NEW YORK -- A number
of resorts and hotels on Cozumel and along the Riviera Maya south
of Cancun are closed for repairs through this fall in the wake of
Hurricane Emily, which tore through the area in July.
Local tourism sources
reported that the southern stretch of the Riviera Maya, from Akumal
south to Puerto Aventuras and Tulum, was in particularly bad shape
after the Category 4 storm, although repair work was already under
way by press time.
For example, Fernando
Garcia, managing director of Real Resorts, estimated that 20% of
hotels in that area were damaged enough to require temporary
The heaviest damage
was at Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, Garcia said, adding that half
of the damaged Riviera Maya properties will take up to three months
report that undamaged or minimally affected destinations include
Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, Punta Maroma and Playa del
To better determine
the storms impact on local infrastructure, the tourism boards of
the Riviera Maya and Quintana Roo state joined with the local hotel
association and area governments to send out inspection teams on
evaluation tours of area hotels and resort properties; the findings
were intended to help formulate a recovery plan.
According to Dario
Flota, director of tourism board Fideicomiso Riviera Maya, the
teams findings jibed with estimates made by Garcia at Real Resorts,
with 20% of area hotel rooms -- or some 6,000 units --
However, at press
time about half of the damaged rooms -- or 3,000 units -- were due
to reopen within days, many as soon as electricity was restored,
Theres no truly major
damage, due to the solid structure of the buildings, and most
damage is to seaside [rooms] and palapas.
Fideicomiso estimates that Riviera Maya hoteliers will have lost
some $96 million in business due to the hurricane.
The hotel damage
notwithstanding, inspectors found that the bulk of Emilys impact
consisted of downed trees and power lines.
Area beaches survived
intact, said Flota; in fact, some have grown in size, he
The Fideicomiso was
pressing ahead with plans at press time to hold the third annual
International ReggaeFest music festival at Tukan Beach in Playa del
Carmen July 30, trying to show that everything is normal in the
On the island of
Cozumel, off the coast of the Riviera Maya, most damage was to the
islands southern tip, with reports of destruction of beach bars --
such as Coconuts, on the eastern side of
the tip -- and other shore facilities.
Ferry service to
Playa Del Carmen from Cozumel was operating as scheduled; there was
no damage to the downtown Punta Langosta Pier, but the Puerto Maya
Pier did see some damage to entranceway palapa huts.
In terms of major
attractions, only Punta Sur Ecological Park took a big hit; the
park is closed for repairs until sometime in October.
The Mexico Tourism
Board reported that 1,200 of the nearly 4,000 hotel rooms on
Cozumel were affected, with broken windows and water or sand
Among island hotels,
the Reef Club Cozumel is to be closed until Aug. 19, while
Occidental Hotels and Resorts Allegro Cozumel is shuttered until
Nov. 1, although the damaged Grand Cozumel at press time was
scheduled to reopen as early as Aug. 5.
Iberostar Cozumel is closed for repairs until Oct. 31, as is the
main road in front of the hotel; back on the mainland, all six
Iberostar properties were open.
Meanwhile, in the
Riviera Maya, Occidentals Royal Hideaway Playacar was reopened
promptly, but the Allegro Playacar and the Grand Xcaret were closed
until Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, respectively.
Puerto Aventuras Riviera Maya will reopen Aug. 19; the rest of the
chains Sunscape and Secrets properties are open and accepting
Wyndham Hotels and
Resorts Viva Wyndham Azteca and the Viva Wyndham Maya in Playa del
Carmen both will reopen on Aug. 31.
properties, the Akumal Beach Resort and Club El Mandarin are both
reported to be closed until Aug. 31.
Karisma Hotels and
Resorts El Dorado Seaside Suites and Hidden Beach Resort are
scheduled to reopen Aug. 20.
Aventura Spa Palace and Xpu-Ha Palace in the Riviera Maya sustained
significant damage and are now closed; the north section of
Aventura is slated to reopen on Sept. 30 and Xpu-Ha on Oct.
The chains Cozumel
Palace, Cancun Palace, Sun Palace and Beach Palace are open for
business, but the Playacar Palace, under construction and slated to
open in October, also was damaged and has delayed its
All Riu Hotels and
Resorts properties in Playa del Carmen -- Palace Mexico, Tequila,
Yucatan, Playacar and Lupita -- were open to guests, and
landscaping repairs were under way.
damage was reported at Sol Melias five area resorts -- Gran Melia
Cancun, Gran Melia Turquesa, Paradisus Riviera Cancun, Sol Cabanas
del Caribe and Melia Cozumel -- and Barcelo Hotels and Resorts two
Riviera Maya properties, Barcelo Maya Beach and Barcelo Maya Caribe
In all, the Mexico
Tourism Board reported that approximately 8,000 of a total of
24,000 guest rooms on the Riviera Maya suffered damage that
required temporary closure for repairs.
Flota at Fideicomiso
Riviera Maya advised travel agents to check with hotel properties
before sending clients down.
With almost 10% of
rooms closed, the risk is minor, but we dont want anyone to come
down and have an unpleasant surprise.
Flota said the
Fideicomiso is making information on other hotel closures and
openings available through its www.rivieramaya.com Web site and its (877)
7GO-MAYA or (877) 746-6292 U.S. telephone hot line.
attractions, the Xel-Ha and Xcaret ecological theme parks both
sustained some damage -- largely to landscaping -- and closed
temporarily before reopening on July 21 and Aug. 1,
Flota said the famed
seaside Mayan ruins at Tulum are open to visitors and relatively
damage-free, save for some damaged access stairways and closed
tourist shops near the entrance.
Those ruins have
survived so many hurricanes, theyve proved themselves resistant,
said Real Resorts Garcia.
Emily appeared to
have done minimal damage to Yucatan cruise facilities as of press
Caribbeans most popular port of call, is operational, as are the
piers at Puerto Costa Maya, Calica and Playa del Carmen on the
Riviera Maya and Progreso on the Yucatans west, or Gulf of Mexico,
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].