Thatched-Roof Bungalows in Jungle near Private Beach
Banderas Bay on the Pacific coast of Mexico is best known for its proximity to Puerto Vallarta, the popular tourist destination filled with glittering high-rise resorts. But there’s another side to the bay. On the south end, the jungle is still nearly untouched, allowing hundreds of orchid species to flourish. Xinalani Retreat nestles amid this overgrowth on land so secluded that it's accessible only by boat. It's a yoga-centered resort where tranquility is a way of life and guests enjoy gourmet vegetarian meals, open-air suites, and stunning views of a private beach.
From the shore, it’s hard to tell that there’s a hotel here at all. Throughout the 10-acre property, thatched-roof bungalows are perched on stilts so they blend seamlessly into the forest. To arrive at your accommodations, you’ll board a 30-foot fiberglass boat known as a panga and disembark in knee-deep water.
Along the shore, standalone Petite suites combine treehouse charm with chic bamboo and linen decor. An open-air fourth wall allows ocean breezes and bird song to drift in, but netted canopies protect each bed from the elements. There’s also a heavy bamboo blind to shut out the sunlight or simulate a partial solar eclipse by closing it only halfway. Each suite boasts a terrace overlooking the Pacific, a view best savored from the provided hammock. Eco-chic suites have extra space, prime beach views, and Wi-Fi.
At the top of the hill, you can enjoy 90-minute yoga classes at the open-air jungle yoga studio. Instructors provide mats, blocks, and cushions. Included meals, which feature fresh seafood three times a week, round out the resort's healthy offerings. Although the menu frequently changes, delectable vegetarian dishes might include zucchini-blossom soup and poblano-pepper enchiladas.
Banderas Bay, Mexico: Boating Excursions and Scenic Puerto Vallarta
Though the resort is secluded, hiking trails connect it to nearby beaches and fishing towns, and speedboats can cruise anywhere in the bay. Staff members lead a variety of excursions, including a trip to the Marieta Islands wildlife reserve, which was lauded by diver Jacques Cousteau for its rare sea turtles and reef fish.
When passing through Puerto Vallarta, it's worthwhile to explore the Malecón, a beachfront boardwalk lined with sculptures, and the adjacent Zona Romántica, a historical district where couples stroll cobblestone streets past bougainvillea boughs and cupids posing for greeting cards.
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