In 1976, Michael and Lauren Farley (then scuba diving their way through Baja while writing a guide to the peninsula’s dive sites) first laid eyes on the Sea of Cortez and were instantly smitten. Later, they envisioned an intimate resort that would treat the area’s flora and fauna as lovingly as it would treat its guests. Nine simply elegant suites, a circular dining room with panoramic sea views, an events hall and a freshwater pool were eventually built using organic materials, including handmade adobe bricks, palm thatch, volcanic stone and locally harvested pitahaya-cactus wood. The whole ten-acre resort, which opened in 2001, is solar-powered; glass, tin and plastic are recycled religiously; and the bustling kitchen produces three delicious Mexican meals a day using produce from the on-site organic garden and greenhouse.
Perched along the spine of a rocky bluff—with a white crescent moon of a beach, the Sea of Cortez below—the nine individually decorated suites feature colorful patchwork quilts created by a 72-year-old woman in a neighboring village, handmade furniture by local craftsmen, gorgeous Mexican-tiled bathrooms with skylights, vibrantly painted concrete floors, huge windows and handcrafted log-and-beam ceilings. Front patios offer soaring views of the Sierra Gigante mountains, and slate-tiled back decks with hammocks overlook the protected waters and uninhabited islands of the Loreto National Marine Park, where exotics sightings include blue-footed boobies.
Government-sanctioned development of the Loreto area is encroaching, however. In early 2006, the Villa Group—successful developers of luxurious, but not ecominded, resorts in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta and Sierra Madre—bought 1,800 acres adjacent to Danzante with $750 million plans to construct time-share condos, a golf course and more than 2,000 hotel rooms. Work has not yet begun, and for now, Michael and Lauren are taking a wait-and-see approach while focusing on what they’ve been doing for more than 20 years: leading by eco-example.
Rooms from $180 per person, including three meals, beer, snacks, nightly margarita happy hour, unguided snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and swimming. Guided excursions, whale-watching trips, horseback riding, scuba diving, area tours and in-suite spa treatments are available for an additional fee. ~KAREN CATCHPOLE
Where It Is: Twenty-five miles south of Loreto, which is on the southern half of the Baja peninsula on the Sea of Cortez side, about ninety minutes south of Mulegé and five hours north of Cabo San Lucas.
Who Should Go: High-tension types who fantasize about instant relaxation (you’ll get it).
Who Should Not Go: Blow-dryer addicts (the resort’s solar-power system can’t handle the appliances) and those who simply must stay in touch—Danzante has no phones, TVs or email connections.
Getting There: Loreto airport is served by Delta, Continental, AeroMéxico and Alaska Airlines. Direct daily flights are available from L.A. and Houston. Take a taxi from the airport to Danzante (about twenty minutes away).
When to Go: Danzante closes for the month of September. Weather throughout the year is generally warm and sunny.
Room to Get: Suite 9 is even larger than the others and has a huge wraparound deck with 180-degree views.
DANZANTE ECO LODGE IN BAJA
Loreto Bay National Marine Park
Baja Sur, Mexico
Our review of this hotel was originally published by Indagare.
Here’s more about travel in Mexico