For Mexico-bound vacationers the village of Xcalak, way at the south of the Yucatan peninsula, checks all the boxes when it comes to responsible travel. If you’re a traveler with a conscience, here are five reasons to choose Xcalak.
1. Directly support locals
Xcalak is a small community, with local people involved in every layer of tourism, from business owners, to fly-fishing guides, to supporting the expat-owned accommodations.
In Xcalak you won’t find any chain hotels, franchise restaurants, or big brand shops. The money you spend, whether at your accommodation, buying food, or taking a tour, finds its way back into local pockets instead of a corporate conglomerate.
2. Preserve marine wildlife
The protected waters of the Xcalak National Reef Park ensure that the local fish, lobsters, and conch don’t live in constant fear of becoming lunch. The Reef Park encompasses Xcalak’s coastline, and also includes the waters around the off-shore barrier reef (which happens to be the 2nd largest in the world).
The fees for the Xcalak National Reef Park support initiatives like repopulating coral and establishing rules for local fishing. As a result, the Park is full of healthy life, and absent of obnoxious jet-skis.
Oh, and the snorkeling in Xcalak is great too.
3. Use less energy with off-grid accommodations
Staying in an off-grid accommodation doesn’t mean you’ll be missing out on anything – margaritas, sunsets, and relaxing waves aren’t going anywhere. But what you won’t be doing is burdening the power grid.
With fans instead of air conditioning, solar power instead of coal-fired power plants, and cistern water instead of purified-water showers, Xcalak is a low-energy destination.
In Xcalak energy consumption is low and so is energy output – maybe you didn’t know this, but swinging in a hammock watching the pelicans fish can take up a whole day if you let it.
4. Eat responsibly
Self-catering (also known as “making your own food”) is the way to go in Xcalak. Your accommodation will likely have a kitchen with everything you need to make a delicious meal. And with fresh fruit, vegetables, and seafood purchased daily from one of the many grocery trucks, you’ll be eating responsibly.
Xcalak doesn’t have a 100-foot buffet where you struggle to get the best value for your all-inclusive. You either make your own food, or a restaurant makes it to order.
Most food in Xcalak comes from local growers (thanks to its relative isolation).
Welcome to responsible food paradise.
5. Avoid contributing to over-tourism
Tourism got kind of out of control in the Riviera Maya. Massive hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen swallowed up the jungle and displaced local fishermen to make way for poolside bars and beach umbrellas.
Down the peninsula in the Costa Maya (where you’ll find Xcalak), the Mexican government wised up, and regulations keep growth in check. That way the entire Yucatan coast doesn’t end up as one big, long resort.
Don’t contribute to destructive over-tourism – visit Xcalak instead.
Hurray for supporting local! Check out 5 of Our Favorite Small Businesses in Xcalak