Fun-seekers Flood Into Mexico, A Nation Too Poor To Call Off The Party For Covid

Posted: Mar 01, 2021

Newly single and depressed just after Christmas, Lucrezia Pacci locked up her London home and set off for the tropics — first Tahiti, then Mexico. Now she wonders if she will ever go home.

“Here it’s amazing — you feel free. There are not as many restrictions, and there’s the sea, sunshine and good food,” she said last week in the balmy Mexican seaside town of Tulum. “I’m thinking of buying a property here.”

Mexico is the Latin American country worst hit by the pandemic, with more than 180,000 deaths and more than two million cases. Yet while other countries have toughened border restrictions, it has remained open to tourism and does not impose Covid-19 tests or quarantine on travellers from abroad.

Some are drawn by the prospect of weekly “jungle raves” — all-night parties in the jungle on the edge of Tulum, where hundreds of maskless fun-seekers dance through the night. Tickets costing as much as £200 are bought in advance for undisclosed locations — sometimes overlooking a cenote, or sinkhole cavern, popular among divers — and revellers are driven there in fleets of shuttle buses.

“The good thing about the jungle parties is that people have more space, but I don’t think you’ll find gel [hand sanitiser] everywhere,” said Pacci.

In her forties and originally from Florence, she is part of the greatest influx of foreigners to the region in years. She does not worry about contracting the virus or exposing locals to it: Mexico’s leftist president is one of the few world leaders not to have provided a safety net to help people survive the economic ravages of the pandemic, and those allowed to work are not complaining.

“The taxi driver, the girl who does my nails, the person who does massage, I ask if they’re happy and they say, ‘Of course,’ ” Pacci said. “Tourism brings them a lot of wealth. They can’t afford to stop working — their children would die of starvation.”

By Matthew Campbell
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