|The community is Bustamante, population 3,501, in Nuevo Leon state, Mexico. It is a privileged rural landscape, made fertile in the middle of a semi-desert by springs that flow year-round. And in the vicinity of the oasis lie the internationally known caverns known locally as Grutas de Palmito. The problem are the pressures of recreation on the environment: day excursionists who come in great numbers are causing erosion near the water, both around the springs and along the river that flows from them. The waters that used to be clear are now murky because of the soil deposition. And in the cave, the visitors walk freely in the gallery spaces and trample on the formations. But because the local tourism industry is nature-based, it is imperative to conserve the natural resources that make it possible. This research considers the potential of what has come to be known as sustainable tourism to promote economic development in Bustamante and possibly in similar communities, not by replacing the agricultural base but by complementing it. Data were obtained from observations, interviews, survey questionnaires, from the Mexican census, from the regional newspaper, and from the literatures on sustainable tourism and history of the region. The study proposes that the natural and cultural resources of Bustamante had been largely conserved until recently, and that the present accelerated degradation of these resources can be reversed through approaches to sustainability that are related to tourism, so that Bustamante’s people meet their present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, measured against the standard of living currently enjoyed.