In the last years, the future of Cabo Pulmo and East Cape zone has been threatened by several tourist residential projects. The most controversial have been:
Bahía El Rincón Hotel.
In September 2018 the Company called Planeación y Desarrollos del Cerro, S.A. de C.V. registered the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the Bahía El Rincón Hotel project to the environmental impact assessment procedure, which states the construction of six buildings with 235 rooms, 20 one level villas and 13 buildings with 75 villas in a vertical condominium, as well as restaurants, a beach club and another kind of tourist infrastructure, located within the area that once corresponded to the Cabo Cortés and Cabo Dorado projects, just over three kilometers north of Cabo Pulmo Park.
Even though the Project would be established in the vicinity of Cabo Pulmo National Park, considered as one of the most valuable ecosystems in the world, and that could have a direct impact on its ecosystems and on threatened and endangered species like the leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles, SEMARNAT decided not to grant public consultation of the project, authorizing its construction in December 2018.
In April 2016, the Company BCS Desarrollos Los Cabos, S.A. de C.V. submitted the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) for the approval of the Project known as “Cabo Pelicanos Tourism Development Master Plan” which would be located 10 km south of Cabo Pulmo National Park.
This Project included among other things: 1,119 hotel rooms (only in La Paz during 2014 was there and infrastructure of 2812 rooms according to the Ministry of Economic Development, Environment and Natural Resources), an 18-hole golf course, artificial lakes and a museum-aquarium that included the exhibition of a whale shark.
On 23 June a public briefing was held where the promoter explained what the project consisted of. Civil society organizations also expressed their concerns about the environmental risk a project with these characteristics represents for the park. As a result of this process, SEMARNAT asked the promoter to resolve about 70 observations made to the project within a period of 60 days.
On 25 August from the same year, the promoter manifested through an official document brought before the General Direction of Impact and Environmental Risk, that the project´s environmental impact assessment procedure was being abandoned.
At the beginning of 2014 a new project emerged, which came from a co-investment of Chinese and American origin, with support from the company China State Construction Engineering Corporation. Cabo Dorado manifested it was linked to a binational agreement between the Mexican and Chinese presidents in order to delve into the economic and commercial collaboration between both countries.
Cabo Dorado proposed the construction of a new Chinese-Mexican “eco-tourism” city with a total of 22,503 rooms, distributed among: 9 hotels, 6,141 houses, 4,380 trading facilities, restaurants, services and condos; 100 rooms for infrastructure and equipment services. In addition, the construction of an air strip, a 14 km pipeline, 2 golf courses and one practice course, a shopping mall, a cultural and education center, a technology museum, a center for scientific studies and research, a high performance sports center, a wellness center, a visitor center and three beach clubs, all within a surface of 3,770 hectares.
Cabo Dorado has the concessions to extract 4.8 millions of cubic meters of water annually, where 4.5 million come from the Santiago aquifer, the only reserve to supply the water demand of current populations. In addition, 315 thousand cubic meters will be extracted annually from the Cabo Pulmo aquifer, whose users are already facing the challenge of water scarcity.
In 2008, the Spanish company Hansa Urbana intended to build in Cabo Pulmo a mega tourism project called Cabo Cortés.
This mega tourism project intended to build more than 30,000 rooms (between hotels and homes), 3 golf courses, a marina and an airport a few meters north of Cabo Pulmo. The intention to build such a scale development on the shores of a fragile ecosystem is difficult to comprehend.
Fortunately and thanks to thousands of citizens, who signed up to reject the project, the Mexican government revoked the environmental authorization on both occasions, remaining without effect these mega tourism projects.
We are concerned about the environmental and social aspects because we want this region to be fully developed without compromising the welfare of the local communities and the health of the natural environment.