Officials: Cruise Port in Isla Mujeres Growing More Likely

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For the past two years, a proposal to construct a cruise ship dock on the small Mexican island of Isla Mujeres has been in the works. Recently however, state officials told Riviera Maya News the likelihood of construction is great.

The 4.3 mile (7 km) long island is located about 8 miles (13 km) off the coast from Cancún and is typically reached by ferry. The island is relatively unknown as a destination, according to Agapito Magaña Sánchez, municipal president of the state, who said that entrepreneurs in Florida have only been recently drawn to the idea of a cruise ship port on the island. Isla Mujeres is otherwise known for its snorkeling and scuba diving in its surrounding coral reefs. There is also a Mayan temple and a sea turtle sanctuary at the southern tip of the island.

Ercé Barrón Barrera, director of the Port Authority of Quintana Roo, said that new routes in the Mexican Caribbean were necessary, which spawned the idea of Isla Mujeres as a port two years ago. The proposal however saw significant progress in March during an investment presentation by Sánchez.

Both Sánchez and Barrera assert that the project is viable; right now, officials are researching economic feasibility analysis and environmental studies in regards to the port’s construction. A port at Isla Mujeres will create a circuit with other berths in Quintana Roo. Barrera also said that, when Mexico hosts the next international travel convention in October, he will bring executives to Isla Mujeres to learn more about the island and promote the project.

The state of Quintana Roo currently has four cruise ship port docks: three in Cozumel and one at Mahahual in Costa Maya. Officials hope the construction project will be carried out in three years.

Mexico's cruise destinations continue to grow as this news coincides with a 78 percent percent increase in cruise ship arrivals to Acapulco, on Mexico's Pacific coast. Once regarded as an A-list resort destination famous for celebrity sightings, cartel activity has plagued the area with severe violence and killings. The Los Angeles Times wrote, however, that Acapulco's reputation and travel situation are improving as federal, state and municipal authorities have begun collaborating with cruise lines to ensure traveler safety.

As Acapulco becomes becomes safer, nine different international cruise lines currently are visiting the port. A new Mexican Magellan coastal cruise is even expected to depart from the city port in 2018, making stops in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas before returning to Acapulco.

The Isla Mujeres and Acapulco developments are points of optimism amid an ongoing Mexican travel warning. The U.S State Department recently added Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo to its travel warnings for Americans; the two states are arguably the most popular destinations in the entire country, but have recently been noted for high criminal activity. Several cruise lines do not plan to alter their itineraries because of the announcement, among them Carnival Cruise Line

There is no advisory in effect for popular inland destinations, however, including Mexico City, Puebla and San Miguel de Allende.

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