I hate the trip from the Cancún airport almost as much as I hate having to wake up at 4 am (let’s be honest I don’t even go to sleep) to make the flight from SF. After traveling 9 hours and eating crappy airport food–or worse–plane food, the last thing I want to do is get in a car and drive an hour and a half to Tulúm, only to arrive right at mosquito hour. (Little known fun fact, only female mosquitoes bite us. The males feed on nectar, while the females require blood to lay eggs*).
But let me be the first to say I feel a little wary about the prospect of an airport in Tulúm. And yet the Tulúm airport was finally approved this year, an event that was punctuated by a visit from the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón. Of course I would love to step off the plane and be 20 minutes from home, but the actual implications of the airport make me hesitate to jump for joy.
First of all, they plan to build the airport on top of the Riviera Maya’s vast underground waterway and mangrove system–meaning that if ever there were a lot of rain the airport could sink into the ground. And, let’s face it, sometimes there IS a lot of rain. And not to mention the damage it will cause to the habitat it lands (pun intended) on.
An airport in Tulúm means more tourists than we have ever imagined. Even Playa del Carmen doesn’t have an airport. Clearly someone has big plans for Tulúm– bigger, maybe, than Cancún. The little town of 6,000 my family moved to 18 years ago is all grown up. So now we sit and wait. Maybe the airport will be built in Mexican time– i.e., years from now. But maybe it’ll be up and running sooner than we know. It’ll bring people and money to our humble home. The economy will flourish and cultures will become further enmeshed. But in doing so will it change our home into something we might not recognize?
*Mosquito facts courtesy of Wikipedia. Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor