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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Esmeralda Swartz, Hovhannes Avoyan, Elizabeth White

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Environmental Leaders Along With Tourism Council Announce Dates For The 7th Annual Whale Shark Festival

-Dates Confirmed for July 25-27, 2014 -

ISLA MUJERES, Mexico, April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Celebrating the beauty and culture of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, the Department of Tourism for Isla Mujeres, Mexico, along with Ceviche Tours, an eco-tourism company; Amigos de Isla Contoy, which promotes the conservation of Isla Contoy and several environmental leaders have partnered to announce that the 7th Annual Whale Shark Festival will take place July 25-27, 2014.  The festival is an annual event held in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico that showcases the region's achievements, traditions and environmental splendor.

Celebrating the beauty and culture of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, the Department of Tourism for Isla Mujeres, Mexico, along with Ceviche Tours, an eco-tourism company; Amigos de Isla Contoy, which promotes the conservation of Isla Contoy and several environmental leaders have partnered to announce that the 7th Annual Whale Shark Festival will take place July 25-27, 2014.

Following a kick-off parade on Friday, July 25, the Festival will showcase time-honored dances, local cuisine, nearby businesses and works from local artisans.  Guests can visit nearby attractions such as the Whale Shark Exhibition and view a display of the winning marine figures made by local high school students. 

Visitors can have an ecotourism adventure of a lifetime and swim with the whale sharks, the largest fish in the ocean and endangered species.  Don't worry: these magnificent whale sharks are filter feeders, like whales they feed on plankton, algae and krill. All swimmers will swim with fully licensed, expert diver/guides.  Guests can also participate in some of the other water activities that have made Isla Mujeres a favorite vacation spot: sport fishing, diving, and snorkeling tours of the pristine reefs.   

"The Whale Shark Festival is a true celebration of the islands' culture, heritage and the beautiful marine habitat that make Isla Mujeres the Jewel of The Yucatan Peninsula," said Sr. Gustavo Rodriguez Orozco, director of tourism for Isla Mujeres. "We are proud to be partnering with several environmental leaders as well as Ceviche Tours, Amigos de Isla Contoy A.C. and Blue Realm A.C. to bring this festival to life."

Sustainable Eco-Tourism

In addition to celebrating the beauty of Isla Mujeres, the Whale Shark Festival is a concerted effort to raise awareness of the need to preserve the area's marine ecosystem.  It is part of the second largest barrier reef on the planet, and serves as the nursery of the Caribbean and the migratory path of whale sharks, Manta Ray's and Dolphin as well as sea turtles, water fowl and game fishes.

"Sustainable eco-tourism engages guests in the effort to preserve the indigenous culture of Isla Mujeres, their way of life and the marine environment," said John Vater, who co-founded Ceviche Tours with his wife, Adriana, and longtime friend and Isla Mujeres native Louis Refugio "Cuco" Aguirre, his son Jesus and their family.  "Fishing was the key industry for local Islanders; it is how they eat, how they make a living.  We work with them helping to promote environmental preservation and sustainable eco-tourism as the future for the Island's people and the economy to sustain Isla Mujeres for generations to come."  

Getting Kids Involved in Saving the Planet

With over 60 hotels ranging from five-star resorts to cabanas on the beach, Isla Mujeres is the perfect staycation. The island is the safest island in the Caribbean and the downtown center is alive with fine restaurants, bars and music in the streets every night of the week.

"Everyone in the community of Isla Mujeres is becoming aware of the marine environment and biodiversity at sea," said Catalina Galindo de Prince, executive director of Amigos de Isla Contoy, A.C.  "People must also learn about the birds that use the island as a rest stop in their migratory path and the birds that make the island their home.  Furthermore, with better practices islanders will contribute to a healthy environment for themselves and for nature around and on their island."  

For a complete listing of 2014 Whale Shark Festival activities and for more information, visit http://www.whalesharkfest.com or www.cevichetours.com.  Information about Isla Mujeres can be found at www.islamujeres.gob.mx.  

Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140416/75603

SOURCE Ceviche Tours

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