Do some good and have a holiday at the same time — in this selection of a dozen off-grid resorts and vacation lodges. If the ones in this list don’t happen to suit your needs, check with the eco-experts: In 1993, a nonprofit called Green Globe (www.greenglobe.org) was launched by the World Travel & Tourism Council, and it’s becoming the main certification program for ecotourism.
The resorts are listed on the next page. Here are a couple of green guide books as well:
The Off-Grid resorts in this guide are in Australia, Costa Rica, Fiji, Barbados, Bolivia, New Zealand, Egypt, Canada and Sri Lanka:
like many of its neighbours, Sri Lanka is still recovering from the effects of the Tsunami. So Western tourists are needed. Visit an authentic off-grid eco-lodge in the region, like Ranweli. You ride a paddle ferry across a lagoon to 22 acres in a coastal wetland estuary just 11 miles from Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital. Treated waste is recycled in the gardens; showers are solar-powered; materials and food are bought locally. The 84 rooms in brick bungalows and communal buildings sit between an Indian Ocean beach and the wetlands. Ranweli runs ecotours, including flora walks and trips to nearby ruins.
The Ranweli Philosophy includes minimization of environmental impacts – Protection of the natural habitat. Efficient disposal of waste. Recycling. Solar power.
Built of local construction materials, the lodge offers locally produced vegetables and fruitsand Provides direct and indirect employment to 40 residents.
Accommodation, food & beverages, birding, butterfly watching, nature walks, cycling/habitat tours, fishing in the lagoon and river, demonstration of ethnic indigenous crafts and skills, sports – tennis, squash, archery, table tennis, pool billiards, volleyball, wave board, boogie board, paddle boating and canoeing. Vegetarian meals are provided during buffets and on request. Tours to cultural & heritage sites are also available.
Sri Lanka, Ranweli Holiday Village: 011-94/31-227-7359. From $100 a night.
Binna Burra Mountain Lodge: In existence since 1933, Binna Burra is on more than 90 acres of private land within Lamington National Park, in the rain forests of southeast Queensland (a 90-minute drive from Brisbane). Despite the lack of radios and TVs, the lodge is state-of-the-art: It has its own sewage-treatment plant, composting worm beds, a UV water-filtration system, and an Environmental Education Centre with scratch-and-sniff exhibits. 011-61/7-5533-3622, binnaburralodge.com.au, from $180.
Selva Verde Lodge: Location is the highlight of the Selva Verde Lodge, which occupies a large expanse of rain forest in the country’s northeast, near Braulio Carrillo National Park. Among the activities: horseback riding, river rafting on the Sarapiqu River, and bird-watching. The 21-year-old lodge has 5 villas and 40 rooms, which are elevated above the forest floor and connected by thatched walkways. Selva Verde is a two-hour drive from San Jose via a decently paved highway. 800/451-7111, selvaverde.com, from $114, including meals.
Chalalan Ecolodge: Chalalan Ecolodge is deep within the 4.5-million-acre Madidi National Park. After flying from La Paz to Rurrenabaque, you take a canoe for five hours on the Tuichi River. On the edge of Lake Chalalan, the lodge recycles waste water through a biological process and uses solar energy. The indigenous Quechua-Tacana Indians are involved with parts of the operation. Most of the nine thatched-roof rooms, which sit on stilts, lack air-conditioning but the mosquito nets are cinematic. 011-591/3-892-2419, chalalan.com, lodging, meals, boat transportation, and activities $140 per person per night.
Awaroa Lodge: This lodge is surrounded by one of the most undisturbed regions in New Zealand: the Abel Tasman National Park, at the north end of South Island. Getting there involves a 90-minute water taxi or a 15-minute helicopter ride. Situated along wetlands, the W Hotel-style lodge is a haven for avian life, which you can enjoy from your wooden veranda or one of the outdoor fireplace areas. The lodge recycles its water, and the restaurant features hotel-grown organic vegetables. 011-64/3-528-8758, awaroalodge.co.nz, from $160.
Oarsman’s Bay Lodge: Part of the Turtle Island ecolodge group, Oarsman’s is on a calm beach in the remote Yasawa Islands of Fiji, near the historic village of Nacula. Stay in an individual beach side bungalow with a bathroom, porch, yard, and swaying palm trees all around, or in the 20-bed dorm for just $21 a night. Proceeds from the ecolodges help fund medical clinics. 011-679/672-2921, fijibudget.com, $127, including all meals.
Basma Hotel: Atop Aswan’s highest hill, the Basma is the eco-version of a large, full-service hotel. Along with 24-hour room service, a business center, and a four-diamond restaurant, it has also been accredited with the perfect Green Globe 21 rating, which means it meets some of the highest environmental standards. Basma recycles water for landscaping and keeps energy output low. basmahotel.com, from $100.
Coconut Court Beach Hotel: At the 100-plus-room Coconut Court, the environmental program involves recycling, use of local materials in food and buildings, and water and waste management. Coconut Court has also received the Green Globe 21 award and the Best Program for the Environment award from the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, in part due to the hotel’s participation in the Marine Education Programme. It includes taking guests on low-tide beach safaris and snorkeling trips to interact with fish and coral during controlled feeding sesions. 246/427-1655, coconut-court.com, from $125.
Cumbria House: On the face of it, this Lake District B&B looks like any other cozy British inn: There’s a library with a fireplace, and breakfasts are served in a room overlooking the dells. But underneath beats the heart of an ecolodge’low-flow toilets, an insulated hot-water system, and low-wattage lights. A portion of your bill goes to a local conservation program, and owners even give a 5 percent discount to guests who arrive by foot, bike, or public transport. 011-44/17-6877-3171, cumbriahouse.co.uk, from $86.
Aurum Lodge: Located in Nordegg, Alberta, Aurum Lodge was built almost entirely using recycled materials. Additionally, 60 percent of the windows face south, with roof overhangs providing shade in summer and solar warmth in winter, and the owners work to control erosion and generate power via windmills and solar panels. On top of that, up to 4 percent of the gross receipts are donated to a variety of environmental causes. The main lodge has six bedrooms, and there are also three self-contained units. 403/721-2117, aurumlodge.com, from $90.
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