North America

Playa del Amor

Playa del Amor

Playa del Amor (Love Beach) is a hidden beach in the Marietas Islands, Mexico. These uninhabited islands were once used for military tests, which ultimately created this amazing beach. 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. Now the Hidden Beach, officially called Playa De Amor, or the “Beach of Love”, has shot to fame after gaining a huge following across social media.

To reach the secluded marvel, visitors have to swim through a short tunnel which opens up into the spectacular beach, which is surrounded by rare wildlife. Ventura Osorio, who provides tours to the Hidden Beach, said the islands were formed thousands of years ago by volcanic rock activity. Recently, a study by the University of Guadalajara found that the coral was dying and warned the beach could only support 625 visitors a day, well under the 2,500 who arrived during vacation periods. In May 2016 the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas, the national environmental authority in Mexico announced that the Islands and their beaches shall be temporarily closed to the general public from May 9.

There have been several reasons presented for this closure, although all of them stem from the increased number of tourists visiting the site. One of the main reasons of the closure is that the coral in the area is being destroyed. The cause of coral destruction is thought to be a combination of global warming, presence of boat oil in the water due to excessive tour trips and physical destruction due to dropping of anchors up to 250 times a day.

The aforementioned Comission has placed a restriction of 116 visitors per day. That’s one of a number of new rules. The number of visitors in a group will not be allowed to exceed 15, gear such as fins, face masks and snorkels will be prohibited, no diving will be allowed and visits will be limited to 30 minutes in duration. The beach, part of the Marieta Islands National Park, will close for two days a week for maintenance, management activities and monitoring.