Boasting turquoise waters, lush wild jungle and historic Mayan architecture, the Mexican Caribbean has implemented revolutionary sustainable practices to maintain those natural riches, now reflected in the third annual Sustainable & Social Tourism Summit to be held in Cancun from June 23 to 26.
National and international vendors, hotels and experts will gather over four days in Mexico’s most important sustainable tourism event to experience and discuss the latest sustainability offerings in the market. Along with a surge of eco-hotels, recycling standards and immersive nature tours, the growing summit propels Quintana Roo’s thriving eco-tourism movement.
“With our growing sustainability practices, we aim to refresh the Mexican Caribbean’s standing as a global tourism innovator,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board.
Travelers visiting the Mexican Caribbean can book an eco-friendly stay at hotels like Fairmont Mayakoba, whose award-winning Sustainability Partnership program ties community improvement into daily operations by sourcing fruits and vegetables from local Mayan villages. The hotel has considered the environment since its inception, when 10,000 plants and 40 species of animals were carefully relocated to ensure their preservation. The Green Globe-recognized Paradisus Playa del Carmen even boasts its own sustainability manager onsite to manage the hotel’s various sustainable measures. Hotel Xcaret Mexico became the first hotel in Latin America to receive the internationally renowned EarthCheck Certification, which is only awarded to properties whose design and planning adhere to the highest standards of sustainability.
Beyond check-in, Mexican Caribbean visitors can savor green living from the source at popular parks like Nativa Park, a ‘natural museum’ which, in addition to mass reforestation efforts, promotes the protection of the native melipona bee and invites visitors to taste the bee’s healing honey. Animal lovers seeking voluntourism will find it in Akumal, where every first and third Sunday of the month hosts a turtle monitoring and conservation experience. Participants stay in a beachfront home and help protect native turtles via snorkeling, learning photoidentification methods and other eco-friendly activities included in the program. Also ideal for animal enthusiasts is the natural biosphere of Sian Ka’an, where travelers can take a tour of the mangroves with Blue Caribe to observe endemic fauna including manatees, crocodiles, turtles and dolphins, among other animals. Many tour operators throughout the region including Alltournative, Rio Secreto and EcoColors, among others, provide sustainable tours and experiences to travelers with the goal to raise awareness and encourage preservation of the environment.
The region also enforces sustainability via the Secretary of Tourism’s prestigious “Distintivo S” (S distinction for sustainability), which provides benefits to hotels and tourism providers that maintain stringent energy and water preservation. 63 hotels and tour operators are certified in the Mexican Caribbean. Such regulations make sustainability accessible and desirable, beyond a trend and into a conscious choice in the picturesque Mexican Caribbean.