Looking for the best ecotourism destinations on the planet? From UK hotels going green with biomass boilers and upcycling towel schemes to far-flung retreats created solely to preserve their local environment, these eco-travel accommodations are all worth adding to your bucket list. These are the hotels and retreats getting it right…
Ecotourism: Eco-Travel Destinations 2019
INDIA: Dharana at Shillim
This eco-retreat and spa is located in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sahyadris mountain range in southern India. Guests are encouraged to take nature walks through the rice fields, bamboo plantations and organic gardens at Dharana at Shillim Estate, where everything is focused toward environmental sustainability and Ayurvedic wellness principles.
UGANDA: Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project
The Kyambura Gorge Ecotourism Project, in partnership with Uganda Wildlife Authority and Volcanoes Safaris, has been safeguarding the gorge’s fragile ecosystem for a decade. Known as the ‘Valley of the Apes’, this Ugandan wildlife hotspot is home to a rich wildlife bio-diversity including chimpanzees, red tailed monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys. Guests at the Kyambura Gorge Lodge can experience a new series of walks for 2019, in the eco buffer zone and the wetland.
ITALY: Toscana Resort Castelfalfi, Tuscany
Set in an ancient medieval village amidst 2,700 acres of protected vineyards, olive groves, lakes and a wildlife reserve, Toscana Resort Castelfalfi combines an authentic luxury Tuscan escape with cutting edge sustainable initiatives. A central biomass plant provides the entire estate with heating and cooling energy, while traditional wells provide purified drinking water. The estate golf courses are GEO Certified, while the restored and additional buildings are constructed using recycled wood and reclaimed stone. Castelfalfi is also home to 57 acres of vineyards, where all agricultural production is organic, including seven wine labels and 35,000 litres of olive oil produced annually.
UK: The Scarlet
If you want to stay closer to home for a more, well, eco eco-escape, look no further than north Cornwall’s The Scarlet, with solar panels, biomass boilers, eco-dining initiatives and upcycling towel programmes all upping its green credentials. Perched on a cliff top with breath-taking views, there are few places better positioned to consider the importance of protecting our glorious planet.
BARBADOS: Eco Lifestyle Lodge
Barbados as a whole is embracing sustainability, with a host of initiatives to protect our planet. As of this month, the importation, retail, sale and use of petro-based single-use plastic (plastic made from petroleum) is no longer allowed in Barbados. Carlisle Bay in the south west of Barbados is a marine-protected area, and home to the Eco Lifestyle Lodge, which features tropical gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, an appealing farm and sea-to-table restaurant offering and rooms with furniture made from upcycled mahogany.
FRANCE: The Eco Lodge, Chamonix
This self-sufficient lodge has some serious ecotourism credentials, running completely on renewable energy. The lodge is built to passivhaus standard using green technology throughout, geothermal and solar-thermal systems providing the heating and solar panels producing enough energy to make the house zero emissions. The outdoor terrace features a sauna pod and a hot tub from which to enjoy mountain views of the beautiful planet that needs our protection.
MOZAMBIQUE: andBeyond Oceans Without Borders, Vamizi Island
Through their Oceans without Borders initiative, andBeyond is turning its focus to marine conservation, using its three island properties (andBeyond Benguerra Island and andBeyond Vamizi Island in Mozambique, and andBeyond Mnemba Island off Zanzibar) to influence more than 3,000 km of Indian Ocean coastline. On the Oceans without Borders Small Group Trip from 9-14 October 2019, guests can embark on a privately guided 6-day experience and gain insight into the marine conservation and community development activities on the project. They will also have the chance to enjoy a dive on Neptune’s Arm, stand up paddle boarding and snorkelling (in between some beach time). The trip will be guided by Dr Tessa Hempson, one of the leading Marine Biologists in East Africa. The Oceans without Borders Journey costs from US$ 10,775 per person based on two sharing.
CAMBODIA: Knai Bang Chatt, Kep
Knai Bang Chatt, a boutique hotel on Kep Sur Mer on Cambodia’s South Coast, has been awarded a platinum ‘Green Growth’ certificate, and is the first Cambodian hotel to be recognised as internationally sustainable. Sustainable practices include significantly reducing the consumption of plastic packaging by sterilising and bottling drinking water in reusable glass bottles, using bio-degradable plastic bags, and drawing on its own bio diverse organic gardens to feed its guests. The resort also has a Sustainability Manager on site and offers tours to guests to highlight initiatives.
GREECE: Costa Navarino
Sustainability is at the heart of everything Costa Navarino does, reflecting their commitment to responsibility for the local area. With policies in place to protect the undisturbed area of southern Greece, the resort adheres to strict environmental management guidelines, with environmental protection as a top priority, from construction and design through to operation. It is home to Europe’s largest olive grove transplantation program, preserving trees that have been part of the landscape for hundreds of years, there is a loggerhead sea turtle protection programme and it protects the habitat of the only European population of the African chameleon in Gialova lagoon. Furthermore, all properties use bioclimatic design and the whole resort has a wholly sustainable water system using only water that is naturally replaced. Green credentials aside, It’s one of our favourite family-friendly Greek holiday destinations.
MALLORCA: Mallorca 6
One of the hottest destinations of 2019, if Mallorca is top of your list for a weekender this year, book into Mallorca 6, tucked between the Sierra Tramontana mountains and the Mediterranean sea on the north coast of the island. An eco-friendly self-sufficient home has its own solar panels and its very own organic vegetable patch. The villa also benefits from a natural and fully sustainable spring-fed plunge pool, which is constantly refreshed by water straight from the mountains meaning it’s completely chemical-free.
ITALY: Villa Lena
Having re-opened this May, Villa Lena in Tuscany has been completely redesigned with a drive toward carbon neutrality. Largely powered by solar energy, a new light and rain pavilion will host a water recycling plant and collection system, re-using water and contributing to its sustainability. The villa also features a farm-to-table organic restaurant which benefits from the estate’s biodynamic agriculture programme.