Tulum is a vibrant beach town in the south of Mexico, in the state of Quintana Roo, in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Located between the Caribbean coast, and the lively jungles, Tulum is a destination no traveler would want to miss. Eco-tourism in the area is on the rise, and so is sustainable development. There are many eco-resorts and hotels in the area, which benefit not only sustainable tourism, but also the eco-system, and in recent years, locals and international tourists have taken interest in appreciating the local Maya Yucatec cultures, and in taking action to protect, preserve and improve the existent situation of the municipality of Tulum.
When I first arrived to Tulum, I was shocked to see the thick tropical jungle, beautiful and clean beaches, and most importantly, what people are doing to protect this eco-system and this movement of sustainability. The hotel where I stayed was called Sanará. We are greeting kindly by the staff and pointed to our cosy room. We walk through the beautiful sand and go up the steps leading to our room. The hotel has provided us with organic lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and sun-screen products, which are all safe for the environment. Our terrace was hidden in the splendid beauty of coconut palms and other tropical trees, being blown in the maritime breeze. We had an amazing view of the ocean, and its clear waves crashing ashore, the air was humid and smelled of seaweed and sand, which was, I admit, a peculiar yet pleasant odour. We dined at a health restaurant, paleo-friendly, using only certified organic and sustainable produce, called The Real Coconut, located in the hotel. The food was exquisite, light, yet filling, the only problem was all the amazing options to choose from! And not to mention, all straws and to-go cups were 100% bio-degradable. We were also pleased to go to wonderful Yucatec restaurants such as Casa Banana, Arca, and Mur-Mur, using organic, sustainable and fresh produce, which is cooked over an open fire for the maximum enhancement of the flavour. I was also able to notice that many locals speak Yucatec Mayan, in addition to Spanish and English.
Another eco-tourist attraction of the area would be the Cenotes, naturally-formed craters of creek water all over Belize and Yucatan, thriving with life and absolutely stunning to see. In the caves, bats are found, in the waters, varieties of fish and what really got my attention, turtles. These animals were all so amazing to see, and the snorkelling in the Cenotes waters is a must if you are planning a trip to Tulum. Akumal is a town near Tulum, notorious for its aquatic nature reserve where you can see anything from sea turtles, barracudas, manta rays and coral reefs. Akumal is also known for its animal sanctuary, where you can witness the true ecological wonders of Yucatan and Central America. You can talk to the beautiful macaws or have the squirrel monkeys crawl on you and play around in their habitat. At the end of the tour, traditional Yucatec cook, Doña Miné prepares for us a nice afternoon snack accompanied by her Tepache, a refreshing pineapple drink.
My wonderful experience in Tulum is evidence that sustainability and eco-tourism is more than possible in the 21st century. And if we want to reduce the impacts of climate change and pollution, we must prioritise our planet and our eco-systems, rather than profit. In all, eco-tourism and sustainable tourism and community building is the future, and is an efficient solution.