A report about the environmental effects of
unsustainable tourist Development

A report on the effects on Turtle Life.

SASCAB? Beach and Ocean Mineral Pollution.

Geotubes, Investigation.

Sewer report

Sand removal report.

Golf In paradise, paradise is golfed!

Akumal Aventuras

984 872 2987

Esta es una historia de impunidad_Page_001.jpg

This is a tale of impunity…
which is continuing and getting worse day by day.

This is the history of a hotel development,
which is now trying to be real estate.

It’s a tale of disdain and scorn for the
environment, arrogance and greed with a high cost in destruction.

This is the history of the

“Gran Bahia Principe Hotel” in the Riviera Maya,

the implacable predator.

We are presenting to you,
Mr. President, information that we have on hand and that we have been collecting for nine years.

We will attempt to condense 9 years of
investigation into a precise and clear

We will include photos to illustrate the obvious.

About the frequent ecocides Grupo Piñero has done, through their Gran Hotel Bahia Principe and their mega development Naj K’aax, under the legal representation of Representaciones Turísticas de Mexico SA de CV. Using local companies as tools for destruction.

A report about the environmental effects

of unsustainable tourist Development.


Photo 3


Currently being constructed the latest stages of the hotel (we don’t know where they will stop).

A clear modification to the coast line can be

noticed. The rocky zone (coralina) has been

removed, putting in its place a limey construction material known in the region as “sascab”, covering it with a thin layer of sand.


Photo 1


Aventuras Akumal 10 years ago.

Akumal means place of turtles in Mayan.

It is located 20 miles from Playa del Carmen.
Akumal is divided: Half Moon Bay, Akumal Bay,
Aventuras Akumal, and Aventuras-DIF.


Photo 2


Aventuras Akumal 3 years ago, being constructed the first stage of the Bahia Principe’s development.

The dune and the mangrove are intact. In the
image the dune can be seen on the low part.


Photo 4


Entrance to the Bahia Principe’s Hotel Complex.

3 hotels in one and growing…


Photo 5

Online publicity of H.B.P.

In the photographs it can be seen how the installations of the hotel have invaded the turtle nesting areas by constructing palapas, sun beds, and piers

The development has generated a lot of low level jobs,
and money for
other countries while devastating the local environment..


Photo 6


This is a panoramic view of the hotel complex. New artificial Beaches with no sand base (“sascab”) which makes it impossible for the turtles to nest.


Photo 7


The mangrove of Aventuras Akumal 8 years ago. Healthy, strong and protective.

Today it is buried under the hotel.


Photo 8


The mangrove can be seen on the lower part.
Today the hotel has built over it.


Photo 9


The mangrove is getting locked up between construction and infrastructure of the hotel complex. The size of the mangrove was reduced but it was still alive.


Photo 10


The locked up mangrove is drying up and dying “mysteriously”.

No one remembers it. No one? In the middle-right part of the photograph one can see the rest of it.


Photo 11


Right after a Hurricane, Wilma in this case, the mangroves are left without

green leaves …

…but can heal

week by week… if we leave them alone. In the image to the right, we show the mangrove of the hotel complex, just a few days after Wilma.

Photo 11B


In the upper
is the live
mangrove by the side of Aventuras Akumal access road. Today that place is part of the Bahia Principe’s hotel.
In the middle

as a reference one can see in the distance the Bahia Principe Akumal complex.
In the lower photo, the mangrove is being filled in by Bahia Principe’s workers to allow construction on this site.

Photo 12


Actual aerial view without mangrove. The mangroves are protected by the Mexican law.

The 60 TER article and the 99 article of the general law of wild life prohibit activities that can disturb the natural water flow of the mangrove, of the ecosystem and its zone of influence, its productivity, lifting capacity, reproduction zones, and interaction.


Photo 13

Aug / 05

One of the few beaches left for local Mexican people is now invaded by sun beds and Bahia’s guests.


Photo 14

Aug / 05

In Mexico there are no private beaches by law, only blocked access roads.


Photo 15


Beach bar in the white sand of DIF’s beach. This is only accessible for guests of Bahia Principe (with bracelet, of course).

DIF is a public program which helps senior adults and homeless children. DIF’s installations and beaches
are intended for public access.


Note 0

Impunity. Local press has brought the problem to public attention. The local and federal authorities have done nothing to solve the problem.







A report on the effects on Turtle Life.


Photo 16


Akumal beaches, and principally the ones to the south (Aventuras Akumal, Aventuras-DIF,
(Chemuyil y Xcacel) are the main nesting zones of the Caretta caretta (Loggerhead).
and Chelonia mydas (Green Turtle)
The nests density is amazing. During July and August you can see the turtles looking for soft sand to dig their nests.

Note I


Impunity. Ecologists have filed reports to the government in an attempt to stop the destruction. No action was taken on these reports.

Some local NGO’s receive monetary benefits from Bahia Principe and therefore ignore and cover up Bahia Principe’s violations of Mexican law.


Photo 18


Turtle tracks made when the hotel machineries were working on the beach “repairing”.

Caretta caretta and Chelonya mydas
are endangered species protected by the
Mexican law:


Photo 17


Turtle nest made the night after Hurricane Dean.

Aventuras-DIF’s beach plays a very important part on hatchling recruitment. Hotels built on turtles nesting areas require moving of the natural nests. This causes changes in the turtles population structure. Akeman, R. A. 1996. The Nest Enviroment and the embryonic Development of Sea Turtles.

Photo 19


The heavy machinery (very heavy) works above the turtles. Nesting…Being born… Dying…

Altered habitats cause a decrease in the number of natural nests, increases energy required by the nesting females, and reduces the number of survivable eggs.

NOAA, Nacional Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration



Beach and Ocean

Mineral Pollution.


Photo 21


Right after Hurricane Dean heavy trucks depositing the construction material (“sascab”)
“It’s really easy to see that the properties of “sascab” (smashed rocks) are different from the
natural sand properties (made of smashed shells).
When somebody fills the

beach with sascab it is exposing the turtles to hard conditions and can even kill them”

DR. Fernando Alvarez Noguera, Investigator of the Biology
center at UNAM


Photo 20 (Map 1)

This graphic shows the areas where the “sascab” was applied in the nesting areas.


Photo 22


The same history but right alter hurricane Wilma.


Photo 22ª


The Loss and degradation of nesting areas caused by erosion, devouring, modification and artificial light is a serious problem attacking the sea turtles and their hatchlings.

NOAA, Nacional Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (from USA). Administración oceánica y atmosférica nacional de Estados Unidos

Note II

It wasn’t a secret, at least locally.


Photo 23


Machinery above sea turtles nests.

“It is proved that sascab is bad for coral, it doesn’t let it breathe, doesn’t let the small fishes grow and, when it‘s too much it doesn’t let light go through the water and kills marine vegetation.”

Teacher in Science Rosa Elisa Rodríguez, LUM KANAB


Photo 24


Unmarked nests can be smashed or crushed by heavy machinery works and the turtles may get trapped in the excavations.

NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Note III

Although the problem became public and obvious, the local and federal authorities did nothing.


Photo 25


The “sascab” is white like sand, but is much different than sand. For turtles it is impossible to dig a nest on “sascab”. When “sascab” mixes with water it spreads little particles which attach on the coral and kill it.

Note IV

It looked like something was going to happen. The hope never dies.


Photo 26


Sign buried on “sascab”. We believed this was the beginning of something. The beginning of the end.


Photo 27


PROFEPA (the Mexican authority for environmental protection) said that no heavy machinery worked over nesting areas.

In the photograph a heavy machine with a long arm is clearly seen in front of the DIF. Isn’t this one of the main nesting areas?




Nota V

Report filed in 2005 against the installation of the geotubes in the hotel`s beach


Note VI

Soon all Caribbean beaches will be invaded with these giant bags.

Note VII

The geo textile tubes are sold to create beaches in places without one, brutally breaking the environment where these are used. In this case, they even presume the invention of a beach over Bahia’s place, when it is clearly seen in the photo how most of the reef was buried.


Photo 28


The section of beach in front of the Bahia Prinicpe and to the immediate south of the DIF was filled mixing sascab and sand, making this an “artificial beach”, with totally different properties from the adjacent beaches. The turtles turned away by the dock, end in this artificial beach, making rounds without finding
suitable places for nesting.


Photo 29


These structures may injure the nesting turtles and the hatchlings. A beach with geotubes may cause the permanent loss of the nesting habitat. Furthermore, they dissuade the female turtles to reach optimum places for nesting.

Magnuson, J.J. et al.(+ 10), 1990. Decline of the sea turtles: causes and prevention.


Photo 30


Artificial seawalls, wave breakers, sand bags and geotextile tubes deny access to high areas of the beach or the dune system limiting the size of the nesting zone.

NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (from USA). Administración oceánica y atmosférica nacional de Estados Unidos.


Photo 31


Nice way to spend a vacation on the Caribbean, over a giant liver.


Photo 32


Geotextile tubes provoke a change in the water flow and destroy the microhabitat. Furthermore they perturb the nesting site selection, causing hatchling displacement and affecting the area of alimentation.

Comité Estatal de Protección, Conservación, Investigación y Manejo de Tortugas Marinas en Quintana Roo. (Quintana Roo’s Protection, conservation, investigation and management of te turtles committee.


Photo 33


Graffiti isn’t just for cities anymore. Thanks to the introduction of walls in the sea…graffiti finds its way to the ocean.


Photo 34


There are currently no independent, long-term studies of geotextile tubes and their stability in a marine enviorment. Such uncertainties indicate that geotextile tubes remain an experimental technology. It is an unwise policy to allow installations of uncertain technologies, particularly on beaches supporting endangered species such as sea turtles.

The University of Florida Conservation Clinic.


Photo 35


The bad aspect that is given to the ocean is not only for its appearance but for the damage they cause.


Photo 36


Another issue presenting itself as Geotextile Tubes could modify nest moisture by causing flooding or reducing drainage since the tube is less permeable than natural sand. Geotextile tubes are supposed to be buried at least 3 feet deep… but turtles can dig over 5 feet deep before starting to lay their eggs.

The University of Florida Conservation Clinic (La universidad de Conservación Clínica de Florida)


Photo 37


Deterioration can be seen in the titanic bags. It is common to find pieces floating along the sea. In the image one of the covers was picked up from the ocean.


Photo 38


After Hurricane Dean this geotube was found blanketing the reef, 100 meters from the shoreline. WE carefully moved it from the coral reef to the coastline. More than five people were needed to pull the bag out of the ocean. Today Bahia Principe’s geotube rows seem different and smaller.

Sewer report


Photo 39


In the summer of 2006, in front of Bahia Principe, this man was captured on film while he was
discharging an unidentified liquid to the ocean, via an orange corrugated hose, and flowing from the hotel. The face of the man says more than we can say.



All the media was informed, and given photos. This was the only article published by one local paper; the other ones chose to be silent.


Photo 40


Multiple green pipes coming from the sea were seen at the Bahia’s beach right alter Hurricane Dean. None of our questions about them were answered.


Photo 41


In the summer of 2006 a “fountain” appeared in front of Bahia Principe’s beach. A group of workers were sent to solve the problem.


Photo 42


They raised a tube and we took another photograph. The liquid content becomes obvious when you see the color of this discharge.


Photo 43


A hole was dug a couple of meters from the sea, we wanted to check the state of the sand but we found something very disturbing…


Photo 44


Just a foot below the surface, a grey and smelly liquid runs.


Photo 45


So we dug another (bigger) hole to expose what is under the tourists feet.


Foto 46


By the next day the hole became a small lagoon with white sediment floating on the surface, the odor of this liquid was repulsive and vile.


Photo 47


Ignoring the repulsive smell, they had the audacity to put sun beds around the stinky lake. Maybe they are trying make this a new attraction.


Note IX

This wasn’t the first time we saw this happening.


Photo 48


In this photograph Bahia Principe’s workers are shown while they were pumping black liquid by the side of the highway. Pollution is spread over the mangrove. Are they trying to kill the mangrove to build over dead trees as they did before?

Sand removal report.


Photo 50


Sometimes like this one, people appear on blue trucks with the MARENTER logo, and they put this pipe from the hotel to the beach…


Photo 51


… And they attach it to the underwater

one …


Photo 52


… they start to suck sand…


Photo 53


…filling these black sacks with the sand…


Photo 54


…They put the sacks on the back of the truck and as fast as they arrive they leave.





Golf In paradise, paradise is golfed!


Photo 55 (Mapa 2)

Mega development named “Naj K’aax” which means “new home” in Mayan, includes the expansion of the three hotels
(Bahia Principe Akumal, Coba and Tulum)
as the creation of a real estate development with a 27 hole golf course, being built by Grupo Piñero and Robert Trent Jones II,

legally represented in Mexico by Representaciones Turisticas de Mexico SA de CV.


Photo 56

Online publicity of H.B.P.






Photo 57 (Map 3)

Aktun Chen system. All rivers in the Yucatán Peninsula run underground.

The coast line known as the Riviera Maya is called the Himalaya of Underground Rivers. In this zone there are over 700 kilometers of water-filled underground explored cave and cavern systems and is estimated that we know only 10% of what we have. The 15 biggest systems of the world are here in the Riviera Maya.


Photo 58


During the glacial eras, the last around 10 thousand years ago, even the lowest part of the river systems stayed dry.

All the levels of water in the planet descended considerably. During these periods decoration of our beautiful and unique caves took place. Today these cave systems are flooded.


Photo 59

In this beautiful ecosystem lives a small and fantastic creature commonly called ¨Blind fish¨
(Typhliasina pearsel).

This rare species of primitive fish without eyes is not only a Endemic to the region, but is considered in danger of extinction.


Photo 60


Thousands of years ago, the underground rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula suffered collapses or breakdowns in some areas of the ceilings. These collapses are known as “cenotes”.

In the images you will see the cenotes that are found in the zone where they are building a golf course for Bahia Principe.


photo 61
(Map 3)

As shown in this map, Bahia Principe is building its golf course on top of the underground river system known as Aktun Chen.


Photo 62


The impacts that will be dealt to the vegetation are clearly adverse given to imply the loss of all type of vegetation. These are direct impacts of… permanent duration, the effects are irreversible with low probabilities to recuperate.

Text taken from the impact study that Bahia Principe presented to the Mexican government states nothing can have permanent damage and/or a low probability to recuperate.


Photo 63


The zone is the natural habitat of animals like the coati (Nassau larica yucatanica), the panther Herpailurus yagouaroundi),
the green iguana (Iguana iguana), the striped iguana (Ctenosaura similis) and the crocodile (Crocodylus moreletii) among many others,

all of these are considered endangered and
protected by the NOM-SEMARNAT-059-2001.


Photo 63B

All the Riviera Maya is formed by limestone layers and its geography is flat.

Therefore the water

filtration to the underground rivers happens


The water in these underground rivers run as fast as rivers on the surface, carrying with it the food from the mangrove to the reef.


Photo 64


A golf course needs 5 tons of chemicals per year for its upkeep.

Because of the unique properties of this zone the chemicals will do irreversible damage to the reef.

Furthermore the construction of the development kills the principal feeder of the reef.


Photo 65


The official program of ecological territorial management of the region called
“Corridor Cancun – Tulum”
with date on June of 2006 in its article El 43,
states golf courses are prohibited.

The properties of this zone are not suitable for golf courses.


Photo 66


Golf courses need the usage of chemical compounds such as the MSMA, the Oryzalin,
the Dicamba, the Chlorothalonil among many
others, to form even level greens for the course and to control weeds and and/or plagues. The official program of ecological territorial
management of the region called
“Corredor Cancun – Tulum”

in its article FF 18 states the chemical compound usage for the control of weeds or plagues
is prohibited.


Photo 67


A high amount of artificial chemicals are injected into the environment with the usage of pesticides (fungicides, herbicides and insecticides). They have the potential to perturb the endocrine system of animals, including humans. These are persistent substances, bioaccumulative and body halogenous PAN, pesticides database


Photo 68


The arecaceae (Thrinax radiata), the bignoniaceae (Tabebuia chrysantha), the combretaceae (Conocarpus erecta), the rhizophoraceae (Rhizophora mangle) and the verbenaceae (Avicennia germinans) are endangered plant species found in the zone. These are protected under the


Could this mountain of mulch contain
any of the above?????


Photo 69


8400 cubic meters of water are necessary to maintain a 27 hole golf course. In the state of Quintana Roo a critical water situation can be expected by the year 2025.


Photo 70


In the official program of ecological territorial management of the region called “Corredor Cancun – Tulum” in the article FF 18 the usage of chemical compounds for the control of weeds is prohibited. In the photograph the machine

debilitates the mangrove by

pumping chemicals on it. They must kill the mangrove to build over it.


Photo 71


The phosphorus and the nitrogen in the fertilizers quickly leaks through the ground reaching the underground rivers and cave systems. This abnormally high content of nutrients in the water stimulates the fast growing of sea weed covering and killing the coral reef. Aikido Takeda, May 1996, “Golf courses on Japan and deforestation”


Photo 71B


In the authorization granted by the Federal Delegation of the Secretary of Environment and Resources in the State of Quintana Roo the conditions the Hotel Group to follow 17 terms and 25 conditions, in order to be able to carry out the development of Naj K'aax and the extension of the Bahia Principe’s hotels.

In this photo, one of the trucks was photographed at the beach depositing sascab without the corresponding permissions as PROFEPA requires.

This truck has the logo of the company in charge of the construction of the golf course…

This is a clear violation to third term of the authorization.


Photo 72


The creation of artificial lakes is not mentioned in the First Term, which specifies the works authorized for mega development of Naj K'aax.


Photo 73


In the Tenth Term of the authorization granted to the development it states: All the acts will be null of right plenary session that take place in disobedience to the arranged in the present authorization. Of such effect, the breach on the part of the developer to any one of the Terms and/or conditions established in this authorization will invalidate the reach of the present notwithstanding the application of the sanctions anticipated in the orderings that are applicable.


Photo 76


Handcut Mangrove swamp in a supposed area of ecological conservation of the golf course.

And in the Thirteenth Term it is mentioned:
In case the works and activities authorized put at risk or cause affectations that alter the behavior of the biotic resources and/or some type of affectation, damage or deterioration on present non-biotic elements in the estate of the project, as well as in its area of influence, the secretary will be able to demand the suspension of works and activities authorized for the same, as well as the instrumentation of compensation programs, besides some of the anticipated safety measures in article 170 of the LGEEPA.


Photo 74


In this photograph, the judicial police, after listening to the declaration on the aggressions to Robert Nelson by elements of security of the Bahia Principe in the Zofemat Beach Zone, left the room to change his shirt for a new shirt of the “Gran Hotel Bahia Principe”.

In the photograph he holds the T607/2007 declaration. For these reasons we requested protection for us and our families.


Photo 75


And History not yet finished....

In the photo a mud with properties foreign to this region is exposed. Underneath this original earth is a buried mangrove swamp.

Mr. President Felipe Calderon, we respectfully request your protection.
You have in your hands proof of the abuse that has been carried out and continues to be by this
hotel group.

We have tried to expose and publish the violations… however, we have received no positive action by the government... A stop to the ecocides is necessary before we lose our valuable natural resource

Please realize this is only one history of impunity with so many more to be concerned with in the beautiful Riviera Maya.

We hope the citizens of Mexico and the Government can work together to protect our valuable resources for the enjoyment of all future generations, including our mainstay….

the tourist industry.

This text was made by S.A.V.E a nonlucrative
organization located in Akumal.

By his abbreviations S.A.V.E it means Society of
Akumal Vital Ecology.

In his nine years S.A.V.E. has avoided the
construction over mangrove swamps in Puerto Morelos (case Omni Hotel), Pushed the creation of the natural reserve in Xcacel-Xcelito, guarded and released hundreds of marine turtle nests,
realized camping’s for cleaning and conservation of beaches, participated in the environmental
education with visits to schools and realized camping’s of education on the marine turtle.

Book, Photograph’s and Videos By:

Nancy DeRosa

Yibran Aragon

Luis Leal

Juan Pablo Montoya

Robert Nelson