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An ethical traveller’s guide to Mexico’s best beaches

Article by GVI


Posted: January 20, 2023

Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From the crystal clear waters of Cancun to the rugged coastline of Sayulita, there’s something for every type of beach-goer. 

But as we travel to these beautiful beaches, it’s important to keep in mind the impact of tourism on the environment and local wildlife. Eco-tourism, which prioritises conservation and sustainability, is a crucial way to ensure that these natural wonders are preserved for future generations to enjoy.

As a responsible traveller, it’s important to think about the impact of your trip on the local environment and community. Choosing eco-friendly accommodations, supporting local businesses, and being mindful of environmental regulations can all help to minimise your impact and ensure that your trip is a positive one for both you and the local community. Remember, by taking steps to minimise our impact, we can help to protect these beautiful beaches for many years to come.

Here’s our top 10 list of Mexico’s must-visit beaches. 

Mexico’s best swimming beaches

  1. Playa del Carmen: This bustling beach town is known for its clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand.
  2. Tulum: Known for its eco-friendly resorts and bohemian vibe, Tulum is the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun.
  3. Cancun: This world-famous destination is known for its lively nightlife and crystal clear waters.

Mexico’s best surfing beaches 

  1. San Pancho: This small town is a surfer’s paradise, with great waves and a vibrant community.
  2. Puerto Escondido: Known as the “Mexican Pipeline,” this beach is a top spot for serious surfers.
  3. La Ticla: This lesser-known spot is a hidden gem for surfers looking for uncrowded waves.
  4. Playa Zicatela: Known as one of the top surf spots in the world, Playa Zicatela is a must-visit for any surfer.

Mexico’s best diving beaches

  1. Cozumel: This island is known for its crystal clear waters and abundant marine life, making it a top spot for diving and snorkelling.
  2. Isla Mujeres: This small island is home to some of the best diving in the Caribbean, with a wide variety of marine life and beautiful coral reefs.
  3. Puerto Morelos: An alternative eco-friendly option known for its laid-back vibe, great snorkelling and diving spots, and conservation efforts to protect the local coral reefs.

The importance of ethical tourism in Mexico 

Unethical tourism can have a number of negative impacts on the environment. 

  • Environmental degradation: Large-scale tourism developments, such as hotels and resorts, can lead to the destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems. This can result in the loss of biodiversity, as well as the displacement of local wildlife.
  • Water pollution: Tourism activities such as boat tours, water sports, and snorkelling can contribute to water pollution, which can harm marine life and coral reefs.
  • Air pollution: Tourism transportation, such as aeroplanes and buses, can contribute to air pollution, which can have negative effects on both human health and the environment.
  • Overcrowding: Popular tourist destinations can become overcrowded, leading to the degradation of natural landscapes and an increase in waste and pollution.
  • Climate change: Tourism activities, such as air travel, are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.

It’s important to note that responsible tourism can help to mitigate these negative impacts and can even have positive effects on the environment, such as through conservation and preservation efforts.

If you’re looking for a way to give back during your trip, consider volunteering with a wildlife conservation program. Organisations like GVI offer opportunities to work on projects such as coral reef restoration and sea turtle conservation. Not only will you be making a positive impact on the local environment, but you’ll also gain valuable skills and experiences while immersing yourself in the local culture.

Additionally, if you’re interested in diving, consider obtaining a PADI diving certification. PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s leading scuba diving training organisation and offers a wide range of courses for divers of all skill levels. Not only will a PADI certification allow you to explore the underwater world safely, but it also opens up a variety of career opportunities in the diving industry. Furthermore, PADI also has a commitment to environmental awareness and conservation and provides programs to promote sustainable diving practices.

All these beaches offer something unique, whether you’re looking to swim, surf or dive, Mexico is sure to have the perfect beach for you. And with the importance of eco-tourism in mind, make sure to be mindful of conservation efforts and practise responsible tourism to preserve the beauty of these beaches for future generations. 

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