Lodgings Across Central America that Will Get Ladie’s OK
By Ann H. Waigand
Giovanna Holbrook rescued a rainforest in Costa Rica and turned it into both a tourist lodging and a learning center for the local community. Dona Flavila transformed her ancestral home in Honduras into an archaeological and ecological experience.
Mary Sue Morris wandered the world for almost thirty years before finding a place “as close to nirvana as you can get” and embellishing it enough to attract an American president to her small Guatemalan town.
Ana Maria Pellecer opened her inn years ago, but her family traces its ancestry back to the conquistadors. Eva Robbins traded Hong Kong for an overlooked stretch of a Mexican beach and the chance to turn guests into friends. It’s the ladies who make the difference in our top selections for Central American overnights.
Posada del Angel
The choice of Bill Clinton when he became, in 1999, the first U.S. president to spend a night on Guatemalan soil, Posada del Angel was created by a world traveler from Texas, Mary Sue Morris.
An elegant residence in the tiny Guatemalan town of Antigua, this colonial inn shines through its decoration, a testament to Morris’ worldwide collecting. Every suite has a wood-burning fireplace, and the inner atrium holds a heated lap swimming pool. Both owner Morris and Manager, Ivonne Anzueto, are known as gracious and expert entertainers, and guests often become part of one of their frequent parties.
Five suites priced from $207/night, depending upon the season.
Posada del Angel, 4a Avenida Sur #24-A, Antigua, Guatemala
Tel/fax: 502-832-0260, U.S. reservations: 800-934-0065
Hacienda San Lucas calls itself an eco-hacienda, but it has a varied history over its 100+ years in existence. Having seen life as a cattle farm and coffee plantation, the property is now a bed-and-breakfast that also offers nature trail hikes, horseback rides, and traditional Copan country cooking to day visitors.
The ancestral home of owner Doña Flavila, the hacienda sits on a 200- acre property that also includes an ancient Mayan fertility site where stones were sculpted into frogs, for reasons unknown! You have to cross a river and take an unpaved road to get to the hacienda from the famed Copan Ruins, a mile away, to claim one of the two guest rooms and the chance to learn how to make tortillas and cheese in an indigenous manner.
Two rooms priced from $40 – 55/night, depending on the number of occupants.
Hacienda San Lucas, Copan Ruins, Honduras
Eden Beach Hacienda
In 1996, Eva Robbins and Jim Garrity quit their jobs and headed south in search of paradise. They found it in the beach town of Troncones on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Originally slated, by the Mexican Tourist Association, in 1971, to be the next “big thing,” this tiny town was quickly overshadowed by the development in Ixtapa…and Eva and Jim feel the luckier for it.
They bought a three-mile stretch of beach, hired a Venezuelan architect, and, in 1997, built their own “piece of paradise.” The six-room Hacienda overlooks Manzanillo Bay; all rooms, which feature hand-painted tiles and Mexican hardwoods, face the ocean, which is only 20 yards away.
Six rooms, priced at $115/night for downstairs, $125/night for upstairs.
Eden Beach Hacienda, Apdo Postal 128, Zihuatanejo, Gro. 40880, Mexico
Selva Verde Lodge
Giovanna Holbrook, the matriarch of the family that owns natural history tour operator, Holbrook Travel, impulsively purchased the La Selva ecological station in 1984 when she learned that the owner had plans to destroy its surrounding 500 acres of primary rainforest. Over the next years, she poured her energy into transforming the spartan field station and home of the local botanist into a lodge for visitors.
Now Selva Verde, in addition to accommodations and guest facilities, encloses a nature reserve with a butterfly garden, over 365 species of birds, and an abundance of mammal life. The complex also includes a Learning Center for the young people of the area, another way Holbrook has arranged to give back to the local community.
Forty-five double rooms, five quadruple rooms, priced from $37 to $85/night per person, including meals, depending upon occupancy and season.
Selva Verde Lodge, Chilamate, Sarapiqui, Costa Rica
Tel: 506-766-6800, fax: 506-766-6011
Also contact through Holbrook Travel, tel: 800-451-7111, holbrooktravel.com
Copper Canyon Lodge
Copper Canyon, Mexico
American Skip McWilliams is exceptional enough to warrant inclusion in our “Ladies Listing” of Central American hostelries. He found and restored Sierra Lodge and Riverside Lodge in the Copper Canyon area of Mexico’s rugged Sierra Madre Occidental, opening them as an accommodations option for travelers who shied away from the conventional way of visiting the canyon, by train.
The two small hacienda lodges were founded by Skip McWilliams, who wanted to create unique accommodations that fit in with the landscape. The Riverside Lodge is a fabulously restored hacienda from a bygone era. Martin Alcaraz together with Lynne Clancy, restored the Riverside Lodge, oversees the operation of the Copper Canyon Riverside Lodge and Real de Minas and lives in Batopilas.
To ensure continuity of his dream, Skip sold the enterprise to Hoteles Sierra Madre S.A. de C.V. a Mexican corporation, whose directors share his vision. The business takes seriously the commitment to employ local people, purchase local supplies and reinvest earnings in the immediate area.
COPPER CANYON LODGES
+52 1-614-427-3097 México
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