The Riviera Maya combines the charms of the Caribbean Sea with a living Mayan culture, their important archaeological sites, and the impressive biological richness of its natural environment.
Despite these treasures, however, tourism is still underdeveloped. But ecotourism in Mexico is increasingly on the rise, and the movement towards embracing sustainable tourism is no more present than in the Riviera Maya, thanks to the unbeatable geographic and environmental conditions.
Here, there is an array of natural wonders: cenotes (natural sinkholes), caverns, underground rivers, the Western Hemisphere’s largest barrier reef, low jungles and mangrove forests.
The Cozumel National Marine Reef Park, in particular, encompasses about 25 reefs in clear, calm waters. These waters boast pleasant temperatures that allow you to observe and enjoy the diverse marine life. For that and much more, this area is one of the top five diving destinations in the world.
Elsewhere, Contoy Island is a small tropical paradise bang in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. This island, declared a National Park, has preserved its unspoiled status and offers visitors outstanding scenery that combines tropical vegetation with crystalline waters, allowing visitors to admire the island’s extraordinary set of ecosystems.
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere reserve, on the other hand, is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean and shelters hundred of species of birds and mammals – and just so happens to be around the corner from the Tulum ruins. This stunning reserve was declared a “World Cultural Heritage Site” by the UNESCO thanks to its 23 archeological sites situated amidst the lush foliage of the rainforest; it also features the most diverse geography comprising coral reefs, beaches, cenotes, mangrove swamps and lagoons. Percentages of the revenue generated here is used to fund various educational and conservation programs at the nature reserve, which is operated using ecologically responsible technologies, including solar and wind power, rainwater collection and systems for wetland waste management.
For those who aspire to be earth-friendly and who wish to contribute to local communities while not compromising all the comforts of a well deserved Mexican vacation, exploring a few of the Riviera Maya excursions on offer are the way to go.