Ahhh, vacation – lazy mornings, delicious food, beach-side lounging and the environmental footprint you leave behind.
When you think about the resources you use to go on vacation, it can be overwhelming. Just getting to your destination via plane or car can involve several hours of burning our planet’s natural oils. Once you arrive, the food you eat, the places you tour, even the towels and lights you use in your hotel can have an impact on the earth. That’s why the sustainable tourism movement is quickly catching on.
To be considered a green hotel or resort, properties now have to abide by strict regulations, including reducing greenhouse gases, offering outdoor recreation and entertainment that doesn’t disturb Mother Nature, serving indigenous foods and supporting and giving back to their local community.
Trouble is, being green can come with a price tag. Many of these eco-friendly resorts are not so friendly on our wallets. But, we did a little digging and came up with five eco-friendly resorts you can really afford – and really have an adventure at, too!
- Maho Bay Camps – This Caribbean eco-resort on St. Johns offers breathtaking views in a natural, environmentally-sensitive setting. Choose from 114 tent cottages, each featuring its own private balcony and shared baths. Enjoy recycled crafts, outdoor dining, hiking, sailing, swimming and snorkeling here. Rates start at $80 per night.
- Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa – This hotels is sustainable travel at its finest. With 130 rooms furnished from recycled tiles, carpet and wood, this resort offers a relaxing spa, heated pool, biking, hiking, golf and, of course, wine tours. Rooms start at $89 per night.
- Jamaica’s Hotel Mocking Bird Hill – This eco-chic 10-room inn may be neatly hidden away on the hillside just outside Port Antonio, but it boasts luxury at a moderate price with plenty of adventures to boot. Playing on the white sandy beaches, hiking through lush forest trails, rafting along the Rio Grande River or climbing the refreshing waterfalls and rainforests all await you at this destination. Rates start at $135 a night.
- Centro Ecologico Sian Ka’an (CESiaK) – This small eco-resort is located on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico, near the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, just south of Cancun. Surrounded by acres of beach and wetlands, the cottages are run on solar and wind power. You can explore the beautiful setting by kayaking, hiking, fishing or relaxing on the beach in a hammock. Rates start at $70 a night.
- Lova Lava Land – For something truly off the beaten path, try the solar-powered eco-yurts on Hawaii’s Big Island. All green, sustainable materials encompass this getaway, which features a lava-rock shower and outdoor cooking areas. Once there, enjoy the many adventures Hawaii is famous for, including hiking, boating, water sports, volcano tours and more. Rates start at $40 per night.
Photo: Creative Commons