Kick Back and Conserve: Ecotourism
Book Your Next Sojourn Someplace Truly Green
To make up for how un-ecofriendly air travel is (according to the New York Times, air travel emissions account for 5 percent of global warming) book your next sojourn some place that's devoted to being green. Not into roughing it? Here are three deluxe eco-resorts that offer a comfortable stay with low environmental impact.
1. Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, San Jose, Costa Rica
Lush, tropical surroundings? Check. Luxury spa? Check. Breathtaking infinity swimming pool? Check. Don't let this upscale boutique hotel's four-star amenities fool you. This place has major eco cred. It's not only the highest ranking member of the Sustainable Tourism Certification program, but it's the only one to get a perfect score.
While some eco resorts stop at sustainable architecture and a few solar panels, Finca Rosa Blanca goes above and beyond: Little touches like an organic coffee plantation, vegetables grown in an onsite greenhouse and bamboo linen sheets are coupled with big gestures like an emphasis on geo-tourism and philanthropic programs to better the surrounding community.
2. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, California
Do romance and earth consciousness go hand-in-hand? At the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur they definitely do. Jaw-dropping cliff's edge views of the Pacific Ocean, an intimate dinner at the award-winning Sierra Mar restaurant and a massage at the Post Ranch Spa make this a prime destination for moonie-eyed couples. TripAdvisor even nominated it as one of the top 10 hotels for romance in 2013.
Luxe amenities aside, the Ranch has a deep commitment to environmental stewardship and a high regard for its natural surroundings. This is exemplified in the inn's use of sustainable materials, a biodegradable cleansing system and native landscaping.
3. Hacienda Chichen Resort, Yucatan, Mexico
Who doesn't love the idea of spending a long weekend pampered with hot stone massages and tropical facials? Hacienda Chichen Resort's Yaxkin Eco-Spa offers traditional Mayan treatments, just the tip of what this well-lauded vacation spot has to offer.
The hotel's focus is not only on preserving the local Mayan culture, but on having as little negative impact on its natural surroundings as possible. This translates into cottages with low construction density, traditional Mayan decor, a commitment to recycling and energy saving electrical devices. The Hacienda even has a Bird Refuge and a Maya Jungle Nature Preserve on its grounds.
Photo: Courtesy of Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn | Megan Mostyn-Brown is a freelance writer who has written for Elle.com, Girlshop.com, TypeF and Shopwiki.com. She is also an accomplished playwright.