“Responsible travel is not only better for our world, it’s also more interesting and memorable. Responsible tourism is the future of travel.” -Simon Reeve
What makes traveling memorable? The people we meet, the challenges we face, the experiences we have along the way and, let’s be honest, the new foods we eat and the incredible places we stay. When planning a trip, many environmentally conscious people find themselves on the internet, searching for hours to find accommodations that are both eco-friendly and up to their standards.
I am here to help. Here are 8 places around the world that are BOTH environmentally friendly and downright awesome.
Net-Zero Passive House– Portland, Oregon
At only $89 per night, you and a +1 can stay in this ecohouse airbnb rental (an extra $5 a night per person for more than two guests) located in Portland, Oregon. This rental has been certified as one of the most environmentally friendly in the United States, is heated primarily by the sun and offsets any energy used with rooftop solar panels. The home itself is includes “reclaimed shipping crate hardwood floors, high-efficiency multicolor indirect lighting, custom fixtures throughout, and twist-and-turn triple-pane windows.” Enjoy a sunset on the balcony or in winter, a warm towel fresh off the heated towel racks. While you are sharing some common areas with the owners, they also provide a breakfast, typically including granola, yogurt, coffee and tea. Oh, and did we mention that bikes are included for use in one of the most biking-friendly places in all of the U.S.?
Alto Hotel– Melbourne, Australia
Alto, located in beautiful Melbourne, is Australia’s first carbon neutral hotel. It has received the EarthCheck Gold Certification and was the winner of the 2014 Green Lifestyle Award for Travel Accommodations, among numerous other recognitions. 100% of all electricity used is generated from renewable resources, rain water is used for public toilets, gardening and cleaning, they have their own rooftop beehive which produces all the honey used at their establishment and carbon used from gas is offset through a program called Origin Energy. Did we mention it’s also a 4-star hotel? Alto Hotel proves you can stay in luxury while also being environmentally conscious.
Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee – Heredia, Costa Rica
As the first certified sustainable hotel in Costa Rica, Finca Rosa Blanca is the only hotel that has achieved a 100% score from the Sustainable Tourism Certification program. “The Finca Rosa Blanca Hotel seeks to demonstrate that sustainability can be incorporated into an upscale luxury boutique hotel setting by combining elements of environmental conservation, education, training, luxury, community development and innovative building techniques.” They do so by using solar panels to heat water, grow and use their own organic certified coffee, recycle the coffee grounds by using them as fertilizer, have a greenhouse to grown their own vegetables and herbs for the onsite restaurant and use an underground electrical system so as not interfere with local wildlife. The hotel also provides food to the local children’s food bank and sponsors environmentalists to teach their employees and local teachers and children about good environmental habits. You can also plant a tree during your visit to offset your carbon footprint.
Burrowing Owl Estate Winery– British Columbia, Canada
Looking for a cozy winery getaway? The Burrowing Owl Estate Winery offers a guesthouse with 10 luxurious rooms steps away from the winery and onsite restaurant. More than 100,000 people visit the winery every year and for good reason-the wines are delicious and the location is beautiful. The owners are committed to environmental responsibility and demonstrate this commitment throughout their property. 100% of the $3 tasting fees are donated to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, a program dedicated to reestablishing self-sustaining owl populations. Additionally, all hot water is preheated using solar panels, there are over 12,000 square feet of underground barrel cellars, which eliminates the need to heat or cool using electrical or fossil fuels, they recycle the grape “pomace” (the leftover grape skins and seeds) by mixing it with manure and using as compost to enhance the soil and they are very careful to never harm animals, insects or reptiles who are found around the property. In fact, they relocate snacks and other creatures they find and rope off rows of grapes if bird nests are found. We are loving Burrowing Owl Estates compassion towards the planet and all its creatures.
Sarinbuana Eco Lodge– Bali, Indonesia
Looking for a private tropical getaway? Sarinbuana Eco Lodge has you covered. With only five private bungalows, all handcrafted by local Balinese builders, the property is quaint and stunning. And although it’s tucked away in the jungle, there is still plenty to do. Get a massage, do some yoga, take a bike tour or a long hike, you can even take workshops with locals, like a Balinese cooking class or a lesson in traditional medicine and balinese healing plants. The owners have a number of rescued animals, including monkeys and sugar gliders. But don’t worry, the owners state on their website “Lets be clear- We don’t agree with Monkeys being kept as pets!” But unfortunately, their resident monkeys are unable to return to the wild, so they are taken care of at Sarinbuana. As for sustainability, the housing was built for low visual & environmental impact by following the lay of the land, they grow their own fruits, herbs and vegetables, palm oil is strictly prohibited from ever being used and they compost kitchen scarps or give leftovers to the animals on their property. The lodge also has a number of ongoing community projects, including community conservation and development and permaculture training.
Kurisa Moya Nature Lodge– Limpopo Province, South Africa
“Kurisa Moya is a Nature Lodge, but really it is so much more.” Stay in the farmhouse, a cottage or cabins, all surrounded by mountains, rivers and forests. Go sightseeing for birds, hiking, biking, take a village tour or indulge in a massage. Kurisa Moya is also pet-friendly so your dog can join in on the fun! They received a 5-star rating from Top Eco Hotels of the World and was featured in ‘Africa’s Finest- The Continent’s Most Responsible, Sustainable Safari Destinations.’ They are also “off the grid,” as each lodge has solar panels, paraffin lanterns or candelabras and solar or gas appliances. Black Wattle wood is grown on the farm used for firewood, which saves trees and indigenous forests and provides Kurisa Moya with Carbon Credits. Water used is sourced from local springs and solar is used to provide light and hot water. There are also a number of community outreach programs like the Birds In Trees Program, providing local children the opportunity to learn about environmental issues.
FaaSai Resort and Spa– Chanthaburi, Thailand
Just minutes from the beach, FaaSai sits amongst rolling hills, farms, plantations, orchards and fishing villages. The resort is family-friendly and the owners employ mostly relatives, a few of whom are experienced message therapists. Over the years, the resort has won multiple green awards. You can choose from 14 insulated rooms, built to conserve energy. During the day, roam the resort birdwatching. The resort provides shelter and protection for local birds and wildlife. You can take a stroll over to White Water Lake Nature Sanctuary, which the owners have developed in order to protect the local wetlands, wildlife and Agarwood trees. Or, go bush hiking to search for wildlife, swim at the beach only a short walk away or the pool located at the resort, visit the Turtle Sanctuary of Ko Man or take a boat trip to Laem Sing. There’s plenty to do and at the end of the day, you can take a hot shower that’s been heated by solar power and hop on over to the resort’s restaurant where much of the food is grown in their own organic edible forest garden.
Mani Sonnenlink– Peloponnese, Greece
Mani Sonnenlink is the first certified organic hotel in Greece. The hotel provides a 100% organic kitchen, was built with 100% organic materials, uses 100% organic detergents, applies 100% organic gardening practices and provides COCO-MAT beds, made from 100% natural materials. The menu is fully vegetarian and vegan, the main ingredients in their dishes coming directly from their gardens. The location is beautiful, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. They also hold seminars throughout the year and even have a Greek open air theatre on the hotel grounds. Spend time in the meditation rooms, swim in the sea, hike in the mountains or explore ancient Greek historical sites. But whatever you decide to do, you absolutely must indulge in the local organic olive oil, featured at the hotel and around town. Opa!
And there you have it…
When booking your next trip, I hope this list helps in your search for an eco-friendly trip. As socially conscious people, we are the pioneers of responsible tourism and these hotels, resorts and airbnb’s are proving that it’s possible stay in style and feel good about it.
Got anymore places to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!