l’hôtel Eco Paraíso
l’hôtel Eco Paraíso, Celestún, Yucatán, México
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Planeta.com Presents 2010 Colibri Ecolodge Award to Verena Gerber in honor of World Environment Day

OAXACA DE JUAREZ, MEXICO -- As part of the global celebration of World Environment Day, Planeta.com presents the tenth annual Colibri Ecotourism Award in the form of our first Colibri Ecolodge Award to Verena Gerber.


Colibri means 'Hummingbird' in Spanish and in 2010 the Colibri Award celebrates its tenth anniversary, making this one of the longest-running ecotourism awards. Previous winners include Steve Bridger, Gerhard Buttner, Hector Ceballos-Lascurain, Jorge Chàvez de la Peña, Fernando Garcia Aguinaco, Marlene Ehrenberg, Juan Carlos Ibarra, Pedro Martinez, Jennifer Morfín, Antonio Suárez and Francisco Verástegui. In 2010 Verena shares the spotlight with Colibri Ecotourism Award winner Allan Rhodes.

The winner of the award is selected by Planeta.com founder Ron Mader following consultation with previous award winners and colleagues.


Planeta.com presents the Colibri Ecotourism Award to those whose work in Mexico is exemplary and who share what they learn. Good ideas require good work to come to completion and good work needs to be documented so that lessons can be shared.

Nominees participate in the Planeta Forum, Planeta Wiki or contribute editorial suggestions for at least a year. Bonus points are given to those who participate on other websites and forums. This is part of Planeta.com's desire to create incentives for communication, collaboration and continuity, all vital elements in the development of responsible travel and ecotourism.


Verena opened EcoParaiso in 1996. Located on one of the most fascinating Mexican biological reserves, nestled on a 3-mile virgin beach, Hotel Eco Paraiso is located on the edge of the Celestún Biosphere Reserve in the Yucatán Peninsula.

EcoParaiso is eco chic, providing impeccable comfort and service in tranquil, natural surroundings. It offers a magical experience in a pristine environment, while providing a warm ecological oriented ambiance with wellness facilities and healthy activities for the guests well-while in intimate contact with nature. Highlights include a yoga center, juice therapy, pools and massage cubicles.

Verena and Marlene

"We've persevered 15 years," Verena said. "The work has been titanic in scope -- changing the way beach resorts have been developed and promoted. It wasn't easy at the beginning and it's not easy now, but it's a challenge we've accepted. Every day the tourists are becoming more savvy in terms of what they're seeking and it's my belief that we will thrive in the changing tourism environment."

Verena sees her role as a representative of private industry as a way of changing an attitude that seeks partnerships. "It's important to work together so that we can all benefit. Private industry invests in tourism and we're betting not just on tourism but on ecotourism". On top of Verena's wishlist -- deeper support and better promotion of ecotourism from Mexico's tourism officials.