Wednesday, May 22, 2024

DEMA Warns ‘Maya Train’ Could Threaten Yucatan Underwater Caves and Archaeological Sites


A planned railway to move tourism into remote areas of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is placing the underwater cave systems and Mayan archaeological sites in that area at risk, according to the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association.

The US$9.8 billion/~€8.89 billionMaya Train” railway project is projected to transport 40,000 passengers a day to the Yucatan Peninsula. After several false starts and location changes, the Mexican government’s plan now is to build the railway about 4km (2.5 miles) from Highway 307, which could destroy habitat where endangered and protected species are found, DEMA warns.

As planned, the train will cross over sections of the largest underwater cave system in the world, Sac Actun. In addition, the limestone caves in that region, filled with the area’s only source of fresh water, may be damaged or destroyed if the railway is built along this route, according to DEMA:

“There are considerable risks for building this railway in the planned location, including the risks of building a passenger-carrying railway in a geologically unstable area and destroying the cave diving currently available in the area.

“DEMA is in opposition to building this railway in this location and suggests that members of the diving industry also voice their opposition by signing the petition found here. At this writing, more than 63,000 have signed this petition in opposition to building the railway in this location.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.