This post was written by Morgen Henderson – you can read more of Morgen’s work here: https://hendersonmorgend.contently.com/
Going on holiday is usually full of excess. There’s the CO2 emissions that travel requires, the disposable toiletries, and the waste of drive-through dining. But don’t let your accommodations become part of the problem. The first rule of an eco-friendly holiday is “do no harm”, a philosophy few lodges, hotels, and resorts can claim they follow.
While there are many tips on living green you can use on holiday, visiting an eco-friendly resort makes it a breeze. Take part in ecotourism by choosing an ecolodge or resort that puts the planet ahead of profits. Here are eight resorts to add to your travel list.
Kalon Surf, Costa Rica
If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf while on holiday, Kalon Surf is the perfect place to catch your first wave. Kalon is a luxury surf resort that offers an all-inclusive, sustainable experience for every level of surfer.
Wake early and eat a farm-to-table, organic breakfast. Then, hit the waves on a high-performance surfboard made from eco-friendly materials. This luxury surf resort is located on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, a country already known for its environmental commitment, and Kalon takes sustainability a step further.
As well as partnering with companies who make eco-friendly products, Kalon has recycling initiatives, uses solar energy to power its facilities, and collects rainwater for things like washing cars and watering plants. The surf resort also runs a local donation program called Something a Bit Different Program, where guests can donate clothes, shoes, and school supplies to Costa Rican families.
Thredbo Ski Resort, Australia
Thredbo Ski Resort is an Australian ski resort that caters to all ages and abilities. This award-winning resort is open year-round, with family-friendly activities and entertainment, and offers a wide variety of terrain to fit beginner skills and advanced skiers. When you’re not hitting the slopes, the resort’s village scene has plenty of shops, restaurants, and events to keep you busy.
Thredbo is known for its eco credentials as much as it’s known for its skiing and snowboarding potential. On top of a recycling program, and resort-wide low-flow shower heads and waterless urinals, the resort also runs entirely on renewable energy. Thredbo partners with Protect Our Winters, a group of snow enthusiasts that raises awareness of the impact of climate change on mountain environments, and practices what it preaches too.
This destination purchases enough renewable energy each year to power 1,500 average-sized homes, and it’s well worth a trip if you’re in this part of the world and want to keep up your snowsports in a more sustainable way.
Generations Riviera Maya, Mexico
Generations Riviera Maya in Mexico is a relaxing getaway where you can experience luxurious amenities without harming the environment. Enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared with ingredients grown in the on-site 70,000 sq. ft. hydroponic greenhouse, which grows vegetables and herbs for the all of Generation’s luxury resorts.
Rooms here feature energy-saving air conditioners that reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions by 50%, a the showers and baths you take are pre-heated by solar panel arrays. Plus, the resort has its own water filtration system that recycles 92% of the drinking water used.
The Riviera Maya also has two sea turtle camp enclosures to protect hatching eggs, which keep out predatory birds and maintain a quiet, dark environment to increase survivability rates. The resort also partners with universities and students. In exchange for free room and board, students help move eggs to safe spaces and protect baby turtles as they make their way to the sea.
If that wasn’t enough, the resort has also been responsible for building almost two kilometers of artificial reef. Known as Kan-Kanan, the reef provides much-needed habitat for thousands of indigenous species, and protects the coastline from erosion.
Finolhu is a beach resort located on the Baa Atoll located in the Maldives. Complete with private villas, spas, and restaurants, Finolhu is a high-end traveller’s paradise. Blue lagoons, colorful aquatic life, and breathtaking beaches dot this Indian Ocean havem, which, like all atolls, sits atop islands formed by massive coral reefs.
Finolhu is a UNESCO-protected biosphere reserve. That means the island’s ecosystem is strictly protected and preserved for scientific study, and guarding against human activities is a priority. The resort doesn’t use or buy plastic bottles or straws, and is powered by around 67,000 square feet of solar panels. In fact, it’s the world’s first fully solar-powered five star resort!
Finolhu employs its own marine biologist to oversee things, and it partners with Parley for the Oceans, an organization that brings awareness to the beauty and fragility of our oceans through awareness-raising campaigns.
The Bardessono proves sustainability can be a part of any holiday destination. Located in the heart of Napa Valley, this luxury spa resort is for friends and couples looking to rejuvenate with high-end spa treatments and fine wines. The Bardessono is a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certificated venue, designed from the ground up to be eco-friendly.
The resort supplies heating and cooling to rooms, spas, and baths with an underground geothermal system, and dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and drought-resistant flora reduce water consumption. The facility also maintains 940 solar panels that supply the bulk of power for the resort. And, to make every kilowatt count, occupancy sensors inside rooms even lower your energy use when you’re out lounging by the pool or visiting the wine cave.
Constructed from salvaged wood, serving local and organic produce and operating extensive recycling and composting programs, this is definitely a venue to try.
Chaa Creek, Belize
It’s not like you needed another reason to visit Belize, but Chaa Creek Resort is the perfect excuse to visit the beautiful, Central American country. This Belize eco-resort sits within a 400-acre nature reserve with an extensive set of trails letting you visit and admire natural rainforest flora and fauna. But if you’re more of an inside environmentalist, visit the Blue Morpho Butterfly Exhibit or the Maya Organic Farm, which provides fresh produce for the lodge’s culinary treats.
Chaa Creek believes in a give and take relationship with the physical and cultural environment. That’s why every dollar you spend at Chaa Creek goes to environmental and community projects. The luxury resort also buys local goods and services, uses cleaning products made from natural ingredients, and donates restaurant leftovers to local pig farms.
Isla Palenque, Panama
This Panamanian luxury resort is a green destination for eco-tourists looking to island hop, snorkel, whale watch, and more. Isla Palenque sits on 400-acres of pristine and awe-inspiring natural scenery. But the fun comes from getting to it all. Hike, paddleboard, or kayak to an endless array of experiences, from rock fishing to spelunking sand-bottomed caves.
This ecolodge makes sustainability a major part of its operations. Organic gardens loaded with fruits, veggies, and herbs fill dinner plates, while the resorts “Dock to Dish” program ensures the catch of the day is local and legal for anyone who isn’t veggie or vegan. Cleaning products and bath amenities are all organic, and there’s a strict no single-use plastic policy in effect. Isla Palenque also puts the sun’s energy to good use with solar panels that heat water for guest rooms.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
The Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji is high-end ecolodge with 5-star accommodations for individuals, couples, and families looking for a relaxing atmosphere and world-class cuisine. You’ll stay in a Fijian-style thatched house, built from naturally harvested materials with sustainability in mind. High rooves allow for maximum air circulation, meaning wasteful electric air conditioning can be avoided.
Jean-Michel Cousteau is the first son of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, and he and his resort follow the same eco ethic: takes as little from the earth as possible. When not enjoying a spa treatment or snorkeling, guests can make a difference by taking part in conservation programs like planting coral to protect reefs or learning more about nature with a tour of a mangrove forest.
Much of the resort’s food is grown on site, but what isn’t is bought from the local area. This destination also has Fiji’s first ever water reclamation plant, putting wastewater to use in suitable operations around the site.
To encourage you to spend as much time in nature as possible, there are no TVs or telephones in the accommodation at Jean-Michel Cousteau. However, don’t panic – there is still WiFi so that you can update friends at home about your stay.