We recycle our trash, check how far our food has traveled, and try to live as eco-friendly as possible.
But what about our annual vacation? Can All-Inclusive also be sustainable eco-tourism?
The answer is a definitive yes.
“With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and trans-formative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable. As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.” – United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon
Thinking about traveling to an eco-friendly all-inclusive resort? Here are a few to choose from:
Hotel Xcaret – Riviera Maya
The award-winning Hotel Xcaret is surrounded by impressive gardens, natural river formations and a private cove. Designed to utilize the natural environment in creative ways, such as incorporating the limestone caves into the Spa (as treatment rooms) and a beachside restaurant complex (Las Cuevas), the Hotel Xcaret sits on the same grounds as Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park, which is just a short gondola ride away from the resort (or you can take a luxury air-conditioned bus for a quicker ride).
The park is committed to the education and preservation of local history, culture, and wildlife, with interactive exhibits featuring sharks, dolphins, jaguars, manatees, turtles, butterflies, flamingos and more. Entrance to Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park (as well as Xel-Ha, Xplore, Xplore Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xenotes, Xichen and a new park Xavage) is currently complimentary for guests of Hotel Xcaret (at this time, but this could change, please check with your travel agent when booking).
Riu Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Recognized and certified as a sustainable company by the National Tourism Institute of Costa Rica, Riu Guanacaste is Blue Flag Certified for having Costa Rica’s third cleanest beach. Here they also use a special method of Ozone Laundry, reducing water usage, energy consumption and of course reduced use of harmful chemicals. This healthy balance ensures the running of protection programs for endangered species, allowing for the recovery of flora and fauna, and the resort is also an active participant in the Coral Reef Restoration Program at Playa Matapalo. A fantastic family resort, Riu Guanacaste will provide your 4- to 12-year-old children with fun and games at their RiuLand Mini Club.
To promote and classify the country’s eco resorts, the Costa Rican Tourism Board (ICT) has developed an initiative called the Sustainability Certification Program. This program provides detailed guidelines for hotels to promote environmental programs and sustainable practices. Eco resorts in Costa Rica are rated on a scale of one to five leaves (five being the most eco-friendly options), which take into account three basic categories: Administration of Cultural and Natural Resources, Economic Success that Contributes to National Development, and Quality of Life Improvements in Surrounding Communities. Individual factors within each category include recycling projects, reduced energy consumption, hiring from within local communities, and the use of eco-friendly cleaning products.
Hacienda Tres Rios, Mexico
A clean and green stay is guaranteed at the Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Spa and Nature Park, with their Rivera Maya All-Inclusive package. In addition to all the advantages of going all-inclusive, the resort is proud to be as eco-friendly as possible and follows a code of conduct called the Tres Rios Ecology Mission. Within this mission statement, they promise to:
- To be the leading model for sustainable luxury tourism in the Mexican Caribbean.
- To guarantee the enduring, intelligent and responsible use of the property’s jungle, mangrove, dune and marine ecosystems.
- To guarantee the long-term preservation of the ecosystems’ environmental functions, flora and fauna.
- To provide exceptional vacation experiences for guests of Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort.
Worth noting that their on-site nature park uses only 150 of the 326 acres available to the resort. The rest is left to flourish as a natural eco-system, unimpeded by human impact and the destruction caused by development.
Copa de Arbol, Costa Rica
Do you like your eco holiday to come with a little luxury and unusual accommodation? Then look no further than the Copa de Arbol Beach and Rainforest Resort off Costa Rica’s bio-diverse Oso Peninsula.
Here you can enjoy a stay in one of their eleven newly constructed eco-cabins, all featuring stunning design and magnificent views of the surroundings. Those surroundings include 70 acres of rain-forest reserve between Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park, a breathtaking beach, and a cascading infinity pool – all off the beaten track. There’s no TV (although there is WiFi if you simply must reach out to the working world.) Instead, unplug, and channel your energy on the Yoga Pavilion, or listen to the chattering monkeys high in the trees. Hike, relax, and enjoy an all-inclusive with a very sustainable difference. Like to see more? Watch this video of Copa de Arbol.
El Dorado Resorts, Mexico
They say a good meal makes a great vacation, and the menu is certainly extensive over at any of the El Dorado Spa Resorts in Rivera Maya, Mexico. These Adults Only AAA Four-Diamond resorts boast a level of service, style and personal attention that is certainly very grown-up.
Apart from all this luxury and style, the destination is an incredibly rich diversity of topography, geography and demography. An innovative project sees fresh vegetables, herbs and spices are all cultivated, grown and harvested in the El Dorado Royale 70,000 sq ft greenhouse, ensuring that local food only is served as part of the amazing dining experience. Food miles? Not here.
It’s perfectly possible to discover sustainability on your next All-inclusive vacation, on lots of levels, whether it’s simply a resort that employs local residents, grows their own food, or go all out to provide an eco-experience. Perhaps you have already enjoyed a particular eco all-inclusive vacation? Do let us know about it!