A country known for its beautiful culture, long history, and festivities, located in the southern part of North America, with many beautiful places to visit and beautiful sights to behold. Mexico has many beaches, including Playa Escondida, which translates to “Hidden Beach,” and Playa del Amor, which translates to “Lovers’ Beach.”
Playa Escondida, a sea of crystal clear blue ocean water, is located in Mexico’s Marieta Islands, a few kilometers away from Punta Mita, which is located on Mexico’s west coast, and it is quite a sight to behold but very difficult to access as it is only accessible by swimming through an underwater tunnel. This peculiarity makes the Beach more appealing to tourists. It is always a source of pride to have successfully swum through the tunnel to reach the beach.
The Mexican military is said to have used Marieta Island as a target practice training site in the early 1900s. Several bombing exercises were carried out on the island, which was never inhabited by humans, only wildlife. The bombing activities also gave birth to the hidden beach because they created a large circular crater, and the beach was discovered within the created crater over time.
The discovery of the beach resulted in a surge of tourists to the area. As the number of visitors to the site increased, so did the amount of pollution caused by human activities. These activities polluted the natural species that live on the beach and jeopardized the tranquility of the Marieta Island environment.
By the late 1960s, several efforts had been made to return the island to its natural state and to prevent further harm to the island and its natural species, including the hidden beach. Jacques Cousteau, a scientist and marine conservative, was one of the experts who advocated for the island’s preservation and protection in its natural state.
The island became a National Park, Parque Nacional Islas Marietas, in 2005, and a UNESCO MAB (Man and Biosphere) Reserve in 2008. This status also ensures that the scientific relationship between people and the environment on the island is strengthened.
Human activities on the beach continued to grow, and by May 2016, the beach was seeing as many as 2, 500 visitors per day. This also means that the protective measures put in place were violated by some as a result of bad tourism, which resulted in the beach being temporarily closed by the officials in charge.
To reopen the beach, stricter rules were imposed, which included the following:
– Visitors are not permitted to swim with fins.
– Only oxybenzone and octinoxate-free screens are permitted.
– Scuba diving is not permitted.
– Only about 117 people are permitted on the beach per day, as opposed to 2,500 previously.
– On certain days of the week, the beach is allowed to be free of human activity.
– Only five operators are assigned to transport visitors to the island; this act is intended to reduce the number of visitors to the island even further.
– Interested travelers are expected to book their trip to the Island well in advance.
– Everyone, including experienced swimmers, is required to wear a life jacket and helmet while swimming through the tunnel to the beach.
With all of the above rules in place, the Beach reopened to visitors on August 31, 2016, and remains open to this day, though there has been further improvement in the relationship between humans and the Island environment, which is improving over time.
Author : Amiakhor Beatrice Ejaeta
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