Riviera Maya is a lush destination with shimmering ocean views, thick forests, and precious reefs. Mexican environmental laws go above and beyond those of the United States to protect ecosystems such as Lake Bacalar, the world’s largest freshwater bacterial reef, known for its splendid colors. While some hotel companies try to build resorts along beaches that would threaten one of the largest sea turtle nesting places on the Yucatan Peninsula, others likeZoëtry Paraíso are doing what they can to protect the precious ecosystems around them.
Luckily, some hotels are serious about their ecological impacts. Like, Zoëtry Paraíso de la Bonita, which has a keen eye on even the smallest of details. Whether it means catering to one of the guests in the 100 room boutique hotel or being careful not to disturb the natural white-nosed coati that call the property home, Zoëtry Paraíso protects its paradise.
Throughout the resort is the artwork of resident artist Luis Sottil who articulates the beauty of animals through his paintings. Some of Sottil’s paintings were created to honor the ecosystems around Mexico, like one mural in The Impressions Club of the lionfish. The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, started appearing off of Florida shores in the 80s. Since then, the fish have been invading ecosystems and wreaking havoc.
Former Zoëtry Paraíso social media coordinator Arturo Alcalá reported in 2019 that the mural of the lionfish is to spotlight how difficult it has been for the environment to recover.
“[The lionfish] destroyed a lot of aquariums, so they [went] in the ocean,” he said. “And, because these kinds of fishes [are] coming from Australia, they don’t have the predators. So they became a plague. The local chefs are doing programs to start consuming them to make a balance in our local environment.”
Being in tune with the environment is one reason why guests often a variety of wildlife throughout their stay at Zoëtry Paraíso. Whether it’s a band of coati looking for snacks by the tennis court or a fabulous peacock perfectly perched on a balcony, the wild inhabitants coexist with resort residents.
Staff said that, when the tennis courts were built, the builders were aware it was near where the coati regularly nest. Rather than building on top of their nests, they were placed nearby to avoid relocating the band. So, as long as visitors don’t mind a dozen little critters watching them play tennis, the coati live in harmony and sometimes dine on an abandoned plate of fruit.
One way Zoëtry Paraíso is trying to leave a smaller footprint is by building their own water treatment facility. By opening their facility, on-site visitors can enjoy non-bottled water to reduce plastic use without concern of contamination. Additionally, the hotel is using bamboo grown on the property to develop environmentally-friendly straws. Both initiatives are an effort to protect the Earth while still giving visitors world-class service.
In an attempt to eliminate single-use plastic from the resort, Zoëtry Paraíso’s environmental protections go even further as they’ve implemented several initiatives through the years. They’re even Rainforest Alliance Certified because of their efforts which include:
- Waste recycling program for glass, paper, cardboard, PET, aluminum, etc.
- Toner and battery recycling program
- Reduction in detergent consumption through laundry equipment replacement
- Compost program
- Pesticide-free greenhouse garden for organic plants and local reforestation
- Lowering electric consumption at peak hours
- Reducing our diesel consumption by more than 50%
- Ecological tour with flora and fauna preservation
- Local flora and fauna protection as well as an awareness program for guests and staff
- The annual observance of Planet Hour and Earth Day
- Supporting the Mayan community with the purchase of handmade beach bags
- Beach cleanup campaigns every 15 days
- Coral reef and sea turtle protection programs
While modern-day conveniences may make aspects of life easier, they’re often at the detriment of the wider world. Zoëtry Paraíso is a place where those detriments don’t have to exist and the staff is dedicated to bringing the world and the wild together. So, while celebrities like Cynthia Nixon and Richard Gere are past visitors to the resort, celebrity appeal does not get in the way of environmentalism.