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There’s a bit of confusion surrounding what to do for the good of travel these days. While the benefit of journeying to new countries and spending valuable tourist dollars can hardly be argued with, travel’s impact upon the environment has become a subject of great debate.
Thankfully, ecotourism is here to fight the corner of the conscience-troubled traveler.
The great thing about the eco-hostels listed below is their commitment to a form of sustainable travel that’s with Mother Nature, not against her.
In many ways, ecotourism in Costa Rica sets the standard across the globe. And the area of Monteverde is probably the jewel in its crown. Here rickety bridges thrust through cotton white clouds atop a forest that’s as astoundingly diverse in wildlife as it is beautiful in scenery.
Everything about this heavenly eco-hostel – a stone’s throw from the Green Mountain – is geared towards the environment. The ‘casitas’ themselves are gorgeous cabins decked out in rustic furniture, while the hostel’s reforestation project is devoted to saving endangered local wildlife.
The owners are self-confessed wildlife fanatics. Costa Rica ecotours are becoming increasingly famous worldwide, and the uninitiated traveler could do much worse than take a guided tour with owner, Freddy, who’ll happily show you everything this amazing area can offer.
CEL describes itself very humbly as ‘the decent place to stay’. Everything here is based on sustainability, from the organic produce in the hostel’s shop to its advanced permaculture systems (there’s even a naturally heated swimming pool!).
Set amongst the serenely rolling hills of Girona’s lush countryside, CEL is a wonderful refuge from the modern world. Grab a book, enjoy the food, take long walks and admire the scenery – as CEL themselves put it: this hostel is all about ‘relaxing in a peaceful environment’.
Our last two hostels prove that you don’t have to trek deep into the jungle to find accommodation that respects its surroundings. Ecotourism is a concept, not a region, and it doesn’t have to consign itself to one side of the rural/urban divide.
HI-Washington aims to be a ‘steward of the environment’. Its walls are painted with low VOC paint, while its carpets are made from recycled materials. There’s also an extensive recycling program in place and monthly documentary showings based around environmental topics.
Edinburgh may be a bustling city, but in High Street Hostel it boasts something very special in environmental terms. The hostel, you see, claims to be 100% carbon neutral. That’s right – a fun, vibrant hostel in a city that leaves no carbon footprint whatsoever.
And it’s a claim that High Street Hostel backs up. Not only does it source its electricity from renewable and non-nuclear supplies, but it also owns and maintains a 75 hectare woodland that absorbs more than the hostel’s total CO2 emissions.
Excited by these eco-hostels? Check out our eco-hostels video on YouTube