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7 Ways You Can Respect Animals, Protect Wildlife, And Enjoy Nature on Vacation

Take a deep dive into Mexican wildlife and see several different things you can do when you visit to show that you respect the animals and their environment.

When you visit Mexico, you may be awestruck by the sheer biodiversity that they have here. There are so many ocean creatures and jungle beauties that leave lifelong impressions. When you see how wondrous the wildlife and nature are, it may draw you to want to care for it and show that you want to join in being a responsible traveler.

But how do you do that? How can you be respectful to the wildlife when you travel to Cancun?

Here are some of the best ways you can show your love for nature on vacation…

1) Learn about your environment

All types of environmental protection and responsibility start with awareness. This means taking some time to learn about the environment and more specifically the wildlife that inhabits the destination you are visiting. When you know how different creatures react to different circumstances and what could harm or help each one, then you are better prepared to show respect for them on vacation. 

An example of this is the sea turtles. 

baby sea turtle making its way to the ocean in cancun

If you saw a baby sea turtle struggling to get from the sand to the sea, you may be inclined to pick it up. But doing so can actually disorient the baby turtle and deprive it of a necessary experience that it needs in the early stages of its life.

This is something that can be done but only by those with an understanding of turtle behavior and development. Knowing this, allows you to better understand what animals need and better respect them in their natural habitat. 

2) Keep a respectful distance

The intense beauty of each fish, whale, monkey, toucan, or turtle may inspire you to want to get closer. Many tourists also see that some creatures want to be fed and seem to almost beg for food. 

Despite these understandable circumstances, wildlife experts caution us not to normalize their interaction with humans and to not encourage them to depend upon people for food. 

Squirrel monkey in the trees at a respectful distance in Playa Mujeres

This is partly because it disturbs their natural way of living but also because, as much as you care, and as lovely as you are with these creatures, not everyone is as amazing as you. 

Making the wildlife trusting of humans is enjoyable but not always what's best and safest for them.  

3) Leave no trace philosophy

The leave no trace principle guides many travelers and helps them to ensure that whatever they bring with them they should also bring back with them. This means, that if you visit the beach with a bottle of soda, you bring the bottle back with you to the resort so you can properly dispose of it. 

Leave no trace principle demonstrated by a plastic bottle on the sand ready to be picked up

It also means that you would avoid leaving anything that does not belong such as a broken snorkel, a damp towel, or even materials that are biodegradable like paper. With this philosophy, you allow yourself to be a mindful visitor in the environment and you act like a respectful guest amidst the surroundings that belong to the creatures that depend upon them.

4) Watch where you step

It's so easy to get distracted with all the activities in Cancun. With so many beautiful things to look at, such intense wonder, and fascination to indulge in, it's understandable that you may be staring into the horizon for long periods of time. But remember that whilst walking, it's good to look down once in a while to make sure that you are not stepping on a cute little hermit crab or a local plant. 

This applies at the beach and on guided paths but even more so if you are off the beaten track and exploring other areas. Do your best to not trample anything that could grow because any plant you crush could be some friendly creature's home, meal, or source of some other resource. 

5) Think about the things you bring 

Many travelers use insect repellent, specialized creams, and sunblock. All of these can contain chemicals that can affect the environment and the wildlife. The good news is though that you can also find environmentally friendly options. 

More than anything it's good to be mindful when you go into the ocean that you are not bringing in any harmful products on your skin so that you can be respectful to the home of all the Caribbean creatures that live in the sea. 

Protect the environment by thinking about what you bring to the beach

6) Be a mindful photographer

Wildlife photography is truly amazing and can even outshine many other types of vacation photos on your Instagram. This is because people love seeing unique creatures and even more so when it is something that you would never see back home. So taking photos is a great way to remember the wildlife you saw. 

But make sure that your photos aren't stressing out the wildlife because taking flash photos and close up shots can indeed stress them out. Most destinations also have some type of local animal exploitation that offers direct contact with captive wild animals or endangered species - to discourage these sorts of businesses it is best to avoid getting your photo taken with these creatures and instead search for activities that encourage the protection of their environment like the MUSA underwater museum. 

Choose environmentally friendly activities like visiting the MUSA underwater museum in Cancun

You may also want to consider what you are encouraging others to do on social media via your photos. For example, if you took a photo of yourself holding a starfish out of the water, that could prove dangerous not just to that starfish but to everyone who sees that photo and decides that they want to do the same. 

7) Environmental awareness at home

Once you have a vacation where you strive to respect the local wildlife, you may wish to take those habits and philosophies back home with you. Nature is all around us and it deserves to be protected. By taking some small steps to show respect for the environment and the wildlife we can make a difference to not just our home away from home but our place of residence as well. 

The fact that you took the time to read this article already shows that you care about wildlife and want to do your part to show you care. May we all have a positive impact in the Caribbean and do our best to leave no trace of our stay. 

Now go have some fun on vacation as you immerse yourself in the wonders of the natural world!

Tags: Caribbean travel tips

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