Eco-Honeymoon: 7 Romantic Earth-Friendly Resorts

Don’t want to take a bite out of the planet on your honeymoon? Looking for a more meaningful experience than the average all-inclusives and tourist traps offer? You and your new spouse have more choices than ever.

Ecotourism is the fastest growing market in the tourism industry, according to the World Tourism Organization — and the trend is clear in the wealth of hotels and resorts that feature earth-friendly offerings.

“People want to connect with nature and have powerful experiences, not stand in lines or shop for souvenirs,” says Matt Kareus, marketing director at Natural Habitat Adventures, which offers eco-travel and wildlife-viewing tours in dramatic locales from the Arctic to New Zealand.

“More and more couples are choosing eco-friendly honeymoons,” agrees Anna Pezik, senior editor at Brides.com. “Couples are uncovering exotic, new, healthy ways to celebrate their nuptials, relax and have fun — while preserving the planet and giving back.”

Check out our top picks for eco-resorts that offer earth-friendly amenities in romantic, idyllic settings, every one perfect for a once-in-a-lifetime eco-conscious honeymoon.

1. Maho Bay Camp, St. John, Virgin Islands

Maho has offered its “Total Eco Experience” for nearly 30 years. Stay in any of 114 oceanside tent-cottages that are the ultimate in environmental retreats. Built by hand to avoid disturbing the natural environment, the tent-cottages are connected by elevated walkways that are raised to prevent soil erosion. While there is electricity, trade winds — not AC — cool the rooms. And you’ll bathe in a bathhouse, using biodegradable soap and pull-chain showers that drain into surrounding vegetation. The island of St. John is itself a veritable nature preserve, and this resort is considered the best eco-resort in the Caribbean. Enjoy beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and exceptional views of the ocean and Virgin Islands National Park. maho.org

2. The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa, Sonoma County, Calif.

For an eco-honeymoon with ultimate luxury and pampering, check out this legendary Fairmont property for high-end accommodations with eco add-ons. The Fairmont Resorts is acclaimed for its progressive Green Partnership program that includes a water-saving “keep your towel another day” option and progressive recycling and ecological conservation programs. And its Sonoma Mission Inn location is partnering with the Sonoma Ecology Center to preserve the nearby Sonoma Overlook Trail. Take an educational two-mile hike and support the Sonoma Overlook Trail Improvement Plan. You'll be helping the environment, but also returning to a hot shower, four-poster bed, television and well-stocked mini-bar. fairmont.com/sonoma

3. Uno Lodge at Copper Canyon, Chihuahua, Mexico

Hoping for a more remote, rustic setting where you can really commune with nature as you help protect it? Get it without giving up the comforts every newlywed couple deserves. Check out Uno Lodge, a must-see eco-travel destination. Perched atop a 6,000-foot precipice overlooking the Urique River and the surrounding Copper Canyon near Divisadero, the 12-room stone lodge is run in partnership with local Tarahumara Indians to help develop sustainable economic alternatives to logging. Rooftop solar arrays power guest room lighting and water heaters that afford a spalike experience in the lodge’s stonewalled showers. Wastewater is treated on-site and used to irrigate the permaculture landscaping. Luxurious comforts include fine linens and robes, gourmet meals in the rustic-refined dining room, and incredible panoramic canyon and river views. Hike down the steep gorge and get up close and personal with abundant birdlife, archeological ruins, and local villages where women create traditional handcrafts. canyontravel.com

4. Fiji Resort, Savusavu

Ranked as the #1 Most Environmentally Friendly Accommodation by Trip Advisor for 2007, this out-of-the-ordinary destination is owned by the son of the late Jacques Cousteau. Jean-Michel is dedicated to sharing his father’s and his own love of land and sea, and to sustaining the indigenous people of Fiji, their culture and their natural sense of hospitality. Green amenities include the first recycling program on Savusavu, meals created from the property’s organic gardens and edible landscaping, marine-life protection programs, and a new wastewater system using coconuts and recycled bottles to produce clean water in the property’s picturesque lagoons. fijiresort.com

5. Eden Beach Hotel, Bora Bora, Tahiti

Picture the two of you sharing an island-garden bungalow 200 feet from the water in the shade of coconut palms. This iconic resort on a private stretch of white-sand Eden Beach in Bora Bora’s turquoise-water lagoon is both pampering and planet-friendly. Opened in 2001 with just 15 bungalows, the small, environmentally friendly operation maintains a progressive recycling program, sea-life conservation programs, and 432 solar panels that run low-consumption lights, water heaters, water pumps and appliances. borabora.net

6. Yacutinga Lodge, Argentina

Recognized by the World Tourism Organization as one of the 60 model ecotourism enterprises in the world in 2003, Yacutinga Lodge boasts a private nature reserve in the heart of the Argentinean rainforest. Surrounded by the Iguazú National Park, this 1,400 acre wildlife and nature reserve area is part of the protected rainforest shared by Brazil and Argentina known as the “green corridor.” Native materials such as stones and large logs from fallen trees are used in architecture designed to integrate with the natural environment. Unique guest suites feature private views of the rainforest, and the restaurant features local, organically grown foods. The resort’s unique “Biological Station” supports rainforest preservation research. yacutinga.com

7. Six Senses Spa and Resorts

With more than 35 resorts around the world, many concentrated in Southeast Asia and parts of Europe, Six Senses’ extensive environmentally and socially responsible programs include water conservation and towel-reuse programs; extensive recycling and composting programs; use of energy-saving light bulbs; sustainably managed and certified timber sourcing; and use of renewable energy including biodiesel, biogas, solar and wind power, and even deep-sea cooling. Spa products are made only from natural ingredients, and the company reduces “food miles” by using fresh produce grown in on-site organic gardens. Six Senses also supports environmental programs that help offset the carbon emissions from its operations — as well as reef preservation initiatives to help protect the environment that makes many Six Senses locales so spectacular. sixsenses.com

Whatever your destination, travel responsibly to make your eco-honeymoon as small an environmental footprint as possible.


 

Additional Resources

Natural Habitat Adventures

Sustainable Tourism website of the Global Development Research Center

International Ecotourism Society

Eco-Chic Weddings by Emily Anderson

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