A strangely attractive approach to tourism & travel

When you think of the world that we live in there is a constant hum of noise, flickering of lights and vibrations from our devices.

Has our technology got the better of us? Are we now slaves to the unlimited resources that we have at finger tips? Is being connected 24/7 really the solution that is going to make us happy? Three regularly asked and debated questions.

As we pondered these questions, we quickly came to realise that our own life experiences had rarely accounted for being “disconnected”.

So who can you turn to when culturally, whether we like it or not, we are constantly connected to news, advertising and messaging?
Herbert Ypma. In my personal opinion, the most well traveled man on the planet. As founder of HIP Hotels, he has traveled the world in search of the most unique and interesting places on the planet.

His stories have regularly blown my mind! Herbert’s true talent lies in finding the most enjoyable, interesting and secret places to see, scoff and stay.

So when I asked if he would be interested in writing about tech in the environment, he wasted no time in spinning it on its head. It seems that sometimes the best experiences in life have nothing to do with technology…

“There’s a place on Mexico’s Pacific Coast called Hotelito Desconocido . It consists of a dozen or so palafitos – traditional thatched roof shacks siting on wooden stilts – surrounding a breathtakingly beautiful lagoon. The crashing waves of the Pacific and untouched stretches of powdery sand are just beyond the lagoon’s still waters and each palafito comes with its own wooden row boat to allow guests to row to the beach.

It’s an idyllic spot where the surroundings are totally untouched and totally undeveloped; with nothing but wild jungle and wild beaches as far as the eye can see.

To stay in step with this pristine state of nature, Hotelito Desconocido offers no mod cons.


No internet, no wifi, no phones, no air conditioning, and …. no electricity.

At night there are simply lots of candles, and an ocean breeze wafting through your shack to keep you cool.

It’s a romantic place, without a doubt, but what is most fascinating about this exquisite“ off the grid” escape is the effect it has on the guests. At night, over the course of a magic dinner served in a pavilion on the lagoon – a sparkling candlelit space made of massive tree trunks and a soaring thatched roof – one of the guests, a high flying banker from New York, summed up his experience of Hotelito in vivid, almost poetic fashion .

“ When I first got here“, he confessed with wide eyed honesty,

“ I broke out in a cold sweat! I was terrified! It was the first time I could remember that I was without my phone, without social media….without news from the outside world . I was convinced I wouldn’t last! I couldn’t do it and in my mind I was already planning to leave.”

“But then I had my first dinner under the stars, I slept my first night without the humming of an air-conditioner and the flashing lights of my various chargers, I walked on the beach at dawn, without having to set an alarm, I went days, I think for the first time in my life, without being anywhere near a pair of shoes or anything that operates on electricity.

It was nothing short of a revelation”, he emphasised with total conviction.

“I transformed”, he continued, “into a thirteen year old Boy Scout without a worry in the world.”, and then he paused to deliver the most powerfully persuasive sentence I have ever heard regarding travel and tourism:

“ I ask you”, he said “how much is it worth to feel like a kid again”.


Herbert Ypma

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