I truly believe that one of life’s greatest joys is travelling the world to see beautiful sites, experience unique cultures, and try delicious food. However, with the deterioration of our world’s natural climate and society’s new focus on environmental sustainability, that joy is often clouded with guilt – taking one round-trip flight pumps more carbon dioxide into the air than some countries output in a year. It’s hard not to think of stats like this while relaxing into a cozy window seat, taking in the beauty of a planet that may look completely different in a few years if we don’t change our ways. With saying that, I don’t think quitting travel is the answer to all of our problems.

Thankfully, there’s a number of ways that we can offset the environmental impact of travel, like seeking out eco-friendly accommodations. Plus, finding a solar powered treehouse or middle-of-the-forest yurt to stay in is easier than ever with services like Airbnb. To get you started on your first eco-friendly adventure, we put together a list of seven gorgeous eco-stays to visit in some of the most desired vacation spots around the world. Bon voyage!

 

1. Azulik Tulum

For those seeking a getaway that’s off the grid, on-the-beach, and away from the kids, Azulik Tulum is awaiting your arrival. All rooms are WIFI and electricity free, making it the perfect place to totally unplug for days at a time. Azulik’s villas are constructed from all-natural materials like wood branches and massive palms leaves, and the drinking water is sourced from an on-site well. This resort provides you the opportunity to reconnect to nature, though it looks like it could only exist in an under-the-sea fairy tale. How beautiful?

2. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort

Not to be mistaken for your typical family camping trip, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is an opulent tented safari in the heart of Tofino, B.C. Besides offering its guests top of the line services and an endless list of activities, Clayoquot is committed to providing sustainable accommodations. All of the furniture at Clayoquot is built from wood found on the resort’s property and a composting system helps reduce unnecessary waste. All single-use plastic and Styrofoam products are banned from the resort as well, and to top off it’s remarkable views, Clayoquot allows guests the opportunity to participate in cleaning marine debris in wildlife habitats as part of their commitment to the Salmon Enhancement and Habitat Restoration program.

3. Papaya Playa Project

Also nestled inside of Tulum’s lush jungle, Papaya Playa Project’s mission prior to opening its doors was to reimagine hospitality so that it melded local culture and sustainability together. Offering luxurious, minimally styled rooms, Papaya Playa Project strives to be a zero emissions resort. It operates on solar energy and uses some of the latest eco-friendly technology to provide its own clean water, recycling it into irrigation systems. The building of the Papaya Playa Project also kept 93 per cent of the jungle surrounding it intact, making your stay an extra special one in between its tall trees and rich vegetation.

4. Geysir Cottage

Photo: Airbnb

If Airbnb’s low rates are more attractive to you, this gorgeous country cottage is a must-see. In the heart of the famous Golden Circle Route that covers nearly 300 kilometres from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland, the home was built to reflect the Icelandic landscape and complement the vegetation in the area. It’s also heated by geothermal water and energy, and makes your dreams of heading to a “summer house” come true.

5. Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Deep within North Queensland, Australia, a deluxe eco-friendly resort called Thala Beach Nature Reserve resides. In the 70s, local Australian government tried to develop the rainforest that Thala Beach Nature Reserve sits on by clearing its crops. Fortunately, founder Rob Prettejohn purchased the land, planted more crops to rehabilitate what’d been destroyed, and built a retreat that lived harmoniously with them, making it a natural sanctuary. Today, the property is named one of National Geographic’s Unique Natural Lodges of the World and the rainforest around it continues to thrive. If an open-aired, tree-top bungalow is your idea of a romantic vacay, then Thala Beach Nature Reserve is where you should stay.

6. Ecomama Hotel

For all kinds of quirky, head to Ecomama in Amsterdam. This hotel/hostel is more than budget-friendly, offering everything from “hipster” five bed, dorm-style rooms to “shabby cabins” and family suites. Located in the centre of the city and founded on principles of social innovation and environmental consciousness, Ecomama was constructed using fair trade materials. The building also uses a conservative water system, performs stringent waste management practices, and Ecomama itself donates one euro per night of every guest’s stay to a Guatemalan non-profit called Niños de Guatemala, which provides underprivileged children with an education. Overall, Ecomama offers peace of mind over luxury. And when the business’ intentions are as good as they are, we’re fine with it.

7. Cozy Cabin On The Bay

Photo: Airbnb

For Airbnb-ers who want to be off the grid and close to the city at the same time, this cabin in the woods couldn’t get any better. Located on the Gatineau River just 15 minutes from Downtown Ottawa, the picturesque tiny house checks all the boxes – it uses a composting toilet, all electricity on the property is solar powered, and heat is generated by a wood stove. With only a short drive between the cabin and civilization, you get to experience the soothing silence of being on the water. Just look at the surroundings in the winter!

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