An ecolodge sits at the junction between tourism and environmentalism. As global environmental concerns become more widespread around the world and impactful, the eco-tourism industry is inevitably growing and gaining more traction. Environmentalists have been rallying for the tourism and hotel industry to play their part in the climate change movement for a long time.
From the tropical rainforests of Thailand to the Gobi Desert, to the peace and quiet of two seasons Coron island resort in the Philippines, to the rice fields of north Vietnam and the wilderness of Western Australia the world’s ecolodge options are endless and like no other accommodation experience on earth.
2. Guide for Eco Lodge Guests
Why Stay in an Ecolodge?
Staying at an ecolodge or eco hotel provides a multitude of benefits beyond traditional accommodation choices, as it allows you to have an enhanced socio-cultural and environmental experience whilst enjoying the country you are visiting.
Ecolodges allow you to interact more with the locals, experience local life, learn about local flora and surrounding fauna, and even see how you can transition to a more sustainable life when your vacation ends.
Not to mention, if you are into the natural aesthetic of sustainably sourced local materials, then you will love both the interior and exterior designs of many ecolodges around the world.
It also allows you to visit more remote places that might otherwise be inaccessible by staying in a hotel. Head deep into the Borneo jungle or the green rice fields of Topas eco lodge in Vietnam and chances are you’ll feel a level of environmental responsibility to stay in an eco friendly hotel that will not have a negative impact on your stunning natural surroundings.
Is an Ecolodge for You?
When guests weigh up all their travel options there’s one question that may arise: “Is an ecolodge for me?”. Should I maybe choose a hotel instead?
If you are passionate about environmentalism, eco friendly accommodation and sustainable tourism, then it’s a no brainer. However, you may be new to this area of eco friendly tourism and need some guidance. Perhaps when you think of eco friendly you are even conjuring up images of mosquito net covered beds, bucket showers and a hippy vegan breakfast. Whilst some offer these features, many ecolodges are a lot more luxurious than you may imagine. The reason they are still able to provide this level of comfort is because they are undertaking environmental steps to ensure there’s little to no carbon footprint.
Will my eco lodge have air conditioning?
This is a question we get a lot. Short answer is no, but the rooms, villas and cabins have ceiling fans and louvered doors that make the cool breeze drift through the entire room making for a very pleasant stay in your eco friendly room.
If you are searching for an escape in nature, an immersive experience and want to learn about the natural environment in an untouched way and connect with your hosts, then staying in a eco lodge is the suitable option.
How to Choose an Ecolodge That Is Suitable for You
If you are new to the eco lodge scene, then choosing the right accommodation can be a little daunting. In some remote locations around the world there are many ecolodges and eco friendly accommodations and in other more remote destinations only a single choice of accommodation.
The ecotourism industry comes with its challenges. Many guests are worried about the legitimacy of many ecolodges and eco friendly hotels. Is the accommodation committed to green and environmental services? Are they falsely marketing themselves as “green”? Here are some things to consider when choosing an eco lodge vs a hotel.
Firstly, it’s important to do your research. If you know the place you want to visit, then it’s easier to narrow down your options. Reading reviews is always the best way to see what sustainable practices the eco lodge actually undertakes. The natural areas that these ecolodges are in are often remote and not easily accessible. This is a good sign that the eco lodge is legit and going to provide you with that back-to-nature experience.
To help you choose a reputable lodge you can check out theGlobal Sustainable Tourism Council,Green Globe, andGreen Key.These are some of the numerous reputable certification programs that demonstrate the gold standard in eco lodge facilities and charitable and environmental projects. You should also research who owns and operates the eco lodge and what sustainable actions they implement. For more resources click here: Global Sustainable Tourism Council
How to Get the Most Out of Your Ecolodge Experience
It is important for guests to fully embrace the experience when booking and staying in an ecolodge or eco hotel. You aren’t just sleeping in the ecolodge, you are living a different way of life. It might just be for a few days or a week, but you must adopt environmentally sustainable and eco friendly attitudes in order to learn from the opportunity.
Often ecolodge accommodation isn’t the most glamorous, or rather different elements are prioritized. Rather than focusing on what the room looks like or the amenities on offer, choose to prioritize the environmental learning process.
Ask members of staff questions, explore the surrounding environment, speak to local people and get involved with the local communities. Once you apply the right environmental mindset you can return home with the knowledge of how to live a more sustainable life.
Are you interested in owning your own ecolodge? We have created a detailed ecolodge owner’s guide that can help you get started.
3. What are the Top 9 Ecolodges Around the World?
Below you can find a list of the best eco lodges and top lodges in the world. This is by no means an extensive list of the best ecolodges worldwide, but here are seven stunning and world-renowned lodges you can stay in.
1. Daintree Wilderness Lodge, Australia
One of the most talked about ecolodges isDaintree Wilderness Lodge. Located in the heart of the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland, Australia, this eco lodge embodies the ethos of sustainable luxury.
The eco lodge comprises 15 eco-friendly wooden treehouses. There’s also a bar, on site restaurant, private plunge swimming pool, pool side bar, spa, and a decking area looking out over a lagoon. So, how are all these amenities and effortless luxury considered to be environmentally friendly?
Well, Daintree eco lodge uses solar energy and reuses or recycles a lot of their waste. They also try to restrict food and water waste from the restaurant and pool wherever possible. Financially, the lodge donates $50 per guest to the Morris Family Foundation Reef Keepers Fund which helps protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef.
2. EcoCamp, Patagonia, Chile
Patagonia is an incredible South American destination, but a stay at EcoCamp will be the icing on the cake (or snow on top of the mountain). This chilean owned eco lodge is the world’s first geodesic dome eco hotel and one of latin america’s top resorts. These amazing green domes are perched in front of the stunning backdrop that is the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
Their environmental features include low-emission wood-burning stoves, heat water, local materials, locally sourced food in the restaurant, composting toilets, recycling bins and they run off hydropower and solar energy. On a social level they also commit to 90% of their staff being from the local region and they receive above Chilean minimum wage, no matter their job.
3. Lapa Rios lodge, Costa Rica
Costa Rica has been a popular tourist and retirement destination for a long time now. The Lapa Rios lodge is in the protected rainforest of the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica offering views of the pacific ocean in this near perfect location. The lodge’s 17 private bungalows look like they are hovering among the luscious thick forest trees and mountains. Guests can enjoy a nice meal at the restaurant or massage services at the spa with a panoramic view of the mountains.
The accommodation sits within a 1,000 acre nature reserve, Central America’s last tropical lowland rainforest. The founders of the eco lodge signed a conservation easement guaranteeing the permanent protection of this rainforest. There are strict guidelines about land use, prohibiting mining, forestry, hunting, and the building of mass tourism infrastructure. Scientific and educational activities and adventure local tours in the reserve are also encouraged. Because of the efforts of the owners, the local flora and surrounding fauna are flourishing, giving tourists an enriched experience and wildlife chance to prosper.
4. Campi ya Kanzi Ecolodge, Kenya
Africa is synonymous with nature. Campi ya Kanzi luxury safari camp is an award winning eco lodge in southern Kenya. Located in the Chyulu Hills this is a premium spot for wildlife viewing.
Campi ya Kanzi eco lodge pride themselves on their ability to offer guests luxury, fine dining in their on-site restaurant, a pool, pool side bar, dining rooms and romantic safaris, all whilst protecting local culture, community, helping local economy, local farmers and the environment. The ecolodge has a unique partnership with the NGO, Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust and several local artists to enhance cultural involvement in environmental issues.
5. Three Camel EcoLodge, Mongolia
The Three Camel EcoLodge is one of those places that will have you immediately booking tickets to Mongolia. It is heavily inspired by Mongolian nomadic culture and guests can enjoy an accommodation that is in the style of the traditional Mongolian gers (tents).
This is one of those real get-back-to-nature spots in this not so tiny country. There’s no phone signal and no Wi-Fi, just you, yourself, and the Gobi Desert. Delicious meals are offered at the on site restaurant. They are the first ecolodge in Mongolia to eliminate single-use plastic water bottles. Their ultimate aim is to become completely plastic free, so you can enjoy a stay in this accommodation with no negative impact to your surroundings.
6. Topas Ecolodge, Vietnam
Topas Ecolodge is simply stunning, there are no other words for it. Located in Hoang Lien National, with an on site restaurant and an infinity swimming pool to die for and ‘Sound of Music’ style mountains, breathtaking surroundings and rice fields backdrop, this Vietnam ecolodge is incredible. Topas eco lodge is located just outside Sapa in Northern Vietnam this is a destination that needs to be added to your Vietnam bucket list.
Foodies will go crazy for the Vietnamese delights served at Topas Ecolodge. All ingredients are sourced from Sapa valley local farmers, na phon commune lush tropical gardens, and rivers near Hoang Lien National Park. Topas ecolodge aims to achieve zero waste in the very near future.
7. Borneo Rainforest EcoLodge, Borneo
Borneo is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, so there’s no wonder that many like to venture right in the heart of the rainforest. Borneo Rainforest EcoLodge is another award winning ecolodge situated along the bank of the Danum River in Malaysian Borneo.
A communal ecolodge is at its center, with wooden cabins and rooms surrounding it. Guests staying in the ecolodge can enjoy fresh air, a private swimming pool, pool side bar and spa, restaurant, hot water, spectacular views and organic gardens. The lodge is proud of the sustainable management style that is implemented. They use photovoltaic solar panels and renewable energy to run the lodge, only allow chemical-free detergents and ensure that water is recycled in a safe manner.
The ecolodge offer several guided excursions and adventure local tours into the rainforest and surrounded mountains where visitors can spend time with local people and learn about the area’s conservation projects, local economy and the endangered orangutans.
8. Mai Chau ecolodge, Vietnam
Mai Chau ecolodge is an award winning eco hotel an example of a peaceful escape to nature in the near perfect location of Hoa Binh, Vietnam. Surrounded by rice fields and just three hours outside of Hanoi, Mai Chau ecolodge epitomizes that serene getaway that many are searching for.
Mai Chau Ecolodge Vietnam is beautifully located in the very heart of the Mai Chau valley with a panoramic view of the emerald mountains.
Guest at Mai Chau ecolodge can enjoy many amenities as the eco hotel operates a restaurant, organic gardens, a large lagoon shaped pool, pool side bar and spa facilities. You can enjoy the local life, help local economy and meet local communities through tours.
9. Secret Bay Ecolodge, Portsmouth, Dominica
Secret Bay Ecolodge, is tucked away on the very edge of Portsmouth, on the unspoiled nature of Dominica island in the Caribbean. Secret Bay is an award-winning boutique eco lodge consisting of six sustainable luxury villas that meet the requirements needed to achieve Green Globe sustainability certification.
Immersed in nature, the ecolodge is a perfect getaway for your private vacations, wedding or honeymoon. The ecolodge villas are styled with wood and feature expansive floor to ceiling windows. The restaurant offers fresh fruits and vegetables and fish that are sourced from the area.
10. Garonga Safari Camp, South Africa
Experience the unparalleled wild beauty of Southern African bush country when you stay at Garonga Safari Camp. This luxurious tented camp provides just six exclusive en-suite units, each with a canvas canopy and rustic walls which lead to a raised wooden deck overlooking a dry riverbed.
Sleep beneath the stars in your four-poster bed while listening to nature’s symphony around you, or spot visiting elephants on your outdoor lounge complete with hammock! For an even more immersive experience, enjoy refreshing showers both inside and outdoors — there’s nothing quite like showering under the African sky!
11. Rewa Lodge, Guyana
Situated in the core of Guyana, renowned across the globe for its astounding natural environment and captivating biodiversity, lies Rewa Village. Home to Rewa Lodge that stands at the junction of Rupununi and Rewa Rivers – a river system untouched by humans offering an extraordinary opportunity for exploration – this village is home to locals employed by local businesses like their very own eco-lodge: Rewa Eco-Lodge. This lodge not only provides jobs but allows those living here to add value to already amazing resources present around them!
12. Kura Design Villas, Costa Rica
Kura Design Villas Costa Rica beckons you to escape for an exclusive, adults-only holiday in the tropical paradise. The resort boasts a flourishing organic greenhouse with herbs and vegetables that are served up fresh from their on-site garden, supported by the Japanese Takakura composting system which produces microgreens, kale, peppers, basil spearmint and other produce. Furthermore they have employed teak wood throughout – from luxurious king beds to restaurant tables – as it is sustainable and grows quickly.
13. Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
Immerse yourself in Mashpi Lodge‘s luxurious comfort, set atop a scenic plateau with floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding forested mountains and their distinct ecosystems. This one-of-a kind architectural marvel in Ecuador was designed to blend luxury and engagement, providing an unforgettable experience for visitors who are looking to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. Moreover, it was built using cutting edge sustainable construction techniques so as to minimize environmental impact.
14. Jetwing Surf, Sri Lanka
Jetwing Surf has innovatively constructed a sustainable luxury hotel that celebrates and protects the beauty of its environment.
Utilizing eco-friendly materials such as cadjan, coir, iluk grass, and wood in their stunning open architectural design; this impressive construction reduces reliance on artificial lighting and ventilation systems. The natural flow of fresh ocean breeze through Jetwing Surf’s cabanas obviates the need for mechanical ventilation in all open-air bathrooms too!
15. Svart Hotel, Norway
Svart hotel, is the world’s first energy-positive off-grid destination and idyllic oasis of green and blue Svartisen mountains, invites travelers to take part in conserving this pristine polar region while relishing in its beauty.
From experienced climbers conquering steep paths or hiking through majestic hills; ice cave explorers; sailors traversing fjords; daredevils attempting deep-sea fishing adventures; or stargazers basking under the midnight sun – all skill levels are welcome to explore this magnificent landscape!
4. Final Thoughts
Whether you are looking to visit an ecolodge for a couple of days or are seriously considering setting up your own, the opportunities in this industry are endless. With global temperatures rising, ice sheets melting, and sea levels rising there is no escaping that climate change is real, and something needs to be done about it. With the travel industry causing around 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions there is a certain level of responsibility by operators, owners, and guests to do more.
Under the umbrella of ecotourism, ecolodges are an excellent way of not only ensuring that tourism doesn’t impact the natural environment but also that visitors learn how to lower their carbon footprint in their day-to-day lives. Ecolodges are found in some of the most beautifully diverse and breathtaking locations around the world. They are often found at the heart of places that are on the brink of environmental degradation. Ecolodges are an excellent alternative to mainstream tourism that will provide you with a rich, educational, and sustainable travel experience.
An ecolodge arguably sits at the junction between tourism and environmentalism. As global environmental concerns become more widespread around the natural world and impactful, the eco-tourism industry is inevitably growing and gaining more traction.
Typical characteristics of the eco lodge include energy-efficiency lighting and clean-up equipment. It is possible that these products even incorporate additional benefits like solar panels and insulation.
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