Travelers familiar with Mexico’s famed Cancun and Riviera Maya have likely visited one or both of the area’s most popular outdoor tourism attractions: Xcaret, a nature sanctuary and eco-archaeological park, and Xel-Há, a massive outdoor “aquarium” known for its mangrove-lined, fresh-water river, perfect for snorkeling and inner tubing, where both freshwater and marine fish make their home. Collectively the parks are part of Experiencias Xcaret Group, which also manages a variety of other area attractions, including Xplor, Xichén, Xenotes and Xoximilco Cancun.
The organization, which is 100 percent Mexican owned, with its emphasis on outdoor, natural attractions, actively promotes the care and preservation of the Mexican Caribbean ecosystems, and earlier this year became a part of the UNWTO Knowledge Network. To that end, the group has recently announced that it has reforested 400,000 plants in Cancun and the Riviera Maya area.
The group’s newest attraction, Xochimilco Cancun, an homage to the famed original in Mexico City, has been the recipient of nearly half the new trees and plants. Prior to the park’s opening in 2013, the location was used as a mine to extract materials for construction, leaving the area a ravaged ecological mess when the mine closed. Now the 6.6-hectare area park sports more than 200,000 newly planted native plants, including wood-bearing trees such as cedar and mahogany.
The reforested native plants came from the nurseries of Xcaret and Xel-ha parks. Additionally the non-profit organization Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México as well as a number of private suppliers have also made contributions, according to Wendy Santaolaya, Sustainable Competitiveness Manager at Experiencias Xcaret.
Many plants are also being used to reforest traffic islands and public spaces in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Ciudad Chemuyil, Tulum and even Valladolid, Yucatan, in a project that commenced in January 2013 and ran through June 2014. The Mexico reforestation project aims to produce, rescue and reforest native plants from the southeast of Mexico as well spreading butterfly host plants in Xcaret Riviera Maya.
Reforestation is not just a Johnny-come-lately project for Experiencias Xcaret Group. The organization is responsible for the now full-grown ceibas along the Federal Highway traffic islands near Playa del Carmen, as part of their first-ever reforestation programs in public spaces.
More information on reforestation can be read in the Experiencias Xcaret Group Sustainability Report which is available online to the general public.
“Our commitment to transparency and accountability is an important element to create a more aware and sensitive society that cares for the planet and human beings”, assured Santaolaya.
Experiencias Xcaret Group
Experiencias Xcaret Group Sustainability Report
(Opens PDF at United Nations Global Compact)