It’s summer, it’s travel season, and if you’ve frequented the Postconsumers’ blog in the past then you know that we enjoy writing about eco-travel during the summer. Often (and not with exception this summer), we try to give you advice on how to travel and be more eco-friendly. Or, alternatively, options for not traveling and instead enjoying the summer time in ways that result in less of a carbon footprint. Today, however, we’re going to dive into our own fantasies of having the resources to travel wherever we wanted and list our ten favorite eco-travel destinations that we’d kill to get to.
We often suggest that a step on the road to Postconsumerism is to reward yourself when you make small steps toward changing your lifestyle. Perhaps a great reward would be to take all of that money that you’re no longer spending on “stuff” and stash it away to afford one of these amazing vacations to see some of the planet’s best eco-destinations.
1. Robin Pope Safaris, Africa
Robin Pope Safaris is a recent winner of the annual Responsible Tourism Award from ResponsibleTravel.com. They operate primarily in Zambia and Malawi. You can experience all of the things you’ve fantasized about in a safari, but the company is extremely focused on conservation, education, ecosystem preservation and supporting local economies. Several of the Postconsumers staff have been on African safaris, and they were entirely life changing. Experience Africa and do it while supporting your eco-ideals.
2. The Tengboche Buddhist Monastery, Nepal
The Tengboche Buddhist Monastery will get you closer to nature and closer to your own mental and emotional well-being. And if we’re being honest, there probably aren’t many people reading this who haven’t dreamed of going to Nepal. The monastery is considered the gateway to Mount Everest. You’ll be experiencing nature and the practice of being at one with it at elevation (over 12,000 feet).
3. Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge, Nicaragua
Morgan’s Rock Hacienda and Ecolodge won the World Travel Awards prize for best green hotel in Mexico and Central America as recently as 2011. It’s luxury meets eco-travel. Private bungalows are made from reclaimed materials and all of the tours and activities get you closer to nature (kayaking, night hikes and the ever popular zip-lining). The resort makes a priority of using alternative energy and grey water systems as well as protecting endangered plants and animals and supporting reforestation.
4. Anywhere in Palau (Because You Love Diving)
If the destination of Palau sounds familiar to you, it may be because the picturesque island in Micronesia was featured on the tenth season of the popular reality show Survivor. But underneath the water in this fairly remote island, you’ll be treated to one of the last true underwater miracles. Over 500 species of coral and 1400 species of fish. But what makes it such an ideal eco-travel destination is that its remote location has shielded both its natural resources and its local culture from western invasion. You’ll burn some carbon footprint resources getting there, but you’ll experience true nature.
5. Chateau Mcely, Czech Republic
You truly do not need to go to a rainforest destination to experience eco-travel, and you don’t need to give up luxury (though some of us think of luxury as a tent with a cool breeze going through it!). Chateau Mcely in the Czech Republic won the World Travel Awards prize for best eco-hotel in Europe for good reason. Heat comes from salvaged wood chip waste, all electricity is renewable energy and there’s a wastewater recycling system to ensure water is conserved (which is always one of the greatest carbon footprint issues in a hotel).
6. Hotel Finse 1222, Norway
We’ll stay European-focused in our next pick, Norway’s Hotel Finse 1222. Even the history of this destination is unique. It was once a camp for railway workers. However, today it’s been converted into a northern eco-adventure destination where you can try out ski-sailing in the winter or amazing hiking in the summer. We have to say that (though we shirk at the cold after a winter of Polar Vortex), we think that the point of an eco-adventure trip to Norway is to go when the snow is on the ground. After all, it may all melt soon.
7. Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
Despite the political turmoil, the Middle East has some of the most striking natural scenery you’ll find anywhere. And you’ll enjoy it while being relaxed in this amazing eco-spa, the Six Senses Zighy Bay. This is a chain luxury spa resort that uses a specific Holistic Environmental Management Programme to make sure that the unique environments in all of its locations are honored. In addition to spa treatments, this particular location will also expose you to the natural majesty of Sidr trees and ancient fossils.
8. Anywhere in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has made a name for itself as an eco-tourism destination. Cloud forests, black sand beaches, rainforests and river rapids create a diverse and well-preserved environment where you can expose yourself to dozens of different microclimates and thousands of species of plants and animals. There are also an almost endless supply of eco-friendly hotels and resorts. You may second guess the eco-friendly nature of your trip when you land in San Jose, but trust us that the trip will be eco-adventure and eco-scenery as soon as you leave the city. As another benefit, this eco-travel destination is incredibly affordable for Americans.
9. Hotel George, Washington DC
Maybe you don’t want to go traipsing off on an eco-adventure, but you do want to be eco-responsible when you travel. No matter what your age or interests, Washington, DC is always a great vacation destination for arts and education. When you go, stay at Hotel George. It won the American Hotel and Lodging Association Award for Good Earthkeeping recently by implementing its Earthcare policies. Those policies include using eco-friendly cleaners, cutting water use by 25%, serving organic and fair-trade coffee and installing energy efficient air conditioners.
10. Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali
We’ll be honest that this largely made our list because we dream of Bali! Perched on high cliffs above the Indian Ocean, Banyan Tree Ungasan is at one with nature. You’ll stay in a hand-crafted villa that includes private gardens, fountains, birds and an amazing ocean vista. It’s your own commune with Mother Earth.
Did we miss an eco-vacation spot that you love? Tell us about it on the social media channels below.