In a bid to ensure its shorelines remain accessible to everyone, the Mexican government this week voted to introduce hefty fines against hotels, restaurants, nightclubs or other coastal businesses who block public access to the country’s beaches.

In Mexico all beaches are public by law. Coastal property owners are not allowed to build any permanent structure within 20 meters of the high tide line or restrict public access to the beach. But that hasn't stopped some from violating the rules. It's an issue that has long angered locals. Complaints have been streaming in, particularly during the pandemic, about hotels or private beach club owners erecting barriers or hiring security guards to restrict the public from "exclusive" stretches of public beaches with claims that they are private, according to the Associated Press.

Playa del Carmen Beach
Playa del Carmen Beach ©Emma Shaw/Lonely Planet

That unfair treatment could soon be a thing of the past as the Mexican government voted unanimously in favor of fining property owners who break this rule up to one million pesos or $47,000. The bill was passed on Tuesday and will now go to the president for his approval. Businesses that repeatedly break the law could lose their permits to operate on any part of the beach.

In a statement, Labor Party senator Alejandra del Carmen León Gastélum said the hotel industry and condominiums regularly harass people who aren't their customers at the beaches, so it is “fundamental to end this abuse and flagrant fraud against the Constitution".

Isla Blanca´s aerial view, Cancun, Caribbean, Mexico
Aerial view of the beach at Isla Blanca ©age fotostock /Alamy Stock Photo

While Acción Nacional senator María Guadalupe Saldaña Cisneros, said the new bill will stop the “unfair treatment” that prevents the use and enjoyment of Mexican beaches for all.

You might also like:

Could Tulum be this year's hotspot for digital nomads?
Disconnect on the best off-the-grid beaches in Mexico
A new hideaway jungle villa has opened in Mexico biosphere reserve

Explore related stories


Where to go in 2024: when to visit our Best in Travel winners

Oct 25, 2023 • 19 min read