The Sporty 40

The Rest of the Best

Nov 20, 2003
Outside Magazine

Puerto Escondido, Population: None

1. Mata Chica Beach Resort, Belize
On a sun-bleached caye off the northern coast, Mata Chica seduces the senses with 14 thatch-roofed beachfront villas, aromatherapy massages, and shrimp paté.
DETAILS: doubles from $190, including breakfast; 011-501-220-5010,

2. El Murmullo de La Casa Que Canta, Mexico
If you’re in Zihuatanejo and looking to splurge, this four-suite villa—built into a black cliff above the Pacific and opened in 2002—is it.
DETAILS: Eight people can rent the villa for $280 per person per night; 011-52-755-555-7000,

3. Parque Nacional Darién, Panama
Hike and paddle dugout canoes through this 1.4-million-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site to see monkeys, ocelots, jaguars, and tapirs. Ancon Expeditions offers a 14-day trip.
DETAILS: $2,495 per person; 011-507-269-9415,

4. Hotel Deseo, Mexico
The 15 elegantly minimalist guest rooms in this Playa del Carmen hideaway are the grooviest on the Mayan Riviera.
DETAILS: doubles from $128; 011-52-984-879-3620,

5. Turtle Inn, Belize
Tucked into a palm forest on the south Caribbean, this cluster of Balinese-style cottages is an hour’s drive from the jaguars in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary.
DETAILS: doubles from $175; 800-746-3743,

6. Abastos Market, Mexico
Chocolate with almonds and mescal are two treats to be found at Oaxaca’s open-air mercado.

7. Canopy Tower Ecolodge, Panama
From your treetop-level bed at this eco-lodge in Soberan'a National Park, you’ll wake up eyeing purple-throated fruitcrows.
DETAILS: doubles from $200, including meals; 011-507-264-5720,

8. Tarpon Fishing, Costa Rica
You’ll reel in 100-pound monsters at the mouth of the Río Colorado. Base yourself at the Río Colorado Lodge.
DETAILS: $400 per person per day; 800-243-9777,

9. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
The “Mexican Pipeline” is a legendary break with left- and right-hand tubes at Zicatela Beach.
DETAILS: Rent boards from Central Surf Shop ($10-$12 per day); 011-52-954-582-2285,

10. Río Indio Adventure Lodge, Nicaragua
Catch a lunker (tarpon, snook, mojarra, or machaca) with your Rama Indian guide offshore from this Caribbean eco-lodge.
DETAILS: Three-day fishing packages start at $1,795; 866-593-3176,

11. Cabo Pulmo Eco Villas, Mexico
Spend a week 500 steps from the Sea of Cortez at this casita compound and help the enviro group Amigos para la Conservación de Cabo Pulmo (619-723-0700, www gather data on endangered turtles.
DETAILS: Baja Bungalows has five casitas from $50 to $140;

12. Selva Bananito Lodge, Costa Rica
This 11-cabin property near Porto Lim-n has serious eco bona fides: It relies on solar-heated water, recycles gray water, and stocks organic soaps made by a local co-op.
DETAILS: $100 per person per night includes all meals; 011-506-253-8118,

13. Hotelito Desconocido, Mexico
Sixty miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Desconocido has 29 plush yet eco-friendly bungalows: Think Mexican fishing village meets luxury safari camp.
DETAILS: doubles from $230; 800-851-1143,

14. Danzante, Mexico
Twenty miles south of Loreto and a quarter-mile up a hillside from Ensenada Blanca beach sit nine casitas. The solitude might scare your average American, but watch one lazy sunset from the terrace and you’ll be fine.
DEATILS: $135 per person per night; 408-354-0042,

15. Centro Neotrópico Sarapiquís, Costa Rica
Paddle the frothy Class IV rapids of the Río Sarapiquí, in the central part of the country, and unwind in the breezy bar or in your refined palenque at day’s end.
DETAILS: doubles from $72; 011-506-761-1004,

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