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More and more tourists are participating in ecotourism while visiting the Mayan Riviera, according to statistics provided by industry experts.
Cancun is located near pristine beaches, lush jungles and crystal clear ocean waters, giving tourists who want to experience nature a wide range of options.
During the Easter holiday, traditionally the busiest time for tourism in Cancun, over 35% of tourists visited archaeological sites, cenotes and theme parks.
According to Vicente Ferreira, a specialist in sustainable and indigenous tourism, tourists are looking for new experiences in Cancun, and the adventure tourism industry is ready to provide them.
In addition, adventure tourism gives visitors a back-up plan during sargassum season, when stinky algae cover Cancun’s beautiful beaches.
Ferreira says, “the flow of tourists arriving in Quintana Roo is always related to the natural possibilities, and although they always visit sun and beach tourist centers, there is also a much greater tourist interest in consciously visiting these [ecotourism] landmarks as we see this Easter season.”
He thinks the change will be long-lasting.
Due to the pandemic, people are looking to avoid the crowds while on vacation, and the travel industry is responding.
Ecotourism enables tourists to maintain a safe distance from others. Whether it’s an archaeological site, a national park or a beach, tourists can feel at ease knowing they’re out and about and away from the crowds.
Ferreira has also noticed that sargassum is pushing tourists away from the beaches and into the jungles. But tourists still find a way to enjoy the waters of Quintana Roo.
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“Everything is [about] cenotes, cenote routes, Puerto Morelos or those along the highway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum have shown a significant increase in visitors,” he added.
The development of ecotourism in the Riviera Maya is leading to a rural boom. Government officials are moving quickly to capitalize on this trend.
Local authorities are already changing laws and regulations to open up tourism, including in Maya Kaan, a large national park in the south.
How to enjoy ecotourism in the Riviera Maya
An increasing number of tourists to the Riviera Maya are choosing to enjoy Mexico’s ecological heritage.
Let’s take a look at the most popular ecotourist destinations in Cancun.
Consistently the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, Chichen Itza is one of the most important human heritage sites on the planet. Among its many accolades, Chichen Itza is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
UNESCO writes that the monuments of Chichen Itza “are among the undisputed masterpieces of Mesoamerican architecture because of the beauty of their proportions, the sophistication of their construction and the magnificence of their sculptural decorations.”
The Pyramid of Kukulcan and the ball court are among the most impressive and famous ruins at Chichen Itza.
Recently, the Chichén Itzá Archaeological Zone announced a new archaeological museum and increased park hours, giving tourists even more reasons to visit the park.
Jaguar National Park
In 2022, the Mexican Secretariat of Agricultural, Territorial and Urban Development (Sedatu) created Jaguar National Park as a “space to protect the natural, cultural and historical wealth of Mexico”.
Specifically, protected habitat provides a place for the jaguar to establish its home and breeding grounds.
The head of Sedatu, Roman Mayer Falcon, explained that the park “seeks to stop excessive urban growth, especially in the city of Tulum.”
The archaeological zone of Tulum
The Tulum archaeological site hopes to one day rival Chichen Itza as the most visited archaeological site in Mexico.
Currently the third most visited archaeological site in the country, the ruins of Tulum are known for picturesque views of ancient temples and walls against the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
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