Why Sustainable Tourism Is So Important

Learn what you can do to travel in a way that is respectful with the environment and the communities you visit

With so many beautiful travel locations to choose from, and so much to see and do, it’s no wonder we spend such a large chunk of our time planning dream vacations and fantasy getaways. And now that we can quickly share the beauty of our exotic destinations and exciting adventures on social media for all our friends and relatives to see, people are adding more locations to their travel lists every day. The question is, do all these travelers know how to travel responsibly?

What Is Sustainable Tourism?

The sustainable tourism definition explains that local business owners and political leaders have an obligation to keep one another informed and to provide travel services that are pleasing to tourists without harming or changing the lifestyle, structural integrity, or well-being of an area and its inhabitants. In other words, they should enable travelers to enjoy eco-friendly and culturally authentic activities. Sustainable tourism is also an active and on-going movement toward preservation that requires a great deal of research and observation to find the best ways to prevent or correct processes when needed.

What Is Responsible Tourism?

Mother Son Cleaning Beach

Responsible tourism is a type of sustainable tourism, but puts more emphasis on the responsibility of the traveler rather than the provider. Responsible travel means respecting the mantra of leaving things better than you found them, as well as striving to make a positive impact on the environment and local economy. 


  • Be conscious of the environment around you and how your presence makes an impact, for good or bad. If you visit a beach and find garbage in it, take a few minutes to clean up a small portion of it. Every effort counts.

  • Ensure that you only use biodegradable sunscreen and bug spray when visiting protected marine areas. Another way to preserve reefs is to swim without fins to avoid damaging corals accidentally. 

  • Learn some of the language and interact with locals, or try new foods based on local ingredients. It will be enriching for you and will make locals feel that they are actively participating in the tourism development of their region.

  • Choose hotels and travel accommodations that support sustainability efforts. Be conscious about water consumption while showering and reuse your towels for a couple of days before asking for new ones.

  • When visiting towns and villages, appreciate hand-made clothing, jewelry and souvenirs and avoid bargaining with small local producers. They are usually working hard to try to make ends meet.

  • Include national parks and natural spots in your trips. Eco parks offering attractions that are respectful with the environment are a great option to enjoy your vacations to the fullest and admire local flora and fauna.

Father & Son Zip-lining

Why Is Sustainable Tourism Important?

Without the help of local leaders and business owners, travelers would be unfamiliar with the unique needs of each area they visit. Careless or uninformed travelers may accidentally endanger wildlife, offend locals, or damage monuments. For example, in many parts of the world there are certain types of sunscreen that are not allowed because the chemical ingredients are harmful to the coral reefs. Marine life in that area depend on sustainability efforts to preserve their natural habitat by educating tourists and enforcing sunscreen bans. 

However, when a company supports sustainable tourism, they are actively engaged in the education and preservation process. They are doing their part to sustain the local resources, whether cultural, environmental, or economical. Sometimes when you take a guided tour to a popular attraction, the guide will teach you about the animals in the area and how they live. 

They may also inform you of ways you can help protect them, or in many cases, a portion of the money you paid for the tour will go toward research and preservation efforts. They may also employ local residents at their company, which provides needed jobs and supports the economy.

Choosing Sustainable Travel Companies

Luxury Sailing

Sustainable travel and responsible travel essentially aim for the same goal. When travelers and companies in the travel industry work together, the results will be multiplied in each of the main areas of focus: environmental preservation, cultural integrity, and economic growth. When planning a trip to a foreign destination, take a little extra time to research sustainable travel options, learn about the people and culture, and find out how you can contribute to conservation efforts.

What Vallarta Adventures Is Doing to Help Local Communities and the Environment

Vallarta Adventures is heavily involved in community outreach, conservation, and sustainability efforts. In fact, we have a program of our own called Inspiring Change, which makes us one of the leading companies in Mexico for environmental and social responsibility. We also provide philanthropic grants to help others put their ideas into action.


Snorkeler holding a snake


  • We have eliminated the use of plastic straws, cups, and cutlery on our tours, cutting out 2.8 tons of disposable plastic.

  • We have dedicated over 4,000 hours of work to more than 65 beach, ocean, and river cleanups.

  • Extreme & Outdoor Adventure guests have helped plant more than 50,000 Huanacaxtle tree seeds, which will be donated to schools, parks, and hospitals.

  • Las Caletas guests have helped plant over 2,000 seeds to grow coconut palm trees.

  • Our reforestation program has planted 15,750 endemic trees.


Parrot Flying

  • Our reproduction program at Las Caletas has birthed and released over 70 endemic red macaws.

  • 480 Hectares (1 hectare = approximately 2.47 acres) of tropical jungle have been protected through our efforts in Las Caletas, Majahuitas, the parks where Extreme Adventure and Outdoor Adventure are located.

  • Our marine biologists have untangled and released 10 whales in joint efforts with local authorities. 23 marine mammals have been rescued, rehabilitated, and released into the ocean.

  • We have donated tons in fish during the past 20 years to feed the crocodiles and reptiles in the sanctuary kept by the University of Guadalajara in Puerto Vallarta.


Swimming With a Dolphin

  • Over 1,600 dolphin encounters have been shared with the Make-A-Wish™ Foundation and local organizations working for children with disabilities and Down syndrome.

  • Our tour participants have supported over 30 small family businesses.

  • Scholarships and school supplies have been provided for 7 years to children of staff members, as academic excellence rewards.

  • Over 30 small family businesses in remote communities benefit from the economic spillover generated by the tourism we bring them.

  • After Hurricane Dorian, Bahamas Adventures donated 2,800 hours of volunteer work, $8,900 USD, and 8,000 pounds of food and water were contributed in relief efforts.

Adventure Group Rescue Bus

A Sustainable Tourism Company

Choose Vallarta Adventures for the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta and rest easy knowing you’re supporting sustainable tourism without sacrificing anything you want for your vacations. Your visit is Inspiring Change! 

For more information about our sustainability and conservation efforts visit Inspiring Change.

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