Jungle tourism is a rising subcategory of adventure travel defined by active multifaceted physical means of travel in the jungle regions of the earth. Although similar in many respects to adventure travel, jungle tourism pertains specifically to the context of region, culture and activity. According to the Glossary of Tourism Terms, jungle tours have become a major component of green tourism in tropical destinations and are a relatively recent phenomenon of Western international tourism.
Of the regions that take part in tourism-driven sustainable development practices and eco tourism, Mexican, Central and South American practices are the most pervasive in the industry; notably Mayan jungle excursions. Other regions include jungle territories in Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.
Mayan Jungle Travel Adventures come in all shapes and sizes. They come in a plethora of lengths and widths; in an assortment of themes and categories. But most of all they are in some way, shape, or form educational, fun, and enlightening. Mayan Jungle Travel Adventures are a one-in-a-lifetime experience.
Though no one really knows when commercial Mayan Jungle travel adventures began, there are theories in local communities that traditional versions began when the first civilizations of Mayans settled in the jungles. Groups of young Mayans for various cultural and/or social reasons would explore the Mayan jungles in search of food, shelter, or fun.
Very rarely will you come across a learned man or woman in the U.S. ignorant of anything to do with Mayan ruins. Perhaps “Chichen Itza”, “Tikal” or “Palenque” will come to mind, recalling “something” about one of the aforementioned Mayan Ruins. These names are the milestones of the Maya Civilization in terms of size and sophistication.
Towering stacks of half-ton stone comprise these architecturally advanced creations. Even without knowledge of the most popular names, the average person can still recall something about the ancient civilization; one that gave us the calendar, advanced mathematics, astronomy, hydraulics, and architecture beyond belief. The average person will know something about Mayan ruins.
In the very heart of Central America is Guatemala; a must for every tourist who is interested in nature, culture and history, a country with extraordinary ethnographic variety, cultural wealth, geographic diversity and a zone of economical and cultural contacts between all the cultures of Central America.
There are many ways to explore Guatemala. You can travel on your own or with some friends who are local and who can show you around and tell you more about the local culture and history. You can also choose to join one of the organized jungle tours, offered by many travel agencies.
Perhaps one of the most exciting and dynamic experiences in the realm of mountain biking, Mayan jungle bike tours stands above all. Beyond the off road experience through dense jungle flora, mud pits, hills and thick tropical tree roots, deep jungle mountain biking, not that any other biking experience wouldn’t, gives one a very rewarding goal at the finish line: Mayan jungle pyramids and ruins.
There are some major differences between deep jungle mountain biking, and the traditional form explored by traditional tour operators. The main differences have to do with the speed of the tour, the process revolving around the tour, and the environmental elements involved in the tour.
Adventure Travel as a keyword phrase and as sub sect of the tourism industry has taken off exponentially in the past 15 years. The term encompasses an array of travel activities, themes and concepts in almost every region of the world. Adventure Travel means going beyond the realm of visiting places and sightseeing, it means exploring, interacting and experiencing these places in fun, active, spiritual, educational, “you name it”, ways.
Because of its prevalence there have been both improvements and declinations in certain regions of the world that have established businesses that cater to the adventure travel aficionado. This piece does not touch on every aspect of the subject, though it does visit several pertinent points regarding it. The overarching theme will be the particular stance of Duende Mayan Jungle Tours, and how the company’s philosophy embodies concepts and ideas that should be pervasive with the adventure travel industry as a whole.
In 1996 two friends and I undertook our first backpacking experience. We traveled from Costa Rica to Guatemala in six months. We originally planned to travel for a year, but half way decided to do something more useful with our presence in Central America and applied for volunteer jobs in Honduras and Guatemala. The travelers we met during our adventure traveled from South to North Central America and were very different from the travelers you would meet now on the same route.
Most people were, like us, looking for a real escape. It would have been rare to find anyone traveling for less then three months. As a matter of fact, most people had started in the northern region of the continent, or often in Mexico and were planning to travel as far south as Peru or Patagonia. They would give themselves eight months or more to do so. The main reason for their trip was not so much traveling in itself; most backpackers were looking for a different lifestyle. They had already found the lifestyle they were looking for and had been successful in becoming accomplished adventurers.
Belize, a small country located in Central America, surrounded by Guatemala, the Caribbean Sea and Mexico, is a place encrusted with ruins of the ancient Maya civilization. The country is considerably small, covering only 8,867 square miles, about the size of Massachusetts.
Its size, however, does not diminish the prospect of finding astonishing sights. The ancient destinations as well as the natural wonders of Belize are compressed together tightly that everywhere you turn, you'll find great adventure.
The jungle that covers the Yucatan Peninsula is dense as it is lushly filled with numerous trees as a wild forest. This jungle is not cultivated anymore but according to researches, the landscapes were highly and devotedly managed by the ancient Maya people prior to the collapse of their civilization. The wild forest that has been discovered is what the ancient Maya cities have turned into after thousands of years of being left to the intervention of nature.
All the plant and tree species that are present in the jungle of Yucatan are Maya civilization’s greenery that have gone untamed and the forest is not the landscape that was there prior to foreign invasion.
One evidence that pointed out that there was an ancient civilization that prospered in the jungle thousands of years ago is the fact that the ecosystem of the peninsula bears the indication that there was human manipulation. The plants are uniformly spread which is not the case if they evolved naturally. This observation only proves that the Mayans rigorously changed the jungle where they developed their civilizations. Most of the plants are species that were highly cultivated but have gone untamed after long years of being neglected.
After further investigations, it was found out that the most number of plants that are still present are those that are economically important. This means that the ancient people had really used up the land to provide them with food.
The jungle is almost totally inaccessible except by going on a guided tour. There are roads that were built cris- crossing the region and main highways that run along the coasts.
Most of the inner parts of the jungle are uninhabited except for some hunters that still reside in small communities. These native villages are accessible by trail and there are even some with electricity.
The Yucatan Peninsula is a rugged flat terrain and there are portions that have been turned into National Parks and commercial places like the Xel-Ha and the Xcaret parks that are both are located in the Quintana Roo state.
The Xel-Ha theme park was established in the 1980s and it has been managed by a private company since 1995. The main attraction of this park is the natural lagoon and inlet where hundreds of water species live in. The park boasts a turtle reserve and among the activities being offered includes swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling and scuba diving.
Xcaret means ‘little cove’ in Maya language and this park was founded by a millionaire developer who developed it into an intriguing educational and recreational project that is a first of its kind. The park covers 250 acres of land and an inlet. There is a museum that preserves the ancient people’s history and culture. There are also archaeological sites that are scattered around the flourishing landscaped grounds. There is also a wide area of space provided for activities such as swimming, snorkeling and horseback riding.
These parks and the rest of the National Parks around the Yucatan Peninsula provide today’s generation with places to learn about the ancient Maya civilization and to experience something that has long been hidden from the rest of the world.
The Mayan jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula is a dense tropical rainforest inhabited by the Mayans that was converted into Mexican villages of our modern times. The peninsula is a unique combination of cultural and ecological diversity.
Plan your visit to the Yucatan Peninsula and explore the National Parks and the amazing Mayan ruins. Read more about our Mexico adventure trips.
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