Costa Maya News
Xcalak 107th Aniversary - history
Xcalak is celebrating it´s 107th Aniversary this year.
The history of Xcalak dates back to pre-Hispanic times. In the 16th Century, English pirates took over a large part of the coast and attacked Spanish ships that transported gold and riches back to Spain. Spain tried to defend its interests by constructing forts such as the one at Bacalar. Pirates continued to devastate the region. At the end of the 19th Century, the Mexican Navy took control over what is today the state of Quintana Roo. In Oct. of 1899, a site was constructed on the Zaragoza Canal to provide access to Chetumal Bay. The village of Xcalak was founded on May 19, 1900 as the base for the “Southern Fleet” and the first shipyard in the Mexican Caribbean. When the Federal Territory of Quintana Roo was created in 1902, there were three important villages on the coast: Xcalak in the south, Vigia Chico in the middle, and Puerto Morelos in the north. The Xcalak village was the only village in the territory that did not depend on mahogany and chicle.
In the 1950s, Xcalak’s economy was very healthy, boasting developments such as stone and wood construction, an ice factory, and electric plant, storehouses for large quantities of copra, grocery stores, a billiard hall, a movie theater, an ice cream factory, etc. Xcalak was the most important supply center in the region. After Hurricane Janet, Xcalak was in ruins. Many of its inhabitants died, including the lighthouse keeper and many sailors. The fishing trade resulted in social organizations. On Oct. 25, 1959, the Cooperative Fishing Production Society of Andrea Quintana Roo was founded. In 1980, a 120 km gravel road was built, forming the Chetumal - Carrillo Puerto highway. At the end of the 1980s Costa de Cocos and the first dive shop, “Aventuras Chinchorro” (now XTC Dive Center), opened . On August 24, 1995, the government of Quintana Roo published the decree for the “Ecological regulation for the area referred to as the Maya Coast” (Punta Herero - Xcalak). The decree outlined tourism development plans for the Costa Maya corridor. Xcalak was designated as one of the sites for the greatest development. The restoration of the municipal pier in Xcalak was completed at the end of 1995 to facilitate tourism development. In June of 1996, a ferry pier was built at La Aguada in order to provide service between Chetumal and Xcalak. At the same time, the existing airstrip in Xcalak was enlarged.