A SMART WAY TO TRAVEL
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You may think of Cancun as a bustling hotspot filled with hotels, restaurants and discos, and you'd be right, but Cancun also possesses a lot of natural beauty and is increasingly becoming a destination that tourists visit in order to experience the best of both worlds, an urban tourist mecca, and a destination known for its natural attractions. Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are not only home to Mexican nationals and expatriates, but also to many wild creatures.
Although urbanization has considerably diminished the number of Blue Crabs in Cancun, every night during September and October the organization Amigos de Sian Ka’an organizes volunteers to help the crabs cross the hotel zone highway safely so they can lay their eggs in the sea. There are still many blue crabs in Tulum and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve living in their preserved natural habitat.
Dolphins are very social mammals that communicate with each other using clicks, whistles and other vocalizations. There are many companies in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya that offer a swim with dolphins experience, but there are also a lot of dolphins living in the Caribbean Sea in their natural habitat. Pay them a visit during a boating excursion.
Sea turtles are thought to have been in existence for over 100 million years, but sadly, they are now endangered. May through October is sea turtle nesting season and mama turtles can be observed laying their eggs on Cancun’s white sand beaches. Then, when the baby sea turtles begin to hatch, there are many programs in which locals and visitors can participate to help the babies make their way safely to the sea.
Crocodiles are thought to be descendents of dinosaurs. Cancun crocodiles are for the most part harmless and non-aggressive, their normal diet made up of fish and other small wildlife. However, there have been a few incidents of people being injured by crocs when they have ventured down through the mangroves to the edge of the lagoon to eh-hem, relieve themselves. It’s probably better to observe the crocs from a boat, the dock of a popular dining establishment or visit Crococun, a crocodile zoo!
Whale sharks aren’t whales, they are sharks. However, they feed on only plankton and small fish and are so docile that every year from mid-May to mid-September (July-August is peak whale shark season) locals and visitors jump into crystal clear Caribbean waters to swim with these gentle giants of the sea. There are whale shark tours available from Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Isla Holbox.
Be sure to always follow the directions that you are given by any tour guides or organizers when observing Mexico’s wildlife. We want all of these creatures to be around for our children, and their children to enjoy.
About the Author
Kristin Busse is an American expat who has been living in Cancun, Mexico since 2001. A wife, mother, singer, salsa dancer and now writer, she has worked in many different industries but is currently enjoying exploring the Yucatan Peninsula and sharing her expertise and experience with readers around the world. Follow Kristin on Twitter.