Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Green Destination: Honduran Farm Recycled into Tranquil Eco-Inn

When Flavia Cueva returned to her family home outside petite Copan, Honduras, she was inspired. After having spent most of her life in the American Midwest, Cueva felt compelled to return to restore the decayed farmstead. Overlooking the ruins of an ancient Mayan city, the ideally situated farm seemed the perfect spot to create a small inn.

Seeking to respect the natural world surrounding the farm, Cueva labored to create an eco-friendly inn, one that would be as comfortable and charming as earth-friendly. Hacienda San Lucas is now an eight-room, idyllic inn nestled in the bucolic, emerald green hills of the Honduran countryside. In addition to being 80% solar powered, the inn has been involved in reforestation efforts and recycles and composts. At night, candles light the large rooms and pathways—all of which are constructed of locally-obtained, natural materials.

Evenings are as charm-filled as mornings are mellow. Dinners at the inn are magical (think candlelight, a cricket serenade and twinkling stars). Set on a patio and illuminated by the warm glow of candles, the Mayan-inspired, multi-course meals offer a chance to chat up other guests or to simply savor the balmy night air.

The antithesis of bland chain hotels, San Lucas seems to have popped off the pages of a book by Isabell Allende or Graham Greene. With its wide verandas slung with hammocks, rock-hewn walls and tranquil, otherworldly air, the inn is an ideal spot to get off the grid—literally and figuratively.

A four-hour bus trip from Guatemala City, the green inn offers comfortable, charming accommodations in a remote setting. To tour the nearby ruins, Cueva will arrange for a guide to pick up and drop off guests. One of the most impressive Mayan ruins, Copan offers temples, ball courts, sculptures and every 13-year-old boy’s favorite: a perfectly-preserved sacrificial altar.

If the greenery and relaxed air of the inn overwhelm, a nearby yoga pavilion boasting a Parthenon-like perch above the ruins and river provides the perfect spot for a memorable workout.

As long as Old Man Winter casts his chilly shadow across much of the upper hemisphere, housebound northerners will set their sights on warmer climes. In Honduras as in much of Central America, the oppressive heat of summer is replaced by winter’s warm days and comfortable nights: the perfect tonic for sun-starved North Americans.

As green as the forested, emerald-hued hills in which it sits, Hacienda San Lucas offers comfort and respite from Old Man Winter, while taking it easy on Mother Nature. You can visit their website here or email them at info@haciendasanlucas.com.
 

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I write about food, travel & dining, as well as related topics. My first novel, The Gods of Venice, can be found on BarnesAndNoble.com & nearly everywhere else. My second novel, The Last American Buffalo, is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter or become a fan of The Gods of Venice on Facebook.
Alan J. Shannon Copyright © 2010