Eco-Friendly Lodging

We've tracked down various eco-tourism options for your next earth-friendly trip.
By: Rose Edmonds

Eco-friendly vacations come in all shapes and sizes. Travelers looking for a green vacation can enjoy all the comforts of a luxury resort in an earth-conscious setting. Or they can choose to take a more outdoorsy adventure and rough it in basic cabins in the heart of nature. We've tracked down various eco-tourism options for your next earth-friendly trip.

Cedar Creek Treehouse
Ashford, Washington
Travelers can escape to a fantasy treehouse in the canopy of giant cedar tree. The Cedar Creek Treehouse borders the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and is about 10 miles from Mount Rainier National Park. Up to 5 adults can camp in the treehouse, located 50 feet above ground in the cedar tree branches. Facilities include a gas stove, icebox, kitchen sink and small bathroom. Guests can spend the day swimming and fishing in the clear stream in front of the tree or exploring the wilderness of the nearby forest.

Guadalupe, Panama
Solar and hydropower
Glimpses of quetzal birds are one of the treats of staying at ecotreat in Panama's La Amistad International Park. The park straddles the countries of Panama and Costa Rica and is known for its lush greenery and exotic wildlife. The cabins of ecotreat are supplied with power garnered from a combination of the sun and water. Private cook service is available for an additional or guests can provide their own provisions. Cabins accommodate up to 6 people with 3 bedrooms, full kitchen and bathroom. Guest pickup and drop off service is provided in the nearest town of David.

Dobson House
Taos, New Mexico
Dobson House offers the luxury of a top-notch bed and breakfast in an eco-friendly setting. The 6,000-square-foot solar adobe structure is an "earthship" built with recycled materials. The décor and views are pure Southwest with plenty of scenery, including the Rio Grand Gorge. The B&B has 2 suites with separate sleeping and sitting areas that accommodate up to 4 guests. Breakfast includes Mexican baked eggs, ricotta cheese pancakes and Texas pecan biscuits. Refreshments are served in the afternoon; dinner is available at an extra charge.

Hobbit House
Naalehu, Hawaii
Solar and wind
Reachable only by 4-wheel drive, Hobbit House is up a remote mountain trail near the south end of the Big Island of Hawaii. Power at the resort is provided by a combination of solar panels and wind. Most of the hot water comes from solar heat. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a short 30-minute drive away. The black sands of Punalu'u Beach area are about 10 miles away and great place to see whales, dolphins and endangered sea turtles.

Gaviota Coral Reef Resort
Tobacco Caye, Belize
Solar and wind
Gaviota Coral Reef Resort is located on the tiny island of Tobacco Caye at the opening of a huge barrier reef, making it an ideal vacation for divers and snorkelers. The eco-resort is completely powered by wind and solar energy. Guests can spend their time out of the water seeing the sights with guided tours or trying their hand at fishing.

Kanimbla View
Blackheath, Australia
Located on 12 acres in the Blue Mountains of Australia, Kanimbla View is an eco-tourist's dream retreat. Just 2 hours outside Sydney, guests can escape the city pace for the resort's serene settings. With spacious 2-tiered lounge/living areas, soft Indonesian furnishings, and patio and bush areas, the cottages at Kanimbla refuse to sacrifice comfort for ecology. That said, the buildings were built from a combination of natural timbers and recycled materials and are insulated with Polywool. Power comes from the sun, water is conserved and the toilets are composting models.

Maho Bay Camps
St. John, US Virgin Islands
Solar and wind
Maho Bay is recognized as a pioneer of eco-tourism. The resort's goal is to create memorable vacations in the beautiful setting of St. John without sacrificing the delicate ecosystem of the island. Maho Bay Camps actively recycles, augments its water supply with rain collection and carefully plans all new buildings to avoid damaging the pristine setting of St. John. The resort offers a full array of water sports from diving to wind surfing. Nature lovers will enjoy hiking into the nearby Virgin Island National Park to explore the fauna and flora.

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