Yucatan Travel Planner
Eco tourism
In Mexico, the adventure, the history, the culture and nature are interlaced like in no other country in the world. Thanks to the variety of its climate and its geographical diversity (mountains, canyons, rivers, lakes, cascades, cenotes and underground rivers, deserted and virgin forests, a littoral of 9.000 km), Mexico is placed among the first five countries having remarkable bodiversity. More than 17 million hectares are protected by a natural back-up system, which protects the pink flamingos, the wild green parrots, the monkey-spiders, the butterflies and the humpback whales. The Yucatan Peninsula is today a door opened on an area of astonishing biodiversity. You will be able in particular to take the roads traced by the Mayas through the peninsula of Yucatán, to make a ramble by feet or by bicycle from the colonial cities of Mérida, Campeche or San Cristobal de Las Casas towards the archeological sites and the Mayan villages. The adventurers will easily locate the toucans, the monkeys howlers and the pink flamingos in the natural reserves along the Mayan coast and close to the archeological sites of Río Bec, Kohunlich or in the reserve of the biosphera of Calakmul, in the south of Campeche, where the archaeologists explore there one of the largest Maya cities.
In Chiapas, the blue butterflies thrive in the wet forests of the reserve of the biosphere El Triunfo, then that the monkeys howlers greet to raise the day to their way in the reserve of Montes Azules, close to the cascades of Agua Azul. The monkey-spiders balance themselves in the canopy of the jungle surrounding Palenque, from where leave the expeditions on Río Usumacinta towards the ruins Bonampk and Yaxchilán. The cañyon del Sumidero, close to Tuxtla Guttierez, with its vertical walls, shelters species as various as the raccoons, iguanas, birds, butterflies.  
If you wish it, we can add to your tailor-made trip the visit of certain ecotouristic sites in the South-east of the country or conceive a route set of themes. Please do not hesitate to make us share of your desires!  
Some of the major ecotouristic sites of Yucatan :
Reserve biosphere of Sian Ka'an : In the local Mayan dialect, Sian Ka'an means "where was born the sky". Located a few kilometres south from Tulum on the Mayan Riviera, this reserve is one of the most important coastal ecosystems of Mexico. It consists of approximately a third of tropical forest, a third of marshes and a third of marine coasts. The coral barrier of Sian Ka' an is a wonder of nature. The reserve is a sanctuary of migratory birds. Thousands of waders nest on the small islands scattered in bay, true paradise of the birds. One can observe there brushes, martins-fishermen, frigates, and even of rare storks jabiru. Even if the observation of the birds is not your favorite activity, open large your eyes. Pumas, jaguars, ocelots, monkeys and crocodiles are still in the reserve. Dozen species of different fishest, with varied colors and sharp, live in the lagoons. The turtles threatened of extinction come to lay their eggs there. To discover this reserve, we propose to you one day excursions from Cancun or Maya Riviera (attention: these excursions are to be held long enough in advance because the number of places is limited) and for a thorough approach, it is possible to place directly on the spot in a visitors and research centre.  
Calakmul : Eco archaeological reserve of Mexico At Calakmul, State of Campeche, is located the second reserve of the most important biosphere of the American continent, after that of Amazonia. In addition to the natural richnesses contained in its two million hectares, Calakmul has single archaeological treasures, a whole chain of Mayan cities hidden in the forest (Calakmul declared Cultural heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, in 2002, Chicanná, Becán, Xpujil…). All the Mayan cities of the area form part of the Rio Bec road and one reaches it by the federal road 186. The area of Calakmul is the greatest extension of tropical forest protected in Mexico. Biologically it is a corridor between Yucatán and the Central America, allowing the passage of species of North to the South and vice versa. One estimates that Calakmul shelters more than thousand different plants, ninety types of mammals, some two hundred and thirty five species of birds and among fish, eighteen species are endemic. The emblematic animals of the reserve are the jaguar, the ocelot, the monkey howler, the boa constrictor, the crocodile, the ocellé peacock, pheasant or the toucan. At the archaeological level, the old capital city of Calakmul of the old Kingdom of the Snake Head occupies a surface of 70 km². In the heart of the reserve, it is the jewel of this area where the Mayas built their cities three thousand years ago. The 6.500 buildings built by the Mayan architects were invaded by the forest since long time and it is only recently, in the 90s’, that they were released. Just few of them was restored. The steles telling the life of the Mayas, during the 1.500 years when the city was inhabited, lie scattered in the exuberant tropical vegetation and of the trees push in the staircases of the temples.   We highly encourage you to visit Calakmul, area opened to tourism since only a few years. Many sites are not yet completely released and the discovery of unexplored corners is still possible. Consider 1 entire day to visit Calakmul and 1 complete day for the Rio Bec sites. The possibilities of accommodation are restricted and we propose a hotel of each category: rustic Debliz Xpuhil, comfortable lodge Eco village or the superb one and luxurious Explorean Kohunlinch.  
The Lagoon of Bacalar : located at approximately 80 km north from Chetumal, also called the 7 colors lagoon due to the different tone of the water, from blue to darker standing for the 8 cenotes which make this lagoon. It is a true amazement (coconuts, water turquoises and transparent) more especially as the lagoon is little attended and remains insulated enough. The ecosystem of BACALAR in the state of Quintana Roo in the South of Mexico occupies a strategic position between the tropical forest and the Caribbean Sea. One can there swim without any problem, cruise by boat with one of the fishermen who proposes their services to you, to snorkel and to cross lamantins and dolphins perhaps there. The existing possibilities of accomodation are either of poor quality or very expensive for rustic huts. It is thus preferable to stay in Chetumal (capital of the State) or to visit the lagoon on the road to the Mayan Riviera.
The reserve of Celestùn : is the greatest wetland of the Peninsula of Yucatan (to 90 km in the west of Merida). It is a 600 km2 protected park which was built to preserve fauna and the local flora. Among the many species which populate this reserve, one can note turtles, crocodiles, monkeys, jaguars and thousands of migratory birds ( famous pink flamingos). You will also appreciate swiming on the beach of Celestùn, one of most beautiful of this littoral. To discover this reserve, we propose excursions by boat on the channels with a biologist guide who will detail you the ecosystem of the reserve. You can make this 1 day tour from Mérida or stay directly on the spot at the very beautiful lodge Eco Paraiso.  
Rio Lagartos : declared refuge of fauna woodland by the Mexican government, this village of fishermen is located at 1h30 road approximately in the north of Valladolid in the state of Yucatan. You will be able there to admire more than 200 different species of birds and to observe crocodiles in their wild environment. We generally combine the excursion in Rio Lagartos with the visit of the archeological site Ek Balam. The excursion is not easily realizable from Cancun or the Mayan Riviera (to count approximately 10 hours for the complete day from Cancun) and we advise you to place in Valladolid.  
Cenotes : that you will frequently find in the Mayan Riviera, are sand pipes with limpid water resulting from a karstic phenomenon and used by the Mayas like crowned places. The cenotes of Yucatan would be indeed the result of the impact of a meteorite 65 million years ago, one thinks that it is that one which exterminated the dinosaurs. If the cénotes of Sian Ka' an, among largest of Yucatan, are not allowed to be visited, many others are the occasion to discover this particular biotope of the area along the single road which skirts the coast between Cancun and Tulum. It is in particular after Playa del Carmen that the edge opposed to the coast of this road posts panels announcing the presence of many cénotes to be visited. The cénotes represent in a peninsula of Yucatan that no true river come to sprinkle, a saving fresh water reserve for nature as for men. One can refresh and swim there in a limpid water (except in rainy weather) which constitutes an extremely pleasant halt when you visit Yucatan. We also propose diving or snorkeling in the cenotes, a magic and single experiment suitable for the area. Do not hesitate to consult us! On the Mayan Riviera, you will be able to visit el Gran Cenote (a little before arriving at Tulum, one of most beautiful), Dos Ojos, Aktun Chen, Caracol. About thirty kilometers north from Chetumal, we advise you to visit Cenote Azul, 90 m deep, one of the most impressive. In the state of Yucatan, Cenote Dzitnup, Cenote X-Keken and the cenote Zaci are visited starting from Valladolid. To discover all the forms of cenotes starting from Cancun or Riviera Maya, we propose to you excursions to Xel-ha, an eco-park organized around a natural site of any beauty and allowing to contact the ecosystems of Yucatan in a way less adventurous and more ludic than through the reserve of Sian Ka'an. Another possibility: spend 1 day at Xcaret arranged éco-archaeological park which has a natural underground river with crystalline water with its cascades and its "cenotes" (fresh water basin where the Maya Indians already purified the body and the heart) which one can descend while swimming over all its length.
Yucatan Travel Planner - Calle Relampago N°25 SMz.18 Mz 8 Lt.2
CP: 77 505 Cancun - Quintana Roo - Mexico
e-Mails: yucatantp@hotmail.com - yucatantp@prodigy.net.mx - Tel/Fax: +52 998-267 91 72 (R)