There’s a way to roll luxury, style and rugged adventure all into one trip: it’s called the beach bungalow, and you should try it. Pick the right one, and it’ll take you from Milton in Office Space to James Bond in Skyfall except, you know, you’ll have to actually buy a plane ticket to get there. More rugged and unique than a regular hotel but with some of the same amenities you might find in a hotel or resort (no need to reinvent the wheel, right?), these awesome bungalows are like basecamps for an array of as-yet-imagined exotic adventures. Lay back by the lagoon with a rum-filled coconut or go full Colonel Kurtz spearfish with the locals — with the breeze off the water, gourmet grub, craft beverages and even wifi, vacation is what you make it.
Without further adieu, our six picks:
If you want to be smack dab in the middle of nature but still get the all-amenities experience of a high-end resort (wifi, on-site gourmet meals, a full body massage) for way less, then Maderas Village is your spot. It began as a kind of experiment run by a few guys and girls not unlike ourselves who were in search of somewhere beautiful, temperate and serene where they could create a community — and dip their feet into some outdoor adventure at a moment’s notice. Today, Maderas is focused on keeping everything as sustainable as possible: the hotel itself is built from wood that was naturally felled by hurricanes, and all energy usage is offset by a few wind turbines. The hotel’s jungle cabanas are our pick for prime accommodations for the adventurer at heart, but there are options galore for the budget traveler and anyone seeking the presidential treatment. Rooms starting at $150.
When to Go: While there’s not really a bad time to visit this tropical locale, going December through February helps you avoid the rainy season.
Don’t Miss: You’d do well to take a surfing day trip away from the comfort of Maderas Village — there’s no better way to experience the beauty of the country than by board.
If you’re going to do for the whole "beach bungalow" deal, you might as well take it up a notch. No, we’re not suggesting you invite Emeril, we’re pointing directly at the Premium Overwater Bungalow at Le Meridien, which (among other things) offers front-and-center access to your own lagoon as well as ridiculously stunning views. There’s nothing like being able to take a swim right after you wake up, right? Without a doubt, this secluded spot is unparalleled — and classic adventure awaits on the beach or in the mountains of French Polynesia. Don’t miss the dive center, either. It doesn’t get more adventurous than getting out of that beach chair and going for a dip (we kid). Although if we were you, chances are we'd opt for a little R&R in the sun, too. Rooms starting at $540.
When to Go: June through October offers both cooler temperatures and crowds that are more scarce — unlike Christmas, for example.
Don’t Miss: The Miki Miki Bar has stunning views of Mount Otemanu, and a fine selection of refreshing cocktails.
Built right into the seaside cliffs of the Yucatan Peninsula, Be Tulum offers a plethora of quiet retreats nestled between white sand beaches and lush jungles. Every suite is built using natural materials and features its own private pool. Our favorite, The Premier Suite, allows you to stroll right onto the beach like you own the joint — so bring those swim trunks and a sturdy dive watch and look the part. Rooms starting at $500.
When to Go: June, September and October generally bring rain to the region, so January through April often provides a prime escape from northern winters in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Don’t Miss: Mariesas, the resort’s raw bar, offers seafood that’s quite literally plucked right out of the ocean and delivered directly to your plate. September and October generally bring rain to the region, so January through April often provides a prime escape from northern winters in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Once home to James Bond author Ian Fleming, this cliffside resort tucked along the northern coast of Jamaica offers a tropical retreat unlike any other. You can spend the day deep sea fishing (the biggest fish ever hooked near GoldenEye was a 585 lb. Blue Marlin — just slightly larger than anything we’ve ever caught), exploring the lush coastline on horseback, or scuba diving the crystal clear reefs of Sans Souci, all before rafting right to the front door of your lagoon-side cabin. One Bedroom Beach Huts starting at $425.
When to Go: November to December. That’s when the weather is ranging from the mid-70s to high-80s, and deals on hotel and flights are easiest to find.
Don't Miss: Sunset cocktails at the Bizot Bar. We recommend the martini, shaken not stirred, of course.
We’re willing to bet you haven’t been to Mauritius — and if you have, why are you still here? There’s no better way to experience the Baobab-laden streets of the East African island than a trip to Constance. The minds behind the Constance call it the "Robinson Crusoe" experience, but you’re certainly not roughing it. Unspoiled white sand beaches, tropical lagoons to explore and twenty-five incredible palm-thatched beach villas await your recoup after a long day of adventure (or doing nothing at all). Just steps outside your hut, pristine water perfect for snorkeling, swimming and reef-spotting spreads out in every direct. In the evening, fresh seafood and fine wine await — a far cry from dining with the cannibals. Rooms starting at $150.
When to Go: Late December through March is the rainy season in Mauritius — any other time offers up beautiful vistas and all the adventure you can handle.
Don’t Miss: Archipel serves up an extraordinary fruit cake — no, really. When in Mauritius...
Comprised of just eight ocean-view casitas (That's "small houses" for anyone who skipped out on high school Spanish) Majahuitas is accessible only by boat — making it one of the most secluded beaches in the Bay of Banderas. The whole place runs on solar energy, so although you won’t find televisions or air conditioners, you may actually find some peace and quiet. Rooms starting at $375.
When to Go: February typically doesn’t have rain, and offers the best time for diving.
Don’t Miss: Bird-watching...hear us out. There are more than 300 different species of birds in the Puerto Vallarta region. Ask the staff for a guidebook of the most common species and spend an afternoon identifying them from your hammock. [H]
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