03 January 2009

Global Green Lodgings

written by EcoDeaf contributor, Shay Bertling

The traveler in me couldn’t resist seeking out ways to help preserve the environment as I endeavor to appreciate all the natural beauty this earth has to offer.

Ecotourism is described, by the International Ecotourism Society, as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well being of local people.”

First, Fodor’s Green Travel is an excellent basis for reference, which features not only green places to sleep but green places to eat, bathe, shop and view, plus it offers tips on how to travel greenly and promote greening everywhere you go!

One free, and surefire way of reusing lodging: employ couchsurfing.com! A free, non-profit global network, this site allows friendly samartarians to register their couches on the site, and travelers looking for a place to stay in a given location may consult and peruse the site for any potential free places to sleep. Not only does this save money but a natural interaction between different cultures and people is something to be benefitted from also! These residents probably have much more knowledge about their local communities than the hostel owners or hotel managers, and would have a lot of wisdom and suggestions to impart to any traveler that comes their way.

Another nifty and thrifty site for green lodging and ecotourism is http://www.ecotourismlogue.com/ which features an extensive list of green places the environmentally conscious traveler would want to know about!

The top five green lodgings (yes, pricey but if you got the money to distribute…) I came across are as follows:

1. Nihiwatu Resort, Indonesia. Small and exclusive, this resort features 175 hectares of tropical forest and rice terraces along with grasslands, plus a private beach! A local factory provides bio-diesel made of coconuts that power this resort. Bungalows start at $385 per night.

2. Tassia Lodge, Kenya. Built with low impact materials (no trees were cut down for this) by local labor, this lodge uses solar power, serves communal meals on a pool veranda with breathtaking views. Starts at $385 per person per night, but offers a variety of outdoor things to do.

3. Amazonat Jungle Lodge, Brazil. Ecotourism here provides locals with a way to make a living other than farming and logging, because of the remoteness of the Brazilian state Amazonas. The rain forest is an excellent backdrop to the small, 36-guest lodge, and three night stays start ath $555 per person.

4. EcoCamp Patagonia, Chile. The Torres del Paine National park (revered throughout S. America) is within walking distance to this 30-guest resort, and guests stay in geodesic dome structures that are similar to the local people’s huts (The Kawesquar). A three day trip package starts at 1,069 per person, which is actually similar to a spring break trip to Cancun, when you factor in all the money that will be spent on booze and widely-distributed illegal drugs!

And 5. Sauvte Under Canvas, Botswana. Run by a safari outfitter, Conservation Corporation Africa, this camp offers a safari where zebras, cheetahs, lions and wildebeest are common sights during daytime trips. At night, campers take hot water bucket showers under the african sky, and all starting at $350 per person per night.

1 comment:

  1. I have a profile up at www.couchsurfing.com/peacebuffalo

    Although I couchsurfed at friends' house when I traveled through the states back in the day, I had my first official couchsurfing experience via www.couchsurfing.com when I traveled to Washington D.C. for the Green Festival in 2008. It was awesome.

    I think couchsurfing is a great thing to do when you are traveling a lot and trying to save money on the road or when you revisit a city so often that it is much cheaper and more fun to make new friends and stay at their place, too.

    I am wondering if I will ever couchsurf again. I would like to when I can. ;)