Some places in the world offer a little more magic than others. And while we didn’t machete our way in to the ruins of a mythical lost city, our stay at La Selva Mariposa did leave us feeling as if we were let in on a really great secret. Set in the lush jungle just outside of trendier Tulum, La Selva Mariposa (translated: "The Jungle Butterfly") is a handcrafted, jungle oasis designed built and run by owners, Lou and Moe in Pueblo Macario Gomez. It definitely gives the “cinco estrellas”, or 5-star hotels, a major run for their money.
Our room, Suite #1, left us wanting for nothing (including an outdoor shower with a tree growing in it). Not only was it cleaner and more beautiful than many of the hotel rooms we have encountered during our travels, but it was just like staying in someone’s home. Someone’s very comfortable home. Hand-picked artwork on the walls. Books and CD’s stacked in a basket for perusal. Both a ceiling fan and a remote-controlled A/C unit gave us the choice to enjoy the natural night breezes, or manufacture our own. A small fridge was stocked with beer and water. The large, partly open-air bathroom illuminated automatically when we opened the door. Not to mention the coffee maker and mugs, utensils, packets of coffee and tea, a wine and bottle opener, even a cutting board. God is definitely in the details, we agreed. That night, we drifted off to sleep, lulled by the tumbling tones of the property’s many waterfalls accompanied by the occasional twitter of birds, high in the canopy.
The next few days fell into a gentle rhythm after a whirlwind month of buses, cabs, hikes and tours. We migrated lazily between our cozy room and the hammock in our very private lounge on the third floor, an incredible open air space very much like a treehouse! I spent an entire afternoon ruminating (read: dozing) next to a cenote-style pool. Once in awhile I looked up from my private hammock garden, but mostly not. When we were in an “active” mood, we took a walk along some of the stone-lined, meandering paths that wind around the property’s perimeter and connect the buildings. “Soon, we’ll have a real cenote,” Lou informed us at breakfast one morning, an air of mystery in his voice. And sure enough, on a far side of the property, we stepped off the path and peeked down into the mouth of a cavernous hole. How fascinating, we thought. All that water underneath of us. Another, entirely secret world.
As for jungle fare? We did not go hungry. Lou and Mari prepared incredible gourmet breakfasts each morning, beginning with a huge platter of fresh local fruit, paired with coffee and juice and followed up with a delicious entree–Lou’s tasty huevos rancheros one morning and a delicious layered egg dish by Mari, the next. As we ate, we traded stories with our hosts, a multi-talented and original pair who are full to the brim with interesting life experiences along with a wealth of information about the local area. Their breakfasts were so satiating, we couldn’t fathom lunch. Too much relaxing to do, besides (see video*). When dinner time rolled around, we took a stroll down the lane to a local, family-run restaurant where we enjoyed arrachera and sopes, chicken tacos, even flan.
All too soon it was time to leave. During our stay, we were often tempted away from our slothful ways by the carefully-prepared binders in our room that detailed the many activities that could be coordinated–tours to nearby ruins, swimming in cenotes, a boat trip through the Sian Ka’an nature preserve, even a day on Tulum’s sparkling beaches–all easily within reach. But alas, we used up our stay doing: absolutely nothing. Which, luckily for us, was the point, entirely.
*Our video covers plenty of lazing about, sun through treetops and flora and fauna. For more detailed information about Lou and Mari and their extraordinary B&B, be sure to visit their website: http://laselvamariposa.com.