You are wearing the sustainable T-shirt, using organic beauty products, and you send single use plastic evil eyes, but what about your travelling habits, are they sustainable?
Part of what spurred me on to start my own business was actually seeing how we, as tourists, impact local environments.
In recent months I have come across several articles about beautiful places across the globe that have been ruined due to over-tourism. A great example is the Maya Bay in Phi Phi Islands (Thailand), which is currently closed to tourists to give the coral reef a bit of breathing space. When open, the small bay is visited by 5000 people a day – and has been for years.
It is just one of the places in Thailand where tourism has left its mark; according to The Telegraph, 72% of Thailand’s coral reef has been damaged due to polluted waste waters from seaside hotels, boats anchoring at the corals and the dumping of plastic waste.
During our travels, we have stayed in places that cared about the environment and local wildlife. These are usually fairly small hotels living in great symbiosis with nature and educating their guests on how to enjoy the scenery and wildlife in a sustainable way, and the experience you get as a guest is so much more rewarding than just lying by the pool.
Little surprise that I have several out-of-this-world eco resorts on my bucket list – and now you get the chance to check them out too :-)
Highlights: situated on the edge of a large lake in southern Sri Lanka, the Tri eco resort offers fantastic views of the lake and local wildlife. Combined with the on-site yoga classes and spa, it seems like the ideal place to recharge your batteries.
Sustainability: living roofs with native creepers and sedums, building made from 100% recycled wood, garden irrigated with harvested rainwater, natural fertilisers, solar energy, minimal energy use, LED lighting, committed to reversing habitat degradation and tackle lakeshore erosion, serving food made from fresh local produce, ionization filters in pool to limit chemical usage.
Highlights: Lapa Rios is a founding member of the National Geographic ic Unique Lodges and is situated on the tip of a peninsula surrounded by lush rainforest and the sea. Imagine waking up to the sounds of the jungle and views of the ocean – pure bliss! Or as they say in Costa Rica, ‘Pura Vida’.
Sustainability: protects 1000 acres of rainforest, nature training, renewable materials for sustainable and low-impact construction, respect for wildlife and nature, promotes locally-sourced biodegradable products, serves organic foods, employs exclusively local staff, solar energy, single-use plastic ban.
Highlights: located in the stunningly beautiful Chilean Torres del Paine National Park, the eco camp consists of a cluster of domes inspired by the traditional Kawesqar huts and resembling igloos. It offers you the chance to get close to some of the most amazing and diverse nature on the planet. Think mountains, great plains, glaciers, lakes and wildlife.
Sustainability: leader in environmentally responsible travel, designed with local impact in mind, carbon neutral since 2008, recycling policy, energy from 100% natural and renewable sources (40% solar and 60% hydroelectric), composting toilets, all constructions on raised platforms to allow wild animals to pass underneath.
Highlights: set in the Chyulu Hills of southern Kenya, Campi Ya Kanzi is the only safari lodge on a huge Maasai owned reserve. The resort has close partnerships with the local Maasai community, employing local staff only, and gives you the opportunity to get a close insight into another culture, as well as enjoying the magnificent views. It will take a while to save up for this one – think of it as a once in a lifetime experience.
Sustainability: solar power, 100% carbon neutral, partnership with local Maasai community, conservation fees, protects the wilderness status of the lands, employing local people, used local materials and not cut down a single tree in the process, all water is harvested rainwater, recycle all water, ecological soaps, eco-friendly charcoal for cooking, local food, recycling.
Highlights: located on a mountainside right in the middle of the Swiss Alps, the 18 Whitepod pods offer complete peace and tranquillity with striking views of the mountains as well as their own private ski slopes.
Sustainability: controlled energy and water usage, pod designed for minimal energy usage to maintain temperatures (30% less than a conventional building), uses class A electrical devices, water saving devises on taps etc., local spring water, limit night lighting, colours of pods blend into landscape (changes with the seasons), recycling policy, local meat and wine suppliers, uses seasonal products only, 100% biodegradable cleaning products.
Highlights: Eclypse de Mar is situated on an island (Isla Bastimentos) close to the Costa Rican border and comprises of seven overwater bungalows with private decks and glass viewing floors, as well as a few traditional hotel rooms on land. Imagine being able to wake up and dive straight into the crystal-clear ocean – amazing! Apart from offering some of the best surf in the area, it also gives you the opportunity to hone your surf hairstyle as hairdryers are a total no-go.
Sustainability: built in local wood with palm-leaf roofing, solar energy, cross ventilation in rooms instead of aircons, water from own natural spring (filtered), low-flow water system, recycling policy, responsible care and maintenance of coastal areas and mangroves, own wastewater treatment system, food from local produce.
Enjoy your travels!