Winding Down Research in Mexico

With a week left before I return stateside my research in Playa del Carmen (Playa) is coming together well. Before I arrived I had planned on focusing on a specific group affected by tourism, just as I had with the porters in Peru. However, the group I had in mind were the indigenous mayan workers in the resorts. Turns out the ‘all inclusive’ resorts are very exclusive and do not want me to go poking around with my research, especially about work practice and sense of treatment. Since I have not been able to access the resorts and hotels of the region, I have just been talking strangers on the streets. This definitely widened the scope of this portion of the research, but has yielded some great conversations.

This wider variety of interviewees has given me a much more diverse sense of opinion about tourism in Playa. I have interviewed a private chef, a mayan spiritual healer, a barber, municipal street sweepers, and various other people related to the tourism industry here. About everyone I have talked to has a strong connection with tourism, and they all have quite complex opinions about its effect on the region. If you are interested in learning a little more about that complexity, I encourage you to read the introduction to Matilde Azcárate’s “Stuck with Tourism: Space, Power, and Labor in Contemporary Yucatan.” I’ll link it to this article. She has spent an immense amount of time in this region and explains the precarious type of tourism that exists in the Mayan Riviera.

My time here has been shorter in a sense, but I have felt a much better sense of place here on my own. Playa is busy and has a very different type of tourism than Peru, which has informed the project greatly. I’m excited to come home, but this experience has been incredible and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned.

Here is the introduction to  Azcárate’s book.