Mexico’s Eco-Xanadu

The Pacific Coast Paradise of Sibling Retreats Cuixmala and Hacienda de San Antonio

Not far from the jet-setter’s playground Careyes, splendidly remote Cuixmala brings first-class hospitality to a 25,000-acre biosphere. Photographer Douglas Friedman captures the wildlife haven and its sister property, Hacienda de San Antonio, a 19th-century estate situated at the foot of an active volcano three hours inland from the Pacific coast. “When you arrive on the beach when there’s no one around and you have an exquisite meal, that’s the definition of luxury to me,” says Alix Goldsmith Marcaccini, the current owner along with her husband Goffredo. Marcaccini inherited both properties from her father, the British tycoon and environmentalist Sir James Goldsmith, who set up Cuixmala in the 80s for his family and VIP friends. “Everyone used to be on a walkie-talkie,” Marracini recalls. Nowadays, there are modern amenities like WiFi and bespoke spa services, enjoyed in artisan-chic casitas and private villas favored by the likes of Mick Jagger. But the original off-the-grid spirit remains, and thanks to self-sufficient organic farming, guests eat exquisitely fresh cuisine. Tropical fruits and fish are sent from Cuixmala to the Hacienda, while meat, dairy and coffee are transported from the mountainside resort to the coast. National Geographic-worthy adventures include sunset boat rides on the lagoon that promise close encounters with spoonbills and cormorants, or mini-safaris to spot zebras, jaguars and horses galore. The ecological philanthropy guiding these haute utopias is demonstrated by Cuixmala's turtle protection program, which has overseen the return of hundreds of thousands of baby turtles to the sea.

A recipe for the fish ceviche served at Cuixmala can be found on our Facebook page.

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