Ocean research vacation in Baja, Mexico

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2019: 2 Mar
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Ocean research vacation in Baja, Mexico

Environment

This trip involves observing and recording data on sea turtles and whale sharks in partnership with local conservation organizations. Sea turtles are the only animals that are handled and this is done by trained staff using best practices for wildlife handling. Researchers and conservationists lead the activities to make sure the animals are respected and not stressed during observation and that appropriate distances are kept.

The data collected is part of long-term research programs which help researchers to understand behavior and health of wildlife populations. The trip also generates funds for sea turtle research, conservation, and educational programs. The hatchery that we visit follows Uneasy no settle's guidelines for hatcheries by avoiding the use of tanks, not allowing touching of hatchlings without gloves, and getting hatchlings into the water as quickly as possible.

We reduce plastic use by offering filtered water for reusable bottles (no plastic bottles or straws are sold). Water is a precious resource on the island and travelers are encouraged to conserve while showering.

Energy is produced from solar panels and limited use of generators.

Community

This trip is managed locally by a Mexican ecotourism company. They hire local staff for all jobs related to the trip and care is taken to support the local community wherever possible. Our partners work on ecotourism development and education, in addition to conservation and research.

This trip contributes to the local economy by using locally-owned resources (food, lodging, guides, etc) and many of the organization staff are former turtle fishers who now work to protect these animals.

Our partners contribute greatly to their local community. They have implemented a vision to use tourism as platform for conserving species, from the bats of Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve to sea turtles and whale sharks. Along the way, we have trained individuals and microenterprises in Baja California Sur, Sonora, Sinoloa, Nayarit and Oaxaca. As part of this vision, they launched a non-profit organization, which helps rural communities and works with government agencies to create tools to sustainably manage tourism in natural protected areas.

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