Ecotourism has evolved tremendously over the last decade, and more customers are willing to splurge a little more in order to go with a socially responsible company when travelling. What exactly is ecotourism? It’s defined as ‘responsible travel to natural settings that conserves the environment and respects the locals”.
Being “green” is becoming a new norm, and with good reason. We need to do our part as consumers to save the natural resources that surround us, even when travelling. So trying to find a place to visit while respecting the environment is not quite as easy as we’d like.
There are some accommodations that claim to be eco-friendly, but you need to do a bit of research in order to find out if they really are.
Eco Resort, Eco Lodge & Eco Hotel
We’ll start off by explaining the difference between an eco resort, eco lodge and an eco hotel, then we’ll guide you to some of the best accommodations in the world in order to save you some time. There are so many amazing places to discover, we hope you’ll enjoy this virtual tour around the globe.
Some of the things to keep in mind is that eco resorts are usually located on larger properties and offer more amenities, such as local tours, restaurants and spas.
The eco lodge is generally smaller owned, but just like the eco resorts, they tend to be located in more remote natural environments, offer you more intimacy, and in general are owned by individuals or smaller communities.
The eco hotel is generally associated with towns and cities, and their proximity to them, and are often owned by corporations.
As a general rule, the eco lodges and eco resorts offer the most renewable energy sources, and they’re more sustainable than eco hotels. In some cases, they are 100% dependent on the environment that surrounds them. They also are known for their wildlife conservation practices, and their ecosystems are carefully preserved. The relationships with the local people, their cultures and traditions are sacred to the smaller owned businesses, and they give back to the local economy.
Eco hotels do their part too, but their focus is with sources of energy, recycling and several other green certification programs. You will find organic toiletries and linens among their other amenities.
Whichever you decide to go with, know that you are making a small contribution to the environment by choosing to travel with sustainability in mind. Enjoy some of these options we found for you, and hopefully you will consider giving it a try.
Here are the 25 most beautiful ecolodges, eco hotels and eco resorts in the world, in no particular order.
25. Hotel Nascar, Sardinia, Italy
Located on the picturesque island of Sardinia, Hotel Nascar is a former old granary that was transformed into a 12-room luxury eco hotel. Their sustainable management style respects nature, and all of their furnishings are made from local materials by local artists. It is a perfect spot for hiking, close to Sardinia’s Baunei trekking route.
24. Hotel Liseberg Heden, Sweden
This is one of the only eco hotels we included on our list that is in the heart of a city. Located in Gothenburg, Sweden, Hotel Liseberg is the first in their city to earn environmental certification. They are highest on their Green Leaders programme, which means that most of their sustainable practices are of the highest regard. Their own wind turbine provides their renewable electricity.
23. Las Nubes de Holbox, México
The picturesque setting of the beachfront eco hotel Las Nubes de Holbox is located on Isla Holbox on the Yucatan Peninsula. Their main attractions are their beaches, birds and marine life. They offer you many amenities, but their natural surroundings is why you should stay with them. They use all locally sourced products, and their waste is recycled.
22. The Green Hotel, India
This charming green hotel located in southwest India was a neglected Chittaranjan palace that was transformed into an eco hotel. One thing they are famous for are their gorgeous gardens for which they won several awards. Some of their sustainability measures are using recycled water for their garden and solar energy for electricity and heating water.
21. Kawilal Hotel, Guatemala
First hotel in Central America to earn the LEED-NC Gold certification, the Kawilal hotel is built on the hillside. It has green roofs and its placement is so perfect that natural breezes cool you off. You can see the Pacaya volcano from the site, and they offer you thermal water treatments that improve your circulation, massages, among many other amenities.
20. Svart Hotel, Norway
If you’ve always loved the idea of “going off the grid”, you might as well do it in style. Opening in 2021, the focus of the futuristic Svart Hotel is to preserve the polar region and protect nature. A visit in this region will get you in touch with real values associated with being in sync with nature, and you will enjoy activities while taking in your breathtaking surroundings. By using solar energy, they offer their customers the highest standards of architecture and energy efficiency.
19. El Nido Resorts, Philippines
The idyllic tropical paradise of these four Palawan resorts is reason enough to visit. But you should also be aware that they do their best to offer many sustainable programmes which evolve year after year. Their staff is all local, and they use locally grown products which encourages their green ethos. Even their design is based on the new sustainable clean way of life. And there are activities galore that put you directly in touch with nature.
18. Karijini Eco Retreat, Western Australia
With its base in the Karijini National park at 1,500 km north of Perth, you will enjoy hours of outdoor activities such as canoeing, climbing and hiking at this unique eco retreat. The waterfalls and hills filled with wildflowers make your stay in the Australian bushland scenic. They offer you luxury glamping at this environmentally friendly campground, and they are 100% aboriginal -owned and operated.
17. Jetwing Surf, Sri Lanka
Located on the South-East coast of Sri Lanka’s Arugam Bay, this eco-friendly hotel is a little gem. They built this accommodation without disturbing its natural surroundings. The structure is made from wood, dried iluk grass and palm leaves, and they use natural lighting and ventilation. The wastewater is treated with natural systems in order to protect the habitat.
16. Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexico
This sustainable all-inclusive eco-resort sits in the middle of 326 acres of tropical forests close to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Where the three rivers meet the ocean is where the resort is located, and it contains three ecosystems: coastal dunes, jungle and mangrove forest. They recycle most of their waste and reuse it for ecological reasons. The clients will enjoy visiting the Tres Rios Nature Park for a unique experience.
15. Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa, Philippines
A five-star eco resort, the Two Seasons Coron Island Resort is located in northern Palawan, on the beautiful Malaroyroy peninsula of Bulalacao Island. It has 42 bungalows that include panoramic views of the sea. It is 100% self-sustaining, and they use solar panels for heating water, have their own sewage system, and are a completely zero waste resort.
This eco-friendly luxury island resort is also a turtle and giant clam sanctuary, so you could say it’s a magical place where fine luxury meets raw nature. The superb high ceiling bungalows carry a contemporary Filipino tropical design, complemented by modern luxuries and eco-friendly bamboo products like the ones from Ecoy.
14. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
The luxurious rainforest lodge located close to Quito offers the nature lover a real treat. It is a place where you can get in touch with your senses, and you can meet a lot of endemic species such as birds, frogs and trees. You can even fly on their Dragonfly Canopy Gondola and enjoy the views from above. It is a real sanctuary and you will feel refreshed after a stay at their lodge, which is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows.
13. Rewa Lodge, Guyana
Rewa Lodge is an example of true grassroots tourism, meaning that it is the Amerindian community that runs and benefits from all the profits they earn through tourism. The local people can take advantage of the church, nursery and primary schools, as well as a health center that are funded though the lodge. Located in the heart of Guyana, you can explore all that nature has to offer, then go relax and embrace a truly minimalist lifestyle, just like the locals do.
12. Secret Bay, Dominica
Secret Bay is a 5-star eco-resort located on the Northwest coast of Dominica, a Carribean Island. The resort consists of six sustainable luxury villas, which offer you complete privacy and relaxation in their lush tropical gardens. While enjoying their private plunge pool overlooking the ocean, you will be taken in by the breathtaking views.
11. Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Set on a remote location accessible only by a hanging gondola or through the rapids of the Pacuare river, this fabulous ecolodge is hidden deep in the rainforest of the Central Highlands. You will notice their commitment to sustainability by their turbine that generates their energy or the solar-heated water. No food is wasted on site, as you are asked to pre-order your meals in advance. A perfect place to enjoy the quiet while being surrounded by rainforest.
10. Soneva Kiri, Thailand
When you visit the Soneva resorts, you will embark on an experience you will never forget. Their vision is inspired by their ancestors’ values, and they preserve their natural surroundings and respect mantras that put them in touch with nature. They define luxury as ‘peace, time and space”. Their “no shoes” policy sets them apart and allows you to reconnect with the slow pace of life.
9. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
You will find the Three Camel Lodge between the Altai mountains and the Bayanzag cliffs in the middle of the Gobi Desert. They offer customers accommodations in their ‘gers’, which are round felt tents decorated with Mongolian materials, in sync with their traditional values and colors. Socially responsible, they protect their wildlife and use the profits from their resort to support the nomads in the harsh winter months.
8. Kura Design Villas, Costa Rica
This six-room luxury eco hotel is located in the hills of Uvita, above the waters of Marino Ballena National Park. Built to be sustainable, it offers you so much luxury you might forget you’re staying at an eco-hotel. They use photovoltaic solar panels for electricity and heating the water, and their L-shaped infinity pool is filled with saline water.
7. Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
This luxury tented camp located in the Malakai Conservancy will allow you to experience a Safari camp like you never imagined possible. They try to reduce their carbon footprint by using solar panels and the heater pump system reduces its electrical consumption by 80%.They also filter their wastewater and reuse it for their animals, and they have a biogas system which transforms waste into natural gas.
6. Topas Ecolodge, Vietnam
National Geographic certified Topas Ecolodge as part of the world’s most Unique Lodges due to their core sustainability foundations. Set in the hills of Hoang Lien National park is a remote lodge that does not provide you with any technology. But trust us, being surrounded by all that beauty will make you reconnect and forget your hectic lifestyle while you embrace all that nature has to offer.
5. Phinda Forest Lodge, South Africa
Part of the KwaZulu-Natal private game reserve, the Phinda Forest Lodge is actually one of the first eco-lodges in the world. A great blend of environmentally conscious and sophisticated luxury, you will feel as if your whole outlook on life will change after a stay with them. Floor-to-ceiling windows will make you feel in touch with nature, and you will have a great selection of activities to choose from while visiting.
4. Campi Ya Kanzi Eco Lodge, Kenya
Owned and operated by the Maasai people and overlooking the Kilimanjaro, this luxury safari camp is translated “Camp of the Hidden Treasure ”. Remarkable biodiversity and an array of ecosystems, such as grasslands, bush and savannas will make your safari memorable. All tents are built sustainably in traditional Maasai decor.
3. Lapa Rios Lodge, Costa Rica
One of Latin America’s top resorts, this award winning eco lodge is located on the Pacific Ocean and it is amidst the protected rainforest on Osa Peninsula, in Costa Rica. The blissful Lapa Rios lodge opened its doors in 1993, and it is considered a pioneer in ecotourism. But they put a different spin on luxurious eco-friendly, with their salted pools and roofs that use the ocean breeze for cooling.
2. Ecocamp Patagonia, Chile
Certified with an environmental management system, this Chilean-owned eco-lodge offers the tourist luxury glamping with amazing views of the Torres del Paine mountain. Their unique domed suites are designed in a traditional dwelling style of the region. At Ecocamp Patagonia you can choose from a wide array of activities, such as visits to the Cueva del Milodon in the national park. They compost and recycle most of their “waste”, and the electricity on-site is provided by a micro-hydro turbine and photovoltaic panels.
1. Daintree Wilderness Lodge, Australia
One of the best rated lodges in the world, Daintree lodge has partnered with the Kuku Yalanti tribe, and they operate it together in order to offer the client a real taste of the Australian Aboriginal culture. The Daintree rainforest is a Unesco World Heritage site, located on the northeast coast of Australia. Their advanced eco-certification ensures the impact on the environment is minimal. Embrace all of Australia’s nature has to offer while you stay at their treehouse style villas.
We hoped you enjoyed dreaming about your next vacation. Why not embrace all that ecotourism has got to offer and visit one of their places?
- Eco Resort, Eco Lodge & Eco Hotel
- 25. Hotel Nascar, Sardinia, Italy
- 24. Hotel Liseberg Heden, Sweden
- 23. Las Nubes de Holbox, México
- 22. The Green Hotel, India
- 21. Kawilal Hotel, Guatemala
- 20. Svart Hotel, Norway
- 19. El Nido Resorts, Philippines
- 18. Karijini Eco Retreat, Western Australia
- 17. Jetwing Surf, Sri Lanka
- 16. Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexico
- 15. Two Seasons Coron Island Resort & Spa, Philippines
- 14. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
- 13. Rewa Lodge, Guyana
- 12. Secret Bay, Dominica
- 11. Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
- 10. Soneva Kiri, Thailand
- 9. Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia
- 8. Kura Design Villas, Costa Rica
- 7. Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
- 6. Topas Ecolodge, Vietnam
- 5. Phinda Forest Lodge, South Africa
- 4. Campi Ya Kanzi Eco Lodge, Kenya
- 3. Lapa Rios Lodge, Costa Rica
- 2. Ecocamp Patagonia, Chile
- 1. Daintree Wilderness Lodge, Australia