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The Mayan Riviera runs along the coast from Cancun to the ancient Mayan city of Tulum and just twenty minutes south of the touristy Playa del Carmen. The area resembles the existence of a disappearing Mayan culture. An area that offers a variety of activities, especially arqueological sites such Tulum, Chichen Itza and Xcaret. The other major activity is the underwater world, the Riviera Maya being home to the second largest barrier reef in the world , also known as the Belize Barrier Reef. The barrier begins in Cancun and continues along the Riviera Maya continuing to Guatemala.
After being in the car for long hours, we finally arrive at Hacienda Tres Ríos, which was recognized by the Mexican government as a “regional and national model for sustainable tourism development”.  Hacienda Tres Ríos was built after a detailed study necessary to establish “preferred use areas” to appropriately place the Hote,l and help reduce the  environmental impact that mega- resorts cause. We met with the owner and she explained how people normally question how a big resort like Hacienda Tres Rios, can operate under sustainable practices, have to say that was the question everybody in the group had.
Here are the sustainable practices they are operating under.

-Two years of environmental study
Several years were used to study the ecosystems in Tres Ríos. During that stage of Environmental Characterization and Analysis, a team of scientists and experts was assembled to undergo research in topics as diverse as digital aerial photography, geographic analysis, mangrove and jungle ecosystems, wildlife, coral reefs, geo-hydrology, etcetera. This stage was fundamental, as it provided the basic information required to orient the sustainable development of the Tres Ríos Master Plan
-Environmentally Friendly Construction
The information obtained from several studies allowed us to establish “preferred use” areas, which were used as the basis to appropriately place the Hotel Hacienda on an area with a lower environmental value within the ecosystem. The placement of buildings on lower environmental quality areas is fundamental to lessen environmental impacts and to avoid disturbing higher environmental quality areas.

-Some other low impact construction practices included
Buildings constructed on over 400 pilings, 2.8 meters above ground which allows natural water flow to continue
Use of pre-fabricated construction, assembled onsite, reducing dust contamination.
Refuse carefully sorted and recycled when possible.
Use of regional materials and finishes
4,000 plants of 11 endangered and protected species rescued
Cold water from deep well used to cool air conditioning systems
Heat generated from air conditioning is captured and used to heat water
In-room motion sensors shut down unnecessary energy use when rooms are unoccupied
A titanium-clad water desalination plant treats and filters the water, avoiding use of the freshwater aquifer
 
Do you think mega -resorts, and all- inclusive hotels can operate under sustainable practices? We are eager to hear your opinion.