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Eco-Detox: Banyan Tree Mayakoba

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By Andrea Feick
Let’s face it: Mexico is all about excess. So too much tequila, too much sun and too many tacos means a visit to the Banyan Tree’s Mayakoba resort is a must for anyone who needs to undo the damage done.
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The resort offers 120 luxuriously appointed villas. All Pool Villas are overlooking either peaceful lagoons or the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea. Fortunately for anyone in need of some peace and quiet after too many nights out, every guest has their own swimming pool to soak under the Caribbean sun, all set in a secluded landscaped garden where guests may sit and admire the unspoiled land that is Mayakoba.
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Located 40 min from Cancun International Airport on the southeastern shore of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba sits along Mexico’s famed Riviera Maya and is just 10 minutes away by cab from Playa del Carmen, where we had revelled the night away at BPM’s festivities the night before our arrival. It seemed that the world’s partying elite all met at the hip electronic festival run by Ralf Madi from Toronto, so we were more than ready to slip into the comforts of the 40k square foot Award Winning Banyan Tree Thai Spa the next day.
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There are no less than 16 private spa treatment pavilions with an extensive range of luxurious massages, beauty and body therapies, such as the Rainforest Trail, which is a true shock to the senses: its hydrothermal circuit, comprising alternating hot and cold thermal cabins, is sure to restore energy and get your blood flowing. The Trail offers a total of eight different hydrothermal therapy experiences from a gentle Rain Walk to a detoxifying Aroma Steam Chamber and much more, all of which will leave you feeling alert, purified and relaxed.

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But beyond reviving ravished revellers, the Banyan Tree also restores local artisanal traditions by showcasing  indigenous arts and crafts from community projects worldwide, and reforests the Mayan Riviera by planting trees every time a large event is held at the resort.

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In fact, event organisers will receive an event verification certificate provided by Reforestamos Mexico, and each guest at the event will receive a wooden artefact created by a local workshop based in the Buenavista community, which salvages wood from trees felled by natural causes and crafts them into forms that represent the beauty of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This reforestation program assures the conservation of threatened ecosystems and native species, the regulation of regional micro-climates and the strengthening of local communities, creating stronger community structures and reducing dependency on aid.
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To further help the planet, the Banyan Tree group launched an environmental initiative in 2007 that aims to target climate change. Called “Greening Communities”, the program challenges all the resorts to plant at least 2,000 new trees per year for the next 10 years. While the  initiative will offset a small amount of the globally produced atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main goal is to drive greater awareness of climate change among communities, associates, and guests.

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One final eco-friendly program launched by the resort is a rather unusual one: the sale of Chicza Organic Chewing gum. While almost all gum is based on petrochemical by-products, Chicza is the only biodegradable, certified organic chewing gum in the world. Produced by the Consorcio Chiclero, a group of around 2,000 Mayan “chicleros” working in an area of 1.3 million hectares of Rainforest, the gum is manufactured in a way that not only preserves natural resources, but also allows equal and balanced exchanges among many individual elements: the forest, the farmers and their families, the manufactures, modes of transportation and sales.

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And best of all, after a week of tacos and tequila, who wouldn’t need a little minty organic freshen up?

 Images: Banyan Tree Mayakoba. For more information, please click here or book through www.kuoni.com


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