Mexico's Eco-Friendly Hotels

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

Hacienda Tres Rios
When it came time to leave Azulik, we were hesitant to depart this peaceful paradise; however, we looked forward to having electricity and air conditioning at the third resort, an all-inclusive luxury resort. Staying at a lodge such as Azulik or Cabanas Copal not only relaxes visitors but also has a way of helping them to appreciate the parts of life that we usually take for granted. I found a heightened appreciation for electricity by the time our stay ended.

As we drove away from Tulum, towards the central part of Riviera Maya, the resorts grew into monumental kingdoms tucked safely behind sky-high walls and guards. We were leaving the wild, free-spirited, beachside town and entering a world of all-inclusive, 600-thread-count, poolside margarita madness. We would miss that peaceful, hippie vibe but longed for brainless entertainment, hot showers, and outlets. As we pulled into the Hacienda Tres Rios, our eyes widened at the curbside valets wearing what resembled pirate garb and speaking English fluently—a perk for some gringos, although not extremely helpful to our attempts to improve our Spanish.

The Hacienda Tres Rios has multiple personalities—it's an all-inclusive resort, it has enormous pools and a variety of restaurants, and it's eco-friendly. Located in a 326-acre nature preserve, the hotel proves its commitment to sustainable tourism by placing its facilities and infrastructure far enough from the shoreline and cenotes to avoid disturbing coastal and dune ecosystems; keeping 150 acres of nearby mangrove and jungle as permanent conservation areas; and employing a team of scientists, technicians, and specialists who work to maintain and enhance the resort's complex Environmental Management System.

The grounds of the Hacienda Tres Rios prove impressive—the pools woo tourists with temperate waters and immaculate poolside lounging areas, the beach features soft white sand and comfortable, covered daybeds, the surrounding campus offers every activity you can imagine from horseback riding to cenote trips, biking tours, and live entertainment. This resort embodies an easy, relaxing vacation, perfect for a family or couple looking to escape for a bit.

As we immersed ourselves in the luxury of this fortress, we wistfully recalled the extraordinary aspects of Tulum—the feeling of living in a natural environment, the local dishes served at the restaurant, and cultural experience. Three eco-friendly accommodations had shown us three distinct types of vacations, each appealing very much to certain type of traveler. The key lies in figuring out what you are searching for on your next escape.


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

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