At Hotel Club Akumal Caribe, we are working hard to become an eco-friendly resort. For years, we have been supporting the Akumal Ecological Center, through direct work on the Board of Directors. However, it is just in the past few years that we have made a conscious effort to improve our own initiatives and are working with our staff to create more awareness among them on the importance of conservation.
The first step was to build constructed wetlands for the 12 rooms in the 200 section of the bungalows. This has worked out very well, as all the water tests done have proved this method of waste management is all that is needed. However, we decided to invest in a wastewater treatment plant so we now have the entire property on the system.
We are taking part in a program called the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative, with workshops for each department to help further our efforts towards becoming an ecologically responsible resort.
We use low-wattage bulbs in many areas of the hotel, and are converting more areas as we can. We are also installing water-saving shower heads in most of the rooms. For years, we have asked our guests to save on water by reusing towels and by requesting that sheets not be changed daily. We recently started asking guests to recycle their aluminum, plastic and glass and the maids are in charge of taking it to our collection center. We want to expand our recycling efforts throughout the property.
We are also using biodegradable products when we can find a reliable and financially viable supplier. We send a lot of our paper from our offices, already shredded, to the ecological center for recycling. A service picks up all our used cooking oil so we don’t dispose of it into our drainage system.
Our outdoor common area lighting is on sensors to turn off automatically at daylight. More importantly, we use yellow lighting on the beach side to avoid distracting the turtles during turtle nesting season. Our guest rooms have information on our efforts with the Reef, Bay Management, and Turtle Protection Programs currently underway at the Ecological Center.
The community has always been a priority with us. By serving on the Board of the Akumal Development Council, we worked with the Akumal Pueblo schools and continue with this through the Pablo Bush Romero Scholarship Fund. Other initiatives include public security, and beautification projects in Akumal.
We support various institutions through donations and fundraisers. The main ones include The Akumal Ecological Center, the Hekab Be Library , the Montessori School, the public schools in Akumal Pueblo and Chemuyil, the animal neutering and vaccination clinics, and the Akumal Community Adult Education center.
We welcome guest involvement in the various causes. Many long-time visitors to Akumal head their own fundraising efforts, or bring down supplies and checks themselves for these important organizations that always struggle for funding.
We will always strive to improve, but our efforts will continue as long as it takes to reach our goal: to have an operation and staff that respect and protect our fragile ecosystem.
Expedition Akumal aims to revive and restore local reefs via coral fragmentation, also known as coral farming or aquaculture. The project began by identifying strains of the more resilient reef building corals, primarily staghorn and elkhorn varieties, and cultivating them in a protected environment. These coral buds will then be transplanted to the reef, which will not only provide new coral growth, but act as nurseries for reef fish which will help to replenish depleted fish stocks.
Divers are being offered a unique chance to be part of this project through the ‘Science Diver’ program; an eco-vacation where divers are an integral part of the Expedition Akumal project. Participant divers will run tests for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels, monitor water temperatures and use underwater GPS technology to locate and map healthy, diseased or dying coral in the bay. The first trial group made 22 scientific data gathering dives in 14 days.
All divers are welcome to participate, although as the project involves working with threatened coral species in a fragile reef environment, Advanced Open Water Divers with a Peak Performance Buoyancy certification are preferred. Local divers who would like to take part are welcome to volunteer. For more information on volunteering with the project contact Jeremy Moore via the project’s Facebook page Expedition Akumal or view the project blog at protectakumalmarinelife.blogspot.com
To learn more about the collaborative project with Centro Ecologico Akumal and Akumal Dive Center, please click here.
Mauricio has recently joined the team as our Sustainability Project Manager. He brings with him over eight years of experience in conservation and environmental education.
As he puts it, "I enjoy building relations with the community whether that is by teaching or doing outreach--I feel like I am contributing to making this world a better place."
When Mauricio is not teaching math or physics at the highschool, he enjoys his time at the cinema.