Posted by: ecodestination | January 22, 2009

La Zebra Beach Cantina & Cabanas is Green, Green, Green

lazebracabin La Zebra Beach Cantina & Cabanas in Tulum, MX spent much of 2008 converting their beach hotel into a green haven.

No electricity on the beach meant they had to make their own, as they wanted their guests to be able to check their email and get cold drinks 24/7. Six-kw wind turbines solved that issue. Next: how to dispose of sewage. As you know, most hotels pump their sewage into the ground (they want to share it with everyone—how generous!). La Zebra wanted to take a different approach, so they set up two Bio-Microbics FAST systems that produce recyclable, 99% clean water. Apparently, other hotels’ systems in Tulum produce less than 70% clean water and are often unreliable, thus polluting surrounding ecosystems.

For the water itself, they turned to a well with a low salt content water, which they combined with fresh water they get delivered to their premises daily by truck (how green is this, exactly?). No mention as to where the water comes from, or the carbon footprint involved in this ordeal.

They have their own organic herb and vegetable garden yielding mint, sugar cane, basil, passion fruit, and other delicious foods and practice composting and recycling of plastic and aluminum products. And they show their love for the ecosystem by doing their part to protect turtle eggs from poachers by way of patrols on ATVs, who collect the eggs and “protect” them.

For 2009, there are plans of a solar hot water system and a reverse osmosis water purification system for creating drinking water onsite.

Now, on their blog, La Zebra boasts that their “cocktails … are actually really really healthy:

First we started with the La Zebra margarita, which is made with fresh pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, a pinch grated ginger, a dash of organic agave honey and topped with good quality tequila.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, that sounds pretty tasty. But touting cocktails as healthy seems misleading to me. Pineapple juice and agave honey (actually agave nectar, which tastes like honey but is plant-derived) equal a lot of sugar, simple carbohydrates. The vitamin C in the pineapple and the lime disappear within the first 10 minutes of the fruit being juiced. Ginger is wonderful for the immune system, but a pinch may not do it. And “good quality tequila” neither tells us which brand we’d be getting, nor is healthy in any way. While I love imaginative and delectable cocktails, I do not appreciate attempts at fooling me into thinking my margarita is a superfood.

This leads me to wonder whether other highlights of the resort are exaggerated or misleading, but I’m probably just being cynical.

Has anyone been to La Zebra who could share his or her opinions?

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