Monthly Archives November 2016

“Laws are not being enforced for psuedo-guides” (PorEsto!)

November 11, 2016

The following is the translation of the article printed in the PorEsto! and published online. The original link is below.

poresto-november-9TULUM, November 9—A simple reprimand towards pseudo-guides who enter Akumal Bay with groups of tourists, without documentation and relevant  measures to give sea turtle tours is what has been observed by personnel from the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA).

And although it is obvious that they are trying to give the service without respecting the rules, the inspectors only write down  names and do not proceed with any sanctions.

There are several pirate guides who arrive with groups of about 10 people who intend to give the service, however, they have been detected by personnel of the federal agency that is in charge of reviewing everyone giving tours.

However, in spite of finding irregularities with these people who try to provide services, such as improper vests, snorkeling devices harmful to the environment, lack of documentation, permits and guide credentials, they are only being prevented from giving the service.

Likewise, people who pass as  guides, and that are impeded from doing their activity, leave tourists without knowing if they will get their money refunded they that they paid for the service.

In addition, permit holders working in the bay with sea turtle tours mentioned that there are foreign companies that send guides who do not have documentation, but are not sanctioned, even though they are about to break the environmental standards.

“It is a monitoring committee and PROFEPA staff who have been giving information to people who come about what they can and cannot do on the beaches, but the guides who are detected trying to give service without the permits and safety measures are only prevented from doing the tours and are reprimanded when they should be referred to the competent authorities for this fault,” said one of the cooperatives.

They also said that this makes them think that there could be corruption on the part of PROFEPA, who turn a blind eye to not inspect those who have the permits and for those who do not.



Laws and consequences should be for everyone.  For those that have permits and do not adhere to their limits as well as those that have no permits. Those complaining now are quite possibly the same ones that exceed their SEMARNAT permits of 12 people per day.  PROFEPA should apply their mandate to everyone to “Seek environmental justice through the strict enforcement of the Law, banishing impunity, corruption, indolence and lack of authority…”

Along the same lines, earlier this week, PROFEPA were alerted to two men fishing in the ZRPA (Fish Refuge of Akumal) and no consequences given.

Reports of Disturbing the Peace in Akumal Grow

November 7, 2016

Akumal is not Playa del Carmen. There are no night clubs, music venues, late night restaurants or concerts held on the beach front. Beach partying is not welcomed, and in fact is not allowed. However, incidents of disturbing the peace in the evenings are regularly occurring in Akumal.

In the past week alone, there have been two separate incidents. In the first, a few guides from various cooperatives decided to stay on the beach in the evening to party with some tourists well into the early morning. The police arrived on the scene at 2 a.m. where they confiscated alcohol as well as a motorcycle. The tourists were taken away by the police.

Police confiscate alcohol and a motorcycle after reports of disturbing the peace on Akumal beach. Tourists were taken away by police.

Police confiscate alcohol and a motorcycle after reports of disturbing the peace on Akumal beach. Tourists were taken away by police.

The second incident occurred on Saturday, November 5th around 7:30 p.m. The group which consisted of some guides from the local cooperatives was asked to leave. After first arguing with the police, they eventually departed.

According to the Tulum municipality, any individual or group of any nationality disturbing the peace, night or day, will be asked to move on by the municipal police.

Security guards on Akumal Bay have been briefed on the rules by Tulum police to assist in maintaining the tranquility that Akumal is known for, yet police will be called to handle each incident.

Tour guide reported for harassment by tourists

November 7, 2016

Police confront tour guide from Tulum who was reported as following and harassing two female tourists from the entrance of Akumal to the beach.

Police confront tour guide from Tulum who was reported as following and harassing two female tourists from the entrance of Akumal to the beach.

On Saturday, November 5, two women made a report to the police about a man who was harassing and following them from the entrance of Akumal all the way to the beach. The women, who were not English or Spanish speakers, did not understood what the man was saying and grew fearful of his intentions as he followed them for up to 1 kilometer.

As it turns out the man was from Tulum and was offering independent snorkel tours in Akumal Bay.

The situation of harassing and following tourists is widespread. Not only have the local cooperatives hired people from the surrounding area to be present throughout the entrance way and beach, but independents come to the area to do the same, lured by the lucrative opportunity to conduct tours with turtles with no training and no licence.

As a recommendation, tourists should ask to see certification and permits before hiring a guide.

Pushing limits and breaking laws–taking a stand against the lack of control and respect for Akumal Bay

Monday, October 31, 2016

Based on yet another incident involving local tour operators the morning of Sunday, October 30, it has become obvious that business owners have reached a tipping point with the chaos in Akumal, in particular with the illegal snorkel operations happening in the federal zone that is under a concession.

Illegal commercial snorkel operations occur daily

Commercial activity / sales and operations of snorkel tours being conducted inside a concession area is forbidden, yet continues on a daily basis in Akumal

Each day snorkel tour guides, some with permits but most without, arrive in the bay with their plastic tubs containing snorkel gear and/or clients’ belongings to set up their base camp for selling their snorkel tours. Yet some guides decide that the best spot to place the tubs and gear up clients is in the concession area in front of the hotels and restaurants, which is a clear a violation of the ZOFEMAT concession.

At 10:30 that Sunday, security staff from Hotel Akumal Caribe noted several guides in the concession area along with their tubs and guests. Security staff approached the operators to remind them of the ZOFEMAT concession and asked them to leave.

“The next thing I see is a larger group of guides forming and a heated debate,” explained a local resident. “The guides were arguing, refusing to leave and claiming that no one can make them move and maintaining that were not doing any commercial activity.”

Police were called to intervene.


Police called to intervene in the illegal commercial snorkel tour operations within a concession area

“Our concession permit clearly states that no selling or outside commercial operations can happen within our concession and the responsibility of upholding the rules outlined in our concession is on us,” explains a hotel representative. “We attempted to deal with the situation in a cordial way, but had to call the police due to the aggressive nature and defiance of these guides.”

Police arrived and clarified that any form of outside sales or business transactions, including leaving their tubs or gearing up clients was deemed commercial activity and that they were not permitted to conduct in this concession or any other concession area.

A guest from the hotel who oversaw the commotion commented, “I’ve been here for two weeks now and have seen this sort of activity each and every day. I come here to relax, not to be hawked a tour each day and certainly not to be harassed in and out of the water. Akumal relies on tourism and it is this sort of sh*t that these guides are doing that is giving Akumal a bad name. How will they sell their tours when there are no tourists to sell them to? It’s frustrating to see the lack of foresight! But I’m glad to see legitimate business owners pushing back to create some form of order to the chaos and uphold laws that these guys don’t seem to respect.”

Representatives from CONANP (Commission of Natural Protected Areas) intervened to assist the police in explaining the legal rights of a concession.

“This is certainly not a tale about rich versus poor or denying anyone from making a living…it is about upholding the law which no one is above. If these guides have a legal business with their permits in order and a legal place to do business, that is where they should be operating from. If they do not have a legal business with the required permits, they should not be doing any operations on another’s concession at all,” added a hotel representative.

The problem continued as the guides merely relocated their tubs closer to the water and slightly away from the front of Lolha Restaurant, but remained in the concession area.

As this story is published, similar incidents have been noted in the same area as well as guides continuing to sell throughout the aforementioned concession area daily.


According to the REGLAMENTO PARA EL USO Y APROVECHAMIENTO DEL MAR TERRITORIAL, VÍAS NAVEGABLES, PLAYAS, ZONA FEDERAL MARÍTIMO TERRESTRE Y TERRENOS GANADOS AL MAR—Rules for the use and enjoyment of the territorial sea, waterways, beaches, federal maritime and reclaimed land requirements are set to carry out business activities in the Federal Maritime Zone (beach):

Article 11 outlines that if any permits for selling on the beaches or in the federal zone are issued there are specific criteria set by the Ministry of Tourism and must be observed, which includes name of applicant, location for selling, product to be sold, and duration of the permit. 

Article 12 refers to the duration and renewal of the permit to sell on the beaches and that all sellers are within their designated area and clearly identifiable by uniforms and ID badges issued by the Secretariat.

In addition, Article 12 states: Los permisos para ejercer el comercio ambulante no autorizan a ejercer esta actividad dentro de zonas concesionadasThe permits to exercise selling are not authorized to carry out this activity within concession areas. 

More information on the ZOFEMAT rules can be found here: