Responsible tourism: Yucatan food and adventure tour in Mexico
Responsible Travel's Silver Medal Award Winner for Beach Tourism:
We are a 100% sustainable, platinum LEED reviewed oceanfront property. We are completely powered by solar panels and we capture all of our own water (underground springs for the shower water which is then gravity fed, and rain water is collected to hand irrigate the property). We are the only property in our community that is 100% self-sufficient, due to the expensive operating costs. However, rather than being profit driven we are driven by showcasing that a sustainable lifestyle and business is possible. The structure of our villa was designed over 40 years ago by an Austrian engineer with the intent to capitalize on the natural Caribbean breezes keeping our villa cool and comfortable without the use of air conditioning. We choose to only have 5 suites (maxing out at 12 guests total) as we feel having a larger number would impact our guests overall experience and would have a negative impact on the delicate environment we have selected to be in.
All of our suite furnishings are locally sourced and crafted and almost all of our linens have been hand made by local artisans. All of our laundry is done by the only local eco-friendly laundry service. We have a solar powered kitchen in which we make each meal for our guests to order. We only source local produce and only what we need. We have crafted a menu that our guests love and that also allows us to never have any food waste ourselves. Any food waste that is leftover from guests' meals is composted and put back into the earth to feed our luscious plant life.
We have almost a zero environmentally negative footprint when it comes to the Caribbean sea as we only use biodegradable soaps, shampoos and cleaning products. Our new waste system we have installed is a bio-generator that converts black water into grey water. We are also deeply committed to not selling this property or developing it into a large hotel, which would in turn have a huge negative impact on this area - so sometimes the very best thing you can do is keeping everything the same!
Everything from our cleaning products to bathroom amenities are organic, most of which are biodegradable and all of which are made by local biologists in our community. We educate our guests on our sustainability by engaging with them in authentic conversations. We only suggest tours that are not harmful to the environment and that are led by local guides that we trust to take care of our guests completely. We also lead 3 workshops a year with the only 2 sustainable restaurants in our area. Our "Eat Retreats" are based around eating, living and buying sustainably and how this can be achieved in any environment.
Most importantly, 60-70% of our business reflects repeat guests or referrals from past guests, proving that we do our best to go above and beyond to create a sustainable relationship with them. Sustainability is not just about taking care of the planet, it also about creating lasting relationships that then leave a more positive impact on earth. We softly educate our guests on how to operate a place that is sustainable and comfortable, we measure the success of our communication by the sheer number of guests that have returned and in turn educate new guests they meet.
As for our team, aside from the owners which reside on site, we have a lovely staff of 3. We have committed to paying for any additional schooling that will help in future jobs and we train them extensively so when they decide to leave they have better skill set to earn more money and take better care of their families. Once a person is with us a year, their salary doubles the average salary their position is paid anywhere in the region and they begin to receive a pension fund. We also give non-interest loans and help to pay for their childrens’ educations. Our staff members are a true extension of our family and we ensure they are always treated with respect, love and care!