Preserving Rio Secreto with Otto von Bertrab

Otto von Bertrab

My guest this week, Otto von Bertrab, famously discovered Rio Secreto in 2006. Originally from Mexico City, a short trip to Akumal left him in love with the Riviera Maya and the Mayan people. Otto is the published author of four books and has 11 more in various stages of completion. He joins me today to tell us more about his Rio Secreto project and conservation within the community.

17 years ago, Otto helped to get the Alltournative eco-tourism project off the ground in the Coba area near the Pac Chen cenote. He has always had the goal of preserving the area in pristine condition. After finding Rio Secreto, a series of underground pools, he recognized that if Playa del Carmen kept growing, the natural wonders and the clean water supply would be in danger, if there wasn’t someone guarding it.

So, Otto helped to form the Centinelas del Agua, a non-profit group who maintains strict regulations for visitors and are requesting the cenotes and underground rivers be considered biological corridors. Otto believes protecting the fresh water cenotes from sea level rise caused by global warming to be an emergency. People with children should become active participants in protecting the life-giving water sources.

Scientists are also studying the geology of the area and uncovering secrets of the Mayan culture throughout history. Otto says the Mayan people and their culture is the true treasure of the area, and he recommends visitors rent a car, and visit the small Mayan towns which make up the Riviera Maya.

Thank you to Buy Playa for sponsoring this episode. They sell only titled properties and are experts in their field!

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