Vacations are best when it’s a balance of relaxation and exploration. It only makes sense why people tend to favor resorts with their all-inclusive packages and amenities. But the truth is that retreats this large exhaust a lot of energy and waste, making the cost heavier on the environment than on your wallet. But that’s not to say you have to give up your enjoyment just yet—there are more and more lodgings minimizing their carbon footprint. These resorts are only the top of the picking that harmonize comfort and sustainable practices.
Soneva Kiri Resort in Ko Kut, Thailand
This jaw-dropping resort is located on one of Thailand’s largest yet most uninhabited island. Getting there requires a flight from Bangkok and a boat-ride but once you’re on the island, you can explore Soneva Kiri by bike or electric buggy. Stay in poolside villas built with sustainable materials and powered by solar panels. With a private beach, restaurants, gardens and an outdoor cinema, your days will be filled with plenty to do. Their mission to preserve the local ecosystem and marine life is probably the most impressive, with a marine biologist on site that conducts educational snorkeling trips.
Treehotel in Sverige, Sweden
Treehotel was built carefully as to not disturb the surroundings of the Lule River valley. The six tree rooms are built on live pine trees by local construction companies without chopping down any trees. Hydropower supplies electricity to the units and with water-efficient sinks and combustion toilets, waste is very minimal. While you’re connecting with nature, try zip-lining, sledding, mountain biking, hiking and fishing. Enjoy meals and spa amenities nearby at the Britta hostel, in a picturesque 1930-50’s setting.
Laguna Lodge Eco-resort & Nature Reserve in Solola, Guatemala
A stay at Laguna Lodge is a total immersion in the local Guatemalan culture. Every aspect of Laguna was considered for it’s environmental effects, from the use of solar energy for lighting, heating and water supply to sun-dried linens, water powered clocks, and energy efficient boats. The grounds of this resort are landscaped with edible plants, nourished with their food waste compost and watered with grey water. This resort is also a nature reserve with a 100 acres of tropical dry forest and lake front land.
Montfair Resort Farm in Crozet, Virginia
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah National Park, the Montfair Resort Farm is a breath of fresh air. Stay in one of their eight eco-friendly cottages, powered with both wind and hydro power. Spend your days exploring 120 acres worth of trails by foot or on horse. Meals and toiletries are all locally sourced as Montfair is a huge supporter of organic farmers and local businesses.
The Majlis in Lamu, Kenya
Take in the Swahili culture while still enjoying a few comforts at The Majlis, a beach resort on Lamu, an island off the Kenyan coast. This vacation spot works closely with the local community to conserve the environment and improve quality of life. The entire staff at Majlis works together to minimize waste and keep energy consumption low. Thanks to solar panels and wind turbines, the resort can run completely on alternative energy when at minimal capacity. While away the hours by fishing, snorkeling or taking in nature on safari excursions—all of which you can get to by boat as there are no cars on this peaceful island.
Are you planning an eco-friendly vacation? Let me know in the comments where you’re headed.