Mexico        Rêve Mexicain en français
Responsible Tourism
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
Print        Share on : facebook   twitter   google   myspace 

Cultural and natural heritage

In a broad sense, the cultural and natural Heritage belongs to every village and city. Each of us has the right and the responsibility to understand, evaluate and conserve the universal values.
The concept of Heritage is big. It concerns the natural environment as well as the cultural one. It includes landscapes, historic places, buildings as well as the biodiversity, the groups of different objects, past and present traditions and vital knowledge and experiences. It is a dynamic point of reference and a positive tool for exchanges.

The collective memory and the own cultural heritage of each community are irreplaceable.

The cultural heritage of every country has to be respected by EVERYONE. It is unique and irreplaceable.

The most important sites are open every day and the others are closed on Monday. The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) is in charge of them. The objects of Mesoamerica are part of the Mexican Heritage. You are liable to a penalty if you try to get some of these objects out of the country.

The pollution, the elements and the impact of tourism are among the main causes of degradation of this extremely vulnerable heritage. Simple movements like patting a marble statue or a fresco result in a disaster when repeated thousands of times by visitors. These movements erase all the technical, financial and human efforts used for the conservation of objects of art or monuments.

Because of fatal accidents, climbing to the top of the pyramids is not allowed anymore !

Cuauhcalli, site of Malinalco
While enjoying this heritage, avoid :
damaging the works of art, the sites and monuments, especially with writing,
moving stones and objects,
climbing sites,
taking pictures with a tripod or with flash,
knocking the walls with painting in fresco with your backpack,
leaving trash (don’t leave anything behind you),
respect the measures taken by the governmental authorities to control the tourist flow or the entrances on the sites.

Left picture : site of Malinalco


For more information, consult the sites of the institutions working for the preservation of the cultural heritage :
ICCR0M (International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property), www.iccrom.org
IC0M0S (International Council on Monuments and Sites), www.international.icomos.org
IC0M (International Council of Museums), www.icom.museum

Natural and cultural heritage, diversity and living cultures are the attractions of tourism. Excessive tourism could endanger the physical nature of the natural and cultural heritage, its integrity and its characteristics. With the cooperation of the local governments and/or the indigenous communities, the tour operators, the owners, and the politicians, we can have an acceptable Industry of Tourism and protect even more of the heritage for future generations.
Excessive tourism could (as well as a non-existent tourism or a mismanaged tourism), harm the physical integrity and real meaning of a heritage. Too many tourists could also lead to damage of the natural spaces as well as to the cultures and the way of life of the welcoming communities. So, be careful !

Mexican T.O

Mexican tours-operators, with their broad experience, have organized efficiently many ecological tours. These natural sites are wonderful places for contemplating nature and hiking. There are numerous, diverse areas and everyone should be able to find one to his liking.

Terra Maya : French travel agency offering customized tourism in Mexico (999) 944 53 59 - cellular (999) 156 81 58, Calle 38 # 104 between 21 & 23 – Colonia Buenavista - 97127 - Mérida - contact@terra-maya.com - Ask for Axelle or Olivier.

The travel agency Terra Maya is intent on offering responsible tourism.
Since 2006, they have been working in collaboration with a partner turned towards the adventurous ecotourism, close to Merida. They offer activities such as snorkeling in cenote (fresh water sinkhole; there are about 2,500 cenotes in
) and contribute to the conservation of the Mexican heritage. To top it off, the customers have lunch at Doña Adelaida’s, a modest Mayan family, where they can immerse themselves in Yucatán culture and gastronomy. Terra Maya also favor the discovery of villages : the pueblos mancomunados de la Sierra Norte. There are eight remote Zapotec villages in the state of Oaxaca. Terra Maya offers several day trekking or sport activities such as mountain biking, canopy and horse rides. The visitors stay in totally eco-friendly huts built with regional materials. You can also go grey whale watching with Kuyima, a tourist agency dedicated to the development of ecotourism in the San Ignacio area of Baja California. They guarantee you the contact with nature and population : .

Ceiba Natourismo : Project of environmental education. With many years of professional experience in the socio-cultural field inside rural communities in the Mexican country heart, they were able to create a network of rural tourism in collaboration with populations compliant and ready to welcome visitors in their own houses and communities. Ceiba Natourismo offers, off the beaten tracks, circuits with experimented guides. Discovery of the ancestral traditions and customs, direct contact with the rural and indigenous communities and authentic local gastronomy are a few examples of their unseen circuits.
Their address : Rural and cultural Tourism, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, (52) 415 120 0939 - natourismo@yahoo.com.mx - www.freewebs.com/ceiba-natourismo-rural - Contact : rosario + claude prud´homme.


Eco-tourism for sustainable development

What is eco-tourism ? It is the responsible travel of a tourist to natural areas, contributing to the conservation of the environment and improving the standard of living of local people.
Tourism is an important field in different countries in the world. This industry provides jobs and brings more foreign currency into the country. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the countries in favor of tourism often protest against the recipient or the State because of the deterioration of their natural resources. And so the concept of « nature tourism » has been developed. The « nature tourism » includes all the tourist outdoor activities, including the ones that don’t bring anything to the local populations, even the ones that can seriously damage the environment such as the ATV... Because of this, eco-tourism is sometimes wrongly discredited compare to «nature tourism».
The ones specialized in field tourism consider very important the labels in order to distance themselves from the charlatans and the ones offering « cannibalism tourism ». There are three known « labels » : « agritourism », « ecological tourism » and « eco-tourism », each one with a specific meaning. The label is awarded by a national or international official institution such as WWF, Green Globe, The International Ecotourism Society …


The label « agritourism », only used in Europe, means that the main activity is the practice of attracting visitors in areas used primarily for agricultural purposes (culture or breeding). The institutions such as « Naturelodging » look for the following criteria : privileged natural environment, enhancer of the local products, development of the rural heritage and protection of the traditional activities of the area. The agricultural practices are thought. The biological agriculture is shown by a specific mention : « bio agritourism ». The label «ecological tourism» has an added value. On top of the development of a natural environment, the operator continuously embarks on an ecological project : protection of indigenous people, waste recycling, saving energy, sustainable management, development of new laws...

The label « eco-tourism » is used when the reception facilities (hotel, lodge, incoming agencies...) and the practices of the operator meet the criteria such as respect of nature, support principles and moral values, respect of some ethic by the traveler, a strong concern for minimize the impact on the natural environment. The goal is to protect the environment and nature, to help the local economy and to contribute to the well being of the local population by providing financial benefits for local people.

If the label is shown between parenthesis, it means that the operator is not or not yet officially approved.
Eco-tourism recommends a kind of sustainable tourism : it tends to protect the natural environment in the long run. It is not a passive ecological approach (energy saving, use of renewable energy, refuse disposal...). This also involves local people and tourists in actions of education and maintenance of biodiversity (reforestation, protection of fauna and flora, reintroduction of endangered species...).

Commitment for sustainable tourism : individual initiatives :
American biologist and committed man, Amos Bien is one of the inventors of the concept eco-tourism. He has been campaigning since 1977 to save the tropical forest in Costa Rica. In order to find funds to protect the forest, Amos Bien developed a very simple and daring idea : hosting tourists in the middle of the jungle and use the money collected during their stay to protect the forest ! And the first Ecolodge, Rara Avis, was build. The word « eco-tourism » was used for the first time with measures tending to protect the environment without restraining the expansion of the tourist field as part of the sustainable development.

Twenty years later, Amos Bien is happy with the results and keeps going as the Director of «International Ecotourism Society». In Costa Rica, there are about 110 private reserves whose maintenance is often financed by the benefits of an « ecolodge ». Moreover, with 40 national parks, 25 % of the territory surface is protected (the world average is about 3%). Costa Rica holds the statute of world leader for its species diversity, its long tradition of nature protection and its willingness to favor sustainable tourism.

Expansion of sustainable tourism : grouping in associations
Over the years, the associations grow in number to encourage the eco-tourism. The members are the inhabitants of the targeted area, the tourist promoters, ecologists and scientists. As part of the participative democracy, these associations work in collaboration with the governmental institutions. For example, in Latin America, the associations are fighting to protect important sites such as Machu Pichu, Inka Trail and the Lake Titicaca.

Grouping in associations helps to maintain the openness in the management of natural parks, the respect of the ecological balance in eco-tourist projects and the information about the fauna and flora of the fragile ecological sites. For example, in Mexico, several websites give a lot of information about the natural reserves (acreage, fauna and flora). So, before coming to the place, the tourists have easy access, via internet, to information about the protected species and the culture or history of the area. Eco-tourism is foremost the education of every citizen in the world !

Protection of our planet : the commitment of the citizens of the world.

Greenpeace International is a non-governmental organization, founded in Vancouver in 1971. Greenpeace is one of the main actors in favor of conservation of the nature [ensemble of the natural environment of the Earth, the human beings, the air, the seas, the mineral, vegetal ( forests…) and animal world] and the endangered species in the world. This association has been active in 160 countries. There are « International supporters » in the whole world helping it to reach its following goals :

Efficiently fighting chemical pollution.
Protecting of ancient forests and fight against the Amazonian destruction.
Efficiently fighting global warming.
Preserving the seas and the marine environment.
Ending the arms race, necessary condition to peace.
Abandonment of the culture of GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms).
Immersion of radioactive waste prohibited.
Promoting a model of sustainable development.

Many young people all over the world go by the cause of this organization to have every country more understanding, more responsible, more levelheaded and wiser, with a sense of ethic and integrity in order to conserve the knowledge for the next generations…

Sources :

No comment has been yet posted on this page.