mexico, Responsible tourism, Travel tips

5 Ways to Travel With A Cause: Mexico Edition

Mexico is a traveler’s dream. With vibrant cities and sprawling natural beauty, there is something here for everyone. But for conscious adventurers who want to travel with a cause, we have curated a list of immersive activities with an impact.

Now you can discover the country knowing that each interaction has a positive effect. Not only are all of these tours listed on Visit.org — meaning they have been fully-vetted to be respectful to the local culture and environment — but they are also certified partners of Ashoka.

Ashoka is a network of changemakers that aims to “transform institutions and cultures worldwide…for the good of society.” They are making major contributions to communities in Mexico and beyond.

Mass Tourism’s Negative Impact

The travel industry is a multi-trillion dollar one, in which only 5% of revenue stays in the hands of local communities. The rest gets funneled, through mass tourism, towards transnational companies who do little to create a sustainable living for marginalized populations on the ground. Common examples of this in Mexico are large cruises, massive beach parties, and hotel tour packages.

Mass tourism is a popular choice for people who do not know there is an alternative that actually benefits the destination. However, when traveling with a cause, even one short visit can make a difference.

The Alternative

Impact travel means an authentic cultural exchange, which benefits not only the local economy, but its culture and environment as well.

Unlike common misconception, impact travel is not when visitors go to a country and serve the locals. Instead, it means that visitors allow the locals to serve them, and pay for these services.

With impact travel platforms like Visit.org, 100% of host revenue gets reinvested into the local community. Meanwhile, organizations like Ashoka work in multiple sectors, including sustainable development, to ensure that social enterprises such as Visit.org will get the most out of their partnerships with the local community.

The following set of suggestions for traveling to Mexico are a few of our favorite travel activities for a cause:

1. Empower indigenous women in Cuetzalan de Progreso

Book a multi-day immersion into indigenous life, hosted by Visit.org and Ashoka  partner Centro de Asesoría y Desarrollo Entre Mujeres (CADEM A.C.). This org advocates for the recognition and rights of indigenous women in the northeastern Mexican region of Sierra Madre Oriental through collective, wide-reaching efforts. So not only will you get a hands-on experience of the traditions, food, and natural environment — you’ll also be supporting various community projects through the tour revenue.

2. Promote sustainability in Oaxaca

Interact with glass-blowing artisans when you book a discovery tour with Xaquixe, a Visit.org and Ashoka partner social enterprise. They craft quality, locally-sourced glass products — as well as work to raise sustainability and minimize ecological impact in their community. On top of watching the masters produce their wares, you will also get to use them during the tasting of the locally-distilled mezcal!

3. Support people with disabilities in La Paz

Scuba dive for a cause! When you join an aquatic excursion with Todo Accesible, you’ll discover the marine life of the Sea of Cortez, enjoy a beachside lunch, and also know that you are supporting people with disabilities through your trip. Tour proceeds go towards activities and program equipment (such as diving gear) for people with disabilities.

4. Experience a nature preserve in Mexico City

Embrace nature in the heart of the city. Visit.org and Ashoka partner non-profit Casa Xitla hosts an eco-lodge experience that educates visitors on living in harmony with the natural environment, and other Mexican issues. Tour revenue will be invested in sustaining social movement projects in Mexico City and allowing passionate community members to become involved and participate.

5. Celebrate cultural diversity in Chiapas

Indulge yourself on some of the best food Mexico has to offer. Our partner Restaurant Belil is a social enterprise that promotes the diverse cultures of the Chiapas region. When you visit this authentic eatery, you’ll get to try indigenous cuisine, fair-trade coffee, and locally-sourced chocolate. And all for a great cause! The revenue from this experience go towards providing support to beginners in the field of craftwork.

For more impact travel experiences in Mexico and around the world browse Visit.org. And to learn more about Ashoka’s work, head over to Ashoka.org.

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