Alternative Tourism

By María Elena Muriel

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Alternative Tourism

Alternative tourism is different from conventional tourism. It involves an educational component. In other words, the visitor will learn something from an intimate connection with the natural and cultural heritage.

Generally, alternative tourism sites are attractive focal points in themselves, such as museums. Some sites are so special and vulnerable that the number of visitors is very limited. Government regulations NOM-09-TUR-2002 and NOM-08-TUR-200 establish the guidelines for visiting these sites. For others, special visitor permits from CONANP, SEMARNAT, or INAH are required.

Since some of these sites are in remote or inaccessible areas, certified personnel must accompany visitors to keep them from getting lost and to safeguard the integrity of the site.

Another aspect to consider is the interpretation of what the visitor is experiencing. A natural or cultural resource is meaningless until we know its importance. Heritage interpreters serve this purpose. They are the voice of the plants, whales, turtles or petroglyphs. They communicate the messages of cave paintings, costumes, culture, communities or the language of the stars to visitors who are interested in learning.

Hiking, walking and climbing

We have all heard these terms and sometimes use them interchangeably. They often describe the recreational activity in open spaces where we usually walk. Each of these activities has a recreational goal and learning objective and communion with nature, either for the purpose of contemplation, understanding or integration. It’s often better to let yourself be guided by experts, especially if you are a new visitor. There is always something interesting to see, and you don’t want to miss it for lack of knowledge.

To make the experience truly unforgettable, these activities are best when conducted in small groups no larger than ten participants. Of course, the tour company should include the necessary equipment, transportation, permits, nutrition and hydration for each particular activity.

In Baja California Sur, a variety of businesses are authorized to offer these services and you can participate in different ways.

Nature Walk: Basic to intermediate level of difficulty lasting two to three hours over rugged terrain with the goal of learning about the flora and fauna of a region.

Cave Paintings Walk: Basic to intermediate level of difficulty lasting eight to nine hours over rugged terrain with the purpose of visiting and enjoying the legacy paintings of our ancestors, as well as the flora, fauna and beautiful scenery.

Walk at Dawn: Basic to intermediate level of difficulty lasting two to three hours on flat ground with the goal of activating your senses and recharging your energy at dawn.

Hike to Sierra de la Laguna I: Advanced level, two nights and three days over rough and rugged terrain with the purpose of visiting different ecosystems and flora and fauna that are mostly endemic species.

Hike to Sierra de la Laguna II: All levels, eight hours over rough and rugged terrain in order to enjoy hot springs, a desert waterfall and native species of flora and fauna.

María Elena Muriel
Birding Los cabos & other outdoor options
birdingloscabos@gmail.com