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Mexico reinvents notorious island prison to draw Pacific tourists | Travel

One in every of Mexico’s most infamous prisons begins a brand new chapter this weekend as a Pacific Ocean getaway after a makeover geared toward bringing in tourists to the previous penal colony.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Friday night opened the Islas Marias Vacationer Heart, bidding to show the decades-old federal jail within the Islas Marias archipelago into an environmental attraction and place for historical past lovers.

“That is tourism for excursions, to discover, to dwell with nature,” Lopez Obrador stated this week. “To recreate historical past, it is one thing distinctive, extraordinary.”

Alongside villas to lodge friends, a restaurant, a restaurant and seashores, the revamped website contains an arch named after Nelson Mandela, who spent some 18 years behind bars on South Africa’s Robben Island earlier than being elected president of the nation.

Mandela is “an instance that even behind jail partitions, beliefs and alter can dwell on for individuals who need to change historical past,” Mexico’s authorities stated in a promotional video.

Positioned about 62 miles (100 km) off the western state of Nayarit, the Islas Marias grew to become a jail in 1905 underneath dictator Porfirio Diaz and was in nearly fixed use till it was closed by Lopez Obrador in 2019.

The penitentiary as soon as housed many political prisoners, together with Jose Revueltas, an influential Mexican author imprisoned a number of occasions for his left-wing activism.

The federal government has introduced vacationer packages to the islands, with ferries to the principle settlement of Puerto Balleto beginning subsequent week. The middle will probably be run by the Mexican Navy and is a part of a protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Mexico has loved a post-pandemic vacationer increase, with worldwide arrivals to the nation rising by 56.4% through the first 10 months of 2022 in contrast with the identical interval final 12 months, and up 7.3% compared to 2019.

This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content. Solely the headline has been modified.

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