Islas Marias Archipelago Project Inspection Begins
After spending over a century as a prison complex, the Islas Marias Archipelago will transform into a cultural and environmental space. The islands received their first inspection as part of this goal.
Miguel Torruco Márques, Minister of Tourism, was accompanied by authorities from the Ministry of the Navy (Semar) and the state governments of Sinaloa and Nayarit during his inspection visit to the Islas Marias Project. They were joined by representatives from the region’s main tour operators, travel agents and tourist guides. The objective of the tour was for tourism entrepreneurs to learn more about the project’s potential infrastructure, products and services and for tour operators to integrate the archipelago into their current travel packages.
“From 1905 to 2019, Isla Maria Madre, the largest islet of the Islas Marias Archipelago, served as a prison complex. It was as of March 8, 2019, and thanks to a decree by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, that the Islas Marias Penitentiary Complex ceased to be part of the Federal System that administered it, thus initiating the cultural and environmental transformation of this space,” explained SECTUR in Dec. 2021 via a press release.
The project proposed by the federal government includes three elements: the protection and conservation of the archipelago as a Protected Natural Area, the construction of an environmental and cultural education center “Muros de Agua-José Revueltas” and the opening of Isla Maria Madre to conservation tourism.
The Islas Marías Project will also provide eight experiences and four tourism packages aligned to the archipelago’s status as a Protected Natural Area and its centuries-old history as a former prison colony. The archipelago was declared a Natural Protected Area as a biosphere reserve, and in 2005 it was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The visit focused on the Balleto colony, where a delegation of 21 businessmen were received at the pier to then participate in a tour to the Visitor Center. One of the purposes of this initial visit was to show the plan to adequately manage hikers and the preservation of the flora and fauna while showing the history of the island.
The head of SECTUR explained via a government press release that “the purpose of this visit was for tour operators, travel agents and guides to have elements to integrate this product into their offer of tour packages.” The project will also allow hikers to learn about the over 100 years of history of the prison system in Mexico and its operations.