Sustainable Travel Around the World
Eco-Conscious Experiences and Places to Stay
Lonely Planet images reproduced with permission from Lonely Planet © 2020
Published in March 2020, Lonely Planet’s, Sustainable Escapes, is a guidebook for our time. Featuring eco-lodges with cutting-edge sustainability to city properties meeting the challenges of erasing carbon footprints to tours and volunteer activities designed to protect wildlife and empower communities, this lavishly-illustrated 256 page resource is both inspiring and a call to action as we all re-assess our engagement with travel in the future. We offer readers a sample of 11 exciting opportunities that could be found in their home country and abroad – yes, sustainable tourism is growing everywhere!
Scroll down to each photo and its matching Sustainable Travel adventure immediately below.
This former colonial cattle ranch on Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau has been transformed into East Africa’s largest black rhino sanctuary. While staying at Ol Pijeta Conservancy, activities include classic vehicle game drives and intimate eco-friendly experiences including safaris on horseback, on bikes and on foot. Besides camping at the Conservancy, accommodation in cottages and a budget-friendly former stables is also available.
Embrace off-the-grid glamping in Estonia’s Lahemaa National Park, soak in a unique outdoor mineral bath and forage ingredients for your supper from the nearby forest. Built with natural and reclaimed materials and designed to create the smallest environmental impact possible, Projekt Kodu Retreat is home to Easteern Europe’s most rewarding eco-camp with twice-daily yoga and water beds for stargazing.
Just 90 minutes north of the capital Quito, Yunguilla Community Tourism Project in Ecuador allows guests to hike the cloud forest with a local guide, eat with local families and stay in their homes. Reclaiming land from a former large hacienda, a group of residents launched a cooperative in the 1990s to restore the region’s natural environment and successfully develop one of Ecuador’s longest running projects of its kind. You may visit Yunguilla for the day or sleep over with full room and board experience per person from US$90 per night.
A modern hybrid freighter/passenger ship, the Aranui 5, makes a 13-day supply circuit around the Marquesas Islands from Tahiti every 2.5 weeks. It sleeps up to 254 passengers with a trip not only offering a rare taste of Polynesian cultural life but also an opportunity to visit parts of the island group virtually impossible to see unless you have a personal sea-going yacht. The ship is designed to reduce its environmental impact, while recycling all waste, desalinating seawater for use on board and training staff to identify and fight against invasive species. Get a feel for this rewarding daily experience in our Travel Article Library’s feature article about cruising aboard the company’s earlier vessel, Aranui 3.
The villagers of tiny Mawlynnong in India’s northern state of Meghalaya started cleaning up their community after a cholera outbreak in British colonial times, and today the whole village is involved in making this the cleanest village in the country. Women have a leading role in this matrilineal society of the Khasi tribe, with 100% female literacy. Travelers who stay in the village’s network of rustic homestays are invited to help out and to learn about this fascinating culture.
Set in 11 hectares of parkland cascading down the hillside toward Lake Garda, LeFay Resort & Spa in northern Italy projects stylish glamor, but behind that image is some serious eco-tech sustainability. Elegant rooms beneath living green roofs, all local produce to dine on including olive oil pressed on the lakeshore, and bed linen made from untreated natural fibers are a few examples of dedication to sustainability.
Stay in one-of-a-kind accommodations in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia at Skwachàys Aboriginal Lodge & Gallery. Here you will immerse in the rich tradition of west coast indigenous art in both public areas and by staying in one of the 18 suites that have been distinctively designed by six of Vancouver’s top hotel designers partnered with six Indigenous artists to created stunning art installations in every room. The lodge and gallery also support indigenous art by using a portion of the profits to subsidize 24 housing units for artists in the same restored Victorian building. Guests may participate in a number of cultural learning programs while staying at this eco-conscious property.
Learn about the tough, demanding life of Mongolia’s nomads by spending time sleeping in a traditional ger (yurt), tending livestock, making dried curds and fermented mare’s milk and sharing meals with locals. Visits may include horseback, camel or yak riding as families move from one site to another in search of grasslands for their livestock. There is a Mongolian tour operator who plans and supervises experiences to suit guest time and interests.
Here at Ridge to Reef Farm in the US Virgin Islands is a chance to learn and volunteer at a Caribbean organic-certified farm, absorbing new sustainability skills while sleeping in a solar-powered cabin off the grid in a tropical paradise. You may treat this visit as a workshop/learning experience in permaculture, agroforestry and sustainable living, or get your hands dirty by working in agricultural fields, a tilapia pond and cooking up your yield in a community kitchen.
Vienna, Austria’s Boutique Hotel Stadthalle claims to be the world’s first zero-energy balance urban hotel to fully service its 76-room accommodation near the charming city center. There’s a 10% discount if you arrive by bike or public transport! You will want to spend multiple days exploring within the famous, mostly vehicle-free Vienna Ringstrasse where modern day life intersects perfectly with rich history and non-stop outdoor music and singing, stunning architecture and delicious indoor and outdoor café culture. Much to do is free, as you will see from the feature article in our collection “Exploring Vienna on a Tight Budget“.
Nestled in the heart of Namibia’s massive Palmwag Concession, this Desert Rhino Camp is one of seven run by Wilderness Safaris in conjunction with local communities and Save the Rhino Trust. Under the leadership of expert guides, expect to see an exciting range of animals, while back at camp, you will be treated to gourmet Namibian-style meals, and a good night’s sleep in your tent with energy-efficient lights and appliances, and hot water provided by solar-powered geysers.
Sustainable Escapes recommended by 18 Lonely Planet authors
Hard cover, 258 pages, 1st Edition, March 2020
ISBN-13 :978-1788689441; ISBN-10 :1788689445
Available in local book stores or through internet outlets such as Amazon
In the Sustainable Escapes guidebook, there are nearly 180 escapes to choose from, organized across five themes: Nature, Relaxation, Culture, Urban and Learning, to make it easy to find the perfect getaway in every corner of the world. Examples include tracking rare black rhinos in Namibia to a local freighter cruise between islands of French Polynesia, or a redesigned Indigenous art and culture hotel in Vancouver to an innovative community tourism project in Cuba.
Each escape is labelled with the key sustainability features to enjoy while staying at the accommodation or participating on the tour – whether it’s wildlife spotting, sustainable dining, conservation opportunities, homestays, expert talks and more. Also included is what makes each retreat so special, what you can do there, what is on its doorstep, and contact details.