Playuela is one of the most iconic beaches in Puerto Rico, celebrated for its warm water, biodiverse reefs, and amazing waves that attracts surfers from all over the world.

Developers have had their eyes on this section of beach since the 1990s, and they have recently developed plans to build a $200 million resort. The Christopher Columbus Landing Resort would stretch 140 acres and would include a 300-room hotel, casino, villas, and apartments.

Puerto Ricans are divided over the resort plans. Some saying the hotel would bring jobs and tourism to the island, while others want to keep its natural beauty. Local government supports the building of the resort for its projected 700 jobs and the tourists that it will attract. Puerto Rico’s economy has languished under a $72 billion debt and a 12 percent unemployment rate.

Those who oppose the construction of the resort claim that the building of the hotel will disrupt the many local animal and plant species protected by the unspoiled beaches. Many endangered plants and animals call Playuela home, such has the critically endangered hawksbill turtle and green turtle as well as three endangered corals. 22,000 people have signed a petition in an effort to protect the famed beach.

Developers have started to cut down trees and vegetation to build roads. However, La Liga Ecoló La Liga Ecológica del Noroeste, an environmental nonprofit in Puerto Rico, is demanding an injunction to stop the hotel construction.

Read more here.