Beautiful Cancun, on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a hotspot for those wanting to enjoy the sun and beaches while embracing ecotourism. The beauty and ecological wonders surrounding Cancun in the state of Quintana Roo provide ample opportunities to enjoy nature, but the large numbers of tourists drawn to the area can have an impact on the environment in the long term. Luckily, there are several options for eco-friendly activities and lodging and other ways to explore the area while leaving a minimal impact.
Part theme park, part resort, this ecotourism development is situated on the Caribbean coastline near Playa del Carmen. The park showcases the nature and culture of Mexico, meaning you can find wildlife and other creatures native to the area. You can also explore underground rivers and enjoy water activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. And you will also be happy to know that the park also includes a beach where you can relax after partaking in all the other activities on offer.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
This jungle reserve sits on the coast roughly 3 hours south of Cancun, and just south of Tulum. There are multiple tour companies doing various kinds of eco-friendly tours here. You can ride through the jungle in a 4×4, see crocodiles, or take a boat tour and learn about the birds and other creatures that live there. From June through September you can also see marine turtles who come to the reserve to lay their eggs.
You can visit Chichen Itza, the ruins of a city built by the Maya people, on one of several eco-tours. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 1980s and is a popular place for visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula. Within the compound, you can find the temple called El Castillo, among other ruins, archaeological sites, and sculptures. You can get there in just over 2 hours from Cancun, and there are some resorts and other lodging options just next to Chichen Itza. The setting of ancient ruins surrounded by jungle cannot be beat!
This underground river and cave are located just outside of Playa del Carmen and about an hour from Cancun. You can go on a guided excursion where you can swim and hike in this cavernous underground chamber. Aside from the blue-green water, you can also see stalactites and stalagmites and brag that you went hiking in an underground cave.
Ziplining Adventure Tours
There are several operators offering adventure tours with ziplining in the area around Cancun. You can zipline through the jungle and then go jump in a deep, ancient pool called a cenote. Or there’s even a park dedicated to ziplining and cave swimming, called Xplor. Keep in mind that many of the tours offered also involve another activity in addition to ziplining, like ATV riding, snorkeling, or visiting a traditional Mayan village.