Zipolite, one of Mexico’s nudist beaches, has become one of Mexico’s most popular destinations during the nearly year-long global pandemic. Despite having the third largest COVID-19-caused death rate in the world, Zipolite along with neighboring Tulum and Cancun, has seen tourists from the United States and Canada come in droves.
While travel restrictions have been placed around the world, the U.S. and Canada has allowed travel to Mexico, and tourists who only care about their escape from their “restrictions” have run south of the border, bringing COVID-19 with them.
Texan George Barrera told The Daily Beast that he and his family traveled to Zipolite because the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were “too much” to deal with and that he felt that “we really needed to go out.” Brian Mercado, traveling from California, one of the states most widely hit by COVID-19 cases and deaths, said that he and his family “are tired of being home, and because of COVID this is one of the few places we can travel to right now.” Meanwhile locals like ex-pat John M. Williams calls the tourists “disrespectful” noting how few of them wear masks.
These travelers are not alone in the excuse to head to destinations like Zipolite, but the locals are caught in a Catch-22. They need the business to survive, but also fear catching COVID-19 and spreading it amongst their loved ones like Fernando Coronado, owner of Zipolite’s Hotel Noga. Both he and his wife were infected in January.
Though Mexico does have some COVID-19 safety precautions in place, there are no requirements to enter the country safely other than wearing a mask, a contrast to what travelers must do before leaving Mexico, where they must produce a negative COVID-19 test in order to board a plane home.