Tag Archive | "Mexico"

Cancun Holidays

Cancun Holidays: Perfect for Eco Warriors and Animal Lovers

This is a guest post by Kerry Chambers of tropicalsky.co.uk.

The international tourism development and ’7’-shaped Mexican strip of Cancun welcomed more than 6 million tourists in 2011. This number is set to increase annually thanks to the area’s white fine-sand beaches, Caribbean climate, warm waters, friendly locals, historically-rich Mayan temple sites, delicious Mexican eateries, large shopping district and its plethora of fantastic holiday resorts.

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Image credit: melcoker.com

Additionally, Cancun is an attractive holiday destination for those with a keen interest in environmental protection and/or animals due to the many parks and resorts there that are dedicated to such. These are just some of the attractions in Cancun devoted to the welfare, study of and/or interaction with flora and fauna:

  • El Eden Ecological Reserve (a tropical nature reserve);
  • Bonanza Ranch (providing jungle horseback rides);
  • Dolphinaris Cancun (a dolphin-focused attraction);
  • Acuario Interactivo (an interactive aquarium) and
  • The Tres Rios Ecopark (an eco-focused nature park).

Although this blog post is far too brief to discuss every single eco-friendly/animal-loving attraction located in Cancun, here is a closer look at the two that are most popular with tourists; Xcaret Park and Dolphinaris Cancun.

Xcaret Park

Image credit: locogringo.com

Despite the fact that Xcaret Park is located around 40 miles south of Cancun, this eco-archaeological park is a popular stop for those taking Cancun holidays and this is hardly surprising considering just how much the resort has to offer its visitors!

Guests can swim through the park’s underground river, scuba in the nearby reefs, feed sharks from inside an underwater cage, sea trek and/or or explore the cultural heritage of the area by exploring the park’s replica Mayan villiage.

Just some of the other attractions that the 200 acre park boasts include:

  • Butterfly pavilion;
  • Breeding farm;
  • Coral Reef Aquarium;
  • Tropical Jungle Trail;
  • A Bat Cave;
  • Mushroom Farm and
  • Marine Turtles Cove.

The park has received a number of awards over the years for its eco-efforts, including a CSR Philanthropy (or; “the love of humanity”) award from the Mexican Centre and the Guinness World Record for breeding macaws.

Dolphinaris Cancun

Although it is possible to swim with dolphins at Xcaret Park, those who consider themselves to be a particular aficionado of these ‘clowns of the sea’ would be best ticking this activity off of their bucket list at Dolphinaris.

There Dolphinaris dolphinariums in a variety of locations and Cancun’s offers its visitors a wide range of activities that go beyond the typical “swimming with dolphins” affair, including the interactive program (ideal for young children or those who cannot swim) and the Trainer for a Day course, which sees participants become educated about dolphin psychology and learn the hand signals required to see the creatures perform tricks. In addition, those on this course will get involved in feeding time and a deep, underwater swimming session.

There is plenty of fun to be had at Dolphinaris when your chosen session is over too, for the resort also comprises a spate, slide-laden water park.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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Green Sea Turtle

Every Year As Many As 35,000 Turtles Are Illegally Killed and Eaten in Baja California

There is a growing problem in Mexico. Eating sea turtles has been outlawed since 1990, yet as many as 35,000 turtles are killed and consumed in Baja California. Five of the seven sea turtle species – all listed as endangered, vulnerable or threatened – occupy the water surrounding the Baja California peninsula. These waters are full of nutrients so it’s no wonder the green, loggerhead, leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles call it home.


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The 1960s introduction of mono-filament nets and motorboats changed everything for those harvesting sea turtles. Before these modern amenities were introduced it was hard work for a fisherman to catch a sea turtle with a hand-held harpoon. Fishing technology changed and is doing massive damage to their numbers.

The green sea turtles, and loggerhead, are in the most trouble as those seem to be the most commonly eaten. The black turtle, a green turtle subspecies, population has fallen more than 95 percent over the past three decades. Mexico rarely enforces its laws against killing the turtles and even when they do its minimal punishment. Some of the worst offenders are those who can afford the expensive price tag on a turtle – government officials and politicians.

Baja fishermen are taking matters into their own hands. So far eight fishing communities have joined forces in the creation of the Sea Turtle Conservation Network of the Californias. Advertisements and research are also fueling the fight. Optimism is high with seeing more black turtles in the water today and the highest number of female black turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. “What’s important to remember,” says Wallace J. Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and codirector of Wildcoast, “is that these numbers still represent a population decline of more than 95 percent since 1970. We have a tremendous amount of work to do before we can talk about the recovery of the black turtle.”

To learn more about the problems facing sea turtles and what’s being done to protect them, check out National Wildlife Federation’s ‘Baja Turtle Blues: Saving endangered sea turtles calls for more than protecting the reptiles on their nesting beaches.’

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Grand Canyon Natural Wonder of the World

Seven Natural Wonders of the World to Start Your List of Places to Travel

Thousands of incredible natural wonders are available to travelers all over the world thanks to Mother Nature. Vast canyons, giant mountains and vibrant ocean scenery are found all over the globe.

Hopefully you’ll be able to see some of these spectacular sights during your lifetime. And if you’re wondering where to start, try visiting the top 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

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Here you’ll find a little information about those wonders and a picture to help you envision your trip.

Global map showing the locations of the wonders of the natural world.

From SevenNaturalWonders.org:

What are the qualifications of a natural wonder?

The primary qualification is that a wonder of nature is just that completely natural. For example, Mount Rushmore involves the splendor of a beautiful mountain peak, but it is the manipulation of that mountain creating the facial carvings that make it such a wonder. It would not qualify. Additionally, a natural wonder needs to be statistically and/or naturally unique. Statistical factors that come into play may include characteristics such as height, width, and volume – but the focus is on unique wonder, beauty and amazement.

The Grand Canyon after sunset glows.

Natural Wonder #1: Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona, USA and is mostly situated within the Grand Canyon National Park. The canyon itself is 277 miles long and 4 to 18 miles wide in certain areas. This massive ravine was etched into the natural landscape by the Colorado River.

If hiking is your obsession, there are many choices for exploration from traditional hikes to extended backpacking trips. If you’re looking for something more unique, try riding on the back of a mule or take a ride down the white water on a rafting trip. Of course, the enormity of the canyon can only be truly appreciated with a helicopter tour.

Travel Guide: Grand Canyon: The Complete Guide: Grand Canyon National Park

Aerial view of Great Barrier Reef off northeastern coast of Australia.

Natural Wonder #2: The Great Barrier Reef

Consisting of over 2,900 separate reefs and over 900 islands, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the biggest coral reef system on the planet. At over 1,600 miles it can even be seen from outer space. One of the most diverse ecosystems in the world is supported by the great reef system and to truly get a good view of the vibrant fish, coral and marine life you should expect to get wet. Through the lens of a snorkel or dive mask, you’ll have a personal encounter with the local sea life that will put you in awe of Mother Nature.

Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef (Regional Travel Guide)

View of Rio de Janeiro Harbor

Natural Wonder #3: Harbor of Rio de Janeiro

Found in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro is surrounded by stunning mountains with unique formations. Traveling to the tops of the nearby mountains and overlooking the harbor will be one of your best bets to see the beauty of the harbor. The best time to visit the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro and avoid the humidity is during the months of September and October. Rio de Janeiro actually translated means “river of January” in Portuguese. Getting to the harbor is going to be simple as Rio de Janeiro is the largest and most popular city in Brazil.

Travel Guide: Lonely Planet Rio de Janeiro (City Travel Guide)

View of Mount Everest, Lhotse and Nuptse from Kala Patthar in Himalaya Mtns.

Natural Wonder #4: Himalaya Mountains

Located in the Himalaya Mountains on the border between Nepal and Tibet, Mount Everest, also known as Chomolungma, is the highest spot in the world at 29,029 feet. If you are an adventurer at heart, you’ll probably want to make the trek to see Mount Everest and hike to the base of the mountain.

If you are an advanced hiker and have $28,000 USD to purchase a climbing permit, you’ll most likely prefer to climb to the upper base camp. If you prefer a more comfortable and relaxed visit, try taking a guided flight around the mountain.

Now trying to visit at the best time is more difficult to plan. You want to go when it’s not snowing. The best time to discover Mount Everest is at the start of the dry season in October and November, or at the end between February and April.

Active green lights in the aurora borealis arc in Aslaskan sky.

Natural Wonder #5: Northern Lights

The Auroras, or Northern Lights, are naturally occurring lights that create fascinating and extravagant displays in the sky. The aurora lights frequently appear as diffused glow lighting up the horizon. The most remarkable sight is when the northern lights appear as waves across the sky; it is almost as if the lights are dancing.

The best place to see the Northern lights is to travel up to the Northern Hemisphere. And you stand the best chance of witnessing the dancing lights March through April and September through October.

Travel Guide: Northern Lights (Bradt Travel Guide)

Landscape of Paricutin Volcano in Mexico taken by Raphael Kessler.

This image courtesy of Raphael Kessler.

Natural Wonder #6: Paricutin Volcano

Having last erupted in 1952, the Paricutin Volcano in Michoacán, Mexico is the youngest cinder cone volcano in America. Its birth was witnessed by a human and therefore, it was established as a natural wonder.

To best see Paricutin, try to take the 12 mile round trip journey to the top of the volcano through the strenuous hike or by horseback. The volcano is located about 200 miles West of Mexico City and is surrounded by lava fields and sandy banks. On your way up you’ll pass buried village homes and a church. Paricutin can be explored at any time of the year, but if you wish to avoid the rainy season don’t plan on visiting from May through September.

View of the Natural Wonders Victoria Falls, Zambia.

Natural Wonder #7: Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is found in southern Africa and is the largest waterfall based on width (one mile wide) and height (360 feet high). It’s protected by two national parks; Zambia and Zimbabwe. From the Zimbabwean side of the falls, visitors have the ability to see approximately 80% of the falls as compared to onlyabout 25 to 30% from the Zambian side.

Visitors have the choice between two very unique and distinctive views of the falls. The first is a foot path that will put you at eye level of the falls. As soon as you enter the park and view the magnificence of the falls, you’ll understand the name, “smoke that thunders” when you witness the vapor rising and hear the water pounding. This is an essential way to experience Victoria Falls.

The other way, and possibly one of the best, to see the falls is to take a microlite (small two person motorized aircraft) or helicopter tour over the falls. There are two seasons for the Victoria Falls area; the rainy and dry seasons. Late November to early April is when to expect the rainy season, and while most think this would be a perfect time to visit you’ll miss out on some of the most scenic views. The islets and rocky faces of the base of the falls is only visible during the dry months.

Travel Guide: Victoria Falls: The Complete Destination Guide

Conclusion: The Natural Wonders

The natural wonders of the world should top everyone’s list of places to visit. You should take the time now as they might not be around tomorrow. Especially with the natural disasters, like earthquakes, and man-made natural catastrophes, like oil spills, it’s unclear how long these wonders of the natural world will last.

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