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Mexico’s Most Feared Prison to Welcome Tourists

Prisons have held a gory allure for tourists for years. From Alcatraz to the Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast.

Three years after its jail closed down, a group of Mexican islands is being turned into a tourist destination. 

Richard Zarkin, Riviera Nayarit’s Public Relations Director, said that the ferries to this former prison, now converted into a cultural-ecotourism centre, will be operated by Grupo Vidanta.

The prison, Islas Marias was known for its shocking treatment of inmates while it was open. Speaking to Bloomberg, former inmate Beatriz Maldonado told of how 500 prisoners shared just five bathrooms. ‘’They didn’t pay attention to us when someone got sick”, she said. ‘‘My friend’s gallbladder ruptured.’’ Others drowned while trying to escape.

Of the redevelopment, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador said: ”What was a hell is becoming a paradise.’’ Guests will be able to learn about the islands’ history – even staying in the former prison buildings, which have the dual purpose of preventing further construction on environmentally-significant land.

Emer Roche
Emer Roche
Emer has over 10 years experience working for Irish magazines, supplements, websites and creative agencies. She’s written features for U Magazine, Image Magazine and theheyday.ie, across a range of subjects such as women’s interest, travel, culture, news and interviews. She also has a portfolio of commercial writing for creative agencies, such as RTE.ie and Originate Creative. Emer is a Dublin native with part of her heart in Ardmore, County Waterford. She lives in Dublin 7 with her husband, two kids, dog and cat.
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