Springtime on the beach in Los Cabos means enjoying the evening with a couple of friends and having plenty of fun. Usually, a bonfire on the beach goes along with this rite of passage. Unless you are in Los Cabos.
Not Banned, But Please Don’t
Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) Coordinator Jorge Alonso Meza Nunez doesn’t want to cancel the rite of passage fun of the spring season for guests in Los Cabos. However, he is gently asking visitors during this popular tourist season to please not create hazardous bonfires on the beach.
The official line is, technically, bonfires are not formally prohibited by law in Los Cabos. However, they do create a number of hazards for other guests during the busy spring season.
They are especially common in the very popular La Ribera section of Los Cabos.
Hazards on the Beach
Along with the obvious threat of fires, bonfires create tourist hazards on the beach well after the coals are extinguished.
Even after the flames are out, the coals can remain hot for many hours. Often people like to bury the coals and ashes to help put out the flames. However, that can make the risk to people on the beach even worse because they can’t see the hot coals until it is too late. Second and third-degree burns are common from stepping directly on hot coals on beaches.
Also, the hot coals can reignite fires when caught by ocean winds. Los Cabos officials further warned that once a fire gets out of control, it takes a lot of work and effort to protect property from damage.
Often, tourists in Los Cabos like to find discarded wood and even grocery store pallets to create bonfires on the beach. This has its own risk as often the wood contains nails.
The nails can remain hot for a period of time and cause painful burns. Also, discarded nails on the beach can cause injuries when stepped on with bare feet or even with sandals.
Last, sea creatures are also impacted by bonfires, hot coals, and nails. It is especially important to keep this in mind as the area quickly approaches the sea turtle nesting season.
Losing the Blue Flag
Another risk to the Los Cabos beaches from bonfires is that it threatens the preferred “blue flag” status of the beaches.
Blue Flag certification is recognized around the world for tourist beaches and marinas meeting very strict environmental, cleanliness, safety, and accessibility criteria for tourism. Los Cabos is fortunate that several of the beaches in the area meet this very special tourism standard.
Bonfires on Los Cabos beaches essentially contaminate the sand so that it no longer meets the Blue Flag standard for cleanliness, safety, and environmental sustainability.
In the La Ribera area, which holds this very honored Blue Flag certification, special remediation must be made to clean and reclaim the beach sand to once again meet the standard. This is not only time consuming, but also costly. Unfortunately, this area is very popular with spring season bonfires by tourists.
If Los Cabos government officials were not diligent about the certification, the La Ribera beach would be guaranteed to lose this very prestigious status.
Camping Also Discouraged
Along with bonfires, tourists like to camp on the beach not only to enjoy the spring season experience but also to conserve money.
While this activity is popular during this season, especially in the popular tourist area of La Ribera and the northern zone, it also is technically not illegal.
However, Los Cabos government officials are asking tourists to avoid doing this because the trash and waste generated also threatens the special Blue Flag status of the beach.
The trash and waste also can cause similar injuries to Los Cabos beachgoers when items such as glass are discarded on the beach and not disposed of properly.
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