Thursday, 13 December 2007
First, there's The Lodge at Big Falls, situated in the heart of Toledo. Situated on the banks of the Rio Grande River, this is an intimate family-run ecolodge with just 6 thatched style cabanas. The Lodge is also a licensed tour operator offering a wide range of tours and activities including a mix of natural history (birds, butterflies, moths and animals), adventure (kayaking, snorkelling, caving and hiking) and cultural encounters with local people.
Also added today is Black Rock Lodge, a unique ecolodge nestled in the dense rainforest above the Macal River in the Mayan Mountains of Belize. Black Rock Lodge's stunning rainforest surroundings offer abundant opportunity for exploration and adventure. Whether canoeing down the pristine Macal River, horseback riding to the Flour Camp caves, or hiking up the various Canyon trails, the abundant diversity of the local flora and fauna is inspiring.
Friday, 7 December 2007
EcoHotel La Correa offers guests staying between 1st May and 31st May 2008, 7 nights for the price of 6! Also, EXCLUSIVE TO ECOBOOKERS, guests staying for 1 week or more and completing their stay within the months of April and May 2008 will receive 1 complimentary Shiatsu Zen massage per person!
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Although situated just 10 minutes from Gisborne airport, Knapdale Eco Lodge is a tranquil utopia, located on the East Coast of New Zealand where you will find breathtaking beaches with excellent surf!
Built in 2004, with as small an ecological footprint as possible, there are just 2 rooms at the Lodge, which has 32 hectares of sustainably managed, semi-permacultural operation with a variety of sustainable agro-forestry projects.
Here you can spend your time with the animals on the farm, take advantage of a variety of nature walks available from the Lodge, or book a personalised experience in the Maori Culture.
Tuesday, 4 December 2007
For a chance to win, simply register your details here to receive regular news and exclusive offers by email from ecobookers. All entries must be in by 9th January 2008.
The eco-chic Hotel Mocking Bird Hill is a romantic, peaceful and comfortable hideaway, nestled between the majesty of the Blue Mountains and the Caribbean Sea. The ten select accommodations are lovingly decorated with hand crafted bamboo furniture, locally printed fabrics and original art. Guests are greeted with warm hospitality and can discover creative Caribbean cuisine in the hotel’s highly acclaimed restaurant, Mille Fleurs, which offers terrace dining with spectacular views overlooking the harbour of Port Antonio.
The lucky winner will receive a free 7 night stay at the Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, for 2 people in a double room, worth a minimum of US$1155 (approximately £560). The prize does not include flights or transfers.
Sunday, 2 December 2007
With lots of new properties on the site over the last week, here's a selection of the most unique of the bunch!
To start with, we have 2 new, very unique and very different eco-friendly accomodations in South Africa.
The first is Klippe Rivier, a converted homestead and a fine example of Cape Dutch Architecture, built circa 1820 to 1825 and one of the white-walled beauties of the Cape. The typical outhouses for Cape Dutch homesteads were barns and stables, and in the case of Klippe Rivier, these have been converted into six luxury guest suites, preserving the ambience of a bygone era.
Next is Umlani Bushcamp, an authentic African game lodge located in the Timbavati Game Reserve, one of the oldest private nature reserves adjoining the Kruger National Park. Accommodation is in traditional African reed and thatch huts. Umlani's philosophy of simplistic luxury and 'getting back to nature' is enhanced by the romance of operating without electricity. Enjoy the warm atmosphere of candlelight and oil lamps as well as open-air bush showers fuelled by wood fires.
Moving over to Hawaii, we have one of the most unique properties on the ecobookers site - Lova Lava Land, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in staying in creative off-the-grid accommodation. Here, on this old lava field, you will sleep in rescued VW campervans - Daisy the Daydream bus or Garth the Gecko Bus, or in a the mongolian yurt - Pele's Paradise Yurt.
Monday, 12 November 2007
As I don't want to list 11 new properties here, today I'm going to tell you about eco-friendly hotels and ecolodges that are featured in destinations which are new to the ecobookers site.
First up, we have two new destinations in Europe - great for our UK customers who want to cut down their carbon emmissions by travelling on public transport:
France - In France we feature country house Hotel Les Orangeries, which is situated mid-way between the Loire Valley and the Dordogne, in the village of Lussac-les-Châteaux. This EU Ecolabel certified hotel provides guests with individual attention and simple, sincere hospitality.
Italy - The Hotel Arcobaleno is located in the forested green hills of Northern Tuscany, in the town of San Mommè. It is just a few minutes by car or train from the lovely and historic city of Pistoia. This eco-friendly hotel provides the opportunity to spend a relaxing holiday far from the tourist crowds, yet within easy reach of the famous and artistic cities of Florence, Pisa and Lucca.
For those planning on travelling further afield, we have 2 contrasting properties in 2 contrasting new destinations:
The MonteCristo River Lodge in Nicaragua, is located along the San Juan River. This typically Nicaraguan ecolodge is ideal for those looking for an adventure. In addition to the beautiful surroundings and the many facilities on offer at the Lodge, there are activities to suit all tastes in the abundant tropical rainforest of the San Juan River.
The Chalet Eiger in New Zealand, on the other hand, is a luxury lodge set in a tranquil environment. There are only 4 bedrooms to ensure privacy, with facilties such as a sauna and a state-of-the-art digital home-theatre system complete with big screen plasma TV. From this ecolodge you will have beautiful views over Lake Taupo to Mount Tauhara and Taupo town.
I will be back with details of some of the other 7 new accommodations featured on the site later in the week!
Wednesday, 7 November 2007
I'll give an update on new product later in the week or early next week. In the meantime, follow this link to find an article on Christmas getaways written by ecobookers' own Nikki Ashton!:-
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
The first is Sarinbuana Eco Lodge in Bali, Indonesia - Here you will stay in a cosy bungalow, situated at 700m, on the slopes of Mount Batukaru in central Bali and surrounded by a lush tropical “food forest” of organically grown cacao, coffee, vanilla and jungle fruits. This eco lodge is also family friendly - children are warmly welcomed and valued in this family oriented community. Children are able to reconnect with nature - walking in the rainforest and swimming in the clean mountain streams.
The second is Chambal Safari Lodge in India - Here you will stay in an en-suite cottage 15km from the National Chambal Sanctuary. Along with a number of eco-policies to reduce their impact on the natural surroundings, the hosts at Chambal Safari Lodge also run the Chambal Conservation Foundation with their own funds and are committed to protecting the pristine environment of the Chambal valley.
Monday, 29 October 2007
Faasai Resort in Chanthaburi, is our first eco-friendly accommodation featured in Thailand. At this resort you will be in the perfect location to experience the authentic culture of Thailand. You can explore the sea, mountains, historical and archaelogical sites, local festivals, markets, temples and much more. Faasai Resort is also a spa hotel, offering treatments such as traditional Thai massage, herbal steam therapy, oil massage and aromatherapy.
Sabalo Lodge in Costa Rica is located on the Osa Peninsula, only accessible by boat from the town of Sierpe. This Lodge offers lowland rainforest, river, mangroves and a mountainous jungle, but unlike some other rainforest lodges, it is also within easy access of a beautiful ocean beach - a 15 minute boat ride will take you to a beautiful, secluded, white sand beach, appropriately named Playa Blanca. The lodge currently has 2 rooms and 2 cabins available.
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Prospect Bay Lakeside Accommodation, Ireland - We're very pleased to feature this eco-friendly B&B, our first property in Ireland, on the ecobookers site as we feel it's important to feature accommodations in Europe which people can reach by other means than flying. For example, to reach Prospect Bay it is possible to take a ferry from Liverpool to Dublin, and then take a bus to a stop 2 miles from Prospect Bay where you will be collected by the owners!
Prospect Bay is set in a stunning location just a few minutes drive from the lively town of Ballyconnell and is close to the Marble Arch Caves, part of the Cuilcagh Mountains World Heritage Site and UNESCO Geo Park. There are plenty of activities nearby including Out Doors and Dirty™ - a new concept in extreme adventure, this company offer a unique range of extreme and entertaining events on both land and water in one location.
The second new destination launched today is the Seychelles, specifically Bird Island, home to Bird Island Lodge. The east and south sides of this island paradise are surrounded by a protective barrier reef which is home to many varieties of colourful tropical fish and the rest is an open beach which offers superb safe swimming. The accommodation itself is made up of individual chalets where the emphasis is very much on relaxation and informality.
There are lots of activities around the island such as safe swimming, ocean kayaking, snorkelling, nature tours, nature boat tours (dolphin watching), big game fishing, traditional hand line fishing and bird watching.
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
This hotel is a great addition to the selection of eco-friendly city hotels on the site and is situated in the heart of the Old Historic Centre of Quito, surrounded by churches, museums and national monuments. The building itself is of Republican origin with large arches, balconies and towering attics.
In addition to energy, water and recycling policies the hotel works to keep its local environment clean and maintained and has two foundations to which they donate money, material and clothing, both from the hotel and from any guests who also wish to contribute. They work with community-based security and welfare programs as well as supporting young women with HIV.
Wednesday, 17 October 2007
Current partners are:
ecotricity – This UK-based electricity company is dedicated to changing the way electricity is made, investing the money their customers pay into clean forms of power such as wind energy. They are also the electricity suppliers for the ecobookers office! ecobookers customers switching their electricity supply to ecotricity receive a £25 discount on their bill at the end of their first year (terms and conditions apply).
Earth & Wear – This UK-based clothing and accessories company sells fair-trade and ecologically sound goods, including No Sweat footwear – the original brand of fair-trade footwear. ecobookers customers receive a discount of 15% when purchasing ethically-sourced products through the Earth & Wear site (terms and conditions apply).
Nigel's Eco Store – This online store offers pretty-much every eco-friendly gadget you could desire, with a wide range of eco-friendly, natural and organic products at reasonable prices. You can buy all sorts of goods including travel gadgets, cleaning products, toiletries and books with ecobookers customers receiving a discount of 10% (terms and conditions apply).
Monday, 15 October 2007
The Black Sheep Inn is an inexpensive hotel, set high in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Perched on a hillside just outside of the rural village of Chugchilán, Cotopaxi, the Black Sheep Inn provides a great base for day hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and exploring indigenous markets. One of the biggest talking points at the Inn seems to be the ecological composter toilets. All toilets take advantage of a spectacular view across the canyon and inside the rooms are flower/vegetable gardens fertilized with finished compost from the toilet - the finished “humanure” is used to plant trees, bushes or shrubs and is even used in the organic vegetable garden!
Thursday, 11 October 2007
WildSpring Guest Habitat, USA – This small boutique eco-resort combines luxury, amenities and service with the privacy and conveniences of a vacation rental. The five cabin suites are stylish and comfortable, made of native cedar and built like small homes filled with artwork, plush, overstuffed loveseats and antique and vintage furniture. The minimum age at WildSpring is 13.
Artha Bed & Breakfast, USA – This budget eco-friendly B&B in Amherst, Wisconsin, sits on a lush 90-acre plot with rolling hills of wooded land and open fields. Here you can experience green living, powered by the sun, in a 100 year-old farmhouse. Guests stay in private rooms and can enjoy the public spacious kitchen and living room, both with wood stoves.
The Tamarind Tree Hotel, Dominica – This hotel is good for families with family rooms available, consisting of 2 interconnecting double bedrooms, are available at a set fee and take up to 2 adults and 4 children under 16. The premises are safe and child-proofed and a small playground and water toys are provided. There is also a shallow part of the pool for small children. It's also good for anyone else, ideally located in the centre of Dominica’s west coast on top of a 100-foot cliff, offering beautiful views over the Caribbean Sea, the Bay of Salisbury and Morne Diablotin.
Tuesday, 9 October 2007
Eco-Design - The building we are based in is a 1900 brick building, typical of the architecture in Yorkshire. There's no air-conditioning but the positioning of the house seems to keep it cool in the summer. Unfortunately there is no outdoor space at all, so there's nothing to be done there!
Energy - ecobookers is powered by ecotricity who take the money they receive from customers and invest it in clean forms of power such as wind energy. We also use low energy light bulbs and try to conserve electricity in small ways such as turning off the computer monitors when not in use, turning things off at the plug instead of leaving them on standby.
Although we own a small car (i.e. one which has a small engine and uses very little petrol) this is used very rarely – all shopping and other daily needs are undertaken on foot and public transport, and where possible longer distances are covered by public transport.
Conservation - At the moment I'm sorry to say that we don't have any input into conserving our natural surroundings. As I mentioned earlier, we don't have any outdoor space. However, this is definitely something to look into further as I think we should get involved in a tree-planting or tree-wardening scheme - cities need trees too! If anyone has any suggestions it would be great to hear them!
Ecological sustainability - We recycle paper, plastic and metal cans through the council collections and take glass bottles to a bottle bank. Old clothes are taken to charity shops or to fabric banks if they are not in a good enough condition to sell on. Unfortunately we don't compost as this isn't collected by the council and we have no outdoor space to put the finished result.
Where possible we buy organic and fairtrade food and occasionally we visit the farmer’s market in Leeds to buy fresh, local produce. When shopping we use non-plastic, reusable bags.
The ecobookers office is virtually paperless. Our fax machine is online so that we receive faxes by email (which we store electronically and don't print out) and we don't send faxes, instead we use scanned signatures to authorise contracts. For the odd very little piece of paper we use, we use a type of pen where you can rub the ink out, so that we can keep on using the same bits of paper over and over again! And of course, our toilet paper is made from recycled paper!
Looking at this, I think we are doing quite well for ecological sustainability but we haven't really got any water-saving policies so this is something else to look into in the near future. We could also do more to check that cleaning products and toiletries used on the premises are eco-friendly so that is something else I will look in to.
Community - As ecobookers is so small, we don't employ staff and don't buy much in the way of services, so this is another area where we could do more. More ideas to come....
Well, looking at it all, I think we are setting a good example in our eco-friendly ways, but there is certainly more to do. Any ideas, please feel free to comment!
Monday, 8 October 2007
Natural Retreats, England are set amongst 54 acres of pristine countryside in Swaledale, just a mile from the historic market town of Richmond. While offering a break from urban life, with exposed beams, wood burning stoves and breathtaking countryside, the Residences also offer the latest in contemporary design and luxury. Located in a large open area on the outskirts of a wood they are ideal for couples, groups of friends and families who want to escape to the country and enjoy some quality time together.
We also have not one, but two new properties featured in Costa Rica!
Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge, Osa Peninsula, is the closest to Corcovado National Park, the last remaining pacific lowland rainforest of sustainable size in Central America. Carefully designed and built by an American naturalist with thirty years of local experience, this unique lodge offers accommodations constructed with the highest concern for conservation in harmony with the landscape and the environment. Casa Corcovado Jungle Lodge provides the ideal base for your in-depth rainforest experience.
Golfo Dulce Lodge is situated on a remote beach in the quiet bay of Playa San Josecito on the Golfo Dulce in the Southern part of Costa Rica. The little complex of buildings is informally grouped together as a tiny village in a large landscaped garden right on the edge of the tropical rainforest and is less than 300 yards (250m) away from the rocky beach.
Today also sees the addition of a luxury eco-lodge in Australia - Daintree EcoLodge & Spa - only 45km north of Port Douglas, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Here, just 15 tranquil rainforest villas occupy secluded positions amongst the world's oldest living rainforest... reinforcing the impression of being 'at one with nature', yet still providing all the creature comforts of a boutique retreat.
Monday, 1 October 2007
Firstly, Dar Itrane Eco Lodge in Morocco - This eco lodge is the ideal base for discovering the region, Berber traditions and customs and to be bathed in the magic of the place itself. Built by architects specialized in earthen construction, and local artists, the lodge combines tradition, modernism and environmental protection.
Next, Rocky Mountain Escape, Canada, is located in a secluded, subalpine valley amongst the front ranges of the Rocky Mountains, adjacent to Jasper National Park (east backcountry boundary) and vast, undeveloped Willmore Wilderness. Here you can relax by a cheerful fire amid the glow of honey-coloured, hand-hewn logs inside your cosy, intimate cabin with all meals prepared for you, cowboy-style, on a wood-fired range in the central cookhouse.
Finally, Tree House Lodge, Costa Rica, is located in Punta Uva, within the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, in the province of Limón, Costa Rica. The Tree House Lodge complex is located on a 10 acre ocean front property. Total privacy, a natural tranquil atmosphere and full relaxation are keywords for the time you will spend at the tree house. With your own beach access and 300 meter private beach front, you won't have to meet anybody else during your stay at this romantic hideway.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Green Lodging News
and watch out for us in the October 1st issue of Amaze Magazine!
Not only that, but this blog was picked up on by the Guardian!
Monday, 24 September 2007
Njaya Lodge is situated on a hillside just outside the popular town of Nkhata Bay on the northern shores of Lake Malawi. The lodge grounds stretch down to the beautiful Chikale Beach, which is safe, clean and ideal for children.
Eco-policies include compensation of carbon emmissions through the planting of trees - to date over 4,000 indigenous trees have been planted in the local countryside - and policies to develop local industry and support the community.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
Firstly, we have a new eco-lodge in Mozambique. Nkwichi Lodge is located on the East coast of Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi)in the pristine Manda Wilderness conservation area. The beach on the shores of the lake with its fine, white sand is the central feature around which the lodge has been built.
Each chalet is a unique creation, an imaginative use of indigenous materials, built to fit in perfectly with their surroundings.
We also have ecobookers' first eco-lodge featured in the USA - Pollywogg Hollër - which is set in the middle of 56,000 acres of NYS Forest Land in Allegany County in the South Western part of New York State.
Named for the serenade of frogs that fills the evening air, Pollywogg Hollër is a Great Camp-style eco-resort established by the Castle family in 1987. The genius of nature and man are showcased in a setting of spectacular beauty, Adirondack-style craftsmanship, solar electricity, organic gardening, and gravity fed spring water.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
Monday, 17 September 2007
Laguna del Lagarto, near Boca Tapada - This is the budget option of the two, with rates starting from only £26 (approximately) for a double room. The lodge is set in a true tropical, unspoiled jungle environment, where you can explore the ecosystem at your own pace. This eco-lodge is secluded and cozy, with a balcony serving as a terrific resting point for viewing the many forest edge birds which so often makes themselves visible, including the raptors and carrion feeders which are now rare in most of Costa Rica.
El Remanso Wildlife Lodge, Osa Peninsula - This is a pricier option, partly because the lodge runs on a full-board basis. This eco-lodge is located on Costa Rica’s southwest Pacific side of the Osa Peninsula, an area well known as one of the world’s most pristine and biodiverse rainforests. The Lodge is located half way between the town of Puerto Jimenez and the famous Corcovado National Park and is included in the Osa National Wildlife Refuge. The Lodge has a social area consisting of a restaurant, bar and swimming pool, all of which have great rainforest and ocean views.
Friday, 14 September 2007
Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique - The spacious tented bandas at this eco-friendly lodge give panoramic views through the netted walls, creating a feeling of being outside while inside. Raised bedrooms, with King-size beds, sit under an expansive palm-thatched roof, opening upwards and outwards to make the most of the stunning sea views and cooling sea breeze.
Ibo Island Lodge, Mozambique - Rooms feature a King-size extra length hand-crafted bed with mosquito net and indigenous teak and mahogany handcrafted furniture. The wide verandas are furnished with hand crafted furniture and soft cushions. For relaxation there are the pools, the beach and massage and healing treatments are available.
Bartholomeus Klip, South Africa - Comfort is the keynote in the Luxury Rooms: specially made pure cotton bedding, luxurious toiletries, towelling gowns and no TV to spoil the country feeling. Food at Bartholomeus Klip is in the French tradition but with a local flavour and is one of the highlights of a stay here. Children under the age of 16 are not allowed at the Main House.
Shinta Mani Hotel, Cambodia – Rooms feature a King-size bed, bathrobe and slippers and other amenities. The restaurant offers elegant indoor dining and casual, yet upscale, terrace dining while offering both Khmer and Western style cuisine and the Shinta Mani Spa features intimate treatment rooms for singles or couples including one with a floral bath and steam room.
Sanctuary Retreat, Australia - Capturing the cool, green light of the rainforest, eco-friendly accommodation is in elevated secluded forest huts nestled in the rainforest canopy. Stay in one of the 16 minimalist huts, or really treat yourself with 1 of 7 deluxe canopy cabins, stylishly appointed with polished wooden floors, handmade natural timber furniture and spectacular bathrooms looking out high in the trees. Children aged 10 or under are not accepted at Sanctuary Retreat.
Hoopoe Yurt Hotel, Spain - Each eco-friendly yurt is individually decorated, such as the romantic Afghani yurt which has bent willow poles and a deep red ceiling, making it cosy and intimate. Each has a private bathroom, as well as an acre of private meadow with hammocks and comfortable shaded seating areas. Unwind with a full body massage, a reflexology session or some invigorating yoga, or simply relax on a sunbed beside the pool. Only 1 booking at a time is taken with children.
I hope these suggestions are useful - if anyone has been elsewhere and has any tips I'd love to hear them!
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Tree Tops Jungle Lodge is located 10km from the small town of Buttala. It is surrounded by bush-jungle as well as a unique patch of mature dry zone tall tropical forest - one of the last strongholds in Sri Lanka for the rare and protected Ebony-tree, some of which are huge and 400 years old.
Life at Tree Tops is a journey back to basics; in rustic huts made from clay and wood from dead trees found in the forest, vegetarian meals are prepared native style on wood fire, there is no electricity, nights are black, and bathing is primitive at a freshwater well.
The ecolodge vision of Tree Tops is to live with nature and amongst wildlife. To keep the original camp feeling and nature in focus, the credo is: basic, simple and minimal comforts. Keeping the lodge small and for the exclusive few is part of this strategy.
Monday, 10 September 2007
Firstly we have Bartholomeus Klip, in the Western Cape area of South Africa. Bartholomeus Klip's 10,000 acre nature reserve is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the world's smallest, but the richest in species for its size. The accommodation itself is the original, meticulously renovated, Victorian homestead on a large private estate which is both a working wheat and sheep farm and a nature reserve with a spectacular mountain backdrop. The eco-hotel has a range of eco-policies, although the greatest focus is on conservation - the revolutionary attempt to re-breed the extinct quagga (a zebra-like animal with no stripes on its rump and legs but identical DNA to the plains zebra) and with a project to bring buffalo to the farm from Kruger Park - the first buffalo to be seen in the Western Cape for 300 years.
Next we have eco-friendly yurt holidays in Portugal - a romantic Mongolian-style yurt nestled in the mountains of central Portugal, about one hour inland from the ancient university town of Coimbra. This Mongolian Yurt is self-contained and fully furnished, set in a smallholding of terraced land, which is managed organically. Olives, vines and fruit trees surround the yurt, a spring provides the water and energy is solar powered. Whether you’re looking for a lazy rural retreat, or an active holiday in the hills, there’s no better way to get back to nature without foregoing any creature comforts.
And finally we have Ecolodge Rendez-Vous in Saba, a small island in the Netherland Antilles in the Caribbean. Situated on a mountainside at the edge of a rainforest, this is an ideal base for hikers and nature lovers, as well as for divers who can enjoy can enjoy spectacular pinnacles, hot springs, rays, sharks, turtles and healthy coral in a fully protected marine park. The cottages have been constucted using eco-friendly materials, energy is provided by solar power and a number of methods are in place for recycling and to reduce consumption of natural resources.
Friday, 7 September 2007
Puri Lumbung, Indonesia - Family cottages are available for groups of 4 or more, babysitting is available and children aged 0-11 go free when sharing with 2 adults.
3 Rivers Eco Lodge, Dominica - Cabins and Tree Houses sleep 3 and, as the prices are per room, there is no additional cost to bring a child. The Lodge also has a large children's play area where the kids (big or small) can have fun, allowing the parents to "free up" and relax.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica - Babysitting is available and children aged 0-11 go free when sharing with 2 adults. Interconnecting rooms are also available if you would prefer to book 2 rooms.
Villas Ecotucan, Mexico - A short walk down the hill will take you to the magical Laguna de Bacalar, perfect for swimming or kayaking, mountain bikes are available to rent and leisure equipment is provided, such as bocci, badminton, croquet, and volleyball if you’d like to play some games. Up to 2 children under 10 can stay in a cabin with 2 adults at no additional cost. The price per additional child aged 10-12 is US$5 per night.
Algonquin Eco-Lodge, Canada - Rates include use of the biking / hiking trail system (over 60km), free use of canoes on Moffat Pond, use of water toys (inflatable raft etc.), bonfire and wolf howl seminars on request. The first child aged 0-12 and sharing in a room with 2 adults goes free. The second child aged 0 –12 and sharing in a room with 2 adults pays 50% of the adult price.
Hotel Oberland, Bolivia - Beach volley, beach soccer, ping-pong and a children's playground are available with quad hire, horse riding and bike hire available closeby to the hotel. Up to 2 children aged 0 – 11 years old go free when sharing a room with 2 adults.
Thursday, 6 September 2007
As home to many protected national parks and reserves, and an array of exotic plant and animal life, Costa Rica has become a popular destination for eco-tourists over the years. In addition to its pristine rainforests and wildlife reserves, Costa Rica is home to volcanoes and hot springs along with golden beaches (Costa Rica means ‘rich coast’) where endangered sea turtles nest. Eco-tourism began in Costa Rica in the 1980’s as a way of improving the economy and of stopping deforestation, and a national conservation system was put in to place.
Lake Coter Eco Lodge Resort & Hotel is a rain forest ecotourism resort situated along Costa Rica's beautiful Northern Pacific Mountains, an exclusive location with breathtaking panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano and the famous Coter and Arenal Lakes.
Although the Lodge does not have policies to reduce energy consumption, it does have policies to conserve water and recycle in addition to providing an important source of income to the local Maleku Indians - the Maleku community of approximately 600 indigenous people is located about 30 kilometers away from the hotel and has built 2 Communal Huts or “Palenques” on the Eco Lodge’s reserve to provide an opportunity for guests to interact with them and to learn about their traditions, food and culture.
The hotel also has a private reserve of 250 hectares of primary forest along with 50 hectares of secondary forest and pasture land. Guests can take educational environmental tours in the reserve.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
You can book a room at one of the following fabulous eco-accommodations for less than £20 per person (usually based on 2 people sharing a room):-
Bintang Bolong Lodge, Gambia - Located near the small, authentic African Village of Bintang, this lodge features buildings on stilts, keeping them out of harm's way when the water rises and integrating them into surrounding mangrove forests! The main attraction of this eco hotel is the River Restaurant with its large terrace from which you can experience incomparable sunsets.
Gunjur Beach Lodge, Gambia - Set about 50 steps away from the sandy beach of the small Gambian village of Gunjur, this is the perfect place to relax! Make yourself comfortable on the thick mattresses of the beach beds, treat yourself to a massage or join in an African drumming or wood carving workshop, all withouth leaving the Lodge!
Shaam-e-Sarhad Rural Resort, India - This resort offers the traditional Bhunga (circular mud huts with sloping grass roofs) as accommodation. The rooms are designed to showcase local style and are decorated with a collection of crafts from the area, creating an authentic atmosphere. There are a myriad of tours available to really get to know the region.
Udayana Eco Lodge, Idonesia - This Green Globe Certified eco lodge is set high up in the Jimbaran hills in a conservation area for birds and butterflies with a beautiful view over Bali. The lodge is famous for its secluded swimming pool, its lovely gardens and its birds (over 50 species) and butterflies (over 80 species) and is convenient to all of southern Bali's attractions.
3 Rivers Eco Lodge, Dominica - Set on this lush, green, mountainous, rain-forested island, 3 Rivers is set in a valley, surrounded by nature and rivers. Guests can bathe in one of the natural river pools, wander amongst the organic gardens and picnic areas, or walk up into the rainforest.
Villas Ecotucan, Mexico - This Ecological Resort is surrounded by jungle and located on the shores of the beautiful Laguna Bacalar, one of Mexico’s largest freshwater lakes. Your accommodation will be in one of five comfortable and spacious stone cabins with thatch roofs, surrounded by tropical gardens and reminiscent of a Mayan settlement offering guests a tranquil base for relaxing with nature.
Hotel Oberland, Bolivia - Situated at the south end of La Paz in Rio Abajo, considered the warmest part of the city, Hotel Oberland has beautiful views of the mountains and valley. Located in the Moon Valley, just 12km from the city centre, Hotel Oberland has the reputation of being quiet and calm. Its environment and its sunny garden make it a real Oasis near La Paz.
As you can see, there's a great range of budget eco-accommodation to choose from in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and there's plenty more out there!
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
In reality, there is as great a range of eco-accommodation as any other holiday accommodation , ranging from budget to luxury, from jungle to city and from family-friendly to romantic-getaway. To prove it, over the next few days I plan to feature different eco-hotels and lodges which fall into these different categories, starting today with Eco Luxury!
Eco Luxury: Who says you can’t enjoy the finer things in life and be eco-friendly at the same time!
Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya – At this luxury camp you will find yourself sleeping in a linen-sheeted king-size bed, in a tented cottage which also features an elegant bathroom and a wide verandah for superb views of either Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Tsavo Hills, and the Chyulu Hills. In the evenings you will dine by candlelight on Italian cuisine, from fine table settings and crystal glasses.
Guludo Beach Lodge, Mozambique – Here you will stay in a spacious tented banda with a raised bedroom, with king-size bed, set under an expansive palm-thatched roof, opening upwards and outwards to make the most of the stunning sea views and cooling sea breeze. Here you will find European fine dining with an exotic local twist and world class fresh seafood.
Hotel de la Paix, Cambodia – As one of Siem Reap's most stylish hotels, this deluxe boutique property offers guests outstanding levels of luxury along with world-class dining and spa facilities. In the guestrooms, chic interiors and contemporary furnishings, including handcrafted lamps and intricate wall mountings, achieve a harmonious balance between modern design and traditional detailing.
Hotel Mocking Bird Hill, Jamaica – This luxury boutique hotel is romantic, peaceful and comfortable. The ten select accommodations have been lovingly appointed with hand crafted bamboo furniture, locally printed fabrics and decorated with original art. Guests are greeted with warm hospitality and can enjoy fine cuisine in the hotel’s highly acclaimed restaurant Mille Fleurs.
So there's just a few to get started with - spanning the Caribbean, Asia and Africa - but there are plenty more out there!
Friday, 24 August 2007
If you're staying in an eco-accommodation, the majority of them will already have processes in place to recycle, conserve energy and water and to limit damaging waste. However, you shouldn't expect them to do all the work! You can help them along by using water and energy as efficiently as possible e.g. don’t leave taps running or lights on unnecessarily, by taking shampoos etc. with you that are bio-degradable, by never littering and by recycling anything you can (if there are no facilities for recycling certain products e.g. plastic bottles, where you are, take these home with you to recycle).
So that you don’t upset the natural balance or cause erosion, stick to marked trails (both when walking and driving), don't disturb the local wildlife with excessive noise and don’t take any souvenirs from along the way.
Also, please don't buy anything that has come from an endangered animal species, or a protected species of plant and don’t support shows where animals are used for entertainment.
I'm sure there are other ways of protecting the environment while you're travelling - any other tips please drop me a line!
Thursday, 23 August 2007
So here are a few eco travel tips to consider when you actually arrive in-country. First off - cultural considerations:
You could find yourself in a very different situation to that which you are used to back home, but you must remember that this is normal life to the people who live it, so be open-minded.
Traditions, culture, religious beliefs, clothing and food may all be very different to what you are used to but be respectful.
Respect people’s wishes and ask before you take photographs.
Try getting to know people - you may learn something about their way of life and they may be able to give you insider info on where to go and what to do that you won’t find in the guidebooks!
When you are buying goods, using services such as tour guides or eating in restaurants, try to spend money that will benefit the local communities.
Giving money to people begging is not usually encouraged as it does not promote self-sufficiency, although this is down to your own ethical beliefs. However, if you do want to give something back in a more sustainable way, a number of eco-accommodations (including someo f those featured on www.ecobookers.com) are involved in projects where you can volunteer, and others will be able to give you advice on how you can help the local community in a sustainable way.
Any other ideas are welcome. Tomorrow - environmental considerations.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Once you’ve decided on your destination and sorted out your flights, there are a few things you can think about and prepare for before you arrive.
Firstly, you can research the cultural does and don’ts of the local population. For example, in some countries it is rude to point at things with your feet, to touch people on the head or to drink alcohol. By researching things like this before you go, you can be respectful of people and their culture when you arrive.
Dress code is also an important factor – if you are travelling to a country where it is disrespectful to show certain parts of the body, it’s best to know this before you go so that you can pack accordingly.
Learning a few words of the local language before you go also shows respect and will help you to interact with the local people.
You may also want to look into local methods of transportation so that you can transfer to your accommodation and travel around the country both conveniently and responsibly e.g. take public transport instead of a private taxi to reduce carbon emmissions.
If you plan on taking tours during your holiday you could research local companies who use local guides and try to protect the environment, rather than booking trips with companies who give nothing back to the local communities.
And of course, you can use www.ecobookers.com to find an eco-friendly accommodation and review its policies, ensuring it meets your criteria.
If anyone else has any eco travel tips I'd love to hear them!
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Ibo Island Lodge is situated on the Indian Ocean paradise of Ibo Island - one of a string of 32 tropical islands that make up the stunning Quirimbas Archipelago in Northern Mozambique.
The Lodge encompasses 3 mansions, each over 100 years old and located on the waterfront.
This Lodge has a wide range of eco-policies, ranging from energy efficiency to conservation projects to recycling policies. The main focus, however, is on community policies with lodge estimated to positively affect up to 50% of the island's 3000 inhabitants through sustainable eco-tourism.
Friday, 17 August 2007
I personally don't agree with those protesting at Climate Camp who want to ban flying altogether. Tourism employs an astonishing proportion of the world's population and curtailing it would lead to a grand-scale economic decline. It is also true to say that in some areas, such as parts of the Amazon, it can be seen that eco-travel actually does do more good than harm - it is eco-tourism which is helping to reduce the speed of deforestation, by providing alternate forms of income.
What I would propose is needed is a long-term view - for example, we need the air carriers to be looking at ways of reducing their emmissions rather than expecting people never to leave the UK again - I can't even imagine what a terrifying world that would create.
Let me further say, however, that this does not mean I am opposed to people making some effort to reduce their travel emmissions - I would simply call for moderacy in these issues. Here are a few tips which I believe are more practicable than banning flying:
1) Reduce the number of flights you take each year. Maybe you could replace some of your overseas trips with breaks nearer to home, or travel to somewhere accessible by public transport (try www.seat61.com for tips on train travel).
2) As take-off and landing are the worst time for carbon emmissions, you could also try to avoid stop-overs en-route when you fly to an overseas destination.
3) When choosing your airline you could check out their eco-policies (maybe this will be worthwhile in the future than now...). For example, Virgin Atlantic are investing in more fuel-efficient jets and Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson, has pledged all profits from his travel companies over the next 10 years to help fight global warming.
4) Finally, you could choose to off-set your carbon emissions through a carbon-offsetting scheme. The theory behind this is that you calculate your carbon emissions with a carbon calculator, and pay money in to a scheme which prevents or removes an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide elsewhere. Defra are in the process of developing a code of practice for this type of scheme, but until this is ready see the following information with links to carbon offset providers :- http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/uk/carbonoffset/index.htm
Thursday, 16 August 2007
The first is an eco lodge on the beautiful Caribbean island of Dominica - 3 Rivers Eco Lodge, Dominica is a lush, green, mountainous, rain-forested island and 3 Rivers is set in a valley, surrounded by nature and rivers. It has a wide array of eco-policies, starting with the building of the Lodge itself, which used salvaged land and renewable materials. It also has in-depth energy, recycling, conservation and community policies. It also has a range of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
The second new accommodation launched is Campi ya Kanzi in Kenya, which offers a luxury tented, private safari experience but in an ecologically friendly manner. Here you can really get involved with conservation of the Maasai culture in addition to the conservation of the native wildlife. The camp also has a range of energy, design and recycling policies making this an all-round eco-friendly experience.
Wednesday, 15 August 2007
I've done a lot of research into this and my research points towards 5 key areas of action which eco accommodations can take. This is how eco accommodations are assessed on www.ecobookers.com :
Eco-Design For example, do the buildings and landscapes integrate themselves into the natural environment? Are natural and locally produced building materials used?
Energy What does the accommodation do to reduce carbon and energy use? Are alternative energy sources such as solar power used?
Conservation How does the accommodation help to conserve its natural surroundings? Does it have an environmental education program?
Ecological sustainability How are the effects of waste on the surrounding environment reduced e.g. is waste and waste water recycled? Are the resources used renewed at the same rate? Is food locally grown and produced?
Community Does the accommodation incorporate cultural considerations e.g. are guests informed of local cultures and customs? Is the local community provided with economic benefit? What proportion of the staff employed are local people? Are there any programs to support the local community?
Not all accommodations featured will cover every one of these points – some may lean more strongly towards conservation, while others focus more on supporting the local culture and community - but they should certainly have a strong spread of policies.
That's all for me today!
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
After months and months of hard work, http://www.ecobookers.com/ is finally born!
ecobookers is founded in the belief that overseas travel can be a beneficial thing - not only should it be possible to visit new countries and experience new cultures without doing harm to them, it should actually be possible to have a positive impact.
Staying in an eco-friendly hotel or lodge is a big part of this, but I know from long hours of experience that they can be pretty hard to find. There are so many hotels describing themselves as eco-friendly, yet on closer inspection their policies run to little more than using bio-degradable detergents or changing the bed-linen less frequently.
But there are many great eco-hotels, lodges, hostels and camps around the world, and it's my mission to find them!!