Category Archives: Eco Tourism

Where To Go In Mexico?on

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 Ajijic on Lake Chapala. Easy living with gorgeous views. Look, but don’t swim!
Photo copyright©Daniel Gair. All Rights Reserved.

Daniel Gair is the author of Amazon/Kindle’s top-rated romp through the Mexican underbrush ‘The Mexico Diaries: A Sustainable Adventure‘ (https://goo.gl/FHJ94q)

It’s a damn vast country, so where to go???

As the wave of U.S. Baby Boomers looking for a warm, cheap place to retire begins cresting on the shores of Mexico, the question of potential relocation spots comes up in blogs and FB pages daily. Those nervously planning their first trip to Mexico, while trying to get a handle on all the possible destination options, are also searching for solid advice.

Having traveled in Mexico for decades, lived here full-time for ten years, and visited virtually every region, Holly and I love to share our thoughts on the subject. Of course there are dozens of books and websites to help guide prospective ex-pats and travelers, but most we’ve seen are either hopelessly vague, primarily meant to address the mechanics of resettling, or are hyping one specific location or region (Mexico has a way of making people feel ‘born again’, and those posting on social media tend to proselytize as if their spot was a new religion). This post was prompted by the fact that we’ve never found a truly concise guide that outlines the many, varied locales, while clearly stating the pros and cons of each, particularly for those planning to relocate. 

Of course we too are biased to where we’ve settled, here on the mid-Pacific coast near Puerto Vallarta, however in this post I share (ahem) ‘objective’ thoughts on the many alternatives and their pros and cons. I realize that by stating the disadvantages for each region I risk insulting every born-again Mexpat who reads this and has an emotional or proprietary interest in their own specific area. All I can say is that I’ve attempted advanced, bend-over backward yoga moves in order to stick to the facts and ladle out the downsides in equal measure, including the cons of our own little slice of paradise.

My first recommendation for those looking to relocate is to rent for a minimum of a month in several different locations before cashing in your chips and committing to any one spot. Mexico has a wealth of relocation possibilites, many with subtly different vibes that appeal to some folks, but not others. The website Housesit Mexico is a great way to sample places free, although the listings are heavily oriented to the Lake Chapala area, and many are only available in the low season. Hopefully this is changing as it’s a well-run service, and their listings seem to be expanding.

The first, main consideration for those planning to visit, or relocate here permanently, is usually whether to head toward the beach or the mountains. In a nutshell, the beaches tend to epitomize the laid-back, tequila-swigging, Mexican hammock lifestyle, while the mountains and central highlands represent a deeper cultural experience with a more comfortable, year-round climate. If Holly & I had it to do over, we’d probably have chosen a more flexible condo or renting lifestyle, spending time in the mountains in summer, then beaching it winters. 

Following are the most popular options, both regional and local, including their flaws and favors. 

If the beach is your thing, then…

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Yucatan, Sugar-white sand beaches (when not covered in Sargasso 😦      Photo copyright©Daniel Gair. All Rights Reserved.

The Yucatan

Advantages & Disadvantages: Mexico’s best snorkeling and diving, cool cenotes (etherial saltwater-filled sinkholes), gorgeous white sand beaches, spectacular Mayan ruins, and easy hop to the U.S. On the other hand, the Yucatan tends to be crowded on the coast, dreadfully flat, and fairly short 3-4 month season unless you happen to like one hundred plus degree days with high humidity. Crime is becoming more prevalent, especially in Playa Del Carmen and Tulum. Beaches fouled with Sargasso Seaweed has become a significant problem the past couple of winters, and is something that is likely to continue and worsen with the warming waters (of course, if you’re a sustainability nut like me, all that sargassum equals endless biomass just itching to be used for mulch or composted. There’s even a guy squashing and drying it into blocks to make houses out of!) The fact that the Yucatan is a major hurricane alley put Holly & me off from investing there originally, even though we liked it and visited regularly in our early days of exploring Mexico.

Cancun, a hopping cluster of high rise hotels and all-inclusives is Mexico’s spring break capital, and Merida is a colonial city with a thriving ex-pat population. It is touted as being remarkably crime free, although we hear that’s changing (like many other places). We’ve also seen waves of criminality enter other supposed safe zones, practically overnight, so I wouldn’t base long-term relocation decisions on this aspect. Water contamination is yet another issue surfacing in Merida and many other locales.

The best Yucatan options for getting off the beaten path are the beach areas north of Chetumal and Lake Bacalar near the Belize border or Campeche on the Gulf Coastkeeping in mind that either area puts you more than a six-hour drive from Cancun’s international airport and medical servicesAlso a note of caution about Lake Bacalar – it’s drop-dead gorgeous, but also a drop-dead scary place to swim according to recent reports of extensive fecal coliform contamination. Other interesting places to visit are the Mayan ruins distributed like giant stone party favors throughout the Yucatan (Chichen Itza is the most spectacular, but too crowded for us); numerous, cool, old sisal plantations, many of which have been beautifully restored and turned into five-star resort properties; Valladolid with its massive cenote; the islands of MujeresHolbox, and Cozumel (dive with sleeping sharks!); and the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve. Palenque, located in the Isthmus of the Yucatan, is the place to go to munch on magic mushrooms, explore the jungle ruins, and get in touch with your inner Mayan. Don’t miss swimming in the nearby aqua blue river (Aquas Azules) and spectacular Misol Ha waterfalls. 

Overall, Holly and I love the Yucatan as a place to visit but consider it to be uninhabitable for much of the year due to the heat and humidity. That’s just us though. Many have made their ex-pat homes here and are extremely happy with their choice. In fact, of all the retirement spots in Mexico that people rave about, Merida’s denizens are among the most vocal.

The Baja (including mainland Sea of Cortez)

Advantages: Easy U.S. driving access and reasonable year-round climate in the northern part. Todos Santos is a particularly hip and artsy, though pricey, surf town. Rosarito/Enseñada on the Pacific and the San Carlos/Puerto Peñasco/Guaymas at the top of the Sea of Cortez (just over the border into the mainland from The Baja) share the prize for easiest jog back and forth from the U.S. (although I’ve heard that Tecate is the easiest and most affordable border-hopping expat option of all, other than fuming Tijuana.) Disadvantages: The Baja is basically parched, dry desert. This region also has the feel of still having one foot in the U.S. (which is a good thing for some). Narco activity on the Baja has been ramping up in recent years, particularly around Cabo and the mainland side of The Sea of Cortez is a region of perennial narco activity. Cabo San Lucas is the obvious choice for those seeking sport fishing, golf, and an upscale, high-rise, all-inclusive type environment. Nearby La Paz is a calm seaside town, similar to the vibe of Zihautenejo, but not a lot going on (a snorkeling trip to Isla Espiritu while visiting La Paz is a must!). Nearby La Ventana attracts a winter population of kite-boarding and mountain biking enthusiasts. A vineyard tour of the Valle de Guadalupe region of northern Baja is a definite winner! And a one to two week camping and kayaking trip down the length of the baja, especially during whale rutting season, is worth the effort, though it didn’t live up to our once-in-a-lifetime-adventure expectations.

 

North-Central Pacific Coast

A hundred miles of cities and beach towns with Puerto Vallarta and the sprawling Bay of Banderas at its center.

Advantages: Live-able year-round climate, though somewhat hot and sticky summers. Plenty of culture, good restaurants, amazing farmer’s markets, and overall vibrant expat living, especially Puerto Vallarta area with its many year-round festivals, excellent private hospitals, gay-infused art galleries and nightlife (PV regularly shows up on top-ten lists for international retirement destinations).

There are lots of lifestyle options up and down the mid-coast from big city living to gated golf or sailing communities, to sleepy beach towns. Some of the great beach town options include hip-but-crowded Sayulita, and the more upscale San Pancho in Nayarit state to the north, or the yoga Mecca of Yelapa to the south. Closer into the hub of PV is the sailer’s haven of Cruz de Guanacaste, and the Canadian stronghold of Bucerias (excellent kiteboarding in the spring). We also like the beach towns of Barra de Navidad and La Manzanilla several hours south. Near to Barra de Navidad is Malaque a Canadian favorite, and there’s also Costa Careyes for the mega-wealthy. Nueva Vallarta and Punta Mita are the Bay of Banderas’ most upscale yachting and golf-centric destinations. About a 6 hour drive north of Vallarta is Mazatlan with its beautiful historic center, hotel zone and malecón waterfront popular with Mexican nationals, and some limited golf and yachting options. One could think of Mazatlan as being Puerta Vallarta with a quarter of the buzz and services.

Disadvantages: The entire mid-cost turns into “Gringolandia during the winter months, and Puerto Vallarta’s “Romantic Zone” is going through an overwhelming growth spurt that is likely to bring problems, Robberies are notably on the rise throughout the region.

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Puerto Vallarta – specialized in outrageous sunsets. Photo copyright©Daniel Gair. All Rights Reserved.

South and Central Pacific Coast 

Advantages: Big Surf around the resort city of Puerto Escondido. Huatulco, Puerto Angles, and Mazunte are nearby beach city/towns that have their following. Zihuatanejo further north, with its sleepy tourist beach town feel, is similar to La Paz in the Baja, while nearby Ixtapa is a good southern option for golf and high-rise hotels, not unlike Cabo San Lucas or Cancun.

Disadvantages: Unfortunately, like the Yucatan, you’ll boil like a lobster summers, so the south-central coast is not a great year-round ex-pat option, in our opinion. It’s also a bit of a hike from the U.S. or Canada. Aculpulco, once Mexico’s most high-rolling, high society beach resort city has been all but written-off to crime in recent years.

The Coast of Michoacan north of Zihuatanejo is a gorgeous no man’s land only visited by renegade surfers, fishermen, and true adventure types due to the narco fear factor. A trip there is like having California’s Big Sur all to yourself!

The Mountains and Central Highlands

These regions offer a wealth of relocation options, especially if your more a fan of colonial culture and cooler weather than you are of sand and sea.

Advantages are great culture and climate, while the disadvantages are, for us, that you’re trading in laid-back beach lifestyle, for more of a bustle.  San Miguel De Allende is Mecca for the monied, art gallery, fine dining set. It’s just plain hard not to like San Miguel, though, admittedly, it’s had its share a crime over the years, and water quality is emerging as a serious issue. While there be sure to check out the picturesque, art gallery laden mining town of Pozos about 45 minutes north. Holly and I also really like, and have owned properties in, nearby Guanajuato, a terrific, artsy, visually stunning, university city. Other very liveable cities that have expat communities include Puebla, Queretaro, Morelia, Cuernavaca and Oaxaca (arguably Mexico’s cultural and culinary heart). I’m going to stick my neck way out here and say that these highland cites are fairly comparable with their good-to-excellent health care, affordable housing, beautiful historic centers, and increasingly upscale dining and shopping options – vibrant change driven by the influx of gringo expats, and Mexico’s own emerging middle and upper-middle classes. Aquas Calientes is yet another alternative in this group, but one with more of an international expat population, and very affordable. Smaller, popular mountain towns include Tepotzlan and Tequila (among others) and the culturally rich city of San Cristobal de Las Casas further south in Chiapas. One highland locale that blends beach-like feel with great climate is Lake Chapala and Ajijic  with its stunning Malecon waterfront (see photo at top), a short one-hour drive from Guadalajara where one can find cheap international flights and excellent, affordable medical services. Flies in the ointment for this Mexpat enclave are that the Chapala area has its fair share of robberies, and the lake, though beautiful, is badly polluted by the Lerma River watershed. Same pollution issue goes for the fascinating and beautiful, Day-of-the Dead center of Patzcuaro (think the movie “Coco”), several hours away.

The Copper Canyon in the north is a great place to tour. Lots to see and do, but brutally hot summers. The train trip through the canyon, with overnight stops, is a must. The mining town of Alamos near the western end of the canyon is also worth a layover, especially if driving down the west coast from Nogales. There are expats in this region, but they seem to be scattered few and far between.

Then there’s the Huasteca Potosina region of San Louis Potosí state, over toward the Gulf Coast. Again, plenty of outdoor adventure; caves, aqua blue waterfalls and cenotes, and the not-to-be-missed surrealist jungle art installation of Sir Edward James at Xilitla. Like The Copper Canyon, there are no significant expat populations in this area that we know of, however, as is true anywhere in Mexico, you will find the occasional North American or European emigres scattered here and there amongst the creosote bushes.

Another must-stop on your Central Highlands tour is Real de Catorce. Near the Texas border, this über cool, ancient-feeling mining city is the main spiritual pilgrimage site and peyote gathering grounds for the Huichol Indians. If you like to dance with aliens, this could be your place.

Finally for the highland options is Mexico City. We love “CDMX” for its wonderful museums, dining, and cafe culture, but, not being city people, we couldn’t imagine ever living here full time. The air pollution is also quite bad spring-through-fall.

Trav-Mex-06-07-127Guanajuato, an exuberant cultural center with a comfortable climate.   Photo copyright©Daniel Gair. All Rights Reserved.

Veracruz / Gulf Coast

Catamaco is a funky little lakeside town, and Vera Cruz is a beautiful port city, but both wilt in the summer heat. Xalapa and Orizaba are very liveable cities with better climates, higher up in the mountains, that are gaining popularity with expats despite Veracruz state’s violent reputation.  Advantages to this region are that is hasn’t been nearly as overrun by gringos as other areas. Disadvantages are that the summer heat & humidity on the coast, and the fact that this region is a perennial center of narco activity.

Resources:

There are endless FB groups for specific cities and regions, too many to mention here. Following is a list of our favorite, more general online resources for digging in further: 

Mexico News Daily (https://www.mexiconewsdaily.com) – The very best English language news source for Mexico!

Surviving Yucatan (https://yucalandia.com) – Yucatan-centric, but still a great source of general life and retirement info for Mexico. 

MexConnect (http://www.mexconnect.com) – One of the best overall Mex info sites with extensive chat boards.

Mexperience – Slick, professional Mexico info site with plenty of useful info but geared toward selling their products & services (https://www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/living-in-mexico/moving-to-mexico/)

Make the Right Move to Mexico on Facebook: One of several move to Mexico FB pages (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1581227251953242/)

On The Road in Mexico (Facebook) – Fine, well-informed travel page.

For a list of the 121 designated “Pueblos Magicos” (Magic Villages), the spots the Mexican government is most highly touting check out Mexico Desconocido Magazine online at: https://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/pueblos-magicos-de-mexico.html  (Spanish Only but you can cross-reference the list with Google). While many of these towns are, uhm, “magical”, others tend to be cutesy places barely worth a visit, so do your research.

And last but not least, a shameless plug for those interested to learn more about the ‘real’ Mexico or hankering for an over-the-top adventure story: The Mexico Diaries, A Sustainable Adventure! chronicles the insanity that Holly and I treated ourselves to by moving to rural Mexico (4.7 stars on Amazon/Kindle: www.amazon.com/Mexico-Diaries-Sustainable-Adventure-ebook/dp/B07GMYGB7T ). Also available locally in Mexico at Under the Volcano Books in Mexico City, A Page in the Sun in Puerto Vallarta, NV Books in Nuevo Vallarta, and The Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens. The Mexico Diaries, a lively romp through the Mexican underbrush, is both encouragement to choose Mexico, as well as a cautionary tale!

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Mexico Sustainability With A Twist!

Thirteen years ago Dan Gair & Holly Hunter bought land in a small village on the coast of Jalisco. Three years later they sold their U.S. businesses and moved to the property full time. The experience since became a rogue experiment that overran the lab – fun, challenging, and even scary at times.

In September 2018 “The Mexico Diaries, A Sustainable Adventure”, a memoir about their journey, was released on Amazon & Kindle. To date the book has received an astounding 4.7 average rating on Amazon/Kindle and 4.44 on Goodreads (30+ reviews on each). SurvivingMexico. com / Book Reviews calls The Mexico Diaries “A whirlwind Mexican journey to sustainability and beyond…”.

In the book you will find scores of eccentric people, outrageous animal stories, narco encounters, corrupt cops, and even a splash of Voodoo or two! The book is also a narrative about switching up our lives and pursuing a more sustainable lifestyle on foreign soil.

For those of you considering Mexico as a place to retire to, ‘The Mexico Diaries’ can serve as both encouragement, and a cautionary tale.

That’s it then. Hop on Amazon using the following link (https://goo.gl/FHJ94q), purchase a copy, and enjoy the ride! Please also consider giving it a review (the Amazon sales game is all about reviews which drive rankings) knowing that 50% of any profit will be donated to The Environmental Defense Fund!

#Mexico #sustainbility #adventure #Permaculture #photography #sustainable #travel

 

 

Sustainable Travel, Volunteering, & Living in Mexico

Thoughts on the pursuit of living sustainably SOB (south of the border), plus a vetted listing of cultural, environmental, and educational programs where you can actively give back to the environment and local communities that you visit while in Mexico! 

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Do you want to make your trip to Mexico truly memorable and one of meaning? Do you want to contribute to real sustainability while having fun and seeing the country? If so, then this post is for you!

The following is a listing of places where your touring dollar or volunteering efforts can really make a difference. These listings are not typical eco-tourist destinations operating loosely under the guise of being “green” or culturally beneficial. Rather, these sites all have proactive environmental sustainability, education, or relief services as core aspects of their operating mission. These organizations have been individually selected and vetted as places where you can enhance your experience of mexico by actively participating in legitimate projects that really do provide a benefit to the planet.

Please note that many of these locations are working organic farms, ranches, research field stations, schools, etc. and, as such, take volunteers or other visitors on an advanced approval basis only. Unless noted, please be sure to contact the site ahead to make any necessary arrangements for your visit.

I hope that you’ll comment on your experiences, and suggest your own secret spots for helping to have (our) touring dollars & volunteering efforts make a positive difference! This list will be updated frequently and your suggestions will be added. Please provide links, or any other contact info in the comments section (click on comments bubble above).

Bien Viaje! Enjoy the tour!

Pacific Coast

Nearest City: Tepic / Sayulita

Type of Visit: school + center for preservation of indigenous peoples (Huichol) / volunteer work exchange (2 month min. + spanish). Advance arrangements suggested

Name: The Huichol Center for Cultural Survival

website/ http://www.thehuicholcenter.org/about-us/

contact info: Susana Valadez  huicholcenter@juno.com

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State: Jalisco (El Tuito)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta

Type of Visit: eco tourism + education / extensive tropical gardens & organic restaurant. No advance booking required.

Name: Vallarta Botanical Gardens

website: http://www.vbgardens.org

contact info: info@vbgardens.org 

From within Mexico: 322-223-6182  From outside of Mexico: 011-52-322-223-6182

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State: Jalisco (Mayto)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta / El Tuito

Type of Visit: working organic ranch + campground / guided horse, botanical and educational tours / volunteer work exchange programs (10 day min. – by application) + longer internships & homesteading options

Name: Rancho Sol y Mar

website/ www.ranchosolymar.com

contact info: ranchosolymar@gmail.com

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State:  Jalisco (Mayto)

Nearest City: Puerto Vallarta / El Tuito

Type of Visit: Turtle Research Camp / nightly turtle releases in season (no advance booking required). Volunteer work exchange programs (contact for further info)

Name: Campamento de Tortugas

website: http://www.facebook.com/campamentomayto

contact info: israel_llamas@hotmail.com

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State/Region: Jalisco / Lake Chapala

Nearest City: Chapala

Type of Visit: eco farm + education + community development / volunteer work exchange

Name: Acá Centro Ecológico

Website: www.greatgreens.org
Contact Info: Mari Prudent marimexico@gmail.com

 

Baja Peninsula (California Sur)

State: Baja (Cal Sur)

Nearest City: Cabo San Lucas

Type of Visit: eco tourism / working organic farm / eco visit or volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho La Venta

Website: http://www.rancholaventa.com/RanchoLaVenta/Home.html

Contact info: rancholaventa1@me.com

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State: Baja

Nearest City: San Jose Del Cabo

Type of Visit: wellness / creative arts center + organic farm + CSA / volunteer work exchange

Name: La Semilla / Raices y Brasos

Website: http://raicesybrazos.com/la-semilla/

Contact: local #: (624) 142-3794  US #: (802) 734-9808

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State/Region: Baja

Nearest City: Tiajuana

Type of Visit: Cattle Ranch being converted to organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: El Papalote

Contact Info: 52+661-100-0000 (land) 52-1-664-194-7514 (cell)

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State/Region: Baja California Sur

Nearest City: La Ribera

Type of Visit: botanical gardens / teaching center / volunteer work exchange

Name: Buena Fortuna Jardin Botanico

Website (blog) http://buenafortunapermaculture.wordpress.com

Contact Info: seeds.forever@gmail.com

Central + South Central Highlands

State: Guanajuato

Nearest City: San Miquel de Allende

Type of Visit: center for sustainability & appropriate technology workshops (contact for workshop schedules)

Name: iCATIS Mexico / Instituto Tierra y Cal

Website: http://www.icatis.org/catis-mexico

Contact info: Dylan Terrell  dylan@icatis.org

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State: Oaxaca

Nearest City: Oaxaca

Type of Visit: off grid living / volunteer in exchange for learning about solar, chickens bee keeping, and grey water

Name: Sn Fco Lachigoló

Contact info: Daniel Ellsworth 52-1-951-142-1849

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State/Region: Oaxaca

Nearest City: Oaxaca

Type of Visit: urban / relief work with children, primarily education. No advance necessary.

Name: Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots

Website/Contact Info: http://www.oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org yjimenez@oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org

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State/Region: Oaxaca

Nearest City(Guevea de Humboldt)

Type of Visit: organic coffee plantation / volunteer work exchange

Name: Linda Vista / ConDoy Coffee Farm

Website (blog): http://condoycafe.wordpress.com

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State/Region: Michoacan (Lake Pátzcuaro)

Nearest City: Pátzcuaro

Type of Visit: organic permaculture farm / retreat center / volunteer work exchange (2 wk. min.

Name: Bosque Village

Website/Contact info: bosquevillage@gmail.com

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State: Mexico

Nearest City:  Malinalco / Tenancingo / Mexico City (D.F.)

Type of Visit: organic farm, school & retreat center / volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho Cazahuate

website: www.centronierika.net

Contact Info: Anya Loizaga Velder www.ecomundi.info or

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State: Chiapas (Teopisca)

Nearest City: San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Type of Visit: non-profit farm & community development / volunteer work exchange (1 month min.)

Name: El Porvenir

Website/Contact info: 52+9671107386 (w) / 52+1+ 9671149914(cell)

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State/Region: Morelos

Nearest City: Amatlan

Type of Visit: Yoga/Healing Center

Name: Garden of Eden Healing Community

Website/Contact Info: http://www.moving-overseas-guide.com/2012-awakening.html

Yucatan Peninsula + Chiapas

State: Quintana Roo (Tulum)

Nearest City: Cancun / Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: Eco tourism, biological reserve park & lodging. Nature Tours. Reservations suggested.

Name: Sian Ka’an Bio Reserva

Website/Contact info: (http://www.visitsiankaan.com)

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State: Quintanaroo

Nearest City: Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: Working organic farm / volunteer work exchange, 2 wk min.

Name: Tumbem Ha

Website: http://www.tumbenha.com(http://www.facebook.com/TumbenHa)

Contact info: alexis@tumbenha.com

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State/Region: Yucatan

Nearest City: Vallodolid / Merida / Cancun

Type of Visit: Sustainability courses / volunteer work exchange (3 wk. min.)

Name: Lodgecol

Website: lodgecol.com

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State: Qintana Roo

Nearest City: Cancun

Type of Visit: Environmental & cultural educational tours offered (fee).

Name: Project Mayan Encounter

website: (http://accessecotours.com/tours_7.html)

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State/Region: Chiapas

Nearest City: San Cristóbal de Las Casas

Type of Visit: After school student center in indigenous Mayan Community.

Name: La Chozita / Chiapas Children’s Project

Website: http://www.lachozita.org/ourwork.html

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Contact Info: info@lachozita.org

State/Region: Chiapas

Nearest City: Teopisca

Type of Visit: Education, community development, environmental protection

Name: El Porvenir

Contact Info: 52+9671107386

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Nearest City: Playa Del Carmen

Type of Visit: rustic organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: Tumben Kuxtal

contact info: 52-1-998-133-4486

Gulf Coast

State: Veracruz

Nearest City: Xalapa

Type of Visit:  aquaponics classes / urban organic farm / volunteer work exchange

Name: Semilla Verde

website/contact info: http://www.facebook.com/semilla.huertoshidroponicos

Northern States

State: Chihuahua

Nearest City: Juarez

Type of Visit: orphanage / volunteer work exchange

Name: Rancho Los Amigos

contact info: Patti Kidd  ph: 407-232-3009

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State/Region: Nuevo Leon

Nearest City: Monterey

Type of Visit: Relief Work (distribution of food & clothing)

Name: Ammac

Website: http://www.ammac.com.mx/#!inicio/mainPage

Contact Info: Info@ammac.com.mx

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State/Region: Sonora

Nearest City: Puerto Penasco

Type of Visit: medical clinic staffing

Name: Manos de Ayuda

Website/Contact Info: webmaster@manosdeayuda.org U.S. (520) 760-8645

Pay-For Volunteer Programs

State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit:  Pay-for volunteer programs (teaching, medical, schools, etc. – $270 U.S. per week to participate)

Name: International Volunteer HQ

website/contact info: International Volunteer Head Quarters (volunteerhq.org)

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S State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit:  Pay-for volunteer programs (promote peace & justice, work with children – $2,295 U.S. per week to participate)

Name: Global Volunteers

website/contact info: (www.globalvolunteers.org)

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State: Nayarit & Jalisco

Nearest City: Puerto vallarta

Type of Visit: Pay-for conservation, cultural, and ecology-oriented “expeditions”.

Name: EcoTeach

website/contact info: http:

//www.ecoteach.com/announcing-new-opportunities-to-see-turtles-in-mexico/

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State: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit: 72 listings for (mostly) pay-for volunteer service organizations operating in Mexico!

Name: GoAbroad

website/contact info: http://www.goabroad.com

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State/Region: Various

Nearest City: N/A

Type of Visit: Eco tours + some coordination with local NGO’s for more extensive volunteer / service options.

Name: Glocal Travel

Website/Contact Info: info@glocaltravel.net http://www.glocaltravel.net

Passive Eco Tourism Destinations

In researching this post I came across numerous quasi eco tourist establishments that adorn themselves with green labeling but have little if anything to offer in the way of active environmental or cultural payback. Following is a link to tourist resort properties that appear to be offering truly low impact, mostly sustainable amenities, even if they don’t offer opportunities for active service.

http://www.eco-tropicalresorts.com/centralamerica/mexico.htm