MEXICO CITY – The very shallow, pristine waters around Mexico's Holbox island are perfect for flamingos that gather by the thousands there each year; manatees and whale sharks ply deeper waters nearby.
But the tranquil waters and uncrowded beaches have also drawn developers, who have proposed dredging a boat channel through a coastal lagoon to build and supply a planned resort on an uninhabited barrier island.
Environmentalists say the canal would threaten the very flamingos and manatees that have made Holbox a mecca for nature tourists.
The developers of Peninsula Maya Developments say they want to keep their impact small, building three small hotels and 872 villas.
But the area is largely untouched, replete with mangroves, barely navigable and located inside a nature reserve.