Guests can learn more about Velas Vallarta’s eco-friendly practices during one of the resort’s new complimentary eco-tours // © 2015 Velas Vallarta
Feature image (above): Sea turtle release programs are just one of many types of eco programs that all-inclusives offer. // © 2015 iStock
In March, a study on environmental sustainability in the hospitality industry revealed that hotel guests are typically interested in participating in sustainability programs during a trip. The study, from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, also hypothesized that “a hotel’s environmental sustainability programs lead to higher degrees of customer engagement as measured by participating in those programs.”
While the study focused on environmentally friendly operational practices such as recycling and energy, water and waste reduction, many of Mexico’s all-inclusive resorts take environmental responsibility a step further. They offer guests immersive activities that provide an opportunity to directly and positively impact the surrounding environment and educate them about local ecosystems.
Many all-inclusive resorts on both the country’s Caribbean and Pacific coasts have already instituted a variety of sustainability-focused programs that can enhance guests’ stays. Among the most popular are sea-turtle release programs, offered during select times of the year. When protected turtle nests housed by select resorts — such as Palace Resorts properties and Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort in Cabo San Lucas — begin to hatch, guests are invited to assist the hatchlings in finding their way to the sea.
Some of the newer eco-activities that guests can enjoy during their all-inclusive Mexico vacation are offered by properties such as Sandos Caracol Eco Resort in the Riviera Maya. The hotel promotes sustainable practices and embraces its natural environment by offering daily eco-friendly tours and activities through the resort’s Xcalacoco Experience. This past year, the hotel enhanced the program by adding the Jade River Adventure, a guided river tour that takes place as guests swim with a local expert in the property’s river, and Path of Senses, which takes guests on a guided sensory tour of the adjacent jungle.
Additionally, Sandos Caracol participates in “Pack for a Purpose” to support local community projects. The hotel requests that interested visitors bring school supplies to donate to nearby Maya schools.
In May, Velas Vallarta launched new, complimentary eco-tours of its property in Puerto Vallarta. The tours allow guests access to behind-the-scenes sites such as the resort’s recycling and composting facilities; an area dedicated to solar panels that heat guest showers and pool water; enclosures used to house resident peacocks and injured birds; and a turtle nursery. Carol Patterson, author of Sustainable Tourism: Business Development, Operations and Management and a recent guest of the hotel, says the property’s new tours “show a commitment to sustainability that goes beyond formal standards and underscore research showing consumer choice is influenced by hotel support of host communities.”
Similarly, Paradisus Playa del Carmen continues to enhance its corporate social responsibility program with the introduction of 10 sustainable hotel rooms that overlook the resort’s carefully preserved mangroves. With five rooms located in the La Perla building and five in the Esmeralda building, these specialty accommodations offer views of protected lands that boast a high concentration of wildlife unique to the region.