Posted by: ecodestination | March 10, 2009

Isla Holbox – how long until tourism ruins it?

Birds relaxing at Isla Holbox

Ever hear of Mexico’s Isla Holbox? It’s one of those gems you’ll find scattered across the globe that hasn’t been ruined by capitalist tourism yet. Let me put it this way: your cell phone won’t be getting any reception once you step on the island’s soil.

Note: There doesn’t seem to be much green consciousness, but it is pretty unpolluted and pure. The rest is up to us-not littering, no chemical sunblocks to harm corals, etc.

Developers, of course, want to build a resort and start rivaling Cancún, but fortunately nothing has happened yet-the island remains calm and breezy, free of industrial noise and pollution. The residents at Isla Holbox do want tourism; you’d expect that they need a boost in their income. However, they are showing their integrity: they want tourism on their own terms, which in part means not paving the island’s roads. They know that hardcore tourism would ruin their home.

Consequently, it’s somewhat appropriate that in Mayan, Isla Holbox means “black hole,” given that you could seriously get lost in the 40 km. x 2 km. of lush green tropics. There are no stores, more than 24 km. (15 mi.) of pristine beaches, and plenty of flamingoes, turtles, and pelicans to gaze at in fascination. It’s a haven for relaxation. It makes me want to collapse into a hammock right now, the breeze blowing past my ears, the soft soil massaging my bare feet, palm trees sheltering me from the seething sun at lunchtime. Activities include birdwatching, kite surfing, kayaking, whale watching, and the like.

Despite locals not wanting their home to turn into the next Cancún, we all know it may still happen. Capitalist hotel developers possess seemingly endless amounts of money, after all, and thus power to do as they please. So if you want to check out Isla Holbox, you better go within the next 5 years or so. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

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