by Susanne Taylor~
Chances are you have completed or are working on this summer’s family vacation and are now thinking ahead of either the post-summer vacation without the kiddos, the fall vacation, or even the next family summer vacation. If so, you will definitely want to read further.
First, I want to confess that even though I am writing this blog article, I have not personally been to all of these destinations. But after doing the research, hearing from those that have, they are all on the proverbial bucket list!
Vacation is in itself one of the biggest breaks we get all year. If we can add to the experience by knowing that we are visiting a place that has been responsibly built, hopefully, uses alternative energy sources, minimizes our impact on the place we are visiting by maintaining natural habitats, and that promotes the use of local employees and businesses and embraces sustainability, why wouldn’t we?
So here are the most highly recommended eco-vacation spots on my list (aka major bucket list)!
Costa Rica – As this is a country that has committed to becoming the first carbon-neutral country by 2021, I must start here.
“Renowned among the best eco-luxury beach resorts in Costa Rica, Hotel Punta Islita is a unique and engaging destination that connects guests with the vibrant culture and legendary landscapes of its surroundings. Offering one of the best ocean views in Costa Rica, the resort’s infinity-edge pool merges with the ocean horizon. Perfect for couples or families, Hotel Punta Islita was designed for adventurers who wish to discover Costa Rica’s authentic experiences in a private, secluded off-the-beaten path destination. “
But I am not stopping here as a country with the commitment of Costa Rica deserves, at a minimum, two mentions and the two recommended are as different as night and day. One a surfer’s paradise and the other the luxury lover’s paradise.
Lucy Wang describes it best in her article on inhabitat.com which you can read below. It sounds perfect for all of us beach bums and surf is up! First on the list is Gilded Iguana Hotel.
“A beloved surfer hangout has been transformed into the stunning Gilded Iguana Hotel, a breezy and contemporary getaway that, despite its updated amenities, still exudes its original laid-back atmosphere. Located in the Costa Rican beach town of Nosara, the existing hotel was expanded and redesigned under the direction of Studio Saxe, a San Jose-based architecture firm renowned for its beautiful boutique hotel designs. Together with the owners, the architects sensitively restored and revitalized the originally run-down wooden house while imbuing it with bioclimatic design principles as well as other energy-saving systems including a solar photovoltaic panels and water recycling.” “Rugged eco-luxury” sums it up.
Gargnano, Lake Garda, Italy
It is not surprising that Italy knows how to do it right! This resort is on my list to visit while in Italy this September for the wedding of inPhorm Pro, Alla Kudryavtseva. I love the quote on their website “personal well being should never overlook environmental wellness.” The resort is renown for not only its sustainability but also for its nurturing of its visitors. My words cannot aptly describe it so do utilize the link and stay tuned following my September visit.
Taos, New Mexico, United States
This is in my own backyard and so definitely at the top of the list to visit. Before I joined inPhorm and ventured so heavily into the world of tennis, I had a presence in the spa industry and as a result, really trust my spa referral industry friends. New Mexico never disappoints. It is truly a spiritual paradise and one of the most beautiful and rich in heritage places you could ever hope to enjoy. But from everything I am told this eco-friendly hotel resort with so much to do in the area has a spa that will tempt you to forget all of the amazing things to see surrounding the area and indulge yourself completely on the property while there.
This award-winning Eco-lodge is literally one of its kind. It is the only hotel on a Massai-owned reserve. It covers 230,000 acres and it is a safari paradise. This is definitely the pick of the places for the adventurous. The inspirational story of the founder and his family is as enchanting as the countryside it protects. And by visiting here you are helping protect the Massai people and this important part of our world.
Now some important and useful tips before you plan for any vacation-
- Pack your bags – but do so lightly. It will not only help conserve fuel on your commute but will make it much easier on your back as well. Be honest. How many times do you come back from a trip and have not utilized half of what you brought with you?
- If you are at a five-star resort or not, you should still give the same consideration to the place you are staying as you would to your own home. Turn off the television and lights when you are leaving your room, enjoy your air conditioning and heater but only to the extent that is necessary for your comfort. If you don’t need it, don’t use it
- Though flying is often the only option, you can also consider alternative methods of transportation such as a train, bicycle, ferry, and, yes, even be walking while there. I find that because I’m living in a city that is not easy to go everywhere on foot that I often resort to doing the same when I’m traveling. But when I have the time to let this resonate and utilize other methods of transportation, it is almost as helpful to my mind as it is my body. A slow commute can be a very zen moment.
- Whenever possible, separate your trash. Dispose of everything you can by recycling.
- If you cannot find an eco-friendly resort consider staying in a bed and breakfast or rent an Air BNB. This is a great way to really experience the local culture. Again, because I have traveled for business for most of my adult life, my first instinct is to book a hotel. But almost without fail when I rent an Air BNB or stay in a bed and breakfast instead, it is a sheer delight and makes for a less typical experience.
- Travel globally but think locally by searching out establishments that support their local communities.
Alternative to all of the above: Eco-Glamping!
My husband enjoys camping. Me, not so much. We both love the great outdoors but one of us likes the comfort of us likes linens, a bed, and a shower at the end of the day. The perfect compromise could just well be glamping. Also, to me, for the adventurous, but doable and how fun for a family vacation! You will be surprised to know that for those who cannot totally unplug many glamping sites have wifi. Admittedly, this is not for the purist but again a good compromise when needed. And what better way to have the best of both worlds? And in most cases, super affordable.
The U.S. is full of glamping sites with our biggest markets in New York, California, Oregan, Texas, and Washington. If you don’t want to stay stateside, check out this site:
So pack your bags and get going. Travel is not only a time to relax and recharge, it is educational. And to me, one of the greatest lessons I have learned through my travels is that we are really all the same. We may be from different states, different countries, or different backgrounds but in the end, we are all the same and connected by the heart.