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Cool Eco Lodges in Mexico you’ve probably never heard of, but should

September 14, 2009
Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico

Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico

Committed to traveling green? There’s no need to spend well above $200 a night on the new breed of spa-enhanced eco-lodge that’s proliferating across Mexico. Instead, you can still find comfortable, environmentally gentle digs for around $100. Here are our six favorite affordable picks:


Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico. Photo: photobucket member mgsipa

Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico. Photo: photobucket member mgsipa


Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico.

Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico.


Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico

Cabañas Copal, Tulum, Mexico

Cabañas Copal (Tulum, Quintana Roo)

Tulum’s sublime white sands and turquoise waters are your front yard in one 47 cabanas tucked into a jungle clearing. You can relive the hippie hut experience of yore in two sand-floor cabanas with thatch roofs, mosquito nets and shared bathrooms, or go upscale with larger cabanas offering king-size beds, cement or natural stone floors and hand-carved furniture. Sea view units, which get cooling ocean breezes, are worth the higher price. None have electricity, though bathrooms have plenty of hot water and public areas provide Wi-Fi. The reception area and restaurant-bar runs on a small generator at night, which also powers the torchlit pathways. This resort also boasts one of Tulum’s few clothing-optional beaches.
Spa, restaurant; Room Rates: doubles from $30 without bath, $70 with, $95 for family units.

Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico.  Photo: tripadvisor member Roxyshouse

Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico. Photo: tripadvisor member Roxyshouse


Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico.

Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico.


Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico

Balamku Inn on the Beach, Mahahual, Mexico


Balamku Inn on the Beach-Mahahual-MX 4

Balamku Inn on the Beach (Mahahual, Quintana Roo)

If Tulum is getting too chic for you, press southward to Mahahual, the sleepy “metropolis” of the Costa Maya. Sunburned cruise-ship passengers roam the fishing village’s packed-sand main street on port days but somnolence reasserts itself at night. The whitewashed, thatched-roof towers of the intimate and hospitable Balamku Inn on the Beach rise from a pristine stretch of sand that is groomed daily, and kayaks are included in the price of the room (as is breakfast). This place is an object lesson in creating luxurious comfort (including Wi-Fi) while still using wind and solar power, rainwater and recycled gray water. All bathrooms have low-flow composting toilets.
Restaurant, water sports, meeting space; Room Rate: $75-$85.
Genesis Ek Balam-MX 2Genesis Ek Balam-MX 3Genesis Ek Balam-MX 4Genesis Ek Balam-MX 1

 

Genesis Retreat Ek Balam (Yucatán)

This eco-lodge is about 17 miles from the city of Valladolid on a private, grassy acre at the edge of a Maya village next to the ruins of Ek Balam, where recent finds have rewritten some Maya history. The nine adobe cabanas have traditional high, palm-thatch roofs (plus ceiling fans) that were designed to create natural ventilation and nearly eliminate the need for air-conditioning. The landscaping uses recycled water, the bio-filtered pool is artfully sculpted from natural stone, and one wall is even made of plastic bottles. Along with the environment, Genesis’ owners save stray dogs, indigenous coatimundi, toucans and other wild birds; they also sponsor animal education programs in the community.
Coffee shop, kitchen, sweat lodge, mountain bikes; Room Rates: $44-$54, $85 for family unit.

El Retoño Eco Lodge, Veracruz, Mexico.

El Retoño Eco Lodge, Veracruz, Mexico.


El Retoño Eco Lodge, Veracruz, Mexico.

El Retoño Eco Lodge, Veracruz, Mexico.


El Retoño Ecolodge-MX-Madera

El Retoño Eco Lodge (Coatepec, Veracruz)

Jungle-clad Veracruz state has not yet suffered the overdevelopment that most of coastal Mexico has, and El Retoño’s mission is to work with the community and local universities to maintain the lush plants and wildlife, partly by helping residents to earn a living through sustainable tourism instead of destructive agriculture. Set on four virtually untouched acres of trees, ferns, orchids and coffee plants on cool mountain slopes above steamy Veracruz, the guest quarters are adorned with handcrafted textiles, ceramic tile, bamboo furniture and original art. Wood is used only after being certified for logging, a nonpolluting septic system is in place, the garden uses recycled water, and trash is separated and recycled.
Kitchen, bird-watching, workshops, steam/sauna/massage room, breakfast;Room Rates: $75-$95.

Ceracahui Wilderness Lodge & Uno Lodge, Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico

Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge & Uno Lodge, Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico


Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge & Uno Lodge, Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico

Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge & Uno Lodge, Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico


Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge-Copper Canyon-MX 2

Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge & Uno Lodge (Copper Canyon, Chihuahua)

Perched on the rim of an awe-inspiring canyon that dwarfs the Grand Canyon, the Cerocahui Wilderness Lodge was built with native rock and log-beamed ceilings in partnership with local ejidos (collectives) by Canyon Travel, one of the best tour companies operating in this spectacularly scenic area. Though stays at Cerocahui are available only as part of a tour, the company also manages Uno Lodge, which was built with government funds in a previously inaccessible area. This lodge has the most stunning panoramic overlook of any along the canyon and is the only one with a vertiginous view of the river a mile below the rim. All rooms have solar-powered lighting and serve meals made with locally grown ingredients. A limited number of rooms are available without the tours.
Three meals a day, drinks, transfers, guide services; Room Rates: $89-$110.

El Santuario Eco Retreat, Baja California, Mexico

El Santuario Eco Retreat, Baja California, Mexico

El Santuario Eco-Retreat (Loreto, Baja California)

Behind the fishing village of Ligüi, at a safe 25-mile distance from the quickly Cancún-izing colonial town of Loreto, El Santuario’s 6 individual casitas stand among the white-sand beaches, dunes and lagoons of Ensanada Blanca within the Loreto National Marine Park. Solar power runs the lights and heats the showers (leave the hair driers and laptops at home); the custom-designed composting toilets are a short walk from the casitas. The classic Sea of Cortés landscape, complete with views of spouting blue whales and frolicking dolphins, is a perfect backdrop for massages, hikes, boat trips and exploration by mule. Meals make liberal use of organic fruit and fresh-caught seafood. Meditation- or yoga-oriented groups sometimes book the entire retreat, so call ahead to make sure space is available.
Hiking, snorkeling, kayaking; Room Rates: from $120 a night (all-inclusive).

Kayaking in the Bahia de Loreto National Park, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.  Photo: Terry Prichard/AP

Kayaking in the Bahia de Loreto National Park, in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Photo: Terry Prichard/AP


Loreto sunrise on the Sea of Cortes. Photo: www.sfgate.com

Loreto sunrise on the Sea of Cortes. Photo: http://www.sfgate.com


Source: San Francisco Chronicle

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2009 2:24 pm

    Beautiful unknown, off the beaten path places and they’re reasonably priced.

  2. September 29, 2009 8:50 pm

    Hello there.
    I have something to say, about aloe Vera, something about which you wrote above, about health and weight loss… For a long time, I and my good friend use the products of the FLP. We many times see the nice results and also we earn money for our families and we are happy. My friend works with aloe vera in the company of Forever Living has more than 5 years (My friend works ONLY in the forever living company and has a wife and three children). I know aloevera products for skin care for a long time, but a year ago, began working as a distributor in the Forever Living Products.
    Of course, the job is so hard, but in no other case, You can earn so much money with so much much fun and good smiling faces around….
    So if you want to discuss something about your post, and about my experience with aloe vera products for health, I’ll always be glad to talk.

    Best regards from Washington and have a nice day!
    Andrew – Aloe Vera Distributor

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