The travel industry worldwide is currently in a period of expansion, and the fastest growing segment within travel is ecotourism, according to the United Nations Travel Organization. Last year (2014), ecotourism accounted for 6% of the global gross domestic product – a value of approximately US $4.5 Trillion. There is no question that more travelers are seeking the eco-tour experience and that local economies do benefit from these activities.
David Fennell, PhD, Professor of Tourism and Environment at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, a co-founder of the Journal of Ecotourism and a respected scholar in this field, explains that while certification processes and best practice guides for eco-tour operators are still evolving, travelers can look for companies that are nature-focused, follow “green” practices, and maintain ethical employment standards.
But what is the starting point? How does one find companies that offer eco-tours?
You can ask friends or co-workers who travel a lot. Or, you can try a search engine like Google or Yahoo using the term “eco-tour.” But those methods can be hit-or-miss.
On EcoTourLinQ, you can search by country by using the Search drop-down menu, or you can simply type the name of a country or region (e.g., Asia, Europe) in the Search box located to the upper right corner of the home page. The resulting page provides a short introduction to the country you selected along with a few pertinent facts about that country’s wildlife and steps toward environmental conservation.
Following the introduction, you will see a number of button links with the names of companies offering one or more eco-tours to that country. Click on any button with your mouse, and the home page of that company will open in a new tab in your browser. From that point you can read further about the company and the itineraries that they provide.
There is a page for Mexico included with links to eco-tour companies based in the Yucatan region or in California Baja Sur.
The EcoTourLinQ directory website also offers an Ecotourism News section, which is updated weekly, as well as a Forum page for anyone wishing to post a question or answer on various topics such as suggestions for best footwear on hiking excursions or which lightweight cameras to pack. There are no tour reviews or ratings such as can be found on sites like TripAdvisor, but experienced eco-travelers can share their knowledge with others within the Forum.
But if you already have your trip booked to the Yucatan, and you’re thinking about taking some time away from the “all inclusive” to have a little taste of ecotourism in one of the world’s most beautiful destinations for this kind of activity, here we give a few tips:
Chichen Itza “One of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World”
Most travel agencies and tour operators will try to sell tourists a “Tour-Bus or Day-Trip to Chichen Itza” as the most common way to visit this impressive archaeological Mayan zone.
We recommend you to avoid such Chichen Itza Tours for you will spend more time traveling in the tour bus than in the site!
Besides, such short visits (normally less than three hours on site mid-day) leave you no room to fully enjoy the Mayan pyramids, stone carvings, murals, and the magic of this impressive site (not to mention that, if you leave in the middle of the afternoon, you would be missing the spectacular “Light & Sound” evening show); plus, you will miss so many great Eco-Cultural experiences that bring inner understanding of the Maya world, traditions, culture, and Cosmo-vision.
To take a plung in the fresh natural clear water of a Cenote in the middle of the Yucatan is an experience that you will never forget.
The Yodzonot Cenote is located in the Mayan Village of the same name, about 20 minutes from Chichen Itza; take Free highway 180, and head west to the town of Piste, from there just follow the signs and you will shortly reach the Yodzonot rural village, Yodzonot Cenote is right there.
PRICE: Donation of US $ 8 USD per person is paid at entrance of this Eco-Park run by Mayan Female Locals who rent safety vests, snorkels, visors, hammocks, etc.
We highly recommend you to visit Pueblo Maya, it is less than one mile away from the archaeological site entrance.
At Pueblo Maya you can eat authentic regional cuisine in their Mexican restaurant, have a cocktail, swim in their gorgeous and clean swimming pool, and lounge around in a hammock exactly the same way the Mayans do.
Then shop for high quality Mexican clothes, crafts and jewelry in their Mexican craft market. They also have a botanic garden featuring local plants, in which plants are labeled so you can identify them.
Pueblo Maya has a 25 year history of giving visitors to Chichen Itza an authentic experience of the Yucatan, its flavors, its treasures and its ambiance. Come and experience a taste of the culture of the Maya at Pueblo Maya.