For travelers wanting to spend their tourism dollars in a responsible, sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner, Mexico offers a host of hotels and resorts that care for the local environment while still providing all the vacation luxuries you could want. Here, our favorite resorts leading the way.
Majahuitas Resort, Jalisco
The Vibe: Consisting of just eight guest casitas situated on a gorgeous, secluded cove in the Bay of Banderas, this eco-friendly resort is only accessible by boat, which lends it a wonderful castaway feel. The hotel is built on communal land belonging to the indigenous community of Chacala (the owners of the resort have a 20-year lease) so there’s no fear of future development in this untouched little Eden. Muy romantico.
Best Green Features: The resort is solar-powered (no TVs, air conditioners or phones), making it ideal for those seeking blissful quiet. Composting, low-flow toilets, indigenous plantings and a robust recycling program are all great green initiatives practiced here.
Hotel Xixim, Yucatan
The Vibe: This rustic yet sophisticated resort is situated on the Gulf of Mexico coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, close to the colony of famous pink flamingos who make their home in the sleepy beach town of Celestun. The stylishly minimal, open-air design of the thatched-roof central lobby and the 15 bungalows optimize cross breezes while allowing for great views of the natural surroundings. Sunsets here are a highlight.
Best Green Features: Along with eco-sensitive construction methods and indigenous plantings, the hotel has a comprehensive recycling program (that includes water recycling) and a commitment to buying produce and seafood locally.<br/>Check rates >
Hotel Akumal Caribe, Quintana Roo
The Vibe: This beachfront property is set on the serene bay of Akumal (which means “Place of the Turtles”) amid tropical gardens. Accommodations are in the main house, garden bungalows, family-style condos or more luxurious villas. Waste management initiatives, an Akumal-wide recycling program, and ongoing water preservation efforts make this hotel a model of successful environmental activism.
Best Green Feature: Along with several impressive on-site environmental initiatives, the hotel’s owners founded CEA – Centro Ecologic Akumal – an organization dedicated to monitoring and preserving the sensitive waterways and wildlife, most notably sea turtles, of the Akumal region.<br/>Check rates >
Hacienda Tres Rios, Quintana Roo
The Vibe: Set in the Tres Rios nature park on the Riviera Maya, the grounds of this fetching property are, as the name suggests, intersected by three rivers. There are also several cenotes, along with 326 acres of pristine rainforest.
Best Green Features: In an ingenious example of symbiosis, the hacienda uses cold water from a deep well to cool air conditioning systems, then captures the heat from those air conditioners to heat water for the rooms.
Find out more about Hacienda Tres Rios or check rates >
Fairmont Acapulco Princess, Guerrero
The Vibe: A flashy, 15-story behemoth shaped like an Aztec pyramid might not exactly scream “eco-friendly” but don’t let looks deceive you. The property has several green initiatives in place, including water treatment and recycling, eliminating bathtubs from rooms and installing special water-saving showers, participation in “Earth Hour” events and use of eco-friendly products in the Willow Stream Spa.
Best Green Features: The hotel has a dedicated “green team” that oversees environmental activities and the property-wide recycling program. The brand’s Riviera Maya cousin, the Fairmont Mayakoba, also has an impressive green record.
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Hotelito Desconocido, Jalisco
The Vibe: Set between the Pacific Coast and the Sierra Madre Mountains, around two hours drive south of Puerto Vallarta, this 24-room eco-resort is modeled on an indigenous fishing village. Accommodations are either beach-side or on the estuary in romantic overwater bungalows on stilts. The resort is ideal for romantic escapes thanks to couple-friendly features like open-air showers, candlelight dining and bird-watching in the estuary.
Best Green Features: Solar-powered ceiling fans and water, organic produce in the restaurants, a turtle release program (June to December) and ongoing preservation and protection of the surrounding wetlands.<br/>Check rates >
Tulum, Quintana Roo
Thanks to a remote situation between jungle and sea and largely undeveloped infrastructure, the hotel zone in Tulum achieves what many hyper-developed tourist regions struggle for: instant environmental cred.
Many of the resorts and bungalows along this idyllic stretch of Caribbean coastline operate off the grid, relying on solar or wind power, eschewing energy-chewing appliances like air conditioners and encouraging guests to wind down with activities like yoga and beach-combing. If you’re after a sand-between-the-toes, back-to-nature experience without skimping on luxuries like good food, fun nightlife, and breathtaking scenery, Tulum is the dream green vacation.