TULUM, Mexico – A dramatic fire broke out around 3:00 PM on Thursday in the hotel zone of Tulum, Quintana Roo, one of Mexico’s most prominent beach destinations. Witnesses shared photos and videos on social media, depicting the flames consuming part of the infrastructure of the Parque Jaguar Museum, which had not yet been inaugurated. Construction on this museum began in June under the supervision of the Secretaría de Desarrollo Agrario, Territorial y Urbano (Sedatu).
The prompt response came from the local fire department and the State Civil Protection authorities, working diligently to extinguish the blaze and prevent further damage. Traffic officers also controlled the flow of vehicles on the Cobá-Boca Paila avenues.
By 3:46 PM, the State Civil Protection Coordination of Quintana Roo announced via its X account that the conflagration had been successfully controlled, and thankfully, no casualties or injuries were reported. There were laborers on-site making adjustments to the structures along this promenade, which is part of the Area Natural Protegida (ANP) project. However, at least 12 palapa roofs were left charred.
The Tulum City Council, led by the Morena party member Diego Castañón, affirmed on the same platform that emergency teams had acted effectively, ensuring no harm was done to the local flora and fauna. Nonetheless, the cause of the fire remains unknown, and investigations are ongoing. “We are committed to your safety,” they reiterated.
Back in July, Román Meyer Falcón, the head of Sedatu, had announced that the museum would be a part of the Central Access to the park, covering an area of 56,000 square meters, with 16,000 of them under roofing. This comprehensive project includes administrative offices, a visitor center, a smokehouse, parking facilities, and electric bus stations. Additionally, the plan encompasses six public beach access points.
The initial phase saw the completion of a 21-kilometer perimeter wall, rest areas on Cobá Avenue, and a cycling path. An investment of close to 600 million pesos was allocated for these works, with the primary aim of showcasing the cultural influence of the Maya civilization.
This specific section of the Parque Jaguar is slated to connect with the Tulum station of the Tren Maya and the archaeological site. All construction is being carried out in coordination with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) to protect the region’s natural, cultural, and historical treasures.
The inauguration of Parque Jaguar is anticipated in January 2024. Meanwhile, the Tren Maya, President AMLO’s mega-project set to open in December 2023, has been a subject of controversy throughout its construction due to concerns about environmental destruction in Mexico’s southern region, rich in wetlands, cenotes, underground rivers, and dense jungle, as well as the preservation of its cultural heritage.
The project encompasses 1,554 kilometers of railway for a tourist train, as well as local freight and passenger transportation in the southeastern states of Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.