Two sides of a tropical tale

Dramatic volcanoes and pristine jungle, or impeccable man-made chic?

Nature comes in all shapes and sizes – from lush Mexican jungle and Costa Rican cloud forest to impossibly perfect custom-designed creations. Our pick of tropical getaways takes you from wild retreats to manicured luxury, staying in sensational hotels across the world.


On the tip of Sian Ka’an’s protected jungle reserve sits the Mexican town of Tulum. With stunning beaches and spectacularly preserved Mayan ruins, this area is alive with natural beauty.

Dive amid coral reefs, visit the ancient Zona Arqueológica walled city, or become one with your surroundings at Selva Maya Eco Adventure Park. Trek deep into the Mayan jungle, over rope bridges, down ziplines and through underground caves. Or explore the subterranean landscape of Gran Cenote, where you can snorkel inside the limestone cavern.

Sian Kaan Reserve

For a truly remote return to nature, you can book an eco tour into the Sian Ka’an jungle. As an internationally-recognised biosphere, the region’s trees, seas, wetlands and sparkling lagoons are home to thousands of species of flora and fauna.

For a bird’s eye view of this stunning area, check into the boutique Kasa Hotel Parota. With its locally-sourced food and infinity pool, it’s the ideal base for experiencing all that this corner of the Yucatan Peninsula has to offer.

Kasa Hotel Parota


Nothing says adventure like an active Costa Rican volcano. And Tabacón Thermal hotel puts you at the heart of the action – a short (but safe) distance from Arenal Volcano, amid 900 acres of rainforest reserve. Some nights, you can even glimpse the glow of lava as it leaps from the crater on Arenal’s western flank.

Arenal Volcano

The activities around the National Park are just as thrilling: white water rafting, canoeing, horseback riding and off-roading are all within a few miles of the hotel. Or, if you prefer a more dormant approach to volcanic life, Tabacón’s natural hot springs are a soothing way to while away the evening hours before drifting off in your room with a view.

In the morning, wake up to a tropical dawn chorus before indulging in a spa treatment in the palm-thatched, caña brava bungalow – open to the sounds and scents of the rainforest. Return to the water via a safari float down the Penas Blancas river, or with a refreshing dip in the lagoon beneath the La Fortuna waterfall.

Tabacon Thermal


While nature remains a prominent feature of Sentosa, a totally different tropical experience awaits in Singapore. Home to not one but three beaches, Sentosa Island has been carefully designed for peak luxury.

From the contemporary chic of The Outpost, you can step out onto golden sands, dive and snorkel, or simply gaze out over the sea from the hotel’s elevated position. And the nearby S.E.A. Aquarium provides the chance to meet the sea creatures you might miss on open water dives – with shark encounters high on the menu (but from a place where you’re not!)

The Outpost at Sentosa

Sentosa is truly a man-made paradise. With futuristic nightlife in the form of hologram theatres and beachfront laser shows, and segway tours around the island, you can expect your getaway to be full of new experiences. While rafting and rapids are not Sentosa’s style, thrill seekers can still get their fix on the 450 metre ‘MegaZip’ over Siloso beach. And there’s more fun to be had at Universal Studios Singapore and Resorts World, a short aerial tram ride from The Outpost.

With the sparkling Singapore skyline in the distance and the Sentosa Merlions watching over the island, this is a place like no other.

Sentosa Island