How To Have An Ecolodge Vacation

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Ecotourism is a booming industry that becomes more popular every year because people worldwide are increasingly becoming more conscious of how their decisions affect the health of the world around them. As a result, living sustainably is something that many strive to achieve. For example, environmentally-conscious travellers who want to travel in a way that lessens their impact on the environment will often choose to stay in an ecolodge.

These ecolodges provide ecotourists with a unique way to sustainably experience the natural, scenic areas in the places they visit. An ecolodge is an accommodation often in or adjacent to a protected, natural area. Developers who construct ecolodges must protect the environment around the construction site to prevent damage to the ecosystem.

Ecolodges must have sufficient infrastructure to accommodate guests while having as little impact on the surrounding area as possible. Visitors to ecolodges often experience cosy lodging, enjoy locally-grown foods, and interact meaningfully with the local residents, both human and animal.

Ecolodges

Everything You Need To Know About Staying In An Ecolodge

What Is The Difference Between Vacationing At An Ecolodge Or A Hotel?

ecolodge hotel
Relaxing in a chair on the beach is an activity to enjoy at an ecolodge.

Ecolodges are managed in a way that allows them to benefit not only the environment around them but also the residents in the area.

Ecolodges often employ these local residents, providing them with essential income that allows them to continue their way of life without detracting from that life.

These places usually host only a few people or families at a time because larger numbers of people tend to have a bigger negative impact on the environment.

Hotels employ local residents but also outsiders as well.

Generally, hotels do not benefit the local communities as much as they benefit the corporations that built them.

Not all hotels ignore the environment in which they are built, but they are not often constructed with respect for the natural resources and communities around them.

Many resorts and hotels can hold hundreds of guests at once, which sometimes harms the surrounding environment.

Ecotourists want to reduce the negative impact of their travel by staying in an ecolodge, where they can offset their carbon footprint and help support local indigenous communities.

Not only do guests of eco-lodges help the environment and region, but they also get a more personalised, quiet and relaxing vacation without too many other people around.

How Do Ecolodges Become Certified?

ecolodgeECO written on wooden blocks, environmental,Creative concept, Connecting with nature and social good in a dark background.
Connect with nature and help the local community at an eco-lodge.

Many certifications are available worldwide that can certify ecolodges or hotels as sustainable.

Some certifications require rigorous evaluation to determine how eco-friendly and sustainable a hotel or lodge is, while others only require a quick survey to make that determination.

Some of the more rigorous and globally recognised certifications that require third-party auditing of properties include LEED, Green Globe, Green Key Global, Green Tourism Active Global, Audubon Green Lodging Program, Green Seal, EarthCheck and Travelife.

Hotels that wish to receive certification from the more impressive certification companies often have to pay an auditor to evaluate their facilities.

The auditors who conduct the evaluations look for sustainable management practices, the socioeconomic impacts of the hotel on the local community, the cultural impacts on the region, and the environmental impacts of the hotel.

How Do Hotels Become “Green” To Achieve Certification?

ecolodge thailand
Eco farm homestay in central Thailand, surrounded by paddy fields.

Hotels must maximise their energy efficiency to draw less power from the grid or use renewable energy sources to generate power.

Sustainable practices to manage water use, such as catching rainwater, and wastewater, such as composting toilets, are other important factors.

Auditors evaluate how local communities are affected by the hotel.

Benefiting the economy of local communities, supporting them, providing jobs, and giving back to them can help hotels earn their certification.

Hotels have to reduce their potential negative impacts on the environment and should be planning on how to continue to protect the natural resources of the area over time.

Hotels also need to evaluate how sustainable their supply chain is.

Auditors check to see if hotels have to have everything imported or if most items are produced or sourced locally.

The certification process can be quite expensive for the hotel but the rewards translate into a boost for the hotel because of an increase in ecotourism.

More and more travellers want to offset their desire for adventure by staying in a hotel that works to protect the environment.

How Do I Find A Certified Eco-lodge?

ecolodge hotel near me
When choosing your next vacation, why stay in an ecolodge?

With the various certifications available, hotels can advertise their certification in various ways to get attention from potential visitors.

Journalists often use Google to search for hotels with specific types of certification when writing about ecotourism.

Hotels that have earned those certifications can make it onto popular listicles of ecolodges in specific countries or regions. But travellers should remember that running ecolodges can cost more than non-certified hotels.

The certification process can be expensive, which often translates into a higher price per night.

The amenities at ecolodges, however, are often incredible.

Locally-sourced foods and a quiet, relaxing environment provide guests with a vacation, unlike those in larger chain hotels.

Sometimes, ecolodges can be hard to find in certain regions.

Not all lodges in every region use the global certification process for their hotel, particularly smaller hotels.

Some ecolodges may only seek a regional or national eco-certification offered in their part of the world.

Top 15 Ecolodges In The World

Ecolodges are found worldwide, ranging from rustic cabins to luxury resorts and can be found in all habitats, from under the ocean to the tops of mountains. The best eco-lodges practice sustainability and preserve the natural world around them. They also invest in their local communities. Not all ecolodges in the following list have a global certification, but they often source local foods, work within their local communities, and work to protect the environment.

Ecolodges In The Americas

1- Genesis Eco-Oasis, Yucatan, Mexico

ecolodge yucatan
Ek Balam in the Yucatan is a recently discovered Maya city lost in the jungle archaeological sites, which you can visit while staying at Genesis ecolodge.

The Genesis Eco-Oasis is on the Yucatan Peninsula near many archaeologically and environmentally important sites, including the Ek Balam archaeological site and several cenotes.

Visitors din on locally-grown foods in regional dishes.

They can interact with local Mayan residents who teach visitors how to make Mayan hot chocolate and introduce them to their culture.

Genesis Eco-Oasis is at Ek Balam Village, Yucatan, Mexico.

2- Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Ontario, Canada

ecolodge ontario lake
Enjoying pristine views is one of the benefits of staying at Algonquin Eco-Lodge.

Algonquin Eco-Lodge is an award-winning place where people who want to get into nature without harming it can do so in a luxurious way.

Visitors travel on foot 2.3 km (1.4 miles) to reach the lodge from the road.

They are completely off-grid but offer modern amenities, so visitors can explore nature year-round without disturbing it.

Algonquin Eco-Lodge is at 3594 Elephant Lake Road, Moffat Pond, Algonquin Park, Ontario, Canada.

3- Huasquila Amazon Lodge, Cotundo, Ecuador

ecolodge ecuador
An ecolodge in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Huasquila Amazon Lodge in Contundo, Ecuador, is in the upper Amazon River watershed and has several cabins of various sizes.

A dining area serves traditional Ecuadorian foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

They create meals containing local ingredients that can accommodate various dietary requirements.

Lodge guests meet and interact with the local Kichwa tribe and participate in one of their traditions.

Visitors take guided tours through the Amazon, see wildlife, and experience the wonders of the upper Amazon.

Huasquila Amazon Lodge is at 3, 5 km vía Huasquila, Cotundo 170150, Ecuador.

4- Colca Lodge, Arequipa, Peru

what is an ecolodge
Colca Canyon view from hiking path in Chivay, near Arequipa, Peru.

The Colca Lodge in Arequipa, Peru, built their guest lodging out of sustainable materials from the area.

They use geothermal energy from local hot springs to help heat the water in the rooms and solar energy to power everything else.

The lodge treats its wastewater and uses it to irrigate its gardens.

It’s on the banks of the Colca River and near an important Inca archaeological site.

Visitors to the lodge can enjoy the hot springs and the local foods and explore the area.

The Incan ruins of Uyo Uyo, the nearby active volcano Sabancaya, and the incredible scenic hikes into the mountains attract visitors to Colca Lodge from all over the world.

5- Cambara Eco Hotel, Brazil

Cambara Eco Hotel in the Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil is in the midst of many natural areas allowing visitors to spend several days exploring and adventuring around the region.

This hotel is dedicated to respecting and preserving the environment around the hotel.

They support the local region’s economy and work to improve its social development.

Cambara uses solar power, rainwater catchment, wastewater treatment, composting, and many other sustainable practices to ensure the area’s health.

Their food is either grown on their farm or produced in the region.

Ecolodges In Asia-Pacific (APAC)

6- Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort

Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort is an ecolodge in Savusavu, Fiji, on a beautiful coast where visitors can snorkel and dive in the marine reserve.

The resort strives to take as little from the environment as possible while protecting and respecting the wildlife and native communities around them.

They help restore the marine ecosystem and support a local community foundation.

7- Six Degrees Off-Grid, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Six Degrees Off-Grid is an ecolodge in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, where visitors can snorkel, swim on the beach, hike and fish.

This ecolodge runs entirely on solar power and they use permaculture techniques to grow their food sustainably, producing a wide variety of agricultural products.

The lodge composts everything and harvests its rainwater.

All buildings are constructed of sustainable materials sourced locally and all employees come from the local community.

8- Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam

Six Senses Con Dao in Vietnam works hard to reduce its footprint and minimise its negative impact on the environment.

They grow much of their own produce, create compost, treat their wastewater, and use that water for irrigation.

This ecolodge produces its own water and bottles it in reusable glass bottles.

They reuse as much of their waste as possible in creative ways, such as repaving walkways using the glass from wine bottles.

They help their community by promoting education, and they protect their local wildlife by giving sea turtles a safe beach on which to lay eggs.

Visitors come to Six Senses Con Dao to experience the rich biodiversity and scenic landscape.

People can swim, snorkel, dive, trek, fish, golf, and more at this beautiful resort.

National Geographic recognised this ecolodge as one of the best.

9- Daintree Ecolodge, Australia

ecolodge australia
The famous Jindalba Boardwalk thru ancient rainforest in the Daintree region of Queensland, Australia.

Daintree Ecolodge in Queensland, Australia, is in a lush rainforest.

Visitors to the Daintree enjoy exploring the rainforest and seeing Daintree rainforest animals, going on a walkabout, snorkelling or diving the Great Barrier Reef, and boating on the river.

Visitors can also participate in a Dreamtime Walk guided by a local Kuku Yalanji member, an indigenous tribe local to the region.

This ecolodge recycles all the water they use, power some of their electricity with solar panels, and produce organically-grown foods.

They have eliminated single-use plastics and offer guests recyclable items that can be washed and reused.

This lodge respects and supports the local indigenous communities and also support many environmental initiatives to protect wildlife and combat climate change.

Ecolodges In Africa

10- Linyanti Expeditions, Botswana

Linyanti Expeditions is a mobile ecolodge or bush camp where visitors stay in tents.

The camp uses solar energy, and guests use chemical toilets and bucket showers.

Local guides are employed by the camp and lead expeditions into the bush for walking safaris, game drives, night drives, and boating in a dugout canoe.

Visitors on a safari often see lions, cheetahs, elephants, wild dogs, zebra, buffalo and leopards.

Local foods are prepared in the dining area, and everyone eats together.

Linyanti Expeditions helps support the African Bush Camps Foundation, which helps communities near the bush camp.

11- Travessia Beach Lodge, Mozambique

Travessia Beach Lodge is a beautiful ecolodge on the coast of Mozambique, where visitors can snorkel, dive, swim and kayak off the shore.

This coast is famous for its coral reefs, whale sharks and mantas.

People can explore inland in the bush and visit the village or travel further away to see larger markets.

This lodge runs on solar power and takes great pride in working within the local community to employ people.

They support the community by donating school materials and maintaining the well that supplies water to everyone.

Travessia Beach Lodge provides a quiet, off-grid place to relax.

12- Bwindi Lodge, Uganda

ecolodge bwindi kenya
Seeing gorillas is one of the main reasons to stay in an ecolodge in Uganda.

Bwindi Lodge in Uganda offers a place to sleep and recharge when visiting the gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest or the chimpanzees of Kyambura.

Visitors are attracted to this region to see wildlife found nowhere else outside of zoos.

The Bwindi Lodge is part of Volcanoes Safaris and supports the local communities by helping young people gain skills necessary for employment and growing teas.

In addition, they work to protect the great apes of the region through various conservation programs.

The lodge runs on solar power and catches rainwater for use, providing a unique ecolodge experience.

Ecolodges In Europe

13- Tinos Ecolodge, Tinos, Greece

Tinos Ecolodge is on the Island of Tinos in Greece.

This small, sustainable, off-grid destination offers a place for visitors to leave only a small carbon footprint on their vacation.

The buildings are constructed with local materials, rainwater is collected, and wastewater is used for irrigation.

They locally grow most of what they consume. Visitors to the island can relax in the garden, practice yoga, go bird watching in the Important Bird Area and explore the area on ancient footpaths.

Tinos Ecolodge is at Potamia, Akeratos, Island of Tinos, Greece.

14- Maslina Resort, Croatia

ecolodge adriatic sea
Staying at an ecolodge is a great way to enjoy the beautiful shore of the Adriatic Sea.

The Maslina Resort on the island of Hvar in Croatia uses natural, local materials to build their low buildings for lodging.

One of the lodge’s aims is to protect native trees and they have replanted more on the island.

Visitors are attracted to enjoy the ultimate beach vacation with plenty of swimming, snorkelling and water sports.

It’s a short walk to visit a UNESCO site that is one of the oldest towns in the region, Stari Grad.

This lodge strives to blend luxury with sustainability by using smart technology to save energy, generate hot water, and treat wastewater before releasing it into the environment.

No one uses single-use plastics in the lodge.

Foods are produced locally or regionally, seasonally, and this ecolodge supports its local community and infrastructure by working to protect the rich, unique history of the island.

15- Biohotel Sturm, Germany

The Biohotel Sturm in Bavaria, Germany, was the first certified organic hotel in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve and is 100% certified in the Slow Food Movement.

Visitors come to Biohotel Sturm to experience this climate-neutral hotel and the green landscape in which it lies.

Hike through the Biosphere Reserve, explore ancient castle ruins, wander through medieval villages, and see scenic moors and basalt mountains.

Swim in the natural swimming pool, devoid of chemicals and enjoy the locally-sourced organic foods served.

The world-class chefs prepare beautiful meals from a variety of regional foods. The Biohotel Sturm uses various technologies and projects in Africa to create a climate-neutral business.

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AngieGrierphoto
Angie Grier is a spicy señora living in central Mexico with a penchant for freelance writing. Having spent most of her adult life writing as a scientist and then as a teacher, she now contributes articles on a wide variety of topics for print and online media. Originally from the US, she has lived in several different states on the US West and East coasts, the Gulf Coast, and the Upper Midwest. These days, when she’s not camping in the woods in a US national park or shopping in Tonalá or eating chilaquiles, she writes a travel blog detailing her life and adventures in Mexico at www.onaroadleadingsomewhere.com.