Welcome to the sparkling green gem called eco tourism. A booming industry, eco travel now boasts a whopping 8 billion ecotourist visits a year worldwide. Spoiler alert: You’ll need a (nontoxic) keyboard cleaner prior to reading further because if you’re like me, you’ll be drooling in utter awe at the beauty, thoughtfulness and earthly stewardship that went into creating these slices of nirvana on earth. My bucket list has officially grown larger (and yours will, too) after discovering these Om-inspiring spots.
Eco travel explored
Whether you’re looking for restorative or reenergizing vacation away from daily stress, you’ll be hitting the BOOK IT button and packing your bags for an eco travel adventure to reclaim your inner peace and restore your health.
1) The Stanford Inn by the Sea – Mendocino, CA
A historic farm and eco resort perched along the Mendocino Coast, The Stanford Inn by the Sea boasts lush, USDA certified organic farms and gardens. This four star, sustainable eco-resort is home to an award-winning vegan restaurant. Nestled across the bay from Mendocino Village, earth friendly, conscious cuisine can be enjoyed at Ravens restaurant (even the wines are organic). The lodge inspired rooms boast eco-friendly amenities by Gilchrist & Soames®. Included with your room are: free mountain bike rentals, a chef-prepared vegan breakfast, plush bathrobes, a wood burning fireplace, organic coffee, and a private deck with ocean and garden views. They compost all food and organic wastes which are then recycled into the gardens, virtually eliminating the use of outside fertilizers. The resort uses no herbicides or pesticides and uses Vaska non-toxic environmentally safe cleaning and laundry supplies, and provides sulfate-free Naturally Kind™ Forest Essentials.
Head over to the onsite Catch a Canoe and paddle along the eight-mile Big River estuary. Or, rent a bike or visit the wellness center – the Mendocino Center for Living Well – offering yoga, ayurvedic treatments, cooking classes and wellness retreats including the Falling Love with Life Special. They also offer a sauna, hot tub and indoor swimming pool located in the heated solarium as well as weddings and corporate events. With afternoon tastings and evening happy hours, the passionate owners, Jeff & Joan Stanford, have truly though of everything – even electric car charging stations – at this premier sustainable destination. Watch below to learn more:
2) Bardessono – Yountville, CA
Bardessono is one of only three LEED platinum-certified hotels in the United States (and the only one in California). Situated in California’s Napa Valley, rooms feature organic cotton bed linens and hand-crafted bath products. The onsite restaurant, Lucy, offers a garden-inspired menu with field-to-fork cuisine and artisan cocktails. A rooftop pool offers lounging and dining. Carbon fiber bicycles, on-site producing gardens, and the inspired taste of artisan-crafted coffee are all included in your wine country stay. Cheers to that!
3) Amangiri – Canyon Point, Utah
Raw. Aesthetic. Discover a remote hideaway tucked within the luminous canyons of the American Southwest. Utah’s Canyon Point is home to deep canyons, towering plateaus, world-class hiking, and of course – Amangiri.
How does candlelit restorative yoga with views of the mesa or full moon yoga beneath the rising moon sound? Then there’s the exquisite 25,000 square foot spa where treatments focus on restoring hózhó, which means beauty, harmony, balance and health in Navajo.
The onsite restaurant serves local seasonal produce. This dramatic resort is tucked into a valley near the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Monument; to say that it blends into the landscape is an understatement. While visiting, you can enjoy guided hikes, rock climbing, canyoneering, and biking.
4) Lumeria Maui – Maui, Hawaii
A retreat for the body, mind and spirit, Lumeria helps you transform your best self through yoga, meditation, sustainable food offerings, healing spa treatments and more. This all-inclusive Hawaii wellness retreat overlooks the North Shore of Maui and is set on large, lush gardens and just 10 minutes from the quaint town of Paia. Guests can feast on indigenous, organic produce and products at Lumeria’s Wooden Crate restaurant. Thesaline pool and soaking tub overlook the island with breathtaking ocean views. An onsite meditation labyrinth is ideal for quieting the mind and seeking a new perspective.
5) The Retreat Alto Del Monte
A boutique wellness experience tucked in the heart of the lush, tropical beauty of Costa Rica, The Retreat, is a five star boutique hotel created by health and wellness visionary, Diana Stobo. Recently voted one of the 5 Top Spas in the world the property is all about eating clean, raw and/or organic whole foods, enjoying nature, relaxing with yoga and meditation while still lapping in luxury. Diana’s mission is to provide everything you need and desire for the perfect wellness vacation: physical activity, stress reduction, spiritual connectedness, cultural involvement and an experience that will transform you life. Take a plunge in the salt water pool, enjoy the world class spa or Yoga House and and savor a menu designed to fit all lifestyle choices by offering farm to fork cuisine on a daily basis, with vegan options at every meal, as well as all raw choices. Seeing is believing:
6) Lapa Rios Ecolodge
Set amidst the last remaining tropical rainforest reserves of Central America, Minnesota natives John and Karen Lewis liquidated their assets to purchase the land for Lapa Rios Ecolodge; a pristine resort of bungalows lining three rainforest ridges. A three-story hardwood circular stairway in the main lodge constructed of locally harvested materials and a lookout onto the rainforest canopy are highlights. Slumber in organic bed linens and enjoy locally made, biodegradable, organic soaps, lotions and shampoos. Activities focus on the forest and the nearby ocean with hiking, birding, kayaking, horseback riding and surfing while honoring conservation. Their sustainability bragging rights are well earned and can be found here.
Experience one of the world’s Blue Zone© areas by staying at Anamaya for a yoga or surf retreat. Located in the southern Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Ocean, yoga and surf retreat Anamaya compliments a Blue Zone© designated area — an area of the world where people are known to live the longest and healthiest. There are only five Blue Zones in the world. Daily yoga, spa services, a salt water infinity pool, infrared sauna, organic food with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and free range organic chicken and fresh fish are available to guests.
While there, take a day trip to nearby Tabacon, a five star hotel ranked a World’s Top Ten eco-Spa by National Geographic Magazine.
Tabacon sits at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the heart of the tropical rainforest. Take a plunge in the thermal springs that emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds.
8) Blackadore Caye
A resort that heals. This luxury eco resort plans to pamper you while simultaneously healing the island of Belize. Save the date because this Leonardo di Caprio inspired (and partly owned) oasis is coming in 2018 with majestic views (of the ocean and maybe even Leo?), sprawling villas and infinity pools. It wouldn’t involve Leo without environment stewardship. Plans are in place to protect the coral reefs, biodiverse marine life and even involve manatee conservation. Now that’s what I call leaving something better than you found it. Here. Now. Wherever you are. I don’t know ‘bout you, but my heart will definitely go on after a trip to Blackadore Caye!
9) The Farm at San Benito – Lipa City
For a truly rejuvenating spa experience, head for the Philippines. More specifically, set your sights on The Farm at San Benito. The Farm at San Benito offers a wholly holistic approach to healing one’s body and spirit. Enjoy ease, simplicity, and of course, eco-friendly wellness. Dine on predominantly raw, vegan fare made from ingredients grown on the property’s garden. Or, practice yoga. A variety of wellness programs are available to achieve and sustain optimal physical health, emotional well-being and spiritual growth. Oh, and you’ll be surrounded by lush, tranquil land.
10) Boracay Resort & Spa
Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort & Spa is set on a lush hillside set in an eco-reserve. Enjoy sleeping in a treehouse villa, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing or a day of relaxation at the CHI spa. Stunning beaches and ocean views. Its, as they call it, a sanctuary within a sanctuary.
11) Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte
Paradise sculpted by nature. Sounds good to me. The Tivoli Ecoresort Praia do Forte is an ecologically responsible a place that blends with its natural white sands and warm water. Conservation is key to assure the natural surroundings are not harmed and the resort honors the biodiversity of the surrounding beauty of Brazil.
12) Dusit Thani Maldives – Mudhdhoo Island, Baa Atoll
A visit to the Maldives shouldn’t be limited to Brad and Angelina’s brood. Visit this all-villa Thai retreat that sits next to a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, a feeding ground for manta rays and whale sharks. The Thai inspired rooms at Dusit Thani Maldives are encircled by white sandy beaches, a stunning 360 degree living house reef and a turquoise lagoon. Yes, please.
13) Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – Tofino, British Columbia
Remote. Refined. Rustic. Sounds like a great combo to me. Inspired by late 19th-century camps, the all-inclusive Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in B.C., Canada combines an eco-chic experience with luxurious comfort.
Imagine 20 white canvas massage, treatment, dining, lounge, and guest tents in the dense bush of one of the world’s few remaining temperate rainforests. Get ready to channel your inner Grizzly Adams and indulge horseback riding, kayaking, whale watching, hiking, and fishing.
Uniquely and appropriately described as a delicious blend of childhood wishes and grown up dreams.
14) Gayana Eco Resort – Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Ecology meets luxury at Gayana Eco Resort. On the edge of a tropical jungle paradise and peering above the agean waters of a rare coral reef , your inner flower child will delight at the overall eco-focus of the resort. A tropical jungle, vibrant coral reefs and effervescent waters of the South China Sea create a a true paradise. The thatched huts are filled with modern conveniences, including air conditioning, WiFi and luxury bathroom amenities. There’s even an on-site Marine Ecology Research Center restoring the nearby coral reef.
15) The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Phuket
Located on Phuket’s Naka Yai Island, this wellness resort preaches holistic wellness in its food, activities, and landscaping. Cleanse your body and soul at The Naka Island, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa. Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, and Indian, therapies range from body rubs and holistic fitness to stress-reducing practices and disease prevention. Eco features such as green housekeeping, composting, water conservation, recycling, integrated pest management practices, low-VOC materials (paints, flooring and furniture) make giving it a double green thumbs up easy.
16) Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
Sleep in a romantic treehouse at the all-inclusive Lake Manyara Tree Lodge located in the Lake Manyara National Park. Enjoy the diversity of the Great Rift Valley and the plethora of habitats and wildlife surrounding rich, mahogany forests. Each of the 10 stilted suites boasts a private game viewing deck, dream-inducing beds, and an overhead fan for a true jungle vibe. Enjoy a safari or soak in the natural hot springs during your stay. You may even see a lion climbing a tree (really!).
How about unwinding with the Ayung River behind you, surrounded by Verdant rice paddies, meandering pathways, and gently rolling hills? Nearby, you’ll discover hidden temples and an active volcano. Find your Zen while you rejuvenate and unwind at the luxurious Ritz-Carlton Reserve Mandapa resort in Bali with your own private butler on hand to meet your every whim.
18) Daintree EcoLodge & Spa – Queensland
Since my husband stayed here, I can personally share the relaxation he experienced while slumbering in an ancient rainforest canopy with the echo of birds in the background at Daintree EcoLodge and Spa. For every guest that stays, they plant a tree with Rainforest Rescue. Key measures to reduce energy use, greenhouse and carbon emissions include a long list which you can view here. They offer natural spa treatments, fresh seasonal cuisine, and tranquil exploration. View brochure here.
Would you consider staying at one of these destinations? Have you already? What was your experience? Leave a comment below.
Feature image credit: Lake Manyara Tree Lodge