Located within the Caribbean only a brief distance offshore from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a small island that punches above its weight when it comes to providing an eco-friendly journey expertise. The Yucatán Peninsula has lengthy been impacted by mass tourism and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by native officers who’re involved for the area’s fragile ecosystem.
Isla Mujeres is understood for its laid-back stress-free environment, a far cry from close by Cancun. Whereas many vacationers merely make an effort to take a day journey to the island from the mainland, Isla Mujeres is greater than deserving of being the only focus of any journey to this area of Mexico.
Attending to Isla Mujeres
Some islands require a little bit of effort to go to, Isla Mujeres is just not one in all them. You merely take one of many common 30-minute ferries that run from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
Puerto Juárez’s Gran Puerto ferry port is the primary means most individuals entry ferries that run to the island, however there are extra routes main from Cancun’s Lodge Zone together with departures from El Embarcadero, Playa Caracol, and Playa Tortugas.
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As quick because the journey is, most could be glad if it had been to take longer because the surroundings aboard the ferry is a fairly good appetizer for what’s to return. Most of the ferries make the most of engines which can be designed to cut back emissions as a lot as doable and the consolation onboard is fairly spectacular for a ferry even when on a regular ticket. Nevertheless, there may be additionally a first-class part in the event you want to get pleasure from much more consolation.
Isla Mujeres and its Dedication to Sustainability and Environmental Safety
Quintana Roo, which is the state that features Cancún, Isla Mujeres, and Cozumel is proving its dedication to preserving the native ecosystem. The Distintivo S program was created by the native Ministry of Tourism in cooperation with EarthCheck and Rainforest Alliance. This system gives certification and numerous advantages to native companies that undertake sustainable practices like conserving vitality and lowering water utilization.
There have additionally been signed agreements that look to develop methods for preserving pure assets and some initiatives within the works that look to advertise using vitality from natural waste. There’s even an annual Sustainable and Social Tourism Summit held in Cancun.
The opposite factor you’ll discover on Isla Mujeres is how few automobiles there are. Whereas automobiles aren’t banned, it’s golf carts which can be the primary mode of transportation. You’ll be able to hire them practically wherever on the island and you may even have them awaiting you on the ferry terminal upon your arrival or delivered to your lodge.
Whereas lots of the island’s golf carts are sadly nonetheless gas-powered, it’s nonetheless higher than the emissions that automobiles would create. Attempt inquiring whether or not electrical carts can be found to hire as a way to scale back your carbon footprint additional.
Most of the accommodations and resorts on Isla Mujeres are additionally dedicated to sustainability and the preservation of the native atmosphere. Some make use of onsite sustainability managers to assist higher handle the lodge’s sustainable measures, and others even have wildlife refuges on their properties.
For Instance, MÍA Reef Isla Mujeres has its personal Tern Sanctuary and is dedicated to the conservation of the species. They had been providing big day passes the place you possibly can go to and observe the birds with out reserving a keep, a portion of the proceeds going to the continuing preservation of the sanctuary. You could want to inquire if that is nonetheless out there.
Different lodging suppliers have on-site composting, make the most of photo voltaic vitality, promote tree planting on the islands, and supply natural produce from native growers in close by mainland villages.
Even numerous tour corporations on the island use proceeds to fund environmental preservation, analysis, and academic packages. Quintana Roo has additionally now banned single-use plastic supplies and utensils.
High 3 Sustainable and Eco-Pleasant Experiences to Get pleasure from on Isla Mujeres
Go to an Underwater Museum Serving to to Fight Local weather Change
It may be a problem to offset the impacts of mass tourism descending upon the native reefs every year. A technique that’s being achieved is thru a singular underwater artwork museum often known as Museo Subacuático de Arte or MUSA.
Situated off the coast of Isla Mujeres within the Cancún Nationwide Marine Park., MUSA is a museum that doubles as a synthetic reef. Whereas many synthetic reefs are created by ships and particles which were unintentionally or purposely positioned on the seafloor, MUSA has created submerged artwork galleries full of lots of of fascinating statues created with pH-neutral cement that not solely permit coral and marine crops to develop on them but in addition have particular crevices and holes the place marine life can stay.
Artwork is kind of actually saving the oceans right here, the underwater galleries serving to to offset the consequences of local weather change on the reef and the impacts attributable to vacationers. It should additionally enhance the reef system’s total biomass.
Not solely do the statues present a synthetic reef the place marine life is flourishing, it additionally helps to draw vacationers who come to view the underwater museum and the marine life it attracts by means of snorkeling, scuba diving, and glass-bottom boats. This implies the world’s pure reefs see much less site visitors and have a greater likelihood to heal.
The museum is simply in its infancy so to talk, as there are lots of extra galleries deliberate which can create effectively over a thousand completely different synthetic habitats.
Go to Isla Contoy
Isla Contoy is a nationwide park and one of many prime eco-tourism websites within the area. Entry to the closely protected island is restricted to only 200 fortunate folks a day as a way to protect the native ecosystem.
The island is usually nicknamed the “island of the birds” as a result of truth greater than 150 resident and migratory birds go to the island. Simply a few of the species that cease on the island embrace nesting peregrine falcons, pelicans, ospreys, herons and egrets, boobies, and frigatebirds.
To succeed in the small island that’s roughly 20 miles from Isla Mujeres, it’s essential to undergo a certified vacationer supplier of which solely a choose few can be found. The guides that supervise excursions to the island should undergo intensive coaching to make sure the safety of the island.
You gained’t discover any retailers or accommodations on the island, the closest are in Isla Mujeres. Solely a restricted variety of scientists are allowed to remain on the island to hold out analysis. In any other case, the island is actually reserved for the native wildlife.
Each insect repellent and sunscreen at the moment are banned from the island, even these which can be biodegradable and reef-safe. There are additionally no single-use plastics allowed and smoking is prohibited. All of that is to make sure the impression of tourists is saved to an absolute minimal each to ensure the safety of the wildlife right here and the island’s Ramsar-listed mangroves.
The island additionally gives nesting for sea turtles, and the encircling water is dwelling to hawksbill, inexperienced, loggerhead, and leatherback turtles. Excursions to the island typically mean you can go to Ixlache Reef off the south finish of the island. This reef is taken into account to be the start of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is considered the world’s second-largest.
Swim with the World’s Largest Fish
No journey to Isla Mujeres is full with out swimming with whale sharks, however you’ll must ebook your journey between June and September when the world’s largest fish is current within the close by waters.
Animal encounters can at all times be questionable journey actions when you think about how typically these experiences can put the lives of animals in peril and trigger quite a lot of stress. Nevertheless, when achieved correctly, experiencing our pure world by means of moral wildlife excursions is usually a win for each us and the animals.
Moral animal encounters convey consciousness to the significance of assorted species and funds from excursions will be funneled again into conservation efforts. Swimming with whale sharks off Isla Mujeres is fortunately an moral expertise.
Following security and sustainability rules is strictly enforced and tour operators and their guides should undergo a whale shark biology course amongst different issues earlier than being granted permission to run excursions.
Boat excursions that hunt down the whale sharks in the course of the season after they feed within the plankton-rich waters are capped to only 10 passengers and solely 2 folks in addition to the guides are allowed within the water at any time when the chance to swim with the whale sharks presents itself.
Not solely are you not allowed to the touch the whale sharks, there are additionally minimal distance necessities in addition to not being allowed to dive beneath the floor. That is enforced by the use of making life vests obligatory which forces you to stay on the water’s floor.
As soon as once more, even reef-safe biodegradable sunblocks are banned, as these can have unfavorable impacts on whale sharks. Single-use plastics are additionally not allowed on tour boats and diesel engines are prohibited because the residue they create can hurt the fish.
Regardless of all these rules, it positively doesn’t distract from the expertise. And whereas sightings are by no means assured since they aren’t compelled, there’s a very excessive likelihood of witnessing a number of whale sharks on every particular person tour in the course of the season. Some fortunate excursions witness a number of dozen in a single outing.
How You Can Journey Extra Responsibly
Properly over a billion folks journey overseas every year, which implies sustainable tourism is a should if environments and cultures are to be preserved. Whereas tourism can contribute to local weather change and the destruction of native ecosystems, it might probably even have a optimistic impression if we’re all prepared to do our half.
It’s your obligation to change into a extra accountable traveler, and it begins with reserving eco-friendly lodging, adopting a ‘Go away no hint‘ angle and selecting to go along with sustainable tour operators. Search for corporations which were licensed or confirmed to be dedicated to sustainable tourism and possibly even filter a portion of their income again into the local people, environmental conservation efforts, or the preservation of vital native websites.
Don’t be afraid to behave as a accountable journey advocate and encourage others to assume about methods they’ll scale back their unfavorable impacts whereas touring. At all times report any violations of human or animal rights you witness whereas touring and provide recommendations to companies on how they could change into extra sustainable.