The Riviera Maya is home to one of the fastest growing cities in Latin America: Playa del Carmen. It also hosts millions of international tourists each year, through its abundance of all-inclusive resorts, luxury hotels and strong vacation rental market. There is so much fun to be had in the bustling tourist scene of the Riviera Maya.
Is this all the Riviera Maya has to offer? Or is there another side to this place? Can you find peace and tranquility? Nature that is unobstructed by man? Beautiful places where one can experience and connect with nature? Well yes, you sure can!
The Riviera Maya literally has so much to offer, even a thriving ecotourism scene. Below is a list of the top 6 ecotourism destinations in the Riviera Maya!
- Akumal (Turtle Sanctuary)
This hidden treasure is apart of a small community just 39 km from Playa del Carmen, and 105 km from Cancun. Akumal Bay is home to an array of fish, coral, and sea turtles. It’s a true paradise that allows you to be one with nature and swim amongst the sea life.
They have protective measures in place to protect the marine wildlife, especially the sea turtles. Snorkeling tours are great to learn about the habitat and different species that live there. Or, you can bring your own gear and go out on your own. Make sure to wear a life jacket though, they are mandatory to protect the sea floor from diving destruction. An experience like this is truly special, you can learn about the habitat and connect with marine life.
- Cancun, MUSA (Museo Subacuático Del Arte)
Another beautiful eco marine zone is, “The Underwater Museum of Art” in Cancun. This place is a true spectacle of the interaction between environmental science and man-made sculptures. The whole museum shows how beautiful and powerful a marine biosystem is, by creating a complex reef structure with thriving marine life. Experience the beauty by glass bottom boat, snorkeling or scuba diving.
- Bacalar (Eco Friendly Escape)
The most secluded, non-touristy, eco friendly place is probably Bacalar, also known as “The 7 Color Lagoon.” You wont find all-inclusive giants here. Accommodations consist of eco friendly hotels and resorts. Many of them utilizing alternative energy sources. It’s a beautiful place to take a boat tour of the lagoon to see the colors, wildlife and thriving ecosystem. Or you can simply rent a kayak or paddle board to explore on your own.
- Cozumel (Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park)
This national park is located off the coast of Cozumel and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second largest coral reef system in the world. The park is home to several species of sea life that are under some degree of protection. It’s an amazing place for avid divers and snorkelers. With the crystal-clear waters far away from shore or any man made structures, it makes for a wonderful and clean experience.
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere
This place is fully committed to protecting the area and its fragile ecosystems, being a World Heritage Site and the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. That being said, there are many environmentally friendly tours to bring people into this region’s spectacular wildlife and awe-inspiring Mayan ruins. Here you will be able to find snorkel tours, nature encounters, bird watching, Mayan ruins and fly fishing expeditions.
- Isla Holbox
Holbox Island has 21 miles of white sand beaches and is part of the Yum Balam Ecological Reserve. Its a quiet piece of paradise in the north of Quintana Roo and boasts natural beauty through its scenery and wildlife. Here you can experience an array of things, from swimming with whale sharks to bird watching, there is something for everyone.
There you have it, the top 6 ecotourism opportunities in the Riviera Maya. A destination as bustling and busy is this, still has plenty of relaxing and peaceful attractions for the eco-tourist enthusiast.