So, you’ve eschewed the glitzy congestion of Cancun, but now even the laid-back cabanas of Tulum are seeming too crowded for you? Keep on heading south, my friend. Just thirty minutes or so before you hit Belize, you’ll find the eco-resort Rancho Encantado. The collection of twelve cottages and a private home rental rests on the shores of the fresh-water Laguna Bacalar. The resort functions as a hidden hub for trips to the nearby village of Bacalar with its 16th century fort and swimming Cenote Azul; Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, only thirty minutes away; and a variety of nature and architectural sites, including the Sian-ka’an nature preserve.
You may not want to venture out from Rancho Encantado, though, once you get into the routine of rising for the (included) buffet breakfast, heading to the spa for one of therapist Mallina’s mud wraps, checking out the various birds and orchids onsite, then puling up a chair for a gourmet dinner at night (also included). If you can launch yourself out of your hammock, Rancho Encantado offers a full board of “back-stage” Mayan architecture tours. Through a relationship with the National Institute of Archaeology and History, Rancho Encantado guides can get visitors permits to sites that haven’t opened to the public yet, putting you right on the cutting edge of Mayan excavation. Rancho Encantado also hosts a variety of workshops throughout the year; check out the upcoming yoga escapes.
All this Yucatan adventuring and relaxing is backed up by a solid eco-pedigree. Owner Susanna Starr ticks off Rancho Encantado’s green list: buildings made of native and traditional materials; non-toxic cleaning supplies; organic produce raised onsite; offsetting carbon emissions with tree planting; and a roster of community activities, including Laguna preservation and pet clinics. Susanna says she’s most proud of that community involvement, especially the how the resort has worked with local schools to recycle and the Earth Day activities they’ve organized for the past three years. In the future Susanna says Rancho Encantado wants to increase their energy efficiency and continue to educate locals and visitors about how to protect the Laguna.
Come back tomorrow for rates and lodging details!
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