The dreamchild of owner-artist Jorge Rubio, Terra Noble (9 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Sat., admission about $5), on a vista hilltop above the middle of town, is at least unique and at best exhilarating. It’s a New Age–style retreat, spreading downhill through a breathtakingly scenic tropical deciduous forest at the western edge of the big Agua Azul Nature Reserve hinterland.
The headquarters building is a latter-day interpretation of a traditional Mexican mud-and-wattle house. The inside, with curved ceilings and passageways dotted with round window-holes, leaves the impression of the interior of a huge hunk of Swiss cheese. For more architectural details, see the Terra Noble feature story in Architectural Digest, July 1996.
Besides its singular building and parklike grounds, Terra Noble is a serious healing center, featuring massage ($75 per hour) or an all-day treatment ($160) that includes massage, a saunalike temascal sweat bath and shamanistic ceremony, tarot reading, and more. It also offers sculpture and painting workshops.
Regardless of whether you get the full treatment, Terra Noble is worth a visit, if for nothing more than a look around and a picnic (pack a lunch). Contact Terra Noble ahead of time to verify hours (tel. 322/223-3530, fax 322/222-5400, www.terranoble.com ).
Get there by car, taxi, or any local bus that follows the libramiento (bypass road) through the hills east of town. Follow the side road, signed Par Vial Zona Centro, about 100 yards south of the summit tunnel (not the short tunnel at the south end), on the west (ocean) side of the libramiento. After about a half mile curving uphill, you’ll see the Terra Noble entrance sign on the view side of the road.