As our small boat moves slowly through the clear water, limestone walls and lush mangrove trees surround us. Ducks swim by while iguanas soak up the sun on the lagoon’s rocky shoreline. Cormorants and blue herons ride the gentle breeze. “There are close to 300 species in the lagoons, with 60 percent of them migratory,” says the wildlife biologist accompanying me. “And 40 percent of them are endangered or protected species.”
Peaceful. Tranquil. Can I really be just 42 minutes south of Cancún with its sprawling high-rises and megaresorts? Indeed. I’m at Mayakobá, located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya – a 75-mile stretch of turquoise-blue Caribbean coastline between Cancun and Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula.
A handful of small and luxe properties have opened on this strip of beach called Mayakobá, an expanse that includes 1,600 acres of hidden jungle and lagoons. The land belongs to the OHL Group, a Spanish company that has hardly been known for environmental vision. What intrigues me about Mayakobá is that it’s a successful development based on the philosophy that conservation is good business. The biologist noted that the developers wanted to leave the setting as natural as possible, so, for instance, “one-third of the mangrove trees remained as they were.” After 12 years of planning and building, there is now an 18-hole Greg Norman course beside the sea; a Fairmont; a new Banyan Tree; a Mandarin Oriental; a Maroma; a Viceroy under construction; and the gem, the Rosewood.
The Rosewood Mayakobá is a state-of-the-art hotel in a sustainable setting, and it sets a new standard for embracing conservation as an essential part of the luxury experience. This 128-suite retreat overlooks the...
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