X’cacel – What Needs to be Done and an Update of Recent Activities!

Date: September 13, 2000
Contact: Dan Evans
Phone: (352) 373-6441


Send emails to Enrique Provencio, director of the National Institute of Ecology (INE), and to the president elect of Mexico, Vicente Fox, asking them to stop the planned construction at X’cacel.

Sample message:
Please do not allow any construction on X’cacel. The entire area (165 hectares) is a habit for endangered species and there interrelated ecosystems. Preserve it for future generations of sea turtles and people!

Favor de no autorizar el permiso de construccion a los inversionistas en X-cacel. El area total de 165 hectareas es el habitat de muchas especies amenazadas o en peligro de extincion y los ecosistemas estan interrelacionados. La construccion afectara a la fragil zona. Lo mejor es conservarla para las futuras generaciones de la gente y las tortugas marinas.

Send to:
Enrique Provencio email: eproven@ine.gob.mx
Fox’s email is: vicente@fox2000.org.mx or through Fox’s webpage at www.vicentefox.org.mx (has an email form).


* Profepa (Mexico’s environmental police) sanctioned Sol Melia for $20,000 US dollars for the destruction of threatened palms during the demarcation process at X’cacel. According to Greenpeace, the cutting of protected palms and other species did not end with the demarcation work; it continued during 1998 and 1999 and thousands of palms were eventually cut down.

* Friends of the Earth Netherlands delivered over 15,000 cards to the ambassador of Mexico in the Netherlands May 4, 2000 asking the Mexican government to stop the development at X’cacel.

* The book “Ausgebucht – Zivilisationsfluch Tourismus” by Norbert Suchanek criticizes the international tourism industry and includes the case of X’cacel. The book was presented at the travel fair ITB 2000 in Berlin, March 11th. Many international tourism companies present their products in beautiful, bright pictures and brochures. But often there is no gold inside things that shine. The Tourism industry of the 21st Century has many dark sides according to the book. The book is published only in German.

* Recent Articles:
La tortuga marina en la mira by Homero Aridjis Domingo 23 de Julio del 2000
Last Stand of the Giants By Elisabeth Malkin
Sol Melia “cheated” by fugitive Mexico Governor from Reuters 8/18/00

* The Management Plan of X’cacel and X’cacelito Sea Turtle Reserve (from the water line to 100 meters up the beach) was put in force on April 28, 2000. At the end of the document it includes some recommendations from the local community:

– List of studies necessary to establish a zone of influence for the protected natural area.
– Maintain the area that has been cleared of vegetation along the sides of the existing facilities, for controlled camping activities, because it is one of the sites that a great sector of the population of the State uses for its relaxation and recreation activities.
– Discontinue allowing the public to visit the well-known beach X’cacelito (South of X’cacel), with the intent to preserving it, without any type of tourist or recreational use.
– That the activities allowed at X’cacel after the publication of the Management Plan be reviewed and regulated.

* At a public input meeting about X’cacel at Playa de Carmen on July 17, 2000 Araceli Dominguez, president of Grupo Ecologista del Mayab (GEMA), presented more that 7,500 letters. These included letters from a broad scope of institutions, private individuals, biologists, etc. from all over the world denouncing the planned construction at X’cacel. She also criticized the handling of the entire process, from the irregularities in the sale and purchase to the Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The EIS violates part of the Territorial Ordinance and is not compatible with the objectives of the of the management plan for the sea turtle reserve. The developers believe that the sea turtle reserve is sufficient to protect the sea turtles. The developers never did a sea turtle study!

The 12 studies done by a private environmental consulting agency hired by the developers show that X’cacel is a fragile zone and contains a high biodiversity! However, the EIS does not include the recommendations from these studies and does not state the proposed construction’s impact on the sea turtles and the endangered ecosystems.

*At the following web page the National Institute of Ecology posted the Environmental Impact Study made by the tourist developers. The project includes 5 hotels (1,500 rooms).

* On August 15, 2000 INE declared that they needed additional time to respond to the developers request to build at X’cacel. INE also told the developers that they needed to do more studies.

Information provided by Mary Louise Whitlow