Why does community-based ecotourism contribute more to travel?


An exciting tide of change is sweeping the world of travel. Community-based ecotourism offers reconnecting, adventurous, educational, and more authentic experiences than resorts. Community-based ecotourism is a different kind of tourism, emphasizing leaving an impact and directly benefiting the communities.

One thing that the pandemic brought to light is the long way to go in the tourism industry. First is the lack of support networks for communities that depend on tourism and equity in distributing benefits. In its recent pandemic impact assessment, the UN World Tourism Organization estimated a 58% to 78% reduction in tourism by 2020. Therefore, community-based ecotourism should be supported when its time to travel again.


There are examples of responsible experiences to meet the native peoples and guardians of nature in Mexico. At Rutopía, we support tourism experiences in destinations that otherwise wouldn’t see tourism’s benefits. It is time for conscious travel that contributes to the development of local communities and the conservation of the environment.

Do you want to be part of a community of responsible travelers? Find out here how to do it with Rutopía.

What is community-based ecotourism?

The conservation of biodiversity for the benefit of local communities and local people is the postulate of community-based ecotourism. Since the 1990s, Latin American countries such as Argentina, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico started to develop community-based ecotourism projects. Community-based ecotourism seeks to create local businesses that provide benefits to communities. The objectives of community-based ecotourism include equity in participation, ecosystem conservation, and improved well-being. Above all, the WWF International proposed in 2001 certain conditions and requirements for a tourism project to be considered under community-based tourism standards:

  • Landscapes or wildlife of interest to attract specialists and general visitors.
  • Ecosystems with a carrying capacity to handle some visitors without harm.
  • Local communities are aware of the opportunities, challenges, and potential changes arising from the projects. Also, interested in receiving visitors.
  • Existing or potential structures for the community to effectively make decisions.
  • No obvious dangers to indigenous culture and traditions.
  • Initial market assessment.


According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), there are 196,157 localities in Mexico. Many of these localities are rich in culture, traditions, gastronomy, history, and biodiversity. For that reason, these places are attractive for tourism and also for the personality that characterizes Mexicans. Thus, community ecotourism is a model that allows intercultural exchange between tourists and the local population.

Why choose community-based ecotourism?

Its time to think twice before planning trips and why and what to travel. People are becoming more aware of authentic experiences, seeking to immerse themselves in their environment to establish more lasting connections and better understand the destinations they visit. Travel can be transformative not only for travelers, also to local people and natural ecosystems.


Community-based ecotourism is a responsible way of travel. It prioritizes people over profits and empowers local communities. For travelers, it means seeking authentic experiences, making them discover new places without harming them. For example, opting for local accommodation instead of an all-inclusive hotel may seem insignificant, but not to that community that manages the housing. So if we want to continue traveling, we should be concerned about what kind of travel we do.

Conscious travel and community-based ecotourism are here to stay. For conscious community-based ecotourism experiences in Mexico, book with Rutopia. 

Valuable community-based ecotourism experiences to visit in Mexico

More and more indigenous and rural communities in Mexico are offering travelers the opportunity to learn about their traditions, landscapes, and lives. In addition, there are successful community ecotourism projects in the country. For example, the work of states such as Oaxaca, Chiapas, Puebla, Baja California, Hidalgo, and Jalisco. In summary, its possible to see that community-based ecotourism is mainly relevant in the country’s center and south areas—our selection of projects that positively impact travelers and destinations.

La Ventanilla


La Ventanilla is located 10 minutes from Mazunte in Oaxaca. It is an ecotourism destination dedicated to the conservation of species. This community has worked for over 20 years to protect their natural resource, for example, the project to protect sea turtles, crocodiles, and mangroves.

Taselotzin Ecotourism Center

Taselotzin is located in Puebla’s northern highlands, and a group of Nahua women administrates it. This project exemplifies organized participation, revalorizing customs and practices, and pride in the roots. In addition, this community offers traditional medicine workshops, herbal products, temazcal, and biodegradable cleaning products.

Río Grande Community Ecotourism Center

Acaxochitlan Hidalgo-mexico-rutopia

The State of Hidalgo has the Rio Grande Community Ecotourism Center. Located in a cloud forest in Hidalgo, Acaxochitlán is the perfect choice for a weekend getaway. Here, travelers have spaces for camping, or if they prefer more comfort, the place also offers to stay in cabins with a fireplace for the coldest days. Also, ATV tours, boat rides, mountain biking, all this in the middle of wooded vegetation and cold weather.

Muyil Community Center

In the community of Muyil is Community Tours Sian Ka’an, an initiative that belongs to the Muyil family cooperative. This cooperative belongs to one family. Its main attraction is the tours of the reserve’s canals. They also offer bird watching, flora and fauna tours in archaeological, coastal, and other communities. In addition, there are boats, kayaks, a community museum, a butterfly farm, and an interpretive trail.

One thing travelers can do is to look for destinations that meet sustainability standards. In addition, that leaves a impact and puts the income in local stakeholders’ hands.

We hope this post inspires you to learn more about community ecotourism and the activities you can do in Mexico.


If you were interested in this post, we recommend:

Why is it important for health to have contact with nature?

The power of our travels

Why do humans need to make authentic trips?

Why a trip to indigenous communities will change you for ever?

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Goktug G.

July, 2021
We had an amazing honeymoon thanks to Rutopia in Mexico
We had an amazing honeymoon thanks to Rutopia & Jorge. Initially I had just contacted them to get some ideas about my trip, but I ended up booking our trip to Mexico with Rutopia, after a lot of back-and-forth planning with Jorge. We wanted to visit and see both cultural/historical/gastronomical/vacation places in Mexico and our trip made that happen. Our hotels were excellent. Our drivers and guides were always on time. The activities were fun and informative. Couldn't ask for more. We did not encounter any problems, we did not have to pay any extra money for an activity either. Everything went perfectly well. Special thanks to Angel who was our guide in Merida and Chichen Itza.
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Catherine T.

Enero, 2020
Perfect trip for a woman in Mexico
The Mexican Eco company Rutopia is excellent. As a solo female traveller, I was very pleased with the custom itinerary planned for me by Sibila. All of my requests were fulfilled, from urban tours and decent, clean hotels in CDMX to horseback riding, hikes and cooking lessons in beautiful Guanajuato. All drivers and guides were professional , knowledgable and arrived on time. I was very reassured by Melina from Rutopia, a warm and and very diligent person who checked in with me every step of the way both before my trip and during my days in Colonial Mexico. I heartily recommend this company as a reliable source for trip planning in Mexico.
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Richard G.

Diciembre-Enero, 2020
Super easy way to plan a great trip Mexico
Jorge and Melina did a great job and I was very happy with my trip. On very short notice during the high season, Jorge put together a perfect itinerary. I hate to plan and Jorge took all the work out of it. He put together a good balance of the big, can’t miss sites and activities that were a little more off the beaten track. Jorge helpfully worked with me to adjust the itinerary to meet my interests, and in hindsight, I only wish I had gotten more involved. Every tour they arranged was fun and worthwhile with knowledgeable and professional guides and comfortable transportation. During my travels, Melina kept close tabs on me to make sure things were going smoothly. The few times I sent her a message, she quickly responded and she would check in on me every couple days when I hadn’t been in touch.
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Jazmin D

Jazmin D

Jul 2 - Jul 9, 2021
A dream vacation in México
My husband and I had the best vacation of our lives while visiting Oaxaca, Mérida, Valladolid and Puerto Morelos in México. Vanessa helped us tailor the trip and then Marisol coordinated the final details. Anita, from Rutopía, was always responsive to our questions and concerns while we were in México. In Oaxaca, Alex, our guide from Etnoturismo, made sure we fell in love with that city. And we did indeed. The colors, the food, the people are just amazing and have a special place in our hearts. The guide we got for Chichén Itzá, Juan, was very knowledgable and took great photos of us. The hotels chosen by our local specialists were breathtaking. We wouldn't have been able to plan such a wonderful vacation without their help. Muchas gracias!
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Sue G

Diciembre-Enero, 2020
Mayan Site Tour in Yucatan Penninsula Mexico
Rutopia did an outstanding job with the arrangement and execution of a 9 day tour of Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. We provided Rutopia with the general parameters of the trip we wanted and they suggested an itinerary. After our approval, they set up the hotels, transportation within Mexico, and site tours. The hotels were good quality, and all of the drivers and tour guides showed up on time. We were very impressed with the quality of the tour guides and learned a lot on the trip. Jorge handled setting up the itinerary, and Melina handled the execution of the trip and was readily available via WhatsApp throughout the trip for any questions or issues. Melina was particularly helpful in changing our transportation arrangements to the airport at the last minute per our request. I would recommend Rutopia and would use them again for future trips.
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July, 2021
Fantastic Will do it again
My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in Mexico thanks to Marisol, Ana, Teresa and their colleagues & partners. The entire itinerary and arrangements were put together in less than 4 days. What we really liked about Marisol & her team was that they were only a message or a phone call away for any query/suggestion, etc. The trip was bespoke to the extent that Rutopia had kept in mind about our interests, food habits & executed bookings, tours. They were also very flexible in catering to last minute changes/requests. The team took upon them to ensure that our entire trip was comfortable & safe by taking care of even small stuff that one normally finds out post getting to a place. We would definitely like to use their services again!!
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Jana Galan

July, 2021
Authentic and unique
Rutopía has offered us an excellent treatment from the first day, fulfilling what was promised and making it an unforgettable experience. We have been to the attention of Nubia, a charming person and professional.
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July, 2021
Journey to Mexico City, Cholula and Cuetzalan
We had a wonderful time. We started out in Mexico City with a 2 day tour filled with museums, food, and beautiful sights. We then went on to Cholula to experience the culture in a smaller town, see a local market, and eat traditional food. We finished the tour in a small town called Cuetzalan, where most people speak an indigenous language. All of our guides were great. Thank you for a memorable vacation!
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Septiembre, 2020
Travel with soul
I have traveled twice with Rutopía (family trips) and both have been wonderful experiences. Places of enormous beauty and biocultural richness, impossible to get to know in conventional tourism. Best of all: the hosts! Lovely people who know and love their cultures and territories and know how to transmit it with affection, pride and a great sense of hospitality. Undoubtedly, we will travel with them many more times!
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Bikø J

Noviembre, 2020
Chiapas, Neri and her family
I traveled to Chiapas for an ecotourism experience with Rutopia and I liked it very much, the team responds very quickly to all questions and accompany the traveler throughout the experience, I missed my flight and they were very flexible to accommodate the entire itinerary, My destination was the lakes of Tziscao, where I was received by Neri with his family in very nice cabins next to a lake with incredible views and a magnificent tranquility, with them you make experiences of beekeeping and coffee and tours to nearby lakes, Montebello is a must! 100% recommended.
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Marzo, 2021
Super local agency
We have worked with Rutopia for several tours in Mexico in the Yucatán and Chiapas and we have never been disappointed. Authentic experiences, with locals, in magical places and off the beaten tourist track. Our contact Marisol was always super available and responsive, understanding and anticipating our desires. And she speaks very good French. I highly recommend Rutopia!
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Mikel D

Abril, 2021
The best moment lived in Mexico
We were traveling as a group of friends with nothing organized. We like to improvise and be able to find alternative plans to the conventional tourist routes. We arrived in Puerto Escondido - Mexico's paradise - and started looking for options. A Mexican friend recommended us to contact Rutopia and we did. We explained our way of traveling - which they quickly understood - and in a few hours they came to us with a perfect selection of activities. We chose one of them and the next day we found ourselves galloping through beautiful hills, crossing a small lagoon in canoes, bathing on an unspoiled beach at sunset and sipping freshly picked coconuts with some mezcal. We had dinner in the only hut on the beach, eating fish that had been caught that day from the lagoon. Then we went to see the luminescence of the placton with paddle canoes until we were surprised by one of the biggest and reddest moons I have ever seen in my life. We ended up sleeping in bamboo huts a few meters from the waves. There were no more than 5 huts on the miles of beach that we could see. And at ALL times with an exquisite treatment - sympathy, kindness and attention. This is just one of the plans we booked with Rutopia, which definitely changed the course of our trip. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in any place I would like to visit in Mexico. Viva Mexico!
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Claudia A

Septiembre, 2020
Super organization, great accommodations and nice team
The trip was perfectly organized, we were always exclusive or in very small groups and had freedom to do our own activities. All accommodations were fantastic and sustainable, the food almost always local and very good, we could always fill our Rutopia water bottles and travel as plastic free as possible. We were met at the airport and had assistance getting a rental car. After that, we traveled independently but had our fixed dates and reservations with Rutopia. It was the perfect mix!
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Marzo, 2020
Circuit in Yucatan
Discovering wonderful and surprising sites, Mayan communities with an unforgettable welcome, breathtaking landscapes, a very pleasant climate in the middle of March...and smiling people! A big thank you to Rutopia and his team for the elaboration of this ideal circuit, alternating nature, city life, simplicity and comfort. Thanks to Mélina for the follow-up during our trip. We don't speak Spanish well enough, and we appreciated having a French-speaking contact person who could be reached if necessary. We still have a lot to discover and hope to come back very soon, and with Rutopia without hesitation!
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Sabrina N

Marzo, 2020
For those who don't like to manage logistics like hotels, rental cars, activities. And above all, to have someone who speaks fluent French that we can reach at any time for the unexpected... You are in the right place! Thank you to Chloe for the preparation of our trip, to Melina our Ariadne's thread and Teresa for her welcome and help at the arrival and departure. A big thank you to Enrique and Blanca from Nuevo-Durango for their welcome, their smiles, their family, a lot of emotions at the time to leave you. Thanks to Mémo for your teaching of Mexican customs (Sian Ka'an) The Yucatan is a magnificent region. And the population is very pleasant. Only downside Holbox... Too much dust, too much smell of fuel oil, too much tourist. I will keep in memory these wonderful moments!
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