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Chiquilá boatmen block Holbox ferry boarding in protest

Chiquilá, Q.R. — Angry Chiquilá boatmen blocked ferry boarding to the island of Holbox Monday for nearly five hours for an alleged breach of agreement. The group of mainland boatmen were upset at what they called abusive practices by the two ferry companies that run the route.

It wasn’t until early Monday afternoon that the Chiquilá boatmen and the ferry companies managed to establish an agreement. The men placed handmade posters along a section of fence Monday morning when they began their 8:00 a.m. protest that left ferry passengers stranded.

Dozens of would-be ferry passengers were left to wait at the Chiquila maritime terminal where the boatmen held their demonstration. The men vowed to remain in place until a state authority with the power to resolve the conflict arrived.

According to the disgruntled men, neither of the ferry companies comply with agreements made in May of last year, which included a consistent ferry ticket price as well as the sale of tickets only through the official offices.

Dozens waited in line for hours due to the protest. Photo: Judge Swampy January 29, 2024.

“We arrived in Chiquila this morning to find the sandy roads swarming with tourists. 9 Hermanos and Holbox Express ferries, the only two companies available to take patrons to Isla Holbox, are at odds with each other over an attempt to slash prices and create a monopoly.

“Small boats block the ferries until the two companies can come to an agreement as local restaurants enjoy the booming business of confused but patient backpackers. We have been instructed to check in hourly for updates with no confirmed end in sight,” one reader wrote in to Riviera Maya News.

The boatmen claim the ferry companies are undermining the agreement that they say was signed before state authorities last year. The men say that the ferry companies often charge less for their tickets to draw passengers, a practice that leaves them unable to compete.

Ferry crossing tickets are supposed to be sold only at the official offices. Photo: January 29, 2024.

They also claim the companies hire ticket sellers who are offering round trips for as little as 200 pesos and that these sellers are often seen on public roads and near bus terminals.

This practice is another area of their agreement that has been breached since the agreement reached last year includes ferry ticket purchases only at their official windows.