ISLA BLANCA, Q. Roo — The Spanish hotel chain RIU is seeking to enter more strongly in the Mexican Caribbean by adding a hotel in Isla Blanca-Isla Mujeres.

The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat) acknowledged the proposed construction of the controversial “Riviera Cancun” located between two protected areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The company requested authorization for an environmental impact study in order to open its first hotel in the municipality of Isla Mujeres.

On Friday, January 8 official procedures were initiated for the development of what would be the twelfth RIU development in Quintana Roo and the paperwork started on Monday January 11.

The site is located at Lot 014 (HR-12) of the block 002, the subcondominio called “Playa”, turn the master condominium called “Costa Mujeres” in the coastal area of ​​Isla Mujeres that recently won the title of “Pueblo Magico” by the Ministry of Tourism (Secretaría de Turismo).

According to the company, the term applied to the project will be 48 months and the project life is 50 years.

The hotel would have five levels and 753 rooms, swimming pools, gardens, restaurants, parks, sun deck and parking area; the construction area would be 104,194.35 square meters, in a total area of ​​167,801.63 square meters.


isla blanca
Isla Blanca (Photo: noticaribe)

According to the Spanish chain, the investment will amount to 69 million 276 thousand pesos, the execution of works in their constructive phase one billion 316 million 244 thousand pesos and operation phase of the project to USD$117 million 540 thousand 481 per year.

During the site preparation stage, the socioeconomic impact is supposed to be low, the reduction of vegetation cover and loss is considered moderate, as well as the visual quality of the landscape.

Employment generation during the construction phase and employment generation in the operation phase, as well as pollution of groundwater hydrology and the salt wedge intrusion are all considered to be “moderate”.

The RIU firm,  that has been accused in the past of violating environmental densities and building without permits in Cancun, concluded that the new hotel in Isla Mujeres will have only 19 negative impacts, mostly in environmental issues.

In 2014, the municipality of Benito Juarez (Cancun), permitted the Spanish chain to triple the density of an area in the third stage of the Cancun hotel zone, with slight changes; and Semarnat, who denied the permits for this controversial project in the first place, ended up approving it just a few days before Christmas Day 2015.

The new RIU hotel in Isla Mujeres, now Magic Town, will be located within 97 Priority number “Dzilam-Ria Lagartos-Yum Balam”  land region, according to Conabio, and within 103 Controy priority hydrological region.