Canadian family runs Mexican eco-tours

When 22-year-old Phillip Justice went for a holiday down Mexico way, he didn’t just bring his father back a souvenir – he brought him a career change.

Enchanted with both the people and the land, the younger Justice lured his father away from his contracting business to start a new venture in tourism – Rocamar tours. Now, this Canadian family is serving up a taste of the south to tourists visiting Morelia, a town southwest of Mexico City.

The family offers two different guided tours of Mexico’s hot spots. The first, the Eco/Adventure tour, is what 50-year-old Paul Justice describes as good for “grown-ups who don’t want to grow up.”

Thatched roof cabins

  • The week-long tour includes travelling on horseback to the Paricutin Volcano, as well as rock climbing and snorkelling.
  • The second week-long Michoacan tour is geared for people who want a little less physical activity. It includes a short hike to the lava-covered church of San Juan Viego, a boat ride to Janitzio Island and shopping tours of Quiroga, Tzintzuntzan, and Santa Clara del Cobre.

To get a real feel for the land, all tourists stay in thindigenous thatched roof cabins of La Ticla and Yunuen, quaint inns outside Zitacuaro, and the beautiful colonial pink cantera stone architecture of Hotel La Soledad in Morelia – an appealing alternative to flashy hotels.

Underdeveloped locales
“We take tourists to places that are, as far as tourism is concerned, somewhat  underdeveloped,” says the senior Justice. “For instance we visit places you’d think had never been visited by people before, they’re that unspoiled. Everything looks the same as it did 100 years ago.”

Customized tours are also offered for people looking for a place to retire. One favoured by many Canadians is Lake Chapala, otherwise known as the Land of Eternal Spring for its mild temperatures.