Mexico boasts an incredible array of flora and fauna, with an abundance of extraordinary species. The gray whale chooses Mexican coasts as its breeding ground, while the deserts and forests serve as magnificent natural sanctuaries. Mexico is also home to the world's second-largest reef and hosts 39% of marine mammals in its seas. Moreover, throughout Mexico's vast expanse, one can find more than 176 protected natural areas, five of which have been recognized by UNESCO as the Natural Heritage of Humanity. With all these remarkable features, Mexico is considered a paradise for ecotourism.
What are ecotourism destinations?
Ecotourism has become a popular trend in the travel industry and with good reason. These destinations provide an opportunity for nature lovers and adventurers to engage with the environment in a sustainable way. Ecotourism destinations are typically areas that are relatively untouched by humans, either due to their remote location or conservation efforts. These destinations offer visitors a chance to appreciate the natural beauty of an area and participate in activities that do not harm the environment. From kayaking through pristine rivers to hiking in protected forests, ecotourism destinations provide a unique experience that fosters respect for the natural world.
Best Places For Eco-Tourism In Mexico
#1 Baja California Sur
Located in Baja California, there exist four designated biosphere reserves, two of which serve as remarkable tourist destinations:
One of them is the Sierra de la Laguna, situated in the southern part of the peninsula. It boasts a breathtakingly diverse ecosystem, characterized by woodlands, scrub, and a plethora of endemic vegetation. Visitors have the opportunity to embark on exhilarating hikes in the Sierra de la Laguna, with the assurance of environmentally responsible practices.
The other notable reserve is the Gulf of California, home to numerous islands, islets, and coastal areas. It is renowned for its abundant marine life and underwater creatures, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts.
#2 Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Campeche
Calakmul is situated in a sprawling jungle spanning 331 thousand hectares. It boasts a rich history of the harmonious coexistence between humanity and nature. With over 38 archaeological sites, it has been recognized as a mixed World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2014. This expansive nature reserve holds the distinction of being the primary one in Mesoamerica and the second largest in the Americas. It serves as a habitat for numerous species of animals and plants.
When you interact with nature, especially in an unfamiliar region, you need to be careful. Use the plant identifier app to learn more about plants. With the plant app, you can find both healing plant species and those that can cause allergies or even more serious consequences. If you download LiLy - Plant Identificator and point your camera at a plant, you will immediately know everything you need about it. Such an app for plants is useful to have with you when traveling, especially where you are closely connected with nature. In Mexico, this app for iPhone is a must.
#3 Akumal, Riviera Maya
Akumal, derived from the Mayan language, is known as the "Place of Turtles." Situated in the breathtaking Riviera Maya, this stunning beach serves as a natural haven for sea turtles, creatures that have graced our planet for over 150 million years. Exploring the pristine waters alongside these majestic creatures is an unparalleled experience that one must not miss in their lifetime. Embark on an unforgettable ecotourism adventure in Mexico's distinguished Riviera Maya.
#4 Bacalar, Quintana Roo
Bacalar is a mesmerizing town blessed with enchanting lagoons. Situated in the southern part of the Riviera Maya, just before reaching Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, one can find the magnificent Bacalar Lagoon. Renowned as the 7-color lagoon for its unique spectrum of blue shades, this natural wonder resembles the idyllic Caribbean Sea, but with a refreshing touch of fresh water. Visitors can embark on a serene kayaking or paddleboarding adventure to bask in the tranquil waters and witness the sun's first rays painting the horizon. Alternatively, sailing during the late afternoon provides an extraordinary experience as the moonlight illuminates the way back to town. Undoubtedly, Bacalar promises an unforgettable and awe-inspiring journey for all who are fortunate enough to visit.
#5 Montebello Lagoons, Chiapas
Montebello, consisting of 59 lagoons, is renowned as one of Chiapas' most incredible tourist attractions. Encompassing over 7,000 hectares of lush jungles and pine forests, it boasts vibrant blue waters that owe their hue to the surrounding vegetation, soil composition, and light refraction. Visitors to Montebello can partake in a variety of activities such as sailing, camping, and capturing stunning landscapes through photography. Notable lagoons include the enchanting Laguna Encantada, the gleaming Esmeralda, the picturesque La Cañada, the dreamlike El Ensueño, and the serene Bosque Azul, among others. A visit to these lagoons is highly recommended.
#6 Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo is widely recognized as one of the most popular states in Mexico, attracting a multitude of visitors each year. As a result, the delicate ecosystems within the region are susceptible to significant impacts.
Quintana Roo boasts numerous captivating natural wonders, such as the Sian Ka'an Reserve and the breathtaking cenotes. In this eco-tourism guide to Mexico, the focus lies on the captivating Bacalar Lagoon, often referred to as the "Maldives of Mexico."
Bacalar Lagoon serves as a prime example of how local communities implementing conscientious practices can yield substantial positive effects on the environment, even in the absence of government intervention.
#7 Centla Swamps, Tabasco
The Pantanos de Centla, located in the state of Tabasco, comprises lowlands and wetlands, making it an extensive Biosphere Reserve. Renowned as the largest wetland in North America and ranking among the 15 most significant globally, it exudes diverse ecosystems and abundant biodiversity. This remarkable site encompasses four distinct mangrove types, numerous freshwater species, invertebrates, chelonians, and various reptiles. Situated about 45 kilometers southeast of the community of Frontera, Tabasco, it remains a captivating destination.
From the awe-inspiring Sierra de la Laguna to the mesmerizing Pantanos de Centla, Mexico is a place where visitors can experience remarkable natural beauty. Ecotourism serves as an excellent method of discovering and appreciating these delicate habitats while understanding their importance in terms of conservation. To ensure that our planet remains in its best condition for future generations, everyone should take care of it. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy natural beauty.