Responsible travel isn’t just for backpackers pitching a tent in remote locales. With the uptick of quality lodging at the intersection of environmental and social sustainability, it’s easier than ever to stay in eco-conscious luxury resorts around the globe without sacrificing comfortable amenities.

Tapping into technology to reduce carbon emissions, utilizing solar power and cutting down on single-use plastics is just the beginning of a long list these eco-conscious luxe resorts are undertaking to reduce their footprints. 

These green stays are worth the hype and they’re truly making a difference; these are the best resorts in the world that are offering luxury for guests as well as the environment. 

Tables and chairs are arrange around the courtyard overlooking a body of water filled with greenery; eco luxury resorts
Focused on sustainability and maintaining the forest for generations of locals and tourists to come, Rondon Ridge is the utmost in conscious luxury © David Kirkland / Rondon Ridge

Rondon Ridge, Mt Hagen, Papua New Guinea

On the upper crust of Kum Mountain in Papua New Guinea sits Rondon Ridge, one of the finest resorts in the country. Dedication to environmental and social sustainability sets this upscale lodge apart. Upon arrival, guests receive reusable water bottles for on-site filtered water. During off-site culture and nature tours, guests explore in an electric vehicle. 

Apartment-style rooms overlook the spectacular Wahgi Valley and are powered by a zero-emission hydroelectric system producing power from local mountain streams. The resort sustains the community by sharing clean energy, hiring local staff and sourcing produce directly from neighboring hill tribe farmers. 

Deforestation is a burgeoning issue, so Rondon Ridge works hand-in-hand with neighboring villagers to protect the surrounding forest from logging. Villagers are eager to protect the land in order to reap the financial benefits from tourism.

A large clear pool encircled by small lamps sits in front of a wooden pool-side restaurant; eco luxury resorts
In a country known for sustainability efforts, Cala Luna in Tamarindo, Costa Rica stands out among the rest © Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas

Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas, Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Eco-resorts may be a dime a dozen in Costa Rica but Cala Luna Boutique Hotel & Villas is an exception. The resort's transparent approach to weaving sustainability into all aspects truly makes an impact. The eco-resort is in a protected nature reserve for sea turtles on a semi-private wild beach. It received the highest sustainable tourism certification (level 5) from the Costa Rican Tourism Institute. 

In early 2019, Cala Luna unveiled one of the largest solar energy installations in Central America. The property has 1400 solar panels which offset 34 tons of energy usage and brings the property one step closer to achieving its carbon neutrality goal. 

Beyond clean energy, Cala Luna houses an organic garden to supply its farm-to-table restaurant – enjoy fine cuisine, organic wine and fresh-fruit cocktails complete with homemade bamboo straws. Additional produce is sustainably sourced from local vendors. 

Spacious guest rooms are cleaned with eco-friendly products and equipped with biodegradable toiletries. The open-air spa also uses all-natural ingredients. All of the furniture was produced in-house and the resort staff is mainly local.

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A hammock is tied to the side of a terrace, while a pair of chairs and a sofa fill the rest of the space on the wooden terrace; eco luxury resorts
High in the canopy and surrounded by a preserved rainforest, Copal in Punta Gorga, Belize is a luxurious nature-based experience © Copal Tree Lodge

Copal Tree Lodge, Punta Gorda, Belize

Surrounded by 22,000 acres of preserved rainforest in the Maa Mountains is Copal Tree Lodge and its 3,000-acre USDA-certified organic farm – the first of its kind in Belize. 70% of the food served at the Copal Tree’s open-air restaurant is produced on the farm while other ingredients, such as line-caught fish, are sourced from local purveyors. The resort offers guests hands-on learning about organic chocolate and sustainable farming.

The on-site Copalli Rum distillery produces estate rum made from organic sugar cane, canopy water and yeast from the farm. Sustainable regenerative biomass power the stills, supporting the full-circle conversion of waste and allowing the distillery to minimize its negative environmental impact. Excess water is used for liquid fertilizer on the farm. 

To help guests reduce waste, the resort provides aluminum water bottles and containers of potable water in guest rooms and throughout the property. Biodegradable garbage bags, takeaway containers and straws are used throughout. Guest rooms are adorned with sustainably harvested wood furniture handcrafted in-house from trees that fell naturally in the wild and the eco-lodge plants thousands of trees annually through its agroforestry program.

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A row of thatched-roof wooden structures line the edge of the ocean. Beneath the water you can see coral; eco luxury resorts
Surrounded by a protected reef, MahaRaja is an ideal escape for ocean lovers © MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge

MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge, Raja Ampat, Indonesia

The only genuinely eco-friendly dive resort in the world is in the MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Preserving nature is at the heart of everything at the lodge, making it one of the best places to see aquatic life. It’s the first dive shop to have boats with electric motors to prevent fuel and noise pollution in the ocean.

The eco-lodge owns the surrounding reef and banned fishing in the area to allow coral to heal naturally after years of fish bombing. The revitalized reef is a hotbed for sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, octopuses, sea stars, nudibranchs and more. Before exploring the underwater paradise, guests must pledge to respect all marine life without harassing, touching, feeding, harming or killing any sea creature and people may not stand on or kick the coral. 

MahaRaja aspires to have the smallest footprint possible. The property is mostly solar-powered. Overwater bungalows with unobstructed ocean views were hand-built by local staff using wood from 100 different family farms to limit deforestation. There’s no running water, but it’s far from roughing it. Fresh spring water is used for the western-style showers and toilets and the guest rooms are supplied with biodegradable toiletries, corn-based toothbrushes and mineral-friendly SPF. Vegan renditions of traditional Papuan meals are made with locally sourced produce.

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Aerial view of the Secret Bay Hotel which is built on a large cliff and surrounded by large trees; eco luxury resort
Secret Bay is ultra-luxe and the first hotel in Dominica to meet sustainability standards © Secret Bay

Secret Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica

An ultra-luxe resort that approaches hospitality through environmentalism, Secret Bay is a boutique resort with only ten sustainable luxury villas. The hotel is the recipient of a Green Globe Certificate, the first hotel in Dominica to pass the rigorous building and operating standards required to receive the recognition. Sustainable principles promote eco-friendly practices and are enforced by the eco-resort’s ‘Green Team’. 

Team members sign an agreement promising to adhere to the resort's mission of conservation measures including a program to recycle and compost waste. Wastewater is also repurposed via a drip irrigation drainage system. 

Energy conservation is another eco-conscious aspect of the property that utilizes LED lighting and energy-efficient appliances throughout the property. The villas were strategically designed to allow natural lighting and fresh air to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Suites are equipped with reusable glass bottles and Culligan water filtration systems. Locally-made all-natural toiletries are available in the guestrooms.

Secret Bay guests feast on exquisite meals prepared from natural resources around the property, such as speared Lionfish or foraged herbs and spices. Additional ingredients are purchased in bulk to reduce transportation fuel emissions. Secret Bay is dedicated to only using biodegradable food packaging.

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This article was originally published on September 20, 2019. 

This article was first published September 2019 and updated October 2021

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