Playa del Carmen is a young, small city in Mexico, surrounded by the best of the spectacular natural surroundings of the Riviera Maya. The beautiful views and the abundance of nature here have captured the attention of resorts, which are now working to support the conservation of the flora and fauna of the area. From relaxed casual hotels to luxurious complexes, check out our guide to the top 10 eco-hotels.
Immerse yourself in nature and ancient Mayan history at this unique all-inclusive resort. The hotel is enveloped by lush jungle and there’s a beach on the doorstep. Stays include nature tours and excursions with some of the most popular being the bike tour and an opportunity to swim in a sinkhole. You’ll also get free access to an impressive waterpark, complete with dozens of water slides designed for thrillseekers of all ages. Replenish your energy with a trip to one of the resort’s restaurants, which serve up traditional and international cuisine.
Luxury has a feel-good factor at El Dorado Royale, with sustainability taking top priority at the palm-thatched resort. Each salubrious suite comes with an energy-saving air conditioning unite that helps reduce power consumption by 50 percent and there is an on-site water recycling facility. Vegetables served in the smart restaurants come from the hotel’s 70,000 square-foot hydroponic greenhouse and the sea turtle conservation program is another impressive achievement, with more than 12,000 turtle eggs saved from peril.
Find your zen at this charming glamping site, with cabana-style rooms set amid jungle and manicured gardens. Each tented room features a double bed, with quirky Mexican-inspired artwork. For a unique experience, book the ‘bubble tent’. The inflatable tent has a transparent roof so you can look up at the night sky. There is also a loft apartment in the main building for those who don’t fancy sleeping outside. Facilities include a swimming pool and communal kitchen area. Bikes are also free to use, and the beach is a four-minute pedal away.
Blending in with its leafy surrounding, Mahékal Beach resort has a relaxed atmosphere that will quickly get you in vacation mode. Choose between the barefoot elegance of the hotel’s beach houses, high-end suites, and peaceful treehouses surrounded by lush green foliage. There are several open-air bars and restaurants and Las Olas, located next to the swimming pool, is a guest favorite with ceviche, yucca chips, and stuffed poblano peppers among the temptations.
Paradise awaits at this top-rated resort, which scores top marks for its first-class service and beach location. There are 41 secluded villas set amid the foliage, each with private plunge pools, sunbathing decks, and outdoor showers. Kick-off your vacation with a trip to the stunning spa, where massage tables are set next to waterfalls. Treatments feature local and indigenous ingredients as part of the hotel’s sustainability pledge. This promise extends to the restaurants, where innovative Mexican dishes are crafted from locally-grown produce.
When this resort was built, the environment was taken into consideration, and the 401 guest rooms are set back from the beach to have less impact on the local wildlife. During your stay at the Fairmont Mayakoba, you’re surrounded by nature, with the ocean and jungle to explore. There is also a lagoon snaking around the luxury property and boat tours allow you to spot different species of birds and reptiles. Learn more about the flora and fauna on a guided nature walk and don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel around the Mesoamerican Reef, the second-largest reef in the world.
If you’re looking for a slice of peace and quiet and friendly service, travelers give this spot a thumbs up. The hotel is only one block away from the Playa del Carmen’s lively Fifth Avenue but it is enveloped by lush gardens giving it a secluded feel. Rooms are simply furnished with cute touches including mosaic tiling in the bathrooms and shell lamp shades. They also include small kitchenettes and living areas. There is air conditioning, or you can cool off in the hotel’s swimming pool.
This dreamy adults-only resort sits on one of the top ten beaches of the world, as voted by the Travel Channel. Here you will find luxurious overwater villas, so you can feel at one with the sea from dawn to dusk. The spa also features overwater, open-air treatment rooms, with the waves acting as your soundtrack. This sophisticated resort prides itself on taking care of the environment, with wildlife conservation programs, energy-saving technologies, and water recycling in place.
Kylie Madry contributed additional reporting to this article.