Playa Viva is a Regenerative Boutique Hotel located in Juluchuca Mexico near Zihuatanejo dedicated to regenerating the ecosystem and bringing back the abundance of this place. Playa Viva meets its mission with a unique style and luxury experience. The Untours Foundation’s investment was part of a larger $2.5M investment to build seven new rooms and the infrastructure to support this expansion, doubling the hotel’s capacity.
The Playa Viva Origin Story
In 2005, after running the popular bed and breakfast Casa Viva in Troncones, the husband and wife team, Sandra Kahn and David Leventhal, were introduced to the land that would soon become Playa Viva. They were instantly intrigued by its subtle charm, the teeming life of its estuary, the hills overlooking the beach and small lagoon (which was later discovered to be an archeological site), the broad expanse of beach, and the Turtle Sanctuary.
Charmed by the tiny nearby town of Juluchuca, they invested in the property. They looked at several options for development. One option would have been to take the land and carve it into lots and sell it. This was the easy route, but it showed a lack of leadership and vision and a failure to align with their values.
Instead, using the team developed a layered map of the property, including a complete “history of place” and map overlays of various “flows,” including energy, water, soil, biodiversity, people, culture, etc. Then, they set about creating a lodge that moved beyond green (doing less damage), beyond sustainable (net neutral) and moving into regeneration (making the place better). And Playa Viva was born.
How Playa Viva is Changing the World
“We are focused on regenerating our ecosystem, community, and environment, taking a whole systems approach to bringing back the abundance that once defined this place,” says David.
Playa Viva’s current work is now focused on regenerating the micro-watershed of the Juluchuca River. The Juluchuca eventually becomes the Juluchuca lagoon as the sandbar closes and the water from the river back up into the lagoon which then surrounds and fills much of Playa Viva.
Thus, they inherit what happens up the watershed, and they are now focused on regenerating the entire watershed. This is a five-node program with these five nodes being Water, Education, Permaculture, Fisheries, and EcoSystem Restoration. There is also a targeted focus on local employment – providing good jobs and vital training to local residents.
“The hotel guests are an integral part of our leveraging tourism to promote regeneration in our local ecosystem and engaging our visitors/tourists in being part of that process,” explains David. “The Untours Foundation and Playa Viva align in those goals of travel being a part of creating the change and positive impact we seek in the world in which we live and the communities we visit.”
They are also on their way to being B Corp Certified and are a member of Regenerative Travel.