By Peg Hess
The online ad invited us to come and dream in Quetzalcoatl’s Nest, an awesome place, famous for its architecture. But we were totally blown away by the magical kingdom that awaited us for our three-day stay in Quetzalcoatl`s Nest Airbnb in Naucalpan, Northern Mexico City.
An immense blue-green sculpture of Quetzalcoatl (quetzal ~ bird and coatl ~ snake) towers over the entrance and grounds of Quetzalcoatl’s Nest residential community. Quetzalcoatl is a chief Toltec and Aztec god of the wind and air, represented by a feathered serpent. The jaws of Quetzalcoatl’s fantastic head open into a large natural cave; the feathered snake’s gigantic curving and twisting body houses ten uniquely designed condominiums completed in 2006. Two are available as Airbnb rentals. Quetzalcoatl’s Nest’s unique beauty heralds the remarkable natural and manmade wonders to be discovered in the adjacent, seemingly boundless Quetzalcoatl Park (20 hectares/49+ acres).
Quetzalcoatl’s Nest Airbnb offers guests an information-filled 3—4-hour walking tour of the park by a multi-lingual guide. We took the tour the morning after our arrival and learned about the park’s history and its creator, Mexican architect Javier Senosiain. Senosiain is very well known as an adherent to organic architecture, which is inspired by nature and impacts the environment minimally. For example, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest and Park abound in nature’s rounded and spiraling shapes and the pleasing contrasts inherent in the natural world. Expansive open spaces yield to mysterious pathways dappled with shadows and too dark caves. Patricia Castillo, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest Airbnb Administrator, and Tours Collaborator notes that Senosiain designed the park’s three kingdoms — plant, mineral, and animal to enhance our consciousness about the ways that we are united and integrated with nature.
In designing Quetzalcoatl’s Nest and Park, Senosiain has drawn on his own and his country’s history and culture. Remarkable sculptures and spectacular multi-colored mosaic serpent heads, bodies and tails that are alternatively foreground and background whimsically inhabit Senosiain’s distinctively Mexican kingdom. These serpentine structures have been crafted by local artisans with creativity and care to merge with and emerge from the natural landscape. They wind through the extensive flower, vegetable, herb, desert and bamboo gardens of the Plant Kingdom. Both the wilderness areas and meticulously designed landscapes are enlivened with Mexican art, which is also reflected in moving and still water throughout this magical space.
In addition to the tour, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest guests are free to explore the park on their own. Our family group included grandparents, parents and children ages 11 and 13. Together and in solitude, we meandered the extensive paved walkways connecting densely overgrown hills, waterfalls, and gorges lush with native flora; a huge cultivated hillside field of fragrant lavender; and a spacious amphitheater open to the sky with its floor, walls, and seating carpeted in thick deep-green grass. In the Mineral Kingdom, we enjoyed the park’s large collection of native minerals, glittering in a natural cave’s darkness. Many park structures are climbable and slide-able, encouraging children to interact with and on them.
As we returned each day to explore this profoundly engaging otherworldly realm, I experienced being alternatively deeply peaceful, surprised, playful and joyfully exhilarated. My favorite space is the greenhouse with its stained-glass ceiling. From the outside, it appeared I was entering a dark cave-like space in a hillside. The entry covering reminded me of brilliantly patterned butterfly wings. Yet as I walked under the colorful wings, the mosaic tiles on the walls began to shimmer with reflections of the natural light from the greenhouse. As I entered the greenhouse, I felt as if I had burst into a space that delighted all my senses. Warm, deeply saturated color surrounded me as daylight was filtered through the stained glass above. The sound of flowing water spiraling into a reflecting pool filled the air, which was also rich with the fragrance of soil and growing plants.
Like a home away from home, Quetzalcoatl’s Nest Airbnb is spacious, well provisioned and reasonably priced, with beautiful views from each room. There is ample space for 8—10 guests. Fresh coffee, juice, and breakfast foods are provided. We easily accessed Mexico City by Uber.
According to Ms. Castillo, access to Quetzalcoatl Park is currently limited to Quetzalcoatl’s Nest residents and Airbnb guests. Although condominiums in this community may be rented long-term, none are available at this time.
Public events at Quetzalcoatl Park are planned for 2019. The park will open to the public in several years when areas under construction are completed. These include The Animal Kingdom, jogging and bicycle paths, a pyramid, and a dam.
But my family and I urge you not to wait. Come now and be blown away by Quetzalcoatl’s Nest and Park.
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