Last week I ran down new developments I found at Travel Mart Latin America. This week we’ve got the scoop from the first Mexican summit of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. This is the organization counting most adventure tour operators as members and one of our occasional contributors, Mark Chesnut, was there to see what’s happening. Take it away Mark!
ATMEX, the Adventure Travel Mexico convention, took place September 5-9 in the city of Veracruz. Organized by the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the confab brought tour operators, hoteliers and travel buyers to the World Trade Center expo facility. Discussions during workshops, panels, presentations and on the exhibit floor tended to emphasize action, adventure and ecotourism over luxury, but a few companies touted their ability to combine upscale amenities and service with eco-focused adventures.
Among the ATMEX exhibitors that appeared best equipped to cater to adventure seekers with a craving for comfort was Mexico Verde Expediciones, based in the state of Veracruz, which is one of Mexico’s best regions for whitewater rafting. Mexico Verde offers accommodations that include single and double suite-style tents with full baths, terraces and wake-up coffee service, served at the beginning of days designed for decidedly active adventures that include category III and IV rafting in Jalcomulco, jungle biking and kayaking through mangrove swamps and vigorous team-building activities, complemented by spa treatments.
Hotel companies present at the event were especially well versed at promoting their product to upscale travelers. The Explorean Kohunlich – a jungle lodge in the Yucatan peninsula, less than an hour from the city of Chetumal – offers indulgences like a couple’s Temazcal (traditional Mexican sweat lodge) treatment and picnic at the Mayan ruins of Kohunlich, as well as biking through the ruins, rappelling down dramatic riverside cliffs and kayaking through lagoons by day and night. Back at the resort, guests can sign up for additional treatments at Ki’ol Spa, or just relax in one of the 38 bungalows or two cabanas (none of which have televisions, to encourage guests to connect more with nature and less with cable).
Explorean Kohunlich belongs to the Mexican hotelier Grupo Posadas, which also used the event to promote its all-inclusive Fiesta Americana Cozumel property as an ideal base for taking advantage of the excellent diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean waters nearby.
The Villa Group was also present, promoting the adventure-friendly aspects of its upscale properties in Loreto, a Baja California destination popular for diving and fishing. The company’s Villa del Palmar Loreto Beach Resort & Spa, billed as “Baja California’s first million star resort & spa,” has suites with views of the Sea of Cortes (among the largest is the 3,270-square-foot penthouse Royal Suite), while its Sabila Spa and Wellness Center is designed to provide rejuvenation for weary explorers. Kayaking, island hopping in the National Marine Park of Loreto Bay, whale watching, snorkeling and scuba diving are among the more adventurous activities that the hotel can arrange.
In the state of Hidalgo, Sterra, a 24-room spa hotel in the town of Otongo, offers an adventure travel package that includes one night of accommodations, three meals and activities like zip lining, cycling and Swedish massage. The property also has a Temazcal, Zen garden, soccer fields and an art gallery.
Mark Chesnut writes frequently about Latin America travel for multiple publications. See more on his blog, LatinFlyer.com.