Mexico Ecotourism (Discover 10 Hidden Gems!)

As a passionate eco-traveler, I’ve explored firsthand many of Mexico’s hidden ecotourism gems, while some others are still on my list! In this blog post, I’m going to share my top 10 must-see Mexico ecotourism experiences. So, come along with me, and let’s explore the wonders of Mexico!

Mexico is a great destination for ecotourism. It has a wide range of natural attractions and activities, from exploring the jungles of Chiapas to diving in the coral reefs of Quintana Roo. Visitors can also enjoy bird watching, whale watching, and kayaking in the many rivers and lakes of Mexico. Ecotourists can also learn about the culture and history of Mexico through its many archaeological sites and vibrant local communities.

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10 Mexico Ecotourism Hidden Gems!

Here are the hidden gems for the ecotourist visiting Mexico!

1. Playa Balandra and Swimming with sea lions in La Paz

Mexico ecotourism - swimming with sea lions in La Paz

One of the hidden gems for ecotourism in Mexico is swimming with sea lions in La Paz (Baja California Sur). This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures in their natural habitat in the natural park of Isla Espiritu Santo (UNESCO Biosphere Reserve site).

Swimming with sea lions provides a unique opportunity to observe and learn about these amazing animals, while also helping to support conservation efforts by providing an income for local communities that depend on tourism.

PRO TIP: if you go to La Paz for this experience during the sea lion breeding season (from June to August), you may also have the opportunity to swim together with sea lion puppies! How cute!

Mexico Ecotourism - Balandra beach in La Paz

Additionally, don’t miss the unique Playa Balandra, just 30 minutes drive from La Paz!

When going to visit Balandra beach, look out for the tides, because during low tide, the water gets so shallow that you can easily walk from one side to the other of the bay, with the water being max 2ft deep.

Finally, you can also swim with the whale sharks in the water just in front of La Paz. You can take a guided tour for this experience because the whale sharks are in a protected marine area.

2. Bird Watching in Chiapas

Mexico ecotourism - bird watching in Chiapas

Chiapas is home to some of the most beautiful and diverse bird species in Mexico. This region is a paradise for birdwatchers, with over 700 species of birds living in the area.

The best way to experience this unique biodiversity is to take a guided bird-watching tour, where you can see species like the Scarlet Macaw, Resplendent Quetzal, and the Long-tailed Hermit.

Whether you’re an experienced birder or just a beginner, you’ll be sure to enjoy the beauty and diversity of Chiapas’ avian population!

3. Whale Watching in Baja California Sur

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Baja California Sur is one of the best places in Mexico to go whale watching. Every year, thousands of gray whales migrate from the Arctic to the warm waters off the coast of Baja California Sur, where they birth their calves and spend the winter.

You can take a boat tour from Cabo San Lucas or La Paz to get an up-close look at these majestic creatures, and even swim with them if you’re brave enough!

4. Kayaking in the Rivers of Oaxaca

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Oaxaca is home to some of the most beautiful rivers and waterfalls (like the Cascadas Mágicas de Copalitilla) in Mexico. Kayaking is a great way to explore these waterways and take in the stunning scenery.

You can take a guided tour down one of Oaxaca’s rivers, or rent your own kayak and explore on your own. Either way, you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

5. Jungles of Chiapas, Palenque and Sumideiro Canyon

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Chiapas is home to some of the lushest and most diverse jungles in Mexico. From the ancient Mayan ruins of Palenque to vibrant wildlife, there’s something for everyone here.

You can take a guided jungle tour to explore these jungles and learn about their history and ecology. Or if you prefer, you can rent your own equipment and explore on your own.

Palenque is also home to some of Mexico’s most stunning natural wonders: don’t miss the Cascadas de Agua Azul!

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Finally, you should absolutely visit the Sumidero Canyon, with its breathtaking views and unique natural habitat is an absolute must if you are exploring the area!

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6. Diving in the Coral Reefs of Cozumel – Quintana Roo

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Quintana Roo is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in Mexico. You can take a diving tour to explore these reefs and see some of the amazing marine life that lives there. From colorful fish to sea turtles and dolphins, there’s something for everyone here. Plus, you can also take a night dive to explore the nocturnal creatures that inhabit these waters.

7. Visiting the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza

Mexico ecotourism - Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is one of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area. You can take a guided tour of this ancient city, which will give you an up-close look at its impressive architecture and learn about its fascinating history. Plus, you can also climb up El Castillo for an incredible view of the surrounding jungle.

8. Visiting the Colonial Town of San Miguel de Allende

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San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful colonial town located in central Mexico. This town is full of colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and charming plazas that make it feel like you’ve stepped back in time. You can take a guided tour through this vibrant town or explore on your own – either way, you’ll be sure to enjoy its unique atmosphere.

9. Exploring the Indigenous Villages of Oaxaca

Oaxaca is home to many indigenous villages that are still thriving today. You can take a guided tour through these villages and learn about their culture and history from local guides who are passionate about preserving their heritage.

Plus, you can also try traditional dishes like Mole Negro or Tlayuda while you’re here.

10. Hiking in the Mountains of Durango and Chihuahua

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Durango is home to some of Mexico’s most stunning mountain ranges. It is the perfect geotourism destination for hikers looking for a challenge! You can take a guided hiking tour through these mountains or rent your own equipment and explore on your own.

The area at the border between Durango and Chihuahua has also one of the most majestic canyons in Mexico: Copper Canyon. For sure you will have an unforgettable experience as you traverse these rugged landscapes.

Wildlife Conservation in Mexico

Mexico is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the world. The country is home to over 200 species of mammals, over 1,000 species of birds, and more than 6,000 species of plants. Mexico also has some of the most important wildlife reserves in the world, such as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

The Unique Biospheres of Mexico

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Mexico is home to some of the most unique biospheres in the world. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that protects over 50 million monarch butterflies during their migration from Canada to Mexico. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico and is home to mangroves, coral reefs, tropical forests, and wetlands.

Endangered Species in Mexico

Mexico is home to many endangered species, including sea turtles, jaguars, ocelots, and manatees. Conservation efforts are underway to protect these species from poaching, habitat destruction, and pollution.

Ecotourism provides an opportunity for travelers to experience these animals in their natural habitat while also helping to support conservation efforts.

Conservation Efforts in Mexico

Mexico has taken steps to protect its wildlife and ecosystems with initiatives such as National Protected Areas (NPAs). NPAs are managed by local communities that are responsible for protecting endangered species and preserving habitats.

In addition, there are several private reserves that are managed by non-profit organizations dedicated to conservation efforts.

Cultural Heritage and Mayan Ruins

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Mexico is home to some of the most spectacular cultural heritage and ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins in the world. From the awe-inspiring pyramids at Chichen Itza (Mayan) and Teotihuacán (Aztec) to the colonial architecture of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico is a treasure trove of history and culture. Exploring the ancient Mayan civilization is a must for any visitor to Mexico, as it offers a unique insight into the past.

Exploring the Ancient Mayan Civilization

Mexico ecotourism - Tulum
Tulum Mayan ruins

The ancient Mayans were one of the most advanced civilizations in pre-Columbian America, and their ruins are a testament to their greatness. From the pyramids at Chichen Itza to the palaces of Palenque, visitors can explore the rich cultural history of the Mayans. Many of these sites are open to visitors and offer guided tours, allowing visitors to learn more about the lives and customs of these remarkable people.

  • Visit Chichen Itza to explore the iconic pyramid and learn about the ancient Mayan religion.
  • Explore Palenque’s beautiful palaces and temples.
  • Visit Tulum to explore its well-preserved ruins.
  • Explore Uxmal’s impressive pyramids.

Exploring the Colonial History of Mexico

Mexico’s colonial history is just as rich and fascinating as its ancient past. The country was colonized by Spain in 1521, and its cities still retain much of their colonial charm. From the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende to the baroque architecture of Puebla, visitors can explore centuries of history and culture.

  • Visit San Miguel de Allende to explore its colonial architecture.
  • Explore Puebla’s baroque churches and plazas.
  • Take a tour of Oaxaca’s colonial center.
  • Visit Guanajuato to explore its winding cobblestone streets.

Exploring the Indigenous Culture of Mexico

Mexico is also home to many indigenous cultures that have preserved their traditions and customs over centuries. From the Zapotecs in Oaxaca to the Huichols in Jalisco, visitors can experience firsthand some of Mexico’s unique cultures.

Many indigenous communities offer tours where visitors can learn about their customs, traditions, art, and food.

  • Visit Oaxaca to explore its Zapotec culture.
  • Explore Jalisco’s Huichol culture.
  • Visit Chiapas to learn about its various indigenous cultures.
  • Experience Yucatan’s Mayan culture.

What to Look For From Ecotourism Providers in Mexico?

When looking for an ecotourism provider in Mexico, it is important to consider the company’s commitment to sustainability and its 3 pillars, as well as conservation, and responsible travel.

There are many providers who offer eco-friendly accommodations, tours, and activities that support local communities and conservation efforts. It is important to research and find a provider that is committed to preserving the environment and cultural heritage of Mexico.

Eco-Friendly Accommodations and Tours

When looking for an ecotourism provider in Mexico, it is important to consider the type of accommodations and tours they offer. Eco-friendly accommodations should be energy efficient and use renewable energy sources whenever possible.

Eco-friendly tours should provide visitors with a unique experience that supports local communities and conservation efforts. Additionally, look for a provider that offers educational tours that teach visitors about the local environment, wildlife, culture, and history.

  • Look for accommodations that are energy efficient and use renewable energy sources.
  • Look for eco-friendly tours that support local communities and conservation efforts.
  • Look for educational tours that teach visitors about the local environment, wildlife, culture, and history.

Supporting Local Communities and Conservation Efforts

Ecotourism providers should be committed to supporting local communities and conservation efforts in Mexico. This can include providing employment opportunities for local people, purchasing locally grown food, or donating a portion of their profits to conservation projects.

Additionally, look for a provider that is actively involved in protecting endangered species or promoting sustainable practices such as reducing food waste.

  • Look for providers that provide employment opportunities for local people.
  • Look for providers that purchase locally grown food.
  • Look for providers that donate a portion of their profits to conservation projects.
  • Look for providers that are actively involved in protecting endangered species.
  • Look for providers that promote sustainable practices such as reducing food waste.

FAQ: What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism is a form of tourism that focuses on conserving the environment and supporting local communities. It involves exploring and experiencing nature while respecting the environment and the culture of the local people. Ecotourism is an important part of sustainable development and helps to protect fragile ecosystems, endangered species, and cultural heritage.

Ecotourism is a responsible way to travel and explore the world. It encourages travelers to be mindful of their impact on the environment, to respect local cultures, and to support conservation efforts. By choosing ecotourism, travelers can help preserve the natural beauty of their destination and support local communities.


Mexico offers a wealth of natural beauty and diverse ecotourism experiences. From the breathtaking cliffs of the Copper Canyon to the vibrant coral reefs of Cozumel, Mexico is truly a nature-lover’s paradise. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure or a peaceful retreat, Mexico’s hidden gems will not disappoint.

From the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza to the cascading waterfalls of Misol-Ha, Mexico’s ecotourism opportunities offer something for everyone. With its stunning landscapes and rich wildlife, Mexico is an ideal destination for those seeking to explore nature in all its glory. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your ecotourism adventure in Mexico today!