Open since early 2009, Playa del Carmen's all-inclusive Hacienda Tres Ríos is charting a new course in sustainable resort development in an area that's heretofore been synonymous with quite the opposite. Located 35 miles south of Cancun's concrete-clad "Hotel Zone," the 273-room Hacienda is the first of five planned hotels in the ambitious Tres Ríos development. Given its prime location in 326-acre Tres Ríos Nature Park, the property adheres to strict eco-friendly practices, from landscape design to recycling to on-site water desalination, all of which is overseen by the hotel's "Green Team." Beside its green-building efforts, the Tres Ríos project seeks to foster sustainable tourism through interactions with local artisans, cuisine, and the area's rich culture and history. The all-inclusive offering doesn't scrimp on luxury, either, with multiple restaurants, freeform swimming pools every which way you turn, full-service spa, endless cocktails available at the wave of your hand, and enough activities and amenities to keep an ADD family busy for a week. Pick of the activities include self-guided kayak tours through the nature preserve's knotty mangrove forests, snorkeling and swimming excursions through freshwater cenotes, and guided nature hikes and bike rides. Among its recent accolades, Hacienda Tres Ríos was voted a "Top 10 Relaxation/Spa Hotel in the Caribbean & Mexico" in Tripadvisor.com's 2010 Travelers' Choice awards.
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