Cave Explorer and Director
El Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuifero de Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sam Meacham is currently the Director of the Centro Investigador del Sistema Acuífero de Quintana Roo, A.C. (CINDAQ A.C.). In 2005, he was appointed Director of Scientific and Educational programs for the award-winning ecotravel company, Alltournative.
Originally from Austin, Texas, Meacham has lived in Quintana Roo since 1994. As a cave diver, he remains committed to understanding the complex dynamics of the Yucatán Peninsula's karst aquifer, as well as the people affected by it. He has extensive experience leading cave diving expeditions in the region, the most significant of which is the ongoing exploration of Sistema Ox Bel Ha. At more than 164 kilometers in surveyed length, Ox Bel Ha is the eighth-longest cave system on Earth, all of it underwater.
Beginning in 2006, he coordinated an extensive project to begin exploring, mapping and studying the karst aquifer of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, which is adjacent to Ox Bel Ha. This project resulted in the discovery and mapping of more than 7,000 meters of new cave passageway, and indications that a massive cave system exists beneath the Biosphere, which in turn, may link to the Ox Bel Ha system. Using information gained through his team’s extensive exploration and research, he has worked tirelessly to influence watershed management in the region, which is threatened by immediate and unchecked development.
As Director of Scientific and Educational Programs for Alltournative, he is in the process of developing a series of products and programs that will promote scientific and educational tourism in the region, all under the umbrella of sustainability. He is also playing an instrumental role in the development of an environmental education program for school children from the region that uses cenotes to teach them about the natural and cultural history of this region. He has been an International Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York since 2000.
Visit Meacham's Career’s in Science page»