Not sure if you are aware, but the Riviera Maya is a collection of very diverse ecosystems that are more delicate than meets the eye, or scuba mask.
As a visitor, it is easy to come and go and not worry about the impact your vacation activities have on the local environment. We can all be accused of situational sustainability, sustaining environments that we know best. But the planet is everyone’s home and every square inch needs to be treated as though it is our own backyard. We have learned over time the best way to protect new environments as we made the move to the ocean, the jungle, cenotes and beaches.
1. Wear Biodegradable Sunscreen – Buy it here in the Riviera Maya or from home but this small but important change makes a huge difference to the cenotes and sea! It is also better for your skin!
2. Bring a steel or non-BPA water bottle with you – It is cheaper and easier to use the large 20 Liter bottles of water to fill your water than buy small bottles of water every day. A 500 ml bottle of water (half a liter) is 10 pesos (60 cents). A 20 liter oversized jug of water is 32 pesos or just under 2 USD.(if you are buying your own 20 litre jug you will need to pay a deposit for the jug but get it back when you return the jug undamaged) Most vacation rentals come with large jugs of water and are included in the price of your rental. Do the math! Not only are you saving money but you are not adding more plastic bottles to the environment!
4. Separate Your Garbage at your condo or vacation villa – Glass, aluminum cans, PET boxes and paper can be separated from our regular waste. If you leave it in a clear plastic bag, open by the curb, people (not the city) will collect these recycled items. Locals are rewarded financially for their recycling. You can also recycle items yourself in each city.
5. Take a snorkel class – Did you know that disturbing the sand in the sea can suffocate coral? Learning snorkeling basics especially how to kick under water actually preserves the reef and coral. Take a snorkel class at a local dive center and help the sea!
6. Go on a Community Tour – Community Tours offered by local organizations or guides are a great way to learn about the local environment. The jungle, sea, lagoons and cenotes exist as a delicate ecosystem that defines this area of Mexico. Local community tours are great at showcasing the environmental diversity while explaining how communities live within this diversity. Our favorite community tour is Ojos Mayas, a one day tour that takes you into a Maya community and shares every day life.
7. Remove your garbage from any tour areas or the beach – It is expected that you remove any garbage you take to the beach, or the jungle. If you bring plastic bottles, paper bags, plastic bags, etc to the beach or the jungle, please take them back out with you. It is the same rules that are upheld in any global national park, what you take in you must bring back out!
8. Take Public Transportation! – There are not chicken buses in the Riviera Maya – Repeat there are no chicken buses in the Riviera Maya! If anything public transportation is the best and most cost effective way to get around! Between the ADO tour buses, local city combi’s and city to city collectivo’s you can get where you want to go very easily and meet others while you are at it.
9. Always have a Tupperware Container Handy for Leftovers – Unfortunately most restaurants still use styrofoam to-go containers. Skip this option and bring a small Tupperware container so you take those delicious left overs back to your vacation villa with you.
10. Stay at an eco-friendly, sustainable vacation villa – Look for solar electricity, grey water use, salt water pools, and natural gardens that respect and use the diverse environment of the area. Here is a list of sustainable villas, hotels and condos for your stay in the Riviera Maya.
Still not sure how to make this all happen? Check out our new guide, Green Guide to the Riviera Maya so you can be a mindful traveler on vacation!
Check out our Riviera Maya Green Guide
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