by Lydia Linton Pontius (Nov. 2009)
Three of us headed to Celestún for two nights at Eco Paraíso. It was a special adventure since we had the resort almost entirely to ourselves. We left Akumal and stopped for a leisurely lunch in Valladolid. By the time we arrived in Celestún it was dark, making it more intriguing to drive down the coastal dirt road to Eco Paraíso. The skies were cloudy and, with no street lights, you could barely see your hand in front of your face. We enjoyed the sounds of nature as we drove and wondered what was along the road; those answers would have to wait until we headed home.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted and taken to our rooms. Most of the rooms are along the Gulf, back far enough to respect nature and to allow the dunes and shoreline to remain pristine. The rooms have palapa roofs with large sliding glass windows that make up the entire front. Each has its own private patio with table, chairs and hammocks. The rooms are spacious and well decorated with comfortable beds that include mosquito netting. Each room also has a safe. There is a sitting area as well as a dressing area. The bathrooms are spacious and have incredible open air showers—one of my favorite amenities.
We ordered drinks and appetizers which we enjoyed on our patios. It was too dark to go exploring so that would have to wait until morning.
The resort offers a number of great half-day and full-day tours ranging from bird watching to kayaking, bicycling to offshore fishing. Weather did not permit us to go on any of the tours but the guides we met seemed knowledgeable and extremely friendly.
One of the best surprises that really set the stage and sums up the mood of this resort is your very first pot of coffee. It magically appears in your room. We learned the secret but we don't want to spoil it for others, so let's just say the alux are extremely friendly and welcoming. We also found Ana, who tended to our rooms with great care and creativity, was wonderful. She came in the morning, straightened up, made our beds and arranged a lovely centerpiece which was unique to each room. At night she returned to turn down our beds and arrange the mosquito netting. She was pleasant and extremely warm. Ana was not the only staff that made our stay enjoyable and fun. The manager, Fernando, took the time in the morning to go over all information about the resort, explaining in great detail the extent they go to make their resort eco-friendly. One choice they made was not to offer small lotions and soaps, but instead to fill up large dispensers in the bathroom so they can reduce the amount of garbage they need to remove from the property to a reasonable number of bags each week.
Another staff we enjoyed was our waiter, Gabriel; he was wonderfully humorous and very attentive without being too pushy. The restaurant was closed for renovations so we had all of our meals delivered to our patios. He worked hard to be there when we needed, without hovering. We also found the food to be reasonably priced and good, especially considering it was room service.
The restaurant was not the only renovation that was happening while we were there: the museum, game room, store and pool were also being updated. We saw the workers building all day long and it is obvious that the place is going to be magnificent. With 15 additional rooms, they are planning to be up and functioning this month.
We wish them all the best and hope we will be able to return soon to see the progress. We would highly recommend you visit between the months of January and May, when it is drier and you can enjoy the entire setting.
We were able to take a walk along the Gulf Coast but, to my disappointment, the weather did not permit me to witness what I am sure would be a fabulous sunset. (There is a photo on their Website, which shows how it looks.) As we drove away, we marveled at all the things we missed driving in at night. The coastline is gorgeous, there are birds galore, Brahman bulls graze along the road and, of course, no trip to Celestún is complete without seeing the famous pink flamingos.