This week, the director of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone of Isla Mujeres (Jesus Delgado Gomez) announced that two of its most popular beaches will be awarded a Blue Flag status. The shores of Playa Centro and Playa Norte have always been popular with American tourists, but this accolade is set to bring in more visitors than before. This is an internationally-recognised award, given only to the most pristine and safe beaches in the world. As of July 21st, a blue flag will be raised on both beaches in recognition of this achievement.
In order to acquire Blue Flag status, beaches must meet 33 specific criteria: firstly, each beach should provide information about the Blue Flag Programme to the general public, as well as display information on the water quality and ecosystems in the region. Next, the beach must be clear of wastewater or sewage and be free from harmful bacteria. Environmental management (including the level of litter and noise pollution on the beach) and safety management must also be monitored constantly.
As plastic contamination has become a huge problem with several of the Mexican Caribbean’s beaches in recent years, Blue Flag also consider the number of microplastics on each shoreline. These harmful pieces of plastic are – like their name suggests – microscopic, but have been found to cause damage to humans after repeated exposure. The Caribbean Ocean is often contaminated by these artificial fibres, ranging from pieces of clothing to paint flakes. Fortunately, both Playa Centro and Playa Norte contain a low level of microplastics, helping to put tourists at ease.
Playa Norte is an idyllical beach located on the northern side of Isla Mujeres: set with white sand, clear blue waters and tons of local shops and restaurants, it’s the perfect beach destination for any family or group of friends. Visitors have praised this beach on Trip Advisor not only for its lack of litter but also because it has relatively low amounts of sargassum compared to other beaches in the Mexican Caribbean. This beach is also a short drive away from Piscina Del Rey, or ‘The King’s Pool’. This is where a natural saltwater pool has formed due to a natural reef formation – a must-see for any first-time visitor.
Playa Centro is another fantastic option for visitors desiring a slice of Mexican-Caribbean paradise. Also characterised by its stunning natural landscape and sparkling ocean, this playa is filled with multiple different eateries serving everything from traditional Mexican fare to tourist favourites. This beach is also the closest of the two to Isla Mujeres’ ferry service, offering sailings from Isla Mujeres to Cancun.
This is not the only achievement that Isla Mujeres has seen in recent months: the sun-soaked island was recently nominated for the title of “Leading Island Destination in Mexico and Central America”. Isla Mujeres has also recently been named the Best Beach Destination in Mexico by the digital magazine Mexico Unknown.
Several other beaches in Quintana Roo have also recently been awarded Blue Flag status. In June, 10 beaches in Cancun were awarded Blue Flag status for high environmental quality and minimal pollutants in the water. This is the largest amount of Blue Flag beaches that any city in Quintana Roo currently possesses.
In keeping with the recent Blue Flag awards to each beach, tourists visiting Playa Centro and Playa Norte are reminded by authorities to preserve the natural landscape by disposing of garbage in bins provided and not leaving personal items on the beach.
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