How did a baby photographer from Clarkston, Michigan end up running a hotel on a Caribbean island, just offshore from the Sian Ka’an protected biosphere in the Riviera Maya? My friend Niki Allen, the owner of Serenidad Shardon, tells us exactly how she did it.
Punta Allen is a World Class destination for saltwater fishing and is sometimes called the Permit Capital of the World. Niki and others on the island created a fishing tournament to provide funding for the families and children who inhabit the area. Niki and her husband bought their property with the intention of having an eco-retreat for people who don’t want to be in the middle of Margaritaville while on vacation. Though her husband has since passed, Niki and her son are working together to keep the dream alive.
Niki says the ecosystem is thriving in the area thanks to the education of the local guides and children. Even the area’s 48-year-old lobster cooperative has rules about which lobsters can be harvested, allowing the lobsters a rest and recuperation period. There is no diving in the nearby biosphere and there is no swimming with the abundant dolphin pods. These conservation techniques are what maintain the natural world pristine.
Niki keeps her passion alive by investing her time in the island children’s lives. She shares information with guests and educates the local kids not to throw things on the ground. These kids are the future caretakers of the area and rather than being stuck in a phone or video game, they go outside and gain knowledge about the real world. Young people are also staying in the area and working in ecotourism.
Niki says if travelers want to contribute when they visit Punta Allen, they can contribute monetarily or by donating school and art supplies.
Niki’s Favorite Places:
○ A Jungle Walk to the Black Lagoon
○ Temple Ruins in the Surrounding Jungle
○ The Ultra Blue Water of Blankisal
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