Tuesday, May 2, 2017

"How rich hippies and developers went to war over Instagram’s favourite beach"

TG:

Over the past decade, the once-sleepy town, 75 miles south of Cancún, has become the kind of spiritual oasis particularly favoured by the fashion industry and wealthy New Yorkers.

...

People don’t just vacation in Tulum – they embark on personal journeys. “There are still bragging rights to saying you were in Tulum,” Condé Nast Traveler’s lifestyle editor Rebecca Misner told me. “It’s an easy way to telegraph that you’re a certain type of sophisticated but laid-back person.”

...

But this other-worldly pampering was rudely interrupted on 17 June 2016. That morning Uno Astrolodge’s founder, Nuno Silva, a rangy Portuguese 45-year-old with a soft voice and long bronze dreadlocks, was at home with his wife and daughter. Just after sunrise, the hotel manager ran across the road to alert him to a problem. There were hundreds of men amassing in the street outside Silva’s beachfront property, the manager told him. Some of them were armed with machetes and big sticks. They were coming to seize the hotel.

...

Silva and his manager woke Astrolodge’s off-season guests and told them to gather their belongings and leave the premises immediately. The mob was moving nearer, working its way down just over a mile of coveted beachfront real estate, forcing people to vacate hotels, private homes and businesses, and padlocking the gates behind them. When one property owner refused the armed men entry, he was pepper-sprayed in the face.

...

Silva had paid $60 per sq m for his land, a price that was considered high in 2000. By the time of the evictions, the going price was closer to $500 per sq m – an increase in excess of 800% in less than two decades.