jueves, abril 25, 2024

7 Golden Rules to be an Eco-Friendly Tourist by Cristina Galullo


A cacti desert surrounded by calm, crystal-blue waters on one side, rough ocean tides on the other, and flooded with sunlight 350 days a year. This is Baja Sur. A land that boasts 42% of its territory as protected natural areas and welcomes three million tourists every year. With an estimated increase of 15% more arrivals in 2023. It goes without saying that these natural wonders are the main sources of health and wealth of our region so to become the mainstay of the marketing strategies of all stakeholders of the tourism industry.

 “Embrace sustainability” has become the slogan of the Los Cabos Tourism Board. “Go green, be eco-friendly” is the motto of hotels and resorts. Investing in technology to save water and energy as well as procedures to improve waste management and avoid the use of disposable food and beverage containers.

Local and federal authorities, hotel chains, developers, service providers, small businesses, and educational institutions have teamed up to grant Cabo the leading role in sustainable and eco-friendly tourism in Mexico, an effort recognized by the international press and that has yielded the desired results.

Twenty-five beaches have been awarded the “blue flag” certification. Due to their high standard of safety, accessibility, cleanliness, and respectful management of their ecosystem. Here, trash is not a big issue anymore thanks to the staff of hotels, beach clubs, and the local coordination of the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone (Zofemat) who regularly picks up the garbage left by “distracted” beachgoers. Nonetheless, it is worth remembering that single-use plastics once they get into the ocean are constantly being degraded into fragments and swallowed by marine species causing their death.

Owing to such eco-friendly tourism initiatives, it may happen that regular visitors as well as first-time holidaymakers tend to sit back and pay less attention to their behavior. Without doubting their good faith, here are seven golden rules shared with us by María Jossué Navarro Sánchez, Director of the National Commission on Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) in Los Cabos.

  1. Protect your skin and the ocean life. Use a biodegradable sunblock when swimming and snorkeling. These kinds of sunscreens do not contain chemicals that damage the submarine flora and fish’s reproductive system.
  2. Do not feed, chase, or harass the animals. The iconic seal colony at the Arch is a spectacular attraction. It’s common to spot visitors hooking these charismatic animals with bait to get them close enough for a one-of-a-kind selfie. Respect them in their habitat and refuse to give tips to seamen who offer this kind of photo service. Which may be dangerous by the way. No breadcrumbs to fish either.
  3. Take it home, but in the picture. Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park has reported tourist breaking pieces off from the reef as souvenirs. How dare you? It is North America’s largest, most diverse coral reef and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take pictures if you want, but do not touch or remove marine flora and fauna.
  1. Leave no trace of your campfire. Be careful and make sure you put it out completely and without leaving ash or coal residue. Always follow the tour guide instructions.
  2. Respect the turtle season. Be careful while enjoying the beach during turtle spawning season (June to February). Moreover, nature lovers can help release the baby turtles and contribute to their conservation.
  3. Stay on the trail. When driving off-road vehicles, follow the guide´s instructions and do not leave the trails. Respect the desert plants, many of which are endemic and play a crucial role in the ecosystem. Again, do not chase or harass land animals.
  4.  Turn off the faucet when not in use. Los Cabos is a desert-like region, and the scarce water supply is a huge problem for the local community. Show your solidarity by turning off the tap when grooming. This simple gesture can save up to 25 gallons of water when having a shower.

In conclusion, a sustainable and eco-friendly tourism industry is essential in our region to preserve all those natural resources that put Los Cabos on top of the ranking of the best tourist destinations in Mexico. Responsible national and foreign vacationers can help a lot in supporting this course of action because sustainability is not just a trump card to play. It is the one and only possible option in our hands to ensure a future for the next generations of local residents and our always welcome visitors.


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