love beach

‘Love Beach’ at Marietas Islands closing due to tourism damage

Mexican environmental authorities say they will temporarily close a popular beach off the Pacific state of Nayarit because of damage from too many tourists.

The National Commission of Protected Natural Areas said in a statement Thursday that during the two-week Easter vacation season more than 27,000 people visited tiny “Love Beach” in the Marietas Islands National Park.

The unusual beach is a small crescent of sand at the bottom of a hole in the island that has become an Internet sensation. It is accessible only by swimming in through a tunnel.

[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]Why is the Marietas Islands closing?[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

The commission says boats ferrying tourists to the island have damaged delicate coral with fuel and anchors. The beach will close May 9 so officials can work on restoration and develop a system for limiting visitors. There is no dates set to reopen the beach to tourists.

The announcement comes just days after the Riviera Nayarit tourism department distributed a press release announcing successful efforts to protect the area during the Easter holiday.

For years the government detonated explosives on the Marietas, far away from human contact, until a movement led by Jacques Cousteau encouraged the navy to cease their testing in order to protect the surrounding reefs and delicate breeding grounds of the migrating humpback whales.

[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]Mystery of the Marieta Islands[divider style=”solid” top=”20″ bottom=”20″]

“Tests measuring cosmogenic nuclides can determine exactly how the hidden beach was formed, but regardless of whether or not it began with erosion or a bomb, it’s nonetheless a perplexing geological oddity,” a researcher stated last year, who likens the rocky terrain to a cherry bon bon.

“Erosion always proceeds from the top down, so the interior of the island, before it was hollowed out, was likely made up of what we call ‘explosive’ rocks—fragments belched up by volcanic activity. These stones erode more quickly, while the island’s thick exterior shell is made of a substance that is less susceptible to decay.”

According to initial assessments in 2014, a few thousand years remain before erosion eats away at the delicate structure, turning the hidden beach into a crescent-moon cove.

“We are more concerned, however, of the impact that excessive visits might cause to the eco-system,” says Marc Murphy, the managing director of Riviera Nayarit’s convention and visitor’s bureau, who has witnessed a massive spike in tourism to the Marietas after a photo of the hidden Eden went viral approximately two years ago.

“Excessive tourism could lead to a more rapid destruction of this sanctuary.”

71 Responses
  1. We went over the Christmas holidays. It was appalling. We were in that beautiful with at least 150 people. Small groups constantly coming and going, only 15 min allowed for each group.. It was not even worth the swim in. There was NO trash in there though. You are not allowed to take anything in except a life jacket. So no trash. Maybe trash outside where all the boats are, but I still not see any trash there. I am glad they are closing this. When they reopen I hope they limit the number of people to about 20 at a time and maybe only 5 or 6 boats tat are licensed to take people in.

  2. Si. Seguro cerrarán mayo y junio (temporada baja)… xq para julio y agosto (o sea temporada vacacional)… volverán a abrir..!!! La casa no pierde..!!!! El daño ambiental les vale madre…!!!!!!!

  3. El daño a los corales ya es manifestado desde Australia, y de seguro se debe al cambio climático y contaminación, ya lo vemos desde chile hasta Pto. Vallarta. Quien se ha fijado en las mineras, hoteles,fumigantes,Monsanto, cruceros,pesqueras que utilizan venenos.???

  4. Excelente decisión, apoyo la moción, primero el ecosistema que estamos destruyendo y mucho menos a los dirigentes de tours y servicios. Ni hablar del Municipio y sus ratas que lo pueblan que con una embarrada de $$$ en sus asquerosas manos permiten que cualquier extranjero venga, construya lo quiera muchas veces en zona federal (pus a quien le importa) sangren al puerto, sus recursos y su gente y vayan con toneladas de dinero, habiendo perjudicado miles y miles de hectáreas su vida salvaje perdiéndose así lo que era en verdad Puerto Vallarta.

  5. I thought they had been closed visits to the beach after some Canadians that were camping out there accidentally set the island on fire. That was some time back and it was inevitable that it would be exploited again. So I guess this is good news if it’s enforced.

  6. ISLAS MARIETAS OVEREXLPOITED. Tourism is one of the worst predadors. Profepa ( Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection) detects a black market for permits. State Tourism – with it´s short term vision- disregards the islands carrying capacity.

    Desarrollo de infraestructura de turismo de alto impacto
    Presión por malas prácticas turísticas
    Contaminación (agua y suelo)
    Comment from PS:
    Vallarta Adventures is one of the biggest violators of the ‘protection and the respect of the environment’, whether it is visits to the Marietas or the introduction of people to the surfing spots around the bay. They arrive with an abundance of customers and take over with a total lack of respect for other users. The noise and congestion of their clients convert what could be an exhilarating experience of nature to another Disney like episode. We have seen Punta de Mita converted from a rustic and perhaps rather crude,but natural environment to another theme park.
    The original idea of the development of this area was that it would be a showcase of what eco-tourism could really be, sadly it has become exactly the opposite

  7. So glad to hear this news, it was a disgrace to Nature to see the Invation
    Of Boats and people, horrific!!!
    Of course the damage is done.
    And next season, hope they can figure something out??

    1. Lisa Bunch Andrews I am NOT the troublemaker in Mexico!! I rescue stray homeless dogs and feed and relocate homeless kitties!!! ? ?
      All while having a FUN time BEHAVING myself!!!!???

  8. It’s no secret that tourism is bad for the environment. This is a man made beach, not a natural wonder but we still cut down millions of trees and ruin the natural habitat for wildlife just so we can line our beaches with resorts. The damage to this beach is unimportant compared to what we are really doing to the environment so we can have sprawling resorts and more convenient highways for faster travel. Great, build that GDL-PV highway and damage the environment for the jaguares in the area, but don’t damage the man made tourist attraction. Pfffff

    1. The islands were formed by volcanic activity, however what it is today with the craters and hidden beaches is a result of an uninhibited island that was used for bomb testing by the Mexican government.

    2. The history of these islands are very well documented. They were formed by volcano activity. In the early 1900’s until the mid 1960’s the islands were used for underground bomb testing by the Mexican government. It would be unreasonable to believe that 60 years of bombing this small island had no impact on it’s architecture today and everything is of natural occurrence. It’s just not viable. Of course there is erosion, these caverns were blasted 100 years ago, anything that old has eroded, doesn’t mean it’s beginnings come from a natural source, but it’s endings will. Mother Nature always takes back what was hers. Leave a sidewalk alone for 100 years and it’s gone. Mother nature forces weak grass through concrete and takes over her land, doesn’t mean the sidewalk wasn’t man made. :) The islands you visit today are a result of human activity, they would be vastly different without human interference.

  9. Great news! But to be fair, how could the government possibly know ahead of time that dozens of boats and hundreds of people (who don’t care about leaving trash) going there every day could possibly have a negative impact on the environment and ecosystem? ?

    1. Joyce Wolter Sorry. My sarcasm font wasn’t working. I think there is a Mexican saying about putting a lid on the open well after the child has already drown.

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