You Can Afford to Make a Difference in the Yucatan

Posted December 1, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Mexico-Merida-def The Yucatan Peninsula is rich in culture, wildlife, and vegetation, and many people rely on its land for survival. You can help support the farmers and indigenous workers by dining at a restaurant that grows its own produce, shopping for socially responsible products at a cafe, and staying at an eco-conscious hacienda. Plus, you won't have to spend a fortune to make a difference.

Hacienda Katanchel: Located near Merida, you'll find traditional Yucatecan (Mayan and Creole cuisine) dishes with a new twist at the Hacienda Katanchel's Restaurant Casa de Maquinas. Once serving as the property's plantation factory, the restaurant now features familiar dishes such as ceviche (marinated grouper) served in a coconut shell. Many of the herbs, vegetables, and fruits come from the restaurant's own organic gardens and orchards.

Cafe Organico: This small cafe sells a variety of items that come straight from the soil. Organic coffee may be the main draw, as the beans are shade-grown and grain selected, but the shop also sells dark chocolate and honey that was cultivated by indigenous people from Chiapas. It's also a good place to find soaps, creams, and repellents made from aloe vera and neem. All products sold are priced accordingly and help support local farmers.

Hacienda Chichen Resort: Just steps from the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, the Hacienda Chichen Resort takes the utmost care to preserve its cultural and natural surroundings. The colonial hacienda was first built in 1523, and has been converted into a luxurious boutique hotel with many eco-friendly practices, including water and waste recycling, wildlife protection and reforestation efforts, and organic farming. The 29 guestrooms come with a private garden terrace, ceiling fans, and a service bar. Rooms start at $160 per night.

To search for flights and compare prices to Cancun, which is home to the Yucantan’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.

(Photo: Mexico Tourism Board)

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