This Regenerative Eco-Resort in Mexico Uses Living Palm Trees in Every Room

Forty minutes from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport in Mexico lies Playa Viva, a sustainable eco-resort pioneering regenerative travel with one of the highest B-corp certification scores of any boutique hotel in the world. It’s almost entirely circular, actively contributing to its coastal ecosystem rather than draining it—and looks like a postcard come to life. Opened in 2008, Playa Viva opened with five cabins formed from living palm trees rooted in order to rewild the local beach and protect the strip from erosion. 

Even without knowing about Playa Viva’s reforestation efforts, regenerative trust, and other significant ecological contributions, the inclusive property strikes a captivating first impression. Included airport transfers make getting from point A to point sea safe and effortless. Upon arrival, guests are greeted with fresh juice and the roars of mighty ocean waves crashing against the isolated beach. An open-air common space features an infinity pool, a family-style dining area stocked with teas and coffees, and a cozy bar area and is often a gathering place for individual guests, wellness retreat attendees, and engaged members of the nearby Juluchuca community. 

Winding lantern-lined trails framed by palms lead to nineteen scenic cabins, including elaborate manta ray-inspired treehouses, which you might have seen on Instagram already, as well as fire pits, yoga pavilions, and beach cabanas. Remarkably, the entire property is 100 percent off-grid, with solar energy powering everything from the rainfall showers stocked with organic toiletries to the in-room outlets—although Playa Viva encourages you to disconnect. Each casita has clever sliding walls to make each cabin as panoramic or shielded as you like. Sleeping within the billowy mosquito netting under the stars rewards you with dazzling constellations and peaceful sunrises, with safety assured by Playa Viva’s rural location and 24/7 security.

Robust recreation options make it even easier to relax and connect with your surroundings. Daily yoga sessions led by in-house wellness instructors (“holistic hosts”), cacao ceremonies, spa services, and family-style dining allow you to be as community-oriented or individual as you’d like. Borrow a book from the lending library and lounge on a beachfront recliner, or take a bodyboard into the surf. 

Getting up for sunrise here will reward you: Walk a few peaceful minutes down the beach, and you’ll discover the local turtle sanctuary, where you can assist with releasing dozens of baby sea turtles into the ocean at dawn—an intimate, awe-inspiring experience. While Playa Viva tempts you to linger, the eco-resort provides easy access to activities like surfing, deep sea fishing, and farm tours hosted only by local operators. 

Surprising details are green, with almost every item cleverly repurposed after use. Playa Viva’s signature basil margarita is served in glassware upcycled from used wine bottles—with salt from a family-run sustainable salt flat, basil grown on the property’s 200-acre farm, spices from the women’s cooperative the resort supports, and more. Its permaculture emphasis ensures all food and drink taste fresher than fresh. From gourmet chocolate tamales to a customized ceviche bar, each meal is more satisfying than the last.

Playa Viva’s concept of “nature as luxury” seeps into every aspect of its vibe. Beyond its impressive mission and execution, each touch—from aesthetics to frictionless service—is meticulously planned to highlight its stunning sense of place. Unsurprisingly, over 70 percent of guests return after their first visit, and we’re sure to join them.

Top Takeaways

Location: Juluchuca, Mexico

Rating: Four-Star

The Vibe: A freeing, panoramic beachside retreat raising the standard of sustainable travel.

Food + Drink: The kitchen serves three healthy family-style Mexican meals per day, sourced from local producers and its own farm. 

Amenities: One bar; one beachfront infinity pool; three yoga pavilions; spa and wellness treatments; farm-to-table dining, etc.

Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: Playa Viva’s accessibility to nature is more than a buzzword—its stunning, rural beauty makes every moment feel like an escape from modern woes.

Any Personal Neighborhood Recs? The turtle sanctuary is worth the visit, multiple mornings in a row.

Rooms: 19 rooms across a variety of types. 

Pricing: Rooms start at $320/night for two people, depending on high or low season. Playa Viva is closed in August and September for the rainy season.

Closest Airport: Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo International Airport

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