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Maya Train Tulum Route Postponed Indefinitely

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The long awaited connection of the Maya Train from Playa del Carmen to Tulum has been placed on hold indefinitely due to environmental concerns.

Visitors to Mexican Caribbean hotspots will be a little more dependent on rideshares, taxis, rental cars and even bus service to get up and down the coast for a little bit longer.

Work at the Playa del Carmen Maya Train terminal, a few days after its inauguration.

Maya Train Environmental and Tourism Concerns

According to a report on the issue, First District Court of Mérida, State of Yucatán, Judge Adrián Fernando Novelo declared that the Mexican Federal Government, through the Secretariat of National Defense, and the subcontracted construction companies, “have not respected the environmental impact authorization that the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources issued in 2022.”

Because of this, Judge Fernando Novelo issued a ruling suspending the construction of the Maya Train project linking two Mexican Caribbean coastal tourist hotspots: Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

The concern is over the environmental impact of the construction, especially related to the underground caverns and cenotes in the area.

cenote location in playa del carmen

Construction documentation by environmental groups in the area shows that cement construction pillars sunk directly into caverns and cenotes, along with damage from concrete trucks washing waste that flows directly into sensitive areas.

It is important to note that not only are cenotes and underground caverns environmentally important, but they are also a critical part of the local draw for tourists visiting the sun, sand, and surf of the Mexican Caribbean on a vacation getaway.

The tourist concern for sustainable travel was part of the concern by local agencies to postpone the construction indefinitely until further studies can be done about the impact on the underground cavern network and cenotes in the area.

cenote in tulum

Concern For Mayan Cultural Resources

Also, a concern was how cultural artifacts, especially those connected to archaeological resources, were being protected during this critical construction phase near several Mayan sites.

According to a report on the postponement, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History were surprised when, right after their analysis, construction equipment destroyed some of the cultural items they surveyed and recommended for protection.

beach destination in Tulum with Mayan Ruins above on clifftop

Why the Train is Important

Links to Playa del Carmen with the Maya Train are currently limited, and the new highly anticipated track extension would not only provide additional service to the popular vacation destination but also connect it with the rapidly growing Tulum International Airport.

The connection to Tulum International Airport was critical for the expansion of additional routes and services to the new Mexican Caribbean transportation hub, including more flights to and from international destinations.

Cars Parked Outside of Tulum International Airport

Tourist Transportation Options

Because of the indefinite hold on the Maya Train track expansion between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, travelers between the two cities will have to continue to use alternate transportation options to get around.

Engineers Working on the Maya Train

Options currently include common transportation options such as rideshare, taxis, rental cars and even bus transportation.

However, several of these options are less convenient and more expensive than the under construction Maya Train service.

Visitors arriving in Tulum and staying in Playa del Carmen can still access points nearby to connect to Cancun and locations in the Yucatan, such as Chichén Itzá and Merida, using the Maya Train service.

However, until the issue is resolved and construction of the Maya Train is resumed, access to and from Tulum International Airport will be the main challenge, especially for Mexican Caribbean travelers staying in Playa del Carmen on their vacation getaway.

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