Tread lightly on the earth while enjoying its bounties. Engage with the local environment, practice yoga, listen to the breeze – do as much or as little as you like.
Enjoy a magical escape this winter by engaging with nature and giving back at one of these inspirational eco winter wonderlands. Bathe in tropical waters, breathe in air crisp with ice and snow or follow wild animals on safari. Make your holiday an eco-friendly gift to the world.
1. Fogo Island Inn, Canada
An island off an island, dominates the landscape, like a ship on fierce seas. Yet the Inn’s eco footprint is light. Designed by architect Todd Saunders, the furniture, textiles and even wallpaper patterns are handcrafted and locally made. Diners feast on produce fished, farmed and foraged in the outposts, small Newfoundland fishing villages rich in seafood and caviar. Everything is locally sourced and all operating surplus goes to the community, ensuring the inhabitants a sustainable future. In winter gaze at the stars, engage in island living or go mummering, dress incognito and dance till dawn. Or simply luxuriate beside a wood-fire while time and the seasons pass.
2. Chobe Game Lodge
Located in the starkly beautiful Botswana Chobe National Park, is the only permanent lodge in the reserve. Their ethos is one of minimal impact, using numerous sustainability measures. Electric powered game vehicles and boats mean no noisy engines or vehicle fumes scaring away the wildlife, providing more intimate interactions with herds of elephants and passing giraffes.
A 300m boardwalk, made from recycled plastic, connects the lodge to the river, the gardens are irrigated with grey water and other garbage is creatively recycled and reused. The guides to this pristine environment are women, making up Africa’s first all-female guiding team. In Chobe, enrich your soul, and nature too.
3. Jicaro Island Ecolodge, Nicaragua
Early mornings on Jicaro Island on Lake Nicaragua, the only sounds are the flap of bird wings and swoosh of fishing nets. Designated a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World in 2017, Jicaro has strong ties to the community. The nine casitas, bungalows, were built by neighbours from surrounding isleta, islands, using timber from trees felled by Hurricane Felix. Food is sourced and processed in partnership with isleta communities. They supply hand-raised poultry, compost organic waste and produce cooking gas from pig manure. All lodge activities are sensitive to the surrounding habitats and cultures. Guests merge seamlessly with nature during lakeside yoga sessions, kayaking on the river, or forays into Nicaraguan cuisine.
4. The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
When filming Mutiny on the Bounty Marlon Brando fell in love, with his co-star and Tetiaroa, an exquisite atoll surrounded by a jewel-like lagoon. He wanted it protected and preserved and The Brando embodies that vision. The management see themselves as the stewards of Tetiaroa, maintaining its natural state as much as possible. Solar and coconut oil-fuelled generators power the complex. Sumptuous freestanding villas are cooled using revolutionary technology that brings cold water up from the bottom of the sea. The grounds are luxuriant with indigenous plants, and rain and waste water are treated and reused. Innovation and dedication to sustainability are at the forefront of The Brando’s ©ROMEO BALANCOURT
5. Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Fiji
From its inception, the Jean-Michael Cousteau Resort has lead the way in environmental luxury. They were the first in Fiji to recycle paper and plastic, and helped establish a plant in the village of Savasavu. Locally made products are used in spa treatments, staff live nearby and the hotel supports the local health clinic. In keeping with their sustainable ethos, no reef fish are served, only pelagic species. A water reclamation plant is incorporated into lagoons brilliant with flowers. Accommodation takes the form of bure, Fijian style architecture that eliminates the need for air-conditioning. With only 25 accommodations in total and more than 200 staff, no wish goes unfulfilled.
Imagery courtesy of timbuktutravel.com