6 Great destinations with affordable and luxurious eco-resorts
Resorts are defined as a luxury option when traveling. Instead of staying at a 2 or 3 star hotel, you'd be staying at a 5 star establishment that delivers all the bells and whistles along with a few extras for an added touch. Unfortunately, not all tourists can afford the high prices that accompany such a luxurious stay.
Luckily, there are a few resorts options around the world that cater to the budget minded traveler while still delivering all of the push amenities of other more expensive resorts. In fact, a large number of these resorts are considered “eco-resorts.”
What is an Eco-Resort?
An Eco-Resort refers to a resort, lodge, or luxury hotel that caters to a high environmental standard. These resorts break from the pack by using alternative measures to ensure that the resort is run in an efficient manner that helps to protect the surrounding environment. Many also focus on providing guests with the opportunity to learn more about environmentally friendly practices.
Why stay at an Eco-Resort?
When many picture environmentally friendly accommodations, they picture sleeping in hostels, tents or ill-equipped rooms. That simply is not the case. There are now many different resorts around the world that pride themselves on offering an adventurous, environmentally friendly stay while still focusing on luxury.
Below is a list of 6 sought out destinations where Eco-Resorts thrive and luxury reigns king.
- 1 1 – Costa Rica
- 2 2 – Thailand
- 3 3 – Australia
- 4 4 – Jamaica
- 5 5 – Hawaii
- 6 6 – Panama
1 – Costa Rica
Situated between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America, Costa Rica hosts 5% of the world’s biodiversity. This is a remarkable feat considering that Costa Rica’s land mass only covers 0.03% of the world. In every corner of the country, you’ll find a plethora of different activities that allow you to explore the natural environment and catch a glimpse of its wildlife.
Finca Rosa Blanca
Located in the central valley, nestled in among the mountain highlands, Finca Rosa Blanca offers a different take on a tropical vacation. Instead of relaxing on the beach, you’re staying on a coffee farm plantation that also serves as an art and architectural destination.
Due to its location, visitors enjoy consistent spring like weather with temperatures hovering in the 65F to 82F range. Finca Rosa Blanca earns its Eco title by operating an organic coffee plantation, using solar panels to heat water, recycling materials to be used as roof tiles and more.
- Price range: Seasonal variation with an average of US$350 per night for two people.
- How to get there – Located only 15 minutes away from San Jose International Airport with the option of a vehicle to pick you up.
Found within the grips of a rainforest, Rio Magnolia sits on a 280-acre piece of property that offers up coastal views along with jungle and valley views. A large portion of the property is primary and secondary rainforest which is protected and preserved by the lodge. The lodges’ electrical power is produced by the river Magnolia, which runs straight through the property and produces all of the electricity used by guests and employees.
Guests at the lodge have the opportunity to relax in the infinity pool or on their private patios looking out into the jungle. If you're looking for a relaxing drink after a day of hiking, you'll find one at thee bar and be able to enjoy it on the terrace.
- Price range: Seasonal variation with an average of US$195 per night for two people.
- How to get there: Fly into San Jose International Airport and then either take a bus or rental car to the south western coast. There is also an option of car transport to and from the lodge.
2 – Thailand
Located in Southeast Asia, Thailand serves as a melting pot for travelers from around the globe. From the northern regions down to the southernmost islands, Thailand provides a mixture of activities from snorkeling, diving, hiking, biking and more.
Located in southern Thailand in a beach setting, the Golden Buddha resort prides itself on offering a sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and the crowded party beaches of the islands. Here you'll have your very own villa facing toward the beach or the gardens. There is also an onsite restaurant and bar that welcome you after a day of swimming.
The resort itself is actively figuring out ways to reduce its carbon footprint by the recent dug out of two wells and it’s associated research of how to filter the water for their guests. They also built the resorts with low impact construction and last year purchased a generator that uses half of the energy of normal generators.
- Price range: US$400 per night for a private beachfront house, cheaper rates for single rooms on property.
- How to get there: The international airport in Phuket is about 2.5 hours away with an option to arrange transportation to the resort.
Koh Jum Lodge
Sitting on Koh Jum Island off the western coast of Thailand, Koh Jum Lodge offers a tropical retreat away from the mass tourist spots. Designed with 19 wooden cottages on a coconut palm plantation, this resort provides privacy with your very own bathroom, terrace and hammock in each cottage. There is also a library on site, stocked with multi language books, games, and a large TV.
Instead of bulldozing the land in order to build its structures, the lodge careful constructed around the existing trees. They also practice mulching instead of burning organic matter.
- Price range: Seasonal variations with prices averaging $170 per night for two people.
- How to get there: Once landing at the Krabi airport, you’ll take a minibus over to the pier of Laem Kruad. Then you’ll take a 40 minute boat ride to the island resort.
3 – Australia
Located in the Pacific, this large country surrounded completely by water serves as a destination for city hoppers and Great Barrier Reef visitors. But there’s more. Australia hosts a large amount of different habitats and climates including forest, jungle, mountains, deserts and more. Northern Queensland, located in the north eastern portion of the country, provides the opportunity to explore beautiful nature, both land and water.
Bloomfield Lodge near Cairns
Located in North Queensland, the remote Bloomfield Lodge combines remoteness with luxury allowing one to be lost while still feeling at home. Here you’ll get the chance to explore the Great Barrier Reef while helping to offset your carbon footprint. Each of the 17 natural timber rooms offer a view of the rainforests surrounding the resort. The rainforest room also provides a partial sea view. Complimentary guest laundry is also available on site.
The lodge earns its Eco-friendly reputation by using recycled products and materials, outfitting their vessels with low emission 4 stroke outboards and using solar energy to heat the swimming pool and run their phone system.
- Price range: Prices vary with each room with the Rainforest room rate at $368 per night per person.
- How to get there: Private road, flight and boat transfers are available from Cairns airport or from your hotel in Cairns.
Silky Oaks Lodge
Located on the Mossman Gorge River, you'll find different tree house accommodations that embodied the definition of luxury. Each room is fitted with wooden floors, an en-suite marble bathroom with a walk in rain shower and a private balcony that looks out to Daintree National Park. There is also a tree house restaurant and spa on site.
When the Silky Oaks Lodge was originally built, it was built on farmed and cleared land. Over the last 25 years, the resort has replanted and allowed the land to regenerate to its original rainforest habitat. The resort also practices using energy efficient light bulbs, environmentally responsible cleaning products, recycled paper sourcing, local produce for their restaurant and more.
- Price range: Prices vary with choice of room with the Treehouse Studio room rate at $398 per night for two people. Rates include yoga classes, mountain bikes and guided rainforest walks.
- How to get there: Fly into Cairns and then drive about an hour north to the lodge.
4 – Jamaica
Serving as one of the most popular islands in the Caribbean, Jamaica acts as a hot spot for international visitors from around the world. Here you’ll find miles and miles of beaches, waterfalls, jungle, reefs, boating, mountains, coffee farms and more.
Bay View Eco Resort & Spa
Built within thirty acres, Bay View Eco Resort overlooks The Turtle Crawl Cove and is 10 minutes away from local beaches. Each room comes with a private baloney, a king size bed, an en-suite bathroom and satellite TV. If staying in the Junior Suite, you'll find a kitchenette for an added homely touch.
In order to keep up with environmentally friendly standards, the resort uses solar panels and various windows for lighting. They also use water saving fixtures, non-toxic pest control and chemicals and provide their guest with opportunities in Eco-tourism.
- Price range: Season variations with an average of $150 per night for two people
- How to get there: There are two choices, Montego Bay Airport and Kingston Airport. Each require the rental of a car or bus ride to and from.
Hotel Mockingbird Hill
Located close to beaches and forest, Hotel Mockingbird Hill offers up opportunities to relax at the shore as well as cater to your adventurous side. When you first walk into your room, you'll find large plantation style windows that welcome the cool breeze and natural sunlight of the region. You'll also find a balcony where you can watch the local hummingbirds dart between the numerous flowers outside your room as the complete their daily feed.
Known as Jamaica’s most environmentally friendly hotel, staying here allows for visitors to learn more about carbon offsetting and Eco-friendly practices such as buying naturally based, close to source products, waste management and the avoidance of pesticides, insecticides and other harmful chemicals.
- Price range: Room rates vary due to season and room type with the Garden View room priced at $345 during high season for two people per night.
- How to get there: Visitors can choose to fly into Montego Bay Airport or Kingston Airport. Each require the rental of a car or bus ride to and from.
5 – Hawaii
Located in the middle of the Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands offer up a large variety of activities that cater to exploring the local environment. Here you’ll find beaches (both sand and rocky), cliffs, jungle, mountains, volcanoes, reefs, cities and small fishing towns.
Volcano Guest House
At this location, Hawaiian luxury is mixed in with a homely atmosphere. If staying in the ‘Akala lodge, you'll be greeted with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. Each bedroom has it's own private bath and a queen size bed with an electric mattress. You'll also find a full kitchen where you can prepared your fresh fruits and vegetables.
Hawaiian lifestyle is strongly based on the care of the local environment. Here, at Volcano Guest House, you’ll find that the owners strongly adhere to this way of life by chemical free gardening, line drying linens, clothes and towels and by using a greenhouse to grow local foods.
- Price range: $220 per night for two to four people in the ‘Akala cottage.
- How to get there: Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, visitors can reach Volcano Guest House by landing at either Hilo Airport or Kona Airport. Renting a car is necessary.
Maui Eco Retreat
The off-the-grid Maui Eco Retreat is located in the jungle offering visitors a chance to hike and explore while coming back to the lap of luxury. If you choose the Bamboo Temple room, you'll find breath taking amenities such as a large vaulted ceiling made entirely of bamboo along with your own en-suite large bathroom and kitchen area. The prize jewel of this room is the floor to ceiling wall made entirely of glass that allows you to both watch the waves during the day and view the stars at night.
Keeping up with the Eco-friendly theme, you’ll find solar panels, wells, a generator that runs off of bio-diesel, compost, and a strong emphasis on recycling and permaculture gardens. As an added bonus, you’ll also find a bee hive that produces honey and helps to pollinate the fruit trees found within the property.
Price range: Prices vary depending on room with the Bamboo Temple room starting off at $238 per night for two people.
How to get there: Visitors land in Kahului Airport on Maui and then can either rent a car or hire a taxi.
6 – Panama
Panama is the southernmost country in Central America and boosts a large variety of climates, habitat, plant species and wildlife species. Bordered by Costa Rica and Columbia and host to two coastlines, Panama is a great place to plan an eco-friendly adventure, family vacation or honeymoon. This region is home to quite a few Caribbean overwater bungalow resorts, most of which are true eco-resorts.
Eclypse de Mar Aqualodge
Located on the eastern coast of Panama, this resort offers up a unique version of luxury with bungalows perched over the water. With bungalows spread over the water, you'll have ultimate privacy with your very own private terrace. Each bungalow has it's own bathroom, two bedrooms and glass floor windows so that you can watched the sea life right below you.
Here you’ll find many different activities available including hiking and snorkeling. You’ll also have the opportunity to search for wildlife and learn about how Eclypse de Mar Aqualodge is working with ANAM and the local community to develop broader protection for the local green iguana. The resort itself uses electricity produced by solar panels while the water is filtered from a natural spring close by.
- Price range: Rate is $250 per night for two people
- How to get there: After flying into Panama at Panama City, visitors will fly over to Bocas Del Toro archipelago and then can take a taxi to the Bastimentos boat dock. From there, you’ll take a boat over to the resort.
Los Quetzales Ecolodge & Spa
Located in the middle of a highland cloud forest in Volcan Baru National Park, adventurous visitors will find both luxury and nature all in one. Here you’ll get the chance to stay overnight inside a national park where you’ll find several different species of wildlife right at your door. In order to help preserve the forest, Los Quetzales owns 400 hectares of the Chiriqui river watershed and practices low water use, reforestation and more.
If staying in one of their cabins, you'll find a kitchen, fireplace, private bathroom, hot water and a marine band radio that allows you to communicate with the lodge, restaurant, reception and tour guides. If wanted, guests can request a cook from the restaurant come to the room to prepare a meal.
- Price range: Basic package (stay in a suite or cabin) is priced at $180 per person per night.
- How to get there: After flying into David, visitors have the option of renting a car, hiring a taxi or arranging transportation to and from the resort.
By Rachel Campbell
Rachel is an avid adventurer that can be found hiking or freediving and who travels the world via truck bed camping and house sits. She is also a photographer, writer and editor whose work can be found at TreePotTravels.com