Surrounded by cenotes, Galopina Casa Silvestre is a located near Merida on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It draws on traditional architecture and vintage furnishings in its modern design.
How would you describe Azul Nomeolvides in a nutshell?
Azul Nomeolvides is a place to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature on the shores of stunning Lake Bacalar.
What is the story behind Azul Nomeolvides, what was your inspiration to create it?
We came here on vacation a few years ago and just loved it! We were supposed to be here for three days and ended up staying for two weeks. That’s when we decided we wanted to move here. We just loved the lake — it’s an amazing place! It looks like the Caribbean but without the salt.
So we went back to Mexico City and packed up our lives and, six months later, we were living here. We’d always thought about doing something like this, having a small place by the water, but it was just a dream. When we discovered Lake Bacalar, we knew this was the place to do it and the timing to move was right. It wasn’t a hard decision to make as it’s so easy to fall in love with this place.
And even before we started with the project, we already gave the property the name Azul Nomeolvides, which translates as “forget-me-not blue”. Lake Bacalar is known as the “Lake of 7 Shades of Blue” but there really is no answer to what those shades are. So we chose one — azul. After we’d built the cabins and were thinking of a name for the accommodation it was easy as it was already Azul Nomeolvides to us.
Please tell us a bit more about the architecture and your inspiring efforts regarding sustainability.
We are both creatives — an architect and a photographer — and we designed the cabins based on bioclimatic architectural principles. The weather here can be harsh — it is very hot and humid with a rainy season — so the architecture needed to adapt to this and embrace the natural setting, rather than fight it.
We used natural construction methods that combine vernacular traditions with a modern twist and contemporary look. Most of the materials are locally sourced — the roofing is made from local grass, we used hardwood that is good for the humidity and stone that was already on the property. But the A-frame design is quite modern and helps with the flow of rainfall off the roof.
The cabins are open to the lake breezes, which makes them a lot cooler than the outside. We are completely off-grid — 100% of our electricity is produced by solar energy and we have our own water treatment system for the sewage. Treated water is used to water the plants and we compost everything from the kitchen. We try to produce a minimal amount of waste and recycle what we can. In the city, it’s hard to be completely sustainable. But in this environment, it is the only way and we are continually learning.
How would you describe the atmosphere and interior design of Azul Nomeolvides?
It’s very calm and open — you feel like you are in touch with nature. Even when we are fully booked, it never feels crowded. It’s just the sound of nature and a special kind of silence — it’s these sounds that take you to sleep at night and inspire your dreams.
To you personally, what is so special about Azul Nomeolvides?
We love that the property is on a slope, so there are views of the lake no matter where you are. It’s also special because you discover the property as you walk down to the lake, from the common area past the A-frame cabins to the lakeshore. Every time you do that walk, you discover something new.
Guests also comment that Azul Nomeolvides feels very personal and more like a home than a hotel. We designed, built and operate it, so it has a very personal touch.
We’ve found that since moving here from the city, we are living with the natural cycle — waking up with the sun and going to sleep with the dark. It’s relaxing and comforting.
What do you particularly like about this part of the Yucatan
It has a mix of nature and culture — there are archaeological sites and cenotes — and it’s just very beautiful. While the town of Bacalar has several hotels and rentals with boat traffic and water activities, where we are feels quite remote. It’s far enough from Bacalar that you think you are in the jungle but you’re still quite close to civilisation. We have neighbours but they aren’t right next door and all of the construction on our stretch of the lake is very natural.