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In a Little Cafe on the Other Side of the Border, a Virtual Visitor's Blog on Cancun

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Cancun : Where’s the Beach? Restoration Project Dates and Timeline
Filed under: Cancun Casa Blog, Cancun Tourism, Cancun Beach Restoration 2009
Posted by: Dangers @ 9:06 am

 These days if we’re talking Cancun, especially during the current slow season, we must be talking the Beach Restoration Project. Sure, there’s low hotel occupancy, a smattering of swine flu around in a topic that may rear it’s ugly head worldwide in the later part of this year and early next, and then there’s the vacation sales discounts that haven’t been seen in years. But, despite it all, it’s beach restoration that has Cancun, along with her sister resort areas, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, in the Mexican State of Quintana Roo all a buzz.

 The only problem is, the Beach Restoration Project has been delayed so many times that no one, and I mean no one, is ever quite sure what the scheduling of the work time line is going to be. And, hell there’s still the tropical storm season to deal with, well, two months of it anyway. However, rest assured, it’s going to happen, in fact the citizenry and government officials up and down Quintana Roo are bubbling with anticipation, at least as far south as Playacar, just south of Playa Del Carmen, the primary benefactor of restoration outside of Cancun. Now, we don’t want to keep you in anticipation of the coming events any further, just don’t hold your breathe or make life altering decisions based on the information we’re about to give you, as with everything in Mexico, the below announced dates and schedules are subject to change and/ or delays.

(Dredger at sea, Courtesy of Jan De Nul)

First the basics, Dredger ships are scheduled to arrive in Puerto Progreso, Yucatan this week from overseas, operated by the private contractor, Jan De Nul, along with Mexican subsidiary company Dragados, assigned the $80,000,000 US plus contract for the project. Machinery and submersible breakwaters are also scheduled to arrive along with them at an undisclosed location in Quintana Roo for the project. Prior to the actual depositing of sand, breakwaters will be established in designated areas of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, so don’t gaze starry eyed at the incoming shipping and machinery, thinking that in a few short days that sand will appear miraculously over new, widespread, beautiful beach fronts.

(Cancun Beach Photo during Post Hurricane Wilma Restoration)

 The sand used in the beach replenishment will actually have to be mined or dredged up from the ocean floor, the primary area of this sand mining to occur offshore of Cozumel at a marine area known as the North Bank. The area is stated to be an area where the confluence of oceanic currents occurs in the Caribbean Sea that naturally causes the the build up of large sand deposits. The Mexican Environmental Agency has cleared the area for sand extraction despite protests on Cozumel stemming from fears of the North Bank area providing a natural buffer from hurricanes and tidal surges. The same agency has also shot down the notion the area is productive breeding habitat for the endangered marine species, the Pink Conch. The secondary sand extraction area is also a marine area offshore of Isla Mujeres and Cancun.

(Beach Reclamation Equipment in action during previous work, Courtesy Jan De Nul)

 The beach restoration project is expected to continue for at least 151 days from inception, ending on or about February 10, 2010. It is anticipated that topographical studies and bathymetry are already underway and will continue during the project to properly place man made breakwaters and additional submersible apparatus as required. In Cancun, the project will focus on the 12KM of beach between Punta Cancun and Punta Nizuc. In Playa Del Carmen, the main area of restoration is the Playacar area and in Cozumel, to a lesser extent, specific beaches are targeted for replenishment.

 Reported Dates of Interest*:

Puerto Progreso, Yucatan

September 5, 2009: Estimated Arrival, Specialized Ships used for dredging, sand mining and bulk sand placement.

  September 15, 2009 - December 28, 2009: Initial placement and construction of breakwaters in Cancun.
  Early October, 2009-  December 19, 2009: Beach Replenishment/ Addition of Sand to 12 KM of beach in Cancun.

Playa Del Carmen:
 September 21, 2009 - November 19, 2009: Initial placement and construction of breakwaters in Playa Del Carmen.
 December 11, 2009-   December 20, 2009: Beach Replenishment/ Addition of Sand to select beaches

Isla Cozumel:
 September 21, 2009 - November 19, 2009: Initial placement and construction of breakwaters
 December 11, 2009-   January 20, 2010: Beach Replenishment/ Addition of Sand to select beaches

*(All Dates Approximate and Subject to Delay, the information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

The information in this edition of the Cancun Casa Blog was compiled from multiple sources, official and media related.

We’ll get a golden island…We’ll feed the food to the ford, And we’ll live off the coconut




28 Responses to “Cancun : Where’s the Beach? Restoration Project Dates and Timeline”

  1. CancunCanuck Says:
    Dangers, thanks so much for the update, will spread the link around. :) Saw what may be a dredger this weekend in the bay near Puerto Cancun, here’s a photo, in your expert opinion does it look like what I think it is? http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3951817&l=dfdb04eb59&id=585581277 Also saw some survey equipment on Playa Delfines, not sure if it’s connected, but I have a funny feeling…. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3951816&l=222195f322&id=585581277 Thanks again! (Once things get rolling, I’m going to try to get regular photos…..was going to attempt to get shots behind the Gran Caribe Real of the removal of their “stolen sand” equipment, but there’s just no public access near the hotel!)
  2. Dangers Says:
    CC~ the ship or more likely barge, does look like a dredging/ heavy lift barge of some type though I’m not sure of it’s origin. Oddly enough, it looks familiar, possibly something similar to the barges that worked the Puerto Cancun development area some time back that I had seen but I couldn’t be sure, I’m definitely no expert in dredging barges. ;-) …The project’s contractor may be confirming preliminary marine and beach surveys for the physical aspects of the project at this point…And, the Gran Caribe, there’s some old fashioned Mexican madness there, lol…thanks for the photo links. ;-)
  3. Christophe Says:
    Dangers, thank you for this useful information. As it is now September 14th - is there an update on this story - has worked commenced or was it another false dawn?
  4. Dangers Says:
    Christopher~ the word that I’m getting is that coastal survey and engineering teams are out laying out the plans for the beach replenishment, and that machinery and equipment has indeed arrived in Progreso for the project. Just no conclusive word on those dredger ship arrivals as of yet from Progreso but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
  5. Christophe Says:
    Thanks for the update, I am really interested to see how they restore the beach, I visited in May 2005 and then again in April 2008 and the difference between both was drastic. Thank you for the update, it is greatly appreciated!
  6. Mark Says:
    Nice info Dangers, Did they say where they are putting the magic breakwaters?
  7. cojeda Says:
    i am working on one of the dredgers and at this moment (10 okt.) the city council of cancun won’t let use to start whith te project. at this moment the dredgers are still in europe.
  8. Mnfirefighter Says:
    Have they started to work south of Playa Del Carmen yet? Where are the currently. I will be staying near the Riu Yucatan December 5th and would like to see this process.
  9. Dangers Says:
    MnFirefighter~ they’ve started moving equipment and machinery to the Playa area as per reports for preparation for restoration at Playacar predominately but the actual sand dredging and spreading of new sand isn’t expected to start until mid December, if not sooner.
  10. Goin2Cancun Says:
    Will the grand Caribe Real have sand by mid december ? will be staying around there and right now it looks very bad that I’m almost considering canceling my booking and Trip ..thanks in advance
  11. Anand Says:
    Do you happen to know how the progress is at the Omni Cancun? We have been avoiding using our unit there due to the beach conditions. We are planning a late March trip. Thanks
  12. Ted Says:
    Watching them now from the Royak Caribbean. They are past the Omni and the beach will open in a few days. The beach is huge. They work 24/7
  13. Anand Says:
    Thank you very much or the info!!
  14. Ted Says:
    Omni beach opened this morning. It’s a football field long. enjoy
  15. mladen B Says:
    Hi there,My family and I will be going to Royal Solaris Cancun. We stayed there last year and we decided to come back as we really liked it. Today, Friday January 08 I received an e-mail from our vacation carrier that The Mexican Government has commenced a beach restoration project which involves the use of heavy machinery and that it will affect any guests arriving at the ROYAL SOLARIS CANCUN from January 5th to 31st, 2010. We were set to leave on January 13 till January 27. What should I do? How long does it take to do one hotel beach? Do you think it will be ready for our arrival?Please reply.
  16. Ted Says:
    I’m at he Royal Caribbean, they did our beach in one day and we’re a very large complex. They did the Royal Mayan yesterday and it opened late today. Come on down!!
  17. Mladen B Says:
    Thanks very much Ted for your reply. I feel more confident now. I was worried that our 2 weeks of holidays will be a disaster.
  18. Diana Says:
    Do you know if work is being done in front of Valentin imperial Palace?
  19. Diana Says:
    I’m sorry I , it’s Valentin Imperial Maya
  20. Terry Says:
    Does anyone have any information on beach construction at Dreams Cancun? Are they finished there yet? I leave thursday thanks terry
  21. Dangers Says:
    Hola Folks, the Beach Restoration is down past Playa Delphines and moving into the later stages of the to be restored areas. Beach Restoration has also been underway in Playa Del Carmen. Terry~ only a small portion of the Dreams Resort area was part of the actual sand restoration though work on a breaker continues just offshore, southeast of the resort and Punta Cancun. There should be no issues with the restoration at Dreams.
  22. Diana Says:
    Could anyone tell me if work is being done on the beach called Playa Del Secreto
  23. Dangers Says:
    Diane~ to my knowledge the beaches at Playa Del Secreto are not part of the beach restoration or are the beaches North of it in Puerto Morelos.
  24. Diana Says:
    Thank you. That is great news.
  25. Rosanne Says:
    Does anyone know how the beaches are at the Riu Yucatan? Leaving next week, hoping they will be in good shape! Thanks!
  26. Owen Says:
    Any word on progress at Playa Car - especially the Santos resort?
  27. loret Says:
    We just returned from staying in the Playa Car area. The beach restoration is mostly finished. the beach is accessable and looks great, an extra 100 feet were added. There is a pathway left for large machinery to travel but there isn’t much activity. They finished the project very quickly with a minor impact on our stay.
  28. Owen Says:
    Thank you for the update. Heading that way tomorrow (if we don’t get snowed in here). Last year the giant sand bags were an eyesore, but it was still beautiful.

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