Eco-friendly, green, sustainable. These are all buzz words on the lips of everyone – including travelers and travel professionals. When you’re planning a family vacation, you’ll want to keep that in mind. There are some locations that are really going above and beyond to not only protect their natural resources but encourage visitors to take part and learn about conservation and take part in protection efforts. As the 7th most popular tourist destination in the world, Mexico has taken steps to become more eco-friendly and preserve its natural heritage.
What is Eco-Tourism
Eco-tourism is defined as tourism directed at exotic, often threatened natural environments to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife. When visiting these sites, choose companies that also believe in sustainable practices like water conservation, recycling, and eating locally – all practices that reduce waste and do not deplete the areas resources. Consider choosing one or two places for your vacation to really get to know, and invest in learning about instead of “drive by” tourism that gives just a glimpse of a place and uses many resources (like gas or petrol) to get you from place to place.
Eco-Friendly Attractions in Mexico for Your Family Vacation
In Mexico there are more and more options for eco-tourists on a family vacation. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one example. Thousands of species of animals and fauna exist in this area on the Caribbean Sea. The area itself is a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Because the area is so protected choosing companies who are committed to protecting the area is vital. Some activities that are possible include boat rides through the region, reef snorkeling, and tours of the Mayan ruins that dot the landscape.
Los Cabos (affiliate link) is well known for its beaches and tourist infrastructure but it’s also the nesting ground for thousands of sea turtles. If you’re visiting between June and December you will be able to see the turtles nesting and laying eggs. Palmilla Beach was recently awarded Blue Flag Certification for Eco-Excellence. Not only can you enjoy the beautiful beach but local resorts are creating amazing personal experiences allowing visitors to get involved.
Specially trained resort staff protect laid eggs and safeguard the beach by posting signs to alert people where there are nests. Guests staying at Las Ventanas al Paraiso can help escort newly hatched baby turtles to the ocean. If you’re staying at Esperanza you can adopt a turtle and release it into the ocean at sunset. For little ones a stay at One&Only Palmilla will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn more about the turtles and turtle release programs as well as naming them and earning a certificate of participation.
Rural tourism is another way families can get involved with eco-tourism in Mexico. Discovering places off the beaten path often offers a close look into the way people live in another place. Tasting the authentic food eaten day to day, learning local history, and seeing traditional homes are hard to find in big cities or tourist resorts. In rural areas you’ll be treated to small family-run hotels with a distinctively local feel.
Whether you want to learn about sea turtles on the Baja Peninsula, admire flora and fauna on the Caribbean coast or head inland to rural mountain villages there’s an eco-friendly family vacation waiting for you in Mexico. Looking for more great family vacation destinations? Check out all our favorite places to visit!
Have you ever been to Mexico on a family vacation? What is your favorite eco-friendly place to visit?