Celebrate Earth Day with these Eco-Friendly Travel Experiences

Celebrate Earth Day with these Eco-Friendly Travel Experiences

Conscientious travel is trending and with Earth Day on April 22nd, there’s no better time to pencil in that sustainable trip you’ve been wanting to explore. From eco-glamping in the Andes of Peru and coastal preservation in South Carolina’s low country, to vegan living in Mexico and marine life conservation in Florida, here you’ll find a round-up of environmentally conscious hotels, destinations, and experiences perfect for the eco-conscious traveler.

  • Las Qolqas Serves as the Ultimate Model for Sustainable Tourism in Peru: Situated in the ancient Andean town of Ollantaytambo, halfway between Cusco and Machu Picchu, Las Qolqas is a sustainable haven for exploration and self-discovery. Its founder, Herman van den Wall Bake, in partnership with sustainable tourism expert, Carlos Gonzales, have intentionally created this peaceful place as a testament to its commitment to the preservation of the environment, local community, and culture, as well as harnessing travel as a way to promote sustainable development. Las Qolqas is a one-of-a-kind sustainable resort in Peru that celebrates immersive, restorative and purpose-driven travel experiences with connectivity to the local culture. They aim to have a positive (or at worst neutral) impact with everything they do and hope to be a catalyst for positive change in the community. Here are just two ways that Las Qolqas has implemented its commitment to sustainability while remaining a luxury resort:
    • Showcasing the Earth’s natural beauty without skimping on style: To help the local community retain the charm and heritage without caving in to the temptations of development, the Las Qolqas team had the vision to develop this tiny, sustainable hotel dotted with luxurious safari-style tents. Every element on offer has been hand-selected and locally sourced– from bedsheets to shampoos – and each purpose-built structure and piece of furniture are of the highest quality, which gives the property an air of understated elegance. This attention to detail enhances the natural beauty of the surroundings through simple design and open flow. From the wooden furniture to the cushions adorned with patterns identical to the local women’s skirts, every detail is handcrafted and intentionally created to be sustainable for Las Qolqas.
    • All cuisine and products are “zero km”: Inside the gorgeous (and functional!) greenhouse restaurant Pututu, guests can enjoy an immersive look at the draw-dropping scenery that surrounds them as they choose from the chef’s “daily special” menu of two dishes that represent a modern and elevated take on traditional Peruvian food. Each handpicked ingredient is organic, seasonal, and locally cultivated by the community or in the property’s orchard. As for the products on-site, the property has a compost system that promotes specific biodiversity needs in the area, utilizes irrigation and solar systems to help reduce water and energy waste, has eliminated single-use plastics, and has a guest capacity of 50 people to control their sustainability efforts.
  • Discover the Natural Beauty and History of Jamaica at The Tryall Club: The Tryall estate, featuring over 1,000 acres of forests, ridgelines, buffs, cliffs and streams, is an undisturbed natural paradise indicative of the incomparable fauna of the island. Join the resort’s resident Environment and Conservation Manage, Shaku Ramcharan, for a bird watching adventure or escorted hike to encounter flowering plants, lizards, butterflies, and more, or take a Heritage Tour where you’ll explore the history of the property and its notable structures that date from the time when Tryall was a working plantation.
  • Extravagant & Luxurious Eco-Villas to Rent Through onefinestay: From saltwater pools to eco-friendly building materials, onefinestay offers a selection of villas that prove to stay sustainable doesn’t mean sacrificing style or luxury. Every stay comes with24/7 concierge service which includes personalized additional services such as housekeeping, chauffeurs, private chefs, fitness instructors, babysitters, and private butlers. Below are just three of the breathtaking eco-villas available for rent:
    • Riviera Maya – Hacienda Chekul: Hacienda Chekul is an extraordinary beachfront villa inside the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Kaan. The rooftop presents a lovely terrace with its own lush green garden and sparkling infinity swimming pool. This eco-paradise is completely self-sufficient through the use of solar and wind power systems.
    • St. John – Eco Serendib: An outstanding hideaway carefully crafted to work in harmony with the surrounding environment. The gorgeous villa features an endless list of eco-innovations, including an organic ‘seed to plate’ garden, reusing old roof tiles for the outside terraces, a natural saltwater pool, and sustainable textiles in the bedrooms.
    • Santorini – Villa Zoia: Made up of two historic kilns, which were carefully restored using eco-friendly materials and with respect to traditional Cycladic architecture, Villa Zoia is a delight for both history lovers and eco-warriors alike. The largest kiln is now enjoying a second life as a bright and airy kitchen, whilst the smaller kiln is a beautiful ensuite bathroom.
  • Connecting with Nature at Mexico’s Eco & Vegan-Friendly Resort: Palmaïa - The House of AïA:Palmaïa - The House of AïA, a progressive wellness resort in Playa del Carmen, is committed to sustainability, eco-friendliness, and immersing oneself with Nature. Guided by the philosophy that personal growth is the path to connecting with Nature, Palmaïa was conceptualized without disturbing the original landscape of nature. The resort encourages plant-based dining, both for health and environmental reasons, offers 100% plant-based menus across all dining venues, only offers vegan bath amenities and lastly, all of its suites are vegan (with no feathers, leathers, or other animal products in them). Additionally, guests will not find single-use plastic on the property and receive a refillable tumbler at check-in to use during their stay.

This year, the sustainable resort announced DEPTH, experiences for guests that directly benefit the surrounding Mayan community and organic agriculture projects that Palmaïa helped fund to boost the local economy and protect their ecosystems.  DEPTH includes visiting a beekeeper, organic farmer, and a jam producer. The journey culminates with a Jungle to Table plant-based Mayan meal in community leader, Don Manuel’s traditional home with seasonal produce prepared by his wife, Doña Guadalupe in their traditional home. Palmaïa actively participates in a ‘gifting culture’ and all guests enjoy complimentary access to 24-hour room service, holistic Architects of Life programming led by Palmaia’s healers and visiting guides, unrestricted access to food and beverages, pool and beachside service, bike share, nightly turndowns, and a personal butler – or Nomadic Guide – to attend to guests’ needs during their stay.

  • The Land Comes First atMontage Palmetto Bluff: Nestled in a lush 20,000-acre coastal nature preserve in South Carolina’s Lowcountry,Montage Palmetto Bluff understands the importance of protecting the planet and enhancing the natural beauty of the historic land that surrounds the resort. Together with the owners of the greater Palmetto Bluff community, Montage Palmetto Bluff has made thoughtful choices in order to create a cohesive community and act as respectful stewards honoring the land’s beauty, integrity and history. At Palmetto Bluff, the land comes first. Stewardship to the land and protecting the natural resources of the 20,000 acres is paramount and as such, in 2003, the non-profit, Palmetto Bluff Conservancy was established with a mission of protecting the lush maritime forests and winding tidal creeks that define the spectacular geography of the land. The resort works in tandem with the Conservancy on a number of research initiatives at the Bluff and resort guests are invited to participate in research, tour with the Conservancy or attend monthly lectures, as well as partake in activities such as nature walks with the resort’s new resident naturalist, Brian Byrne.
  • Protecting the Shores & Promoting Conservation inDestin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida: Boasting 24 miles of sparkling, crystal-clear waters,sugar-white quartz beaches, and vast wildlife on land and in the sea, Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida is undoubtedly an ecological paradise. From its growing artificial reef program and lionfish mitigation efforts to thenew NuShore Project to support beach resiliency and theGulfarium C.A.R.E. Center to spread awareness about sea turtle conservation, the destination features a plethora of sustainable travel experiences and educational activities for travelers of all ages. Highlighted below are just a few of the destination’s latest ecotourism efforts, including a new 5-year plan to make the area the dive capital of Florida, and expansion plans for its current artificial reef program to better the oceanic ecosystem for wildlife and visitors, and much more.
    • Artificial Reef Expansion & Positioning Destin-Fort Walton Beach as the premiere diving destination in the US: Along with creating an essential habitat for marine species of fish and invertebrates, Destin-Fort Walton Beach’s artificial reefs provide fishing and SCUBA diving opportunities for visitors and residents alike as well as novel scientific research opportunities. So far, the destination has created over 300 artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico, consisting of concrete piles to specifically designed modules and large shipwrecks, which are viewable to travelers viaan interactive map. Last month, Destin-Fort Walton Beach announced a 5-year plan to make the destination one of Florida’s best diving destinations, including adding new large vessels to the reef area, installing the only active inshore reef program in the state in Choctawhatchee Bay, creating beachside, shore-accessible, “snorkel reefs,” and more.
    • Sea Turtle Conservation & Beach Rejuvenation Efforts: Along with a variety of fish, birds, plant life, and more, Destin-Fort Walton Beach is home to the remarkable sea turtle. In the area, sea turtle season occurs between April and November. Due to human exploitation and habitat destruction, the species are threatened with extinction. Travelers can learn how to protect the endangered species and why they are vital to the destination’s ecosystem atGulfarium C.A.R.E. Center in the Gulfarium Adventure Marine Park. The destination has partnered with the center to hostweekly events inclusive of a tour of the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center, an inside look at their current sea turtle patients, and a mock in-take of an injured sea turtle. Visitors will also learn about different species of sea turtles nesting on local beaches and what they can do to help keep the population safe.
    • Ecotourism & Sustainable Travel Experiences: Within its coastal waterfronts, inland forests, and cultural centers, the destination features a lineup of ecotourism experiences that allow for an up-close view of the diverse local environment and animal inhabitants, such as the sea turtle, bottlenose dolphin, and a variety of fish. Travelers can explore various trails and parks, such as Henderson State Park, and enjoy the ecological beauty of the area together through water-based activities such as snorkeling, surfing, and sailing or booking an experience viaLittle Adventures, new, bite-sized challenges that encourage guests to get outside, try something new, and get out of their comfort zones. These adventures include dolphin excursions, kayaking, camping, and more, which are viewablehere.
  • Celebrating sustainability at The Dolder Grand: Located between the pulsating city of Zurich and the invigorating, natural beauty of Switzerland’s unspoiled countryside, The Dolder Grand is a luxurious city resort deeply ingrained in nature, recreation, and city life. It values sustainability in various aspects of the resort including how it avoids food waste, utilizes its on-property garden, and maintains an underground heating system, allowing it to be energy efficient all-year round.
    • With their Cause We Care Initiative, guests can promote climate protection both locally and globally by making a voluntary contribution to high-quality international climate protection projects. This makes their booking climate neutral, and in return, The Dolder Grand doubles the contribution to invest in local sustainability measures.
    • The Dolder Grand is a proud recipient of the EarthCheck Silver Certification, a global benchmark and certification program for sustainable travel and tourism. The certification aims to provide companies with a framework for environmental and social sustainability, and the standard is recognized by the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) initiative. It also complies with the Mohonk Agreement, which describes the guidelines and principles for an international sustainable tourism certification program.
  • The Tryall Club, located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, offers unique sustainability efforts on the 2,200 acres of property that are set for generations to come. They maintain a sustainable environment by protecting the indigenous and rare plants. There are 33 species of non-fruiting trees and 12 species of fruit trees on the property. Those forests house over 60 species of birds that are native to Jamaica and the Caribbean. The Tryall Club has taken extra steps to become Green Globe Gold certified to endorse their efforts and practices in being a sustainable luxury resort.