The first-ever hammocks were used by Central Americans and Mexicans to escape snakes, biting ants, and other creatures they’d prefer not to wake up next to. For most of us today, however, hammocks are the embodiment of hold-my-calls rest and relaxation. Here’s where to make that happen no matter your budget.
Parque Tayrona, Colombia
Cabo San Juan del Guía EcoPark
For the price of a few Aguilas, you can sleep to the sounds of crashing waves on an open-air hammock overlooking the beautiful white-sand beaches of Tayrona National Park. Located on Colombia’s Caribbean, the park is known for its snorkeling, but also check out the 1.5-mile uphill hike into the jungle to the El Pueblito ruins, a perfect precursor to the three-day Cuidad Perdida trek that begins in Santa Marta, about 30 minutes away. Shell out $95 for a private room that also comes with a hammock.
Happy Hammock Eco Guesthouse
Paratay is a tropical beach town about four hours from both Rio and Sao Paulo. Base at this bare-bones mansion cum guesthouse, about a 20-minute water shuttle from the town center, and you’ll get a clean, basic room and quiet beachfront bliss with hammocks. In Paratay, you can trail bike, kayak, dive, snorkel, or hike through the rainforest on the three-hour Gold Trail through Parque Nacional Serra da Bocaina.
This hillside escape of treehouses overlooking Guatemala’s vast volcano range is a 15-minute taxi ride from Antigua’s center. Get the “deluxe room” and you’ll have two private hammocks with views. Feeling social? Crawl out of your arboreal home to snag one of six hammocks scattered about the grounds. Or grab a trail map from the front desk and enjoy wandering the surrounding countryside.
Topanga Canyon, California
Topanga Canyon is one of L.A.’s more bohemian reaches, as well as a paradise for coastal hikes. This Airbnb listing is a home’s guest wing (with a private entrance) surrounded by a native-plant garden where you’ll find a cushion- and blanket-strewn hammock over a Mexican-tile patio with views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
El Zonte, El Salvador
Incredible breaks and uncrowded beaches make El Salvador one of the most up-and-coming surf destinations. After riding your last wave, unwind with a swing on one of the three hammocks at this 12-person, five-bedroom cliff house. It’s located along the western surfing corridor and comes with a pool.
Big Island, Hawaii
If you’ve never road-tripped around Hawaii’s Big Island, put it on your to-do list. From the turtle diving in Kona and hiking in Waimea to the hidden falls near Hilo and sightseeing in Volcanoes National Park, it’s one of the most incredible drives in the United States. Afterward, park yourself in this hammock with unobstructed views of Kahena’s black-sand beaches. The house comes with its own private beach, Jacuzzi, and swimming pool, and sleeps up to eight.
Tendacayou Eco Lodge and Spa
One of the lesser-traveled islands in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe is known for its spectacular beaches, great diving in the Cousteau Reserve, and top-notch hiking up the 4,049-foot, still-active La Soufrière volcano. Base out of Tendacayou, set on a rainforested hill overlooking the sea. All the brightly colored rooms are open air and equipped with hammocks for spontaneous napping.
Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, Belize
In the open-air Francis Ford Coppola Villa at the Blancaneaux Lodge, one of the walls is actually a hammock affording private rainforest views and sounds from the river below. Coppola’s intimate hideaway in the Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, the first national park in Belize, is a great base for visiting Mayan sites like Tikal (in nearby Guatemala) and exploring the mysterious Actun Tunichil Muknal caves.
This new, much-buzzed-about retreat on the island of Sumba offers surfing, sportfishing, diving, and sunbathing on a private 1.5-mile white-sand beach—all the pleasures that drew travelers to nearby Bali (a 90-minute flight away) before it became overrun. The best spot for après-adventure lounging: one of Nihiwatu’s colorful hammocks, which staff set up with pillows and towels, and then deliver freshly picked coconuts with edible papaya straws.
Three Free Hammock Parks for City Slickers
Governor’s Island, New York
Governor’s Island is New York City’s favorite quirky summer playground. It’s an uninhabited island a short ferry ride from Manhattan with a garden of red rope hammocks—a perfect break between biking around the island and kicking back at the (man-made) beach club.
Spruce Street Harbor Park
Spruce Street Harbor Park, a lawn of 38 hammocks on the Delaware River Waterfront, is relaxing way to end your day biking down lively South Street from the University of Pennyslvania campus to Penn’s Landing.
Bruno Kreisky Park
The Viennese sure love their hammocks—the city has a four-story House of Hammocks installation in the Museumsquartier and a hammock room in the Hotel Daniel. But for pure open-air swinging bliss, the place to go is Bruno Kreisky Park, where a slew of hammocks have been installed every May to October since 2011.