At Travel Leaders 365, our biggest priority is your safety, comfort, and sharing luxurious experiences around the world. We also recognize the state of our earth requires some extra tender love and care at the moment. In order to merge these ideas, we created some travel inspiration for our clients who would like to experience some wonderful R&R, while also giving the earth a big hug. Sustainable travel is more than just seeing the world, it is experiencing tourism with consideration and respect.
Here are a few of our favorite destinations that do sustainability best. Not only are these properties located in areas of the world that prioritize conservation, but these hotels and resorts are doing their part to bring nature, and our natural beauty, back to life.
Costa Rica is one of the first countries to promote ecotourism, and they are a leader in all things sustainable on a global scale. This year, The United Nations Environment Programme’s Champions of the Earth awarded Costa Rica the award for policy leadership. They continue to take an ambitious approach to policy change regarding decarbonizing the economy and reversing the damaging effects of deforestation. “More than 98 percent of its energy is renewable, forest cover now stands at more than 53 percent after painstaking work to reverse decades of deforestation, and around a quarter of the country’s land has been turned into protected parks and reserves.” And yet, as a tourist, you will find dozens of resorts, activities, and culinary experiences sharing a wonderfully sustainable mindset and a gracious and warm welcome.
Nayara Tented Camp:
If you are looking to get in touch with your wild side, this incredibly unique experience is calling your name. Here, the design and surrounding nature immerse visitors in a sanctuary of exotic plants, flavorful food (the gastronomy experiences across all properties are not to be missed), and a jungle haven with hot springs and top-notch spa treatments. Considered the 2021 ‘Best Resort in Central America,’ by Travel and Leisure, this dazzling escape is truly a luxurious and lush experience for all guests.
What makes it sustainable?
“At the tented camp, sustainable tourism is our driving motivation. We believe in building in harmony with nature, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness, while contributing to the growth of our local community. We are proud of our numerous social and environmental initiatives. We are environmentally friendly and socially responsible without compromising the design or the local culture.”
in 2015, Vail became the first destination in the United States to be certified to the GSTC destination standard. In 2021, GSTC featured Vail as one of three highlighted destinations in their Destination Stewardship Yearbook. Vail makes bold efforts in protecting the local ecosystem and is committed to a net-zero operating footprint by 2030. Knowing their legislation is working to preserve the breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and fresh air is a good reason to get out and see the infamous mountains. Vail is an ideal destination for adventure seekers and outdoor lovers all year long. In the summer, visitors fly fish, hike, white water raft, bird watching, and visit the alpine slide. The winters are known for the world-class skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding, and hot spring soaking, but Vail is also well known for its Michelin star restaurants, abundant art and high-end shopping, and luxurious spa amenities.
The Westin River Front Resort and Spa:
This stunning resort was the first Colorado resort to earn Silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and continues to make a positive environmental change today. From a fully functioning compost system in the food and beverages department to illuminating all single-use plastic water bottles on-site (don’t worry, they still make sure you are nice and hydrated), the continuing efforts of this property make it a great choice for guests visiting Vail for business or pleasure. You can find a long list of The Westin River Front Resort and Spa’s sustainable efforts in the Resource Catalogue below this article.
To expand its ‘Make a Green Choice Program,’ guests who opt to not receive daily housekeeping services during stays of 2 nights or more can choose instead to have a tree planted for each day on their behalf by The Arbor Foundation. How cool is that?
One of the first countries to pledge a carbon-neutral future, New Zealand performs impressively low on greenhouse gas emissions; only about .2%. One of the world’s least polluted countries, the indigenous population, the Māori people, value the earth, and taking care of the land is considered sacred. Luckily, the Māori people are taking this ethos into their own hands; their practices are rooted in New Zealand legislation as well as tourist councils. Find a link to the New Zealand Māori Tourism here to learn more.
New Zealand also has one of the most efficient livestock farming systems in the world and many farms incorporate regenerative practices into their methodology. Basically what we’re saying is the meat here is really good, for those who enjoy a good lamb burger.
Members and recipients of the Gold Sustainable Tourism Business Awards, Chateau Marlborough’s sustainable tourism team (yep, a whole team dedicated to creating an environmentally aware and welcoming space) works hard to reduce the sites carbon footprint. With energy and water use on a tight schedule; and a farm-to-table approach to their dining experiences, this royal resort is striking, regal, and energy-efficient. To find a full list of this initiative, see our Resource Catalogue below.
Although Huka Lodge does not yet have any flashy certificates, it still incorporates sustainable practices in its design. They are working to eliminate all single-use plastic, their kitchen uses local produce and sources food from local suppliers, and they run an impressive Bee Breeding program. This resort is stunning, and because they are actively participating in green energy conversations and doing their best to provide a sustainable sanctuary, we couldn’t leave them out of this list.
Bhutan: Green Himalayan Valleys
At the top of Conde Naste’s sustainable destination, guide sits Bhutan, the world’s only carbon-neutral city. Although their approach to tourism is conservative, our tour company, Greaves Tours LLC, is happy to offer clients access to the sensational history and experiences this stunning country has to offer. Here, visitors find emerald green forests waiting to lead them to dazzling glacier valleys.
The Bhutanese constitution mandates that 60 percent of its landmass be maintained and protected as forest. One of the ways the country maintains this is controlled, low-impact tourism. The government has banned all plastic bags and is committed to creating carbon neutrality. Bhutan is not only carbon neutral but carbon negative. The country is entirely smoke-free and supports only local shops, which in turn supports the local economy.
Greaves Tours gives guests an inside look into this magnificent and charming city. From picnics in enchanting orchards, visiting colorful towns, and learning about historic sites, these all-inclusive tours allow guests to see the gems of Bhutan, a highly sustainable destination filled with magic and natural beauty.
Click here to learn more about Greave’s tours to Bhutan: https://www.greavesindia.com/explore/bhutan/
A popular collection of luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, many travelers consider Sandals Resorts to be their favorite destination. Leading the all-Inclusive market, Sandals resorts often make the top of even the most luxurious travel agents bucket lists. The most exciting part? Earth Check, one of the world’s leading tourism research, certification, advisory, and benchmarking groups, gave Sandlas Resorts the Master Series Certification.
Committing to greener purchasing practices, upholding recycling programs, protecting the Caribbean Coastline, and their consistent dedication to social enrichment, Sandlas resort blows us away with its’ ethical practices alongside its extravagant style. Locations include; Antigua, Jamaica, Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Barbados.
“From recycling to conserving, ecological responsiveness is a Sandals commitment. Because our “green” resorts are made for love, loving the environment has become second nature for us. We build a culture of environmental stewardship that starts with the basics such as turning off running faucets while cleaning, shutting down/off equipment not in use in offices, spa, retail shops, and more.” – Sandals Press
GSTC: Global Sustainable Tourism Council Handbook:
Chateau Marlborough’s Sustainability Guide: https://www.marlboroughnz.co.nz/home/sustainable-tourism/
Sandals Sustainability and Corporate Responsibilities:
The Westin Riverfront Sustainability Initiative: