Bonanza Ranch and UMA Rancho San Salvador unite to Save the Melipona Bee

Mexico has 47 species of bee and 16 are found only in tropical areas. After the recent introduction of foreign species, many beekeepers began to favor European or African bees because they produced larger quantities of honey.

Increasingly, the Mayan beekeeping tradition has been in serious danger of dying out. Worse yet, populations of stingless bees have declined with deforestation while beekeepers less frequently pass on the tradition to younger generations as they move to cities.

Environmental threat

Apart from the loss of cultural heritage and medicinal honey, this poses a severe environmental threat. Critically, the Melipona bee is the only species capable of pollinating certain plants and fauna.

Their nests consist of small “honey pots” instead of the honeybee’s regular combs. And as their name implies, they lack stingers and are generally less aggressive than honeybees, making them easier to raise. They’re kept as “pets” in many places and can often be tended to by children.

Stingless bees are pickier than their European counterparts about what flowers they visit, making them important for keeping certain tropical forests healthy. The Melipona are the main pollinators of many species of flora in the Yucatan. If we lose these bees, we lose the plants. Because many of the plants in this region can only be pollinated by these bees; another species will not do.

To counter this trend, Bonanza Ranch has joined forces with UMA Rancho San Salvador, a company experienced in sustainable development and nature conservation, to protect the plant fauna of the Yucatan. Rancho Bonanza and UMA will work towards the conservation of the melipona species by promoting the setup and construction of new meliponarios, groups who keep meliponas.

Rancho Bonanza`s vast flora located in 160 hectares of conservation forest in Puerto Morelos offers the ideal conditions for stingless bees to thrive. Rancho Bonanza is abundant with dzidzilché a bush with beautiful white flowers which meliponas feed almost exclusively on.

Rancho Bonanza and UMA Rancho San Salvador`s mission is threefold:

1. Promote the sexual reproduction of diverse species of flora, including the mangrove through natural pollination with the use of native bee species.

2. Promote the conservation of these colonies of native bees.

3. Transmit the knowledge acquired to people interested in learning.
Because there are so many different species of stingless, or meloponine, bees, they produce a wide variety of honey. Its taste has been variously described as sweeter than the honeybee’s product, often with a delightful floral aftertaste.

Melipona honey is unique for its flavor, medicinal value, antibiotic properties, nutritional value and cultural significance because of its sacred use in Mayan ceremonies and rituals. Melipona honey is a bit runny and the flavor pleasantly acidic.

Honey´s medicinal properties

The principal medicinal value of honey arises from its antibacterial properties when used as a wound dressing. Numerous reports attest to its antibiotic properties, no surprise to native people worldwide who use it to treat eye infections and wounds. Studies have hinted that it might help deter cancer.

Combining Animal Welfare and Conservation with Travel at Bonanza Ranch


Mexico is very commonly known for its unique and delicious food, but if you travel here as an animal lover or eco-warrior, you will also have the opportunity to try so many different experiences while also helping people, animals, and the environment!

Bonanza Ranch in Riviera Maya is an example of a small family run horseback riding center that has rescued and nursed back to wellness countless species of animals that would otherwise have perished due to neglect.

Part of the magic that you will experience at Bonanza Ranch is the unconditional love that our four legged friends display to our visitors. Maya the three legged dog and Valentino the Alsatian are always on the lookout for a treat and a hug.

Whether you’re interested in preserving Mexico´s unique underground rivers system or wildlife conservation, there is something meaningful for everyone who visits Bonanza Ranch.

You can make a difference in the lives of so many animals, and continue changing and making the world a better place.

During your visit, you’ll learn so much about Mexican fauna and have the chance to meet our friendly guides who bring the Bonanza experience to life in a unique and interesting way with anecdotes about Mexico´s fascinating history.

Each time you visit the ranch you will learn something new as you explore the cenotes and the densely vegetated jungle fauna. You can even show off your Spanish speaking skills with our staff and animals.

Both are bilingual by the way!

As a visitor, you will have a lot of questions about the surroundings and many of our patrons have stayed involved with the ranch even long after they have returned home. And every time they return to the Riviera Maya, they come back to visit our stables to catch up on how their four-legged friends are doing.

Visit Bonanza Ranch and do more than you could have ever imagined. You will make lifelong friends, lasting memories, and perhaps even change the lives of those around you.