Monthly Archives May 2016

Warning as female is sexually molested on a snorkel tour in Akumal

It has come to our attention that a snorkel guide operating in Akumal sexually molested a female tourist while she was a participant on his guided tour with other travel companions on Sunday, May 22. The victim was reported as having cerebral palsy, in addition to other medical conditions.

The late twenty-year-old female and friends had hired a guide from Indios Tours–one of the tour vendors operating on the main road entering Akumal Bay and on the beach. According to the report received, the alleged perpetrator, 26-year-old Francisco Garcia Lora from Mexico City has been accused of sexual molestation and attempted rape of the impaired young woman. Shortly after the incident the assailant was taken into police custody. He is said to be in municipal prison waiting a hearing.

This is an appalling incident that has understandably left the victim and her travel companions feeling very distraught. She was immediately attended to by local services including lifeguards and the Akumal-based Red Cross ambulance personnel, followed by attention from a physician. Much appreciation is extended to these various individuals, as well as the swift action of various property security, local and municipal police and others.

This crime has caused grave concern within the Akumal community. While incidents of this nature are indeed rare, tourists should take precautions and know what to do in the event of requiring assistance.

  1. In the event that anyone, tourist or otherwise, should witness illicit behavior or events or even suspicious activity, find a lifeguard or security guard to call the police on your behalf or someone from the front desk of a hotel.
  2. You can call emergency services directly by dialing 066. Police are required to investigate any call–whether it is from a citizen or foreigner. The local number for the Akumal Red Cross Ambulance is 984-802-5521. (US/Canada users dial 011-52 then the number.)
  3. If you need further assistance, contact your respective country’s consulate in Playa del Carmen. It is recommended to save these various numbers to your cellular phone for easy access.

As a general safety precaution, it is best to only hire tour operators from licensed and credible, established businesses. A hotel or travel company recommendation does NOT always mean legitimacy. Licences and certifications should be on display in stores or kiosks at all times or credentials made available on request. In the case of snorkel guides or other such activities particularly, this would include proof of EFR (Emergency First Responder) training, first aid or other similar certifications.

Other steps you can take

  • Get the name of not only the guide(s) conducting the tour but also the full details about the tour company including a supervisory or management person as a contact.
  • Take a picture of the guide(s) that you have contracted. If anything should go wrong, you can identify the person to authorities.
  • If you are approached upon entry to Akumal or on the beach for a tour, it is most likely not a formal or licensed operation as this has been an ongoing and escalating issue here. Report any harassment of any kind to property or hotel security, or tourist police if necessary.
  • Particularly if you are travelling alone, provide your hotel and friends or family with the 4Ws–Who is the company you are going with and supporting details; What type of excursion it is; Where you are going; and When you are expected back. Be sure to follow up and check in with your designated contacts when you arrive back to your hotel.
  • If you can, do your research on the company ahead of time before booking. Gather information, recommendations and ask questions. This extra step is not only a good practice for any traveler but is a great way to promote legitimate local businesses supported by well-trained and qualified personnel.

We hope that this is the last incident of its kind. It is just one more example why action by the government authorities is required to implement some form of limits or control on the unlicensed and unregulated vendors who are increasingly becoming a menace to visitors and are tarnishing the image of Akumal.