The new Maya Train will greatly increase travel options for Cancun locals and visitors, as well as those throughout the entire Yucatan peninsula, and now those options may even include Belize. It was recently reported that the Belize government has shown interest in the idea of an extension of the train route, which would connect Cancun and other parts of the Yucatán Peninsula to the Central American country. According to Martha Zamarripa, Mexico’s Ambassador to Belize, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not ruled out the extension either.
Zamarripa pointed out that “this is a great opportunity to extend the work for the benefit of both countries by adding new places and routes to the transport.” Furthermore, she stated that connecting the two countries through the Maya Train could result in even further expansion. In the future this could lead to the connection of the entire region surrounding the two countries.
AMLO’s interest in the possibility was further confirmed in a statement he made during one of his morning conferences when he indicated the importance of integrating the Mexican Caribbean and Latin American regions. It is the hope of both President Obrador and Ambassador Zamarripa that the extension would give a boost to tourism in both countries. According to them, the extension would connect the entire region together and tourism along the proposed routes would benefit greatly.
The current plans for the Maya Train route include 18 different stops throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Those stops include:
- Palenque, Chiapas
- Boca del Cerro, Tabasco
- El Triunfo, Tabasco
- Escárcega, Campeche
- Xpujil, Campeche
- San Francisco de Campeche, Campeche
- Merida Aeropuerto, Yucatan
- Izamal, Yucatan
- Chichen Itza, Yucatan
- Valladolid, Yucatan
- Nuevo Xcan, Quintana Roo
- Cancun Aeropuerto, Quintana Roo
- Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo
- Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
- Tulum Aeropuerto, Quintana Roo
- Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo
- Bacalar, Quintana Roo
- Chetumal Aeropuerto, Quintana Roo
The train project currently in the works is expected to be completed by December of next year but complications could delay that completion date. The project has not been without criticism by environmentalist groups and others and is in fact being held up by a suspension right now. The suspension of the work being done in Section 5 was ordered by a judge recently until further environmental research can be conducted.
Section 5 of the Maya Train will connect the cities of Tulum and Cancun. The suspension is due to protesters of the project claiming that this specific stretch of the train route will harm the jungle area and caverns in between. Work will not reconvene until environmental impact studies have been conducted and confirm that no damage to the jungle and caverns will be done.
Completion of the Maya Train, or Tren Maya, will open up many possibilities for visitors to the Riviera Maya area who want to explore beyond the cities they are visiting. It would allow those visiting the Mexican Caribbean beaches to easily take trips to more historic destinations within the Yucatán peninsula. It will also provide a great option for those flying into one of the area’s airports to get to their destinations.
If the two countries, Belize and Mexico, can come up with a plan to connect through the Maya Train it will offer even more options for more people in both countries. Not only does this help local citizens traveling within the two countries but visitors as well. It could bring tourism in the region to a whole new level and would greatly benefit Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and many other tourist destinations in the region.
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