What is eco-tourism?
Instead of writing the definition of eco-tourism, we are going to show you through the eyes 👀 of Green Maya- the true meaning of the word. One of our offered experiences is appropriately named: JUNGLE TREKKING AT PUNTA LAGUNA NATURE RESERVE
Punta Laguna is a fully functioning Mayan community deep in the jungles of the Riviera Maya. The Maya people of the community continue to use many of the same ancient techniques and traditions in their daily lives. Some of the younger members of the community now have cell phones, this is a situation where technology makes a HUGE difference. You know how it feels to be without your phone for one day, think about how important the technology is for people who still cook over an open fire. 🔥
We start the afternoon with a trek through the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve in search of spider and howler monkeys. Along the way we will witness MANY species of flora and fauna flourishing in their natural habitats. We will slow down and quietly observe the species we meet throughout the experience. Here in the Riviera Maya we have 5 common species of epiphytes: ferns, bromeliads, cacti, moss, and orchids. These cool organisms grow on other plants however, they are not parasitic. We will find them growing on everything in the jungle but they seem to like making their homes on tree branches. The tree branch does not have to be alive to support the life of the epiphyte. These plants also do not need soil. They receive the moisture and nutrients needed to survive from the air, rain, humidity and the accumulation of debris around it. So fascinating, it's almost like these plants are real living beings!
Throughout our trek, we will witness alters, like the one pictured- that are still being used for prayer and ceremony today. We will be sure to stop, make an offering and send a prayer to the great universe. It's like magic 🔮!!
You may or may not know about cenotes, I will write exclusively about them in a future El Buzz Verde post but for the purpose of this post, cenotes are sinkholes in the limestone bedrock throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Cenotes were once extremely important to the Maya culture. One of these sinkholes or cenotes was discovered in Punta Laguna Nature Reserve by The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). They have uncovered 113 skeletons of all ages, male & female. There is some serious energy swirling around this hole in the ground. We will stop and discuss the historical significance of the "cenote of sacrifice".
Continuing on until the Mayan jungle gives way and opens a path into the picturesque lagoon of Punta Laguna...
At this point in the afternoon, it's time for a canoe ride through the pristine lagoon, a refreshing dip in the fresh water and a healthy, locally made meal with the breathtaking sunset as the backdrop. Every now and then the clouds will cover the sun but even so, the lagoon still provides an opportunity for amazing photos, even for the amateur photographer (like myself!).
The idea behind "eco-tourism" is to leave no human trace or at least the lowest possible environmental impact from day to day operations: ZERO WASTE (sin plástico!!), balance the scale by purchasing carbon credits to offset the CO2 produced by transportation, serving only locally grown/healthy foods, no loud noises in nature, no forcing the animals to perform, and authentically caring about the communities we work (play) in and each of our guests' experiences.
And that is how green maya defines eco-tourism.
Be wary, some companies will claim to be "eco" or "green" but in reality, they are only using the words to boost their profits. Have you come across a business claiming to be "green" or "eco", but it just didn't sit right with you? Have you ever questioned a business's "eco" claims out loud? PLEASE share your stories below, maybe it can help the rest of us from getting scammed!
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin
Sara @ Green Maya Tulum
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER AND SHARING IS CARING :)
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See you in a few weeks with: Off The Beaten Path Travel With Green Maya