Balandra beach, one of the most visited sites on the outskirts of La Paz, remains closed, with no date set for its reopening. The beach, which is considered by locals and many who visit it the most beautiful beach in the world, has remained closed for about a month. This was after a yacht caught fire and sank in the area. Since the beach is located on protected federal property, authorities can choose to close it down, and no one is allowed access to the site.
Property owners that relied heavily on the beach’s popularity to generate income by renting out their homes on Airbnb went to local authorities to get a sense of why the beach remains closed. They say that they are open to helping with cleaning up the beach if that’s what’s needed. Property owners are even considering investing their own money into restoring the federal property. Without access to the beach, their rental business is virtually worthless.
The beach is located 15 minutes from the La Paz city center. Due to its mesmerizing waters, which feature different tones of blue that come into the bay, tourists have also been known to make the 2-hour drive from Los Cabos to be able to see the beach. When the incident involving the yacht first occurred, the local government did release pictures of the waters at Balandra. The oil that had spilled as part of the wreckage turned the turquoise water black. About a month and a half after the incident, it seems like extensive cleaning efforts have yet to be made.
Airbnb Hosts Claim That Plenty of Tourists Have Come To The Region And Left Disappointed
Besides being able to reactivate the local economy of the rural areas near Balandra Beach, Airbnb hosts argue that they are fighting for their clients’ rights. In a meeting with local officials, property owners that rent their homes on the popular platform claim that tourists have come from as far as Australia in the last month only to be completely disappointed when they were told that they would not be able to access the beach. A local property owner said,
“I think it’s a lack of respect. I had a guest who took three planes to get here from Australia. He had a layover in India, from there he had to stop at another spot to finally get here. When he gets here he finds out that he can’t go to Balandra. I don’t think that anyone would like to have that happen to them.”
The Beach Is Closed Due To An Ongoing Investigation
When the yacht incident took place, federal authorities in charge of the beach promised that whoever was found responsible for the incident would have to pay for the damages to the beach. In a sense, one of the reasons why the beach has taken so long to reopen is because the property is currently tied up in litigation as the investigation into the burning of the yacht known as “Fortius” continues.
Another reason why the beach has remained closed is that marine biologists believe that there could be negative effects on the ocean water apart from those clearly evident after the burning of the yacht. Everardo Mariano Meléndez, the director of the National Commission of Natural Protected areas revealed in early September that the Commission, which is entrusted with the conservation of the beach, planned to take the rehabilitation process “little by little”. This strategy was set in order to monitor water quality in the region and other elements.
Although the Federal Commission wants to take things little by little, the state economy and tourism secretary promised local property owners that they would be taking steps to reopen the beach immediately. As things stand, the state and federal government are at odds in regard to what they want to do with the beach. Meanwhile, there’s an ongoing investigation in the middle of the conflict. A reopening date doesn’t seem to be on the horizon at this point, but anything can happen.