Mexico in a couple of small towns. Last winter we joined our daughter and son in law plus their two young boys, eight and eleven in Akamal. for ten days. What a disappointment. The big money has ever inch of beach sewed up. The boys had to go through a restaurant with us to get to the beach and swim etc. The locals barricaded the road into the living area for three days upset with their lack of access to the beach, Don’t blame them one bit, they are being screwed. Anyway since the boys had visited us on the west coast they know that they do not want to go back to the east coast. They loved spending hours on the west coast. swimming surfing, fishing etc. The locals were wonderful to them.showing how to fish with a hand line etc, etc.
    We will not go back to the east coast either. It is a whole different land.

  • George Ralph