Two luxury hotels on the Mexican Caribbean island of Holbox were devastated by a fire Monday night, forcing tourists and locals to evacuate.
Locals reported on social media that a large fire burned many palapas, a traditional Mexican shelter made of palm fronds or branches typical of the region’s beach hotels.
The fire broke out near Casa Tortuga, located on Av. Damero next to the main beach of Playa Holbox and the Cariocas Club, according to this local news report. The fire spread on Monday night around 11:30 p.m., because there is no official fire department in Holbox to handle such incidents.
Then, on Tuesday afternoon, it was revealed that the blaze had entirely destroyed Casa Tortuga and the nearby Posada Mawimbi hotel property.
Fortunately, no one died as a result of the incident. Although one of the tourists did need medical attention, there have been no serious injuries so far.
Both the hotel workers and customers have been reportedly found to be safe and have been transferred to other hotels nearby. Personal items and travel documentation, such as passports, belonging to the tourists have been destroyed.
Most of the customers affected by the fire were from the United States and other regions of Europe, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, and Norway. At the time of the fire, the hotels were accommodating more than 100 guests. According to the local source, both hotels were at about 85% occupancy.
Officials from the state of Quintana Roo went to the area Tuesday after the news broke. Quintana Roo Governor Mara Lezama said she would not leave the island until the issue was fixed.
“We are not going to leave until we have the complete list (of documents lost in the fire and tourists affected) and have solved the problem, we have had the unconditional help of the federal government,” the governor said in her statement to the press on Tuesday in Holbox.
The governor added that she had communicated with the Secretary of the Interior, Adán Augusto López, and the Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs, Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, to help the visitors whose possessions were destroyed in the fire to obtain the necessary papers for their subsequent flights.
The Holbox Hotel Association estimates that the fire caused damage of about 108 million pesos and will take at least six months to repair.