A few days of serious lazing in the tiny coastal village of Troncones, Mexico, confirmed for me a couple of truisms we subscribe to at IT: Low-impact lodging can, indeed, be comfortable, and escaping the urban concrete jungle to spend some quality time in nature is an invaluable refresher, even for the most devout city lover.
Plus, very few hotel amenities—heck, very few things in life—can top a beer-filled fridge parked next to a pool facing the Pacific Ocean. (OK, so that last one may be one of my own, personal truisms.)
I first discovered Casa Viva happenstance while tracking a story lead for this very blog about the owners' new eco-friendly resort, Playa Viva, in nearby Zihuatanejo, set to open in early 2009. Attracted by the sustainable mantra of the owners and bummed that Playa Viva wouldn't be open in time for my own trip, I was thrilled to read that their already-open property, Casa Viva, consists of three palm-thatched (and solar-paneled) bungalows designed by organic architects and built by local Mexican craftsmen with natural building materials (wood, stone, palm, clay, sand). And really, all the convincing I needed to book the place can be summed up in six incredible words: "all the beer you can drink"—listed absentmindedly among the amenities included in the room rate.
Since it’s currently the off-season in Mexico, the rates were lower—our private bungalow was just $125 a night—and my husband and I ended up being the only guests throughout our five-night stay, giving us free rein of the lush property. Though swapping stories with new friends in the convivial common area would have been fun, the carte blanche was a nice change of pace from our bustling D.C. neighborhood, not to mention an ideal way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Casa Viva’s sweet and hospitable chef, Elvira, prepared tasty, healthy breakfasts each morning—vegetarian, by our request—of local favorites like huevos rancheros and other egg-and-bean dishes accompanied by hot-off-the-griddle tortillas, fresh fruit, juice, and a generous pot of coffee.
The common area's pool fits seamlessly into its surroundings and sits roughly 100 feet from the surf. Nearby, hammocks swing, a few padded lounge chairs entice, and friendly-looking iguanas dart across the beach. As someone who's never understood why you would swim in a pool while the ocean beckoned, let me just say I'm an evangelizing convert. And did I mention the bevy of Mexican cerveza (Dos Equis, Sol, Victoria), free for the uncapping?
Some 144 miles northwest of Acapulco in the state of Guerrero, Troncones is a sleepy village, clustered around an intersection that stretches from Highway 200 to the coast. A string of bungalow properties stretches west, hugging the beach, and Casa Viva is in a secluded spot around a mile down the bumpy dirt road. Nightlife is fairly nonexistent, so each evening around 10 p.m. we resigned to our poolside hammocks, sipping cerveza and listening to the ocean. And we couldn't have been more content.
Stay tuned for more Troncones adventures, of the beyond-the-hammock variety.
Photos: Katie Knorovsky