Places & Spaces: Playa Viva, Mexico

EcoCasitas on the idyllic beach at Playa Viva near Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

Mexico’s Pacific Coast has some truly gaudy resorts, e.g. Acapulco with its endless avenues of homogenous high-rise resorts, lobster-pink package tourists and neon-lit taco restaurants.

Move up the coast a few miles, however, and you’ll find paradisiacal places like this: a 200-acre nature reserve with prehistoric-looking huts that fit perfectly into their setting. Playa Viva (meaning: “Living Beach”) is an eco-resort set in lush greenery overlooking an unspoiled beach.

Sleep in thatched wooden beach houses built from sustainable local woods (roofing material is harvested on the property). The beach houses are open to the elements so you can hear the waves, smell the sea and feel the breeze.

It all has an earthy, natural feel, with locally-crafted taps, furniture and plates. Electricity is provided by solar energy, and water is also heated using the power of the sun. Even the bed linen – handmade wool blankets and organic cotton sheets and towels – is sourced within Mexico.

Accommodation options are studios (sleeps two), EcoCasitas (sleeps three), deluxe suites or Private Casitas (sleep four); all have sea views and the larger ones have porches. The common area has a yoga deck, and there’s an outdoor movie theater; the internet connection is not fast  but you’re here to step off the treadmill, remember. Good thing there’s always a masseur around.

Food is mostly organic, including home-grown vegetables, an “edible landscape” grown using permaculture techniques. Typical dishes include sopes (tortilla with beans and vegetables), red snapper and healthy snacks like paletas (fresh fruit popsicles). For later in the evening sip basil margaritas and dessert on tarte tatin (one of the chefs is French).

Rates from $195 per night, not including tax, but with yoga classes six mornings a week, and copious turtle and whale-viewing opportunities.

Photos: Playa Viva

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.

Fiona Flores Watson

Fiona Flores Watson covers Places & Spaces for EcoSalon and currently resides in Seville, Spain.