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Alternative Tourism

The Riviera Maya is reach in adventure and excitement. From the reef at the bottom of the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea to the tops of Mayan Pyramids in the heart of the tropical jungle, modern attractions mix with the ancient natural beauty of Mundo Maya.
Running parallel to the coast and just a few meters offshore, is the great Mayan Reef, habitat to an endless variety of colorful marines animals and plants and a delightful source of fun for the divers. All along the coast, marinas offers all the services needed to enjoy this underwater paradise: gear, beginners’ classes and special certification courses for experienced divers. Besides classic daytime tours, night excursions are available for a glimpse of nocturnal species identification tours and sunken ship diving in search of lost treasure.

On land, the tropical jungle hides many wonders: it is the habitat of brightly feathered birds like toucans, parrots, hummingbirds and the long-tailed, electric-blue Toh.
Hundreds of mammal species have found a refuge here, including white tail deer, jaguar and monkeys. And orchids, irises, ink wood trees, palms and cottonwoods – sacred to the ancient Maya – fill the air with their perfume and provided shelter to many woodland animals.

The Area’s Natural Park are a great way to get to know the hundreds of species in the great Mayan tropical forest, on sea and in the lagoons.
These parks invite you to swim with the dolphin, take close-up of macaws and pink flamingos, observe jaguars and pumas in their natural habitat, follow jungle trails on horseback or bicycle, and swim in cool refreshing cenotes or underground rivers.

An extensive network of underground rivers runs under the great slab of limestone bedrock that is the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes, or fresh water wells, are the gateway to this system. After exploring the jungle all day, there is nothing quite like cooler down surrounded by verdant plant life in one of these oases where wild animals come to quench their thirst.

Divers can explore the system of underwater caves and grottoes with an experienced, certified guide. Swimming amongst the stalactites and stalagmites, visitors discover an unsuspected world of silent beauty, filled with species that have adapted to the darkness.
these underwater caves provide tremendous insight into the natural history of our planet.
Beyond the town of Tulum, famous for its magnificent cliff top Mayan temples overlooking the sea and picturesque ecological hotels, the Shian Ka’an Biosphere reserve preserves a huge diversity of ecosystem.

One of the ways to visit the reserve is by boat through the canals leading to place that are completely cut off to the civilization. The coastal road take you clear to the fishing village of Punta Allen, which offers rustic accommodations for tourists.

Kayaking is one of the way’s to explore the Riviera Maya’s many virgin lagoons, where visitors might cutch glimpses of herds of howler monkeys leaping amongst the foliage on the banks. Jungle trails lead to small villages where the Maya live as in ancient times. They are a warm, hospitable people, who are ready to open their doors to all. The Maya are proud of their culture and lifestyle and love to share an authentic meal with anyone who visit them.
Eco-tourism excursions also take visitors to bay with fine, white-sand beaches dotted with palms trees. The water is crystal-clear and perfect to swimming, snorkel or padding a Kayak. Some tours invite the visitors to fly above the lagoon on a surf kite, whiz through the trees on a zip line or practice rappelling on cliffs or in cenotes.

Amongst the huge array of out of the ordinary activities available here, some tour agencies include capturing crocodiles with a team of biologist, or sea turtles watching at night during nesting season (summer). Nature tours combine archeological sites like Coba – hidden in the jungle and surrounded by five lakes – and Muyil, filed with fruit laden orange and guanabana trees and situated in a tropical forest of majestic cedar, flame and copal trees.
Places visited by eco-tourism enthusiast are essentially untouched, so its important to follow the local rules to avoid the impacting ecosystem and as a sign of respect for the living Mayan culture.
Visitors should use environmentally friendly sun block, avoid touching the coral, keep a prudent distance from all wildlife and, in the Mayan communities, always ask permission before taking pictures. Support of local ecological and handicraft project is also much appreciated. Future generation will thank you for every effort to preserve this millenary culture and natural environment.

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