Sunset at Piedra Escondida in Mexico's Riviera Maya

7 Awesome Cancun Ecotourism Attractions to See at TBEX


Tomorrow morning Mary & I leave for our appearance in the Opening Keynote Session at TBEX (a.k.a. Travel Bloggers Exchange), in Cancun, Mexico. It’ll be our first-ever travel blogging conference, but our third time visiting the Riviera Maya in the last five years.


I’ll admit to being both nervous and excited about it: Though I’ve attended major events such as SXSW and the Toronto Film Festival numerous times as a journalist, speaking on stage is a different story. Fortunately I’ll be getting to interview one of my personal heroes, Ecotourism pioneer Dr. Martha Honey, founder of the Center for Responsible Travel and Travelers Philanthropy, a non-profit founded to help travelers give back to community conservation and sustainable development projects.


None of this would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for the huge controversy over the Cancun CVB offering Swim With Dolphin Tours to visiting bloggers as part of the official TBEX Fam Tours. When the most popular blogger in the world, Nomadic Matt, suggested bloggers boycott TBEX unless they canceled the tour of the dolphinarium– which many of us eco-friendly folks think are cruel and inhumane- there was a standoff, with neither side seemingly willing to budge. Fortunately, having worked with the CVB Cancun before, we were able to work diplomatically to get the tours cancelled.


The irony that the all-inclusive hotel the conference is in and the location of the Opening Night Party both offer captive cetacean tours is not lost on Dr. Honey or I. But we’ve agreed that the Big Picture– getting to talk about the importance of responsible ecotourism, and of bloggers covering these types of issues in their work– allows us to educate and inform the key travel industry influence in a way that could help make a difference. I mean, just imagine if even half of the bloggers attending TBEX started writing about Sustainable Travel issues regularly?


So in that spirit of focusing on the positive and encouraging people to celebrate the beauty of nature and cultural conservation, we thought it’d be fun to share seven of our favorite Cancun ecotourism attractions. Check out the videos!

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Photos of J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel Island, Florida

PHOTO GALLERY: The Beauty of

J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge


Without Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, Sanibel Island, Florida as we know and love it today might not even exist.


Born in 1876, Ding (a contraction of his last name, which he used to sign all his work) became one of the leading editorial cartoonists of the 20th century, working primarily with the New York Globe and New York Herald Tribune.


Darling used his work to criticize the role industrial commerce played in the pollution of America’s rivers, the role of hunting in the rise of endangered species, the scourge of deforestation, and the businessmen and politicians who seemed not to care about the long-term implications of their actions. He won two Pulitzer Prizes for his work, in 1924 and 1943.

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Photo by Sebastian Anthony via Creative Commons

Why (and How) I Write:

A Blog Hop Post


A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a Blog Hop about one of my favorite subjects (Writing) by two of my favorite bloggers, Susan Portnoy and Jessie Voigts.


Susan Portnoy is a safari addict, world explorer and photographer who blogs as The Insatiable Traveler. She’s traveled to over 35 countries and looks forward to every new experience, especially those that involve authentic cultures, wild animals or remnants of ancient civilizations. She is a contributor to Yahoo Travel and her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Mashable, & more. When she’s not traveling, Susan is a veteran communications and PR consultant (most recently at Condé Nast). This fall she’ll oversee press for the return of Fashion Rocks and Movies Rock, two prime-time CBS specials that celebrate the relationship between fashion and music and movies and music respectively.


Jessie Voigts is a mom who loves sharing the world with her daughter. She has a PhD in International Education, and is constantly looking for ways to increase intercultural understanding, especially with kids. She has lived and worked in Japan and London, and traveled around the world. Jessie is the publisher of Wandering Educators, a travel library for people curious about the world, and Journey to Scotland, a resource for traveling to Scotland. She also founded the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program. She’s published six books about travel and intercultural learning, with more on the way. You can usually find her family by water, anywhere in the world.


Read on for my answers to four not-so-simple questions about Writing, and to find out which 3 blogger friends I’ve invited to join the Blog Hop… Continue reading

Colonial Architecture of Cartagena, Colombia

Why Cartagena, Colombia Is My Favorite City

(& How You Can Win a FREE Trip!)


(The following post was sponsored by LAN Airlines. But, trust us, that’s not what the story’s about!)

It’s been well-established by now that I’m not a fan of big cities.

I’ve certainly been to my fair share over the years– from Lima, New York and Montreal to Johannesburg, London and Rome. But I usually prefer that they be the briefest of stopovers before heading off into the wild.


Cartagena, Colombia is the rare exception to my get-away-from-cities-as-fast-as-possible rule. And I fell in love with it immediately upon arrival.


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Running Wild With Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls On Wilderness, Celebrities & Running Wild


I developed my lifelong love of the outdoors as a boy. My parents and grandparents took me backpacking in the Appalachian mountains and to our rustic cabin on Lake Hartwell, where I learned to set up camp, fish, start a fire (and cook on it), forage for wild berries and, most importantly, respect the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.


On Running Wild With Bear Grylls, the British adventurer does the same thing with some of the world’s biggest celebrities. It’s thrilling to watch a nervous Ben Stiller rappelling down a mountain on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, a terrified Tom Arnold conquering his fear of heights by traversing a tree over a 50-foot drop in Oregon, a boyish Zac Efron stoked to see a wild beaver in the Catskills, and the athletic Channing Tatum backflipping off a helicopter into the waters below.


But what makes the show even more interesting is the rare, honest glimpse it offers of these world-renowned stars emotionally overwhelmed by the challenges of pushing themselves to the limit in some of the world’s most beautiful wilderness areas. It’s an inspiring thing to watch, and has apparently inspired Discovery Networks to sign Bear Grylls for a 6-episode series, Breaking Point, in which he’ll help regular people conquer their fears of nature.


I’ve been a big fan of Grylls– a former reservist in the British Special Forces (SAS) who later climbed Mount Everest and crossed the North Atlantic and the Northwest Passage in an inflatable boat– ever since his Man Vs Wild days. He recently spoke to us via cell phone from a little cove off the south coast of England.

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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Destinations We’ve Covered:

Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
India- Ranthambhore National Park
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities


Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

America’s Best Volcanoes
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba