Mexican resort beach shut down, accused of stealing sand

Visitors to a Cancun beach found themselves restricted by yellow crime-scene tape yesterday, when Mexican police cordoned off the beach under accusations that the sand was stolen.

According to the AP release, after Hurricane Wilma washed away much of the resort area’s beach in 2005, Mexico spent $19 million replacing it with sand pumped from the sea floor. That sand has been slowly eroding, prompting some resorts to build breakwaters, which keep their beaches nice and sandy, but result in more sand loss for the surrounding beach areas.

The Mexican police are claiming that the resorts who’ve built these breakwaters are, in effect, stealing the beach from others. They’ve also detained five people they believe were using pumps to bring up more sand from the ocean floor. Mexico’s Attorney General for environmental protection said the beach at the Gran Caribe Real Hotel was made of “ill-gotten, illegally accumulated sand” and decided to shut it down.

Many tourists and hotel guests gathered around the “stolen” beach area and complained about the closure. There was no indication of when the beach would reopen and at the time of writing, the resort’s webcam was not active on its website.