Green + Eco-Travel

World's Best Eco-Spas

by Madhu Puri

Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico

The spa: Yaxkin Spa at the Hacienda Chichen Resort

Green peace: If the body is a temple, Yaxkin can help you worship it. Seeking to reunite your soul with nature, this holistic center located just a five-minute walk from the world's most famous Mayan site is devoted to health and healing through earthy elements. Native wild Melipona honey, cacao, avocado, and aloe vera are parlayed into toxin-ridding treatments believed to invigorate one's spirit and body. After a hike through the Chichén Itzá have another religious experience with a steam in an ancient zumpul-che, or sweat bath, inside a sacred cave. The spa's owners approach the environment with an equal sense of reverence. Processed waste becomes fertilizer, and used kitchen water nourishes plants in the jungle. The recycling extends to the building itself: Conquistadors built the hacienda in the 16th century using old stones from a Mayan temple. More modern eco-advances include biodegradable cleaning and laundry products—safe for the underground well—and décor that mixes in reclaimed furniture. Even the souvenirs are environmentally friendly: popular wood carvings are made from a special grove of gumbo-limbo trees that the hotel then replants. Recycle, renew, and check the bird refuge.

Signature treatment: A warm raw-sugar and cacao-butter massage and a brushing of chocolate and coconut oil make the Kakaw ritual good enough for the gods, though it might leave you feeling a bit like a human Almond Joy ($120).

Hacienda Chichen
Tel: 877 631 4005
Doubles from $165

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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