25 Mexicans: Carlos Marin, pioneer

Carlos Marín experienced an entrepreneur’s epiphany about 10 years ago, while exploring some of the more isolated areas of the Yucatán Peninsula.

He and some adventurous friends articulated a vision of a different kind of tourism, one that would protect ecosystems and benefit the economic and social development of local Mayan communities. Today, Marín, an industrial engineer who loves nature, is known as an innovator in the field.

After working for other people, Marín and his friends-cum-partners, decided to embark on a new path. Armed with a passion for Mayan culture, a smart business plan and the dream of a better life for himself and his family, Marín decided to start Alltournative.

“The desire to try something new was there. So was the need for a project like Alltournative. It was the right place and the right time. And it was the right decision,” he says.

He never imagined the effect the ecotourism and adventure outfit would have on his life and the lives of hundreds of people in the Playa del Carmen and Cancun region. The company employs 300 people, and has had a positive impact in the small communities where Alltournative works, where migration to the US, previously as high as 30 or 40%, has dropped to almost zero.

“I think the secret to succeeding with a new business is to offer something different…to find a market that isn’t being targeted by other businesses,” says Marín.

Any new venture faces challenges, and in Marín’s case, these include hurricanes, but the ecological and social impact of Alltournative motivates him to try and be the best option for adventure expeditions in the Mayan region. He believes he has achieved this goal, with a company that many are looking to as a model for sustainable business practices.

Note: This article was originally published in our November, 2007 issue.


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