Mexico's Eco-Friendly Hotels

A peek at three eco-friendly hotels in Mexico's Riviera Maya region
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Azulik, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Azulik, Riviera Maya, Mexico (Dylan Lloyd)

After spending two nights in Cabanas Copal, we packed our bags and headed down the road to our next eco-friendly lodge, Azulik. Owned by the same company that runs Cabanas Copal—EcoTulum Resorts and Spa—Azulik offers an upscale version of our previous locale. Azulik, Cabanas Copal, and the more family-friendly Zahra share a restaurant and the Maya Spa, both within walking distance from the rooms. Azulik and Copal are clothing optional resorts, and the atmosphere is comfortable and safe whether or not you choose to wear clothing.

We stayed in a sea villa, one of 15 villas made of dark, local hardwoods and perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean. The private deck stretched out over the rocks so that when I relaxed on the bed hanging from the roof of the deck, I felt as though I were floating over the ocean, the breeze slightly rocking the bed, the deafening sounds of the waves cancelling out everything else. I consider myself a medium-green gal—not exactly the hardcore camping type and not quite the I-have-to-lug-my-hairdryer-everywhere type. I can go a couple of days without a shower. I felt right at home in Azulik, as the villas offer a balance of natural beauty, rusticity, and a splash of luxury.

Azulik creates the perfect setting for a romantic vacation. (Not so romantic when you are there with a sibling, but gorgeous and relaxing nonetheless.) Most of the villas have a comfortable king-size bed along with a hanging day bed, which worked well as a second sleeping space. Plus, Azulik allows guests a bit of solar power up until 11:00 P.M. so they can turn on the ceiling fans during the day. One tip: Don't leave the porch door open and the fan on high, as every once in a while a local bird will fly into a room and quite possibly not realize that the fan may be dangerous (we learned this the hard way). Although the rooms don't have a shower, they have a toilet with a door, a sink, and a wooden bathtub alongside windows facing the ocean. There's an outdoor tub off the deck as well.

The Maya Spa, a short walking distance from all three EcoTulum hotels, offers a variety of Mayan holistic treatments, some of which are performed by local Shaman, including Mayan healing massage, clay massage, crystal therapy, hot stone massage, body scrubs, wraps, and facials. The spa manager, Laura, can often be found in or around Maya Spa, and she's skilled at suggesting treatments or therapies for individuals. She goes out of her way to make guests comfortable and relaxed, plus she's lived in the area for a long time and has much appreciation for Tulum. Her knowledge and insight for the spirit of the surrounding natural area make the spa experience special and unforgettable.

I signed up for a massage and facial, which were both conducted in a structure over the ocean, with the warm breeze blowing through, the sound of waves, and the salty smell of the sea. The therapists were first-rate. I also tried the Temazcal, an indigenous sweat lodge experience that originated from ancient therapeutic cleansing rituals, comparable to a steam bath in a small hut. A shaman generally leads the Temazcal with chants and stories, and the entire ritual intends to cleanse the participants' spirits. Arrive at the Temazcal with a spiritual or emotional area you would like to focus on during the process. Wear a bathing suit or light clothing and prepare to be soaked with water or sweat. Keep in mind that the Temazcal may ignite some deep emotions and those who can't handle extreme heat may want to steer towards other spa options.

Published: 28 Apr 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Riviera Maya


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