Although the tourism industry is constantly growing, growth doesn’t always necessarily have positive implications for the destination and its resources. For one, a heightened influx of tourists can threaten the ecosystem of sensitive natural locations. And more people equals more strain on the environment.
Ecotourism activities in Mexico, as a result, has a distinctly positive impact on the local community, which includes the people and their natural resources. And this is more present than ever in modern-day Merida.
Celestun is considered the birthplace of ecotourism in Mexico, and its name in Mayan culture means ‘painted stone’. This quiet fishing village lies west of Merida, and here you can find extensive isolated stretches of beautiful beaches and palapas where the best fish and seafood are served in the region.
Celestun also serves as a home to one of the world’s most important pink flamingo colonies, with over 23,000 flamingos using the area as a nesting, resting, feeding and breeding site. Boat rides through the vast mangroves and wetlands serve as the most convenient way to admire the impressive water bird populations and see the dazzling flocks of pink flamingos – who get their bright pink color from eating brine shrimp. If you are looking the escape the city and the crowds, this site is for you.
On the other hand, for those interested in the history of Merida’s haciendas, why not take a tour of one to learn more. Hacienda Sotuta de Peon offers a journey through the ages of henequen production, with interactive explanations of how the fiber was harvested and produced before and after the industrial revolution.
But if your spirit for adventure goes even further, you can choose to explore the array of cenotes near Merida – which is often labeled as one of the best things to do in Merida, Mexico. Get refreshed in the stunning crystal waters of the Yucatan’s most enticing natural wonders, within a system of underground rivers connecting over 30,000 of these natural sinkholes across the peninsula. Visit hidden subterranean cenote caves, take a Mayan ruins tour, go cenote snorkeling, diving, or just take a swim in a bright, open freshwater cenote.