The National Fund for Tourism Infrastructure (renamed the National Tourism Development Fund, Fonatur, in 1974) began building Cancún in 1970 and Ixtapa in 1971, followed later by Los Cabos, Loreto and Huatulco. Fonatur has also started to develop a mega-project on a stretch of coastline north of Puerto Vallarta known as Riviera Nayarit.
Fonatur’s latest tourism mega-plan, first announced three years ago, is for a resort complex further north on the Pacific coast, in Escuinapa (Sinaloa), about 100 km south of the port city of Mazatlán. As for previous Fonatur purpose-built tourism resorts, Fonatur has prepared an overall land-use master plan, and will finance some of the initial basic infrastructure such as access highways and power lines. The hotels, recreational facilities, residential and commercial areas will be constructed by private developers.
Fonatur Sinaloa is being planned as a “sustainable tourist development” targeting a wide cross-section of tourists by offering opportunities for sailing, spa visits, participatory sports, and a variety of cultural and educational activities. The Escuinapa site comprises 2,381 hectares (double the original area of Cancún) with 12 km of beachfront. The site is surrounded by the Sinaloa National Wetlands, and more than 20% of the area allocated to the resort is being set aside as a protected ecological reserve or conservation area.
The area (see image above from La Punta Realty) is quite easy to access by both highway and air. A divided toll highway goes all the way to the US border, and also connects the location to central Mexico via Tepic and Guadalajara. Two airports are within an hour of the new site: the local Teacapán airport, 26 km away, and Mazatlán International airport, 85 km away.
Fonatur’s business plan claims that the mega-resort will be able to accommodate 3 million tourists a year, with related annual expenditures of 2.8 billion dollars. The master plan for Fonatur Sinaloa envisages 15,000 hotel rooms, 25,000 condominiums, time-share rooms and tourist homes, as well as golf courses, a cruise-ship dock, shopping centers and cultural areas, intersected by interior canals linking the separate sections and creating a variety of aquatic zones.
The project will be developed in ten phases, with an estimated final completion date of 2019.