Published in Nexos on September 2, 2022, in Peru.
Sustainable architecture, efficient use of energy and water, waste management, reduction of plastics and use of organic products are some of the practices being carried out to accompany this trend.
On the one hand, a deep interest in tourism that mobilizes hundreds of millions of people every year to discover the most fascinating corners of the planet. On the other hand, obvious environmental problems are increasing globally. Faced with this scenario, some time ago certain destinations and tourism companies began to adopt policies that contribute to a more environmentally friendly way of traveling. Here are three destinations and companies in which nature is the main protagonist and some of their practices to enjoy them without overlooking the conservation and care of the natural environment.
Winner of the award for Best Eco-Sustainable Luxury Hotel in South America in 2019 by the World Luxury Hotel Awards and mentioned by Conde Nast as one of the best sustainable hotels in the region, Hotel Las Islas, a member of Leading Hotels of the World, was conceived with the mission of respecting the environment. Located in Barú, 45 minutes from Cartagena, its proposal invites guests to connect with nature -without sacrificing comfort- and collaborate with positive impact actions. Its 55 bungalows (23 at sea level, 32 at high altitude overlooking the sea and the tropical dry forest) were built without cutting down any trees, designed with sustainable materials and strategically located for the conservation of the native ecosystem, both marine and terrestrial.
For the treatment of water, one of the most precious natural resources, they created a desalination plant, a purification machine and wastewater treatment that allows the liquid to return to the land by drip. At the same time, given the importance of preserving the flora, fauna and different ecosystems, they planted approximately 11,000 native trees, planted corals and special protections on the seabed to care for the reefs in the vicinity of the hotel.
The organization of Hotel Las Islas is fully trained to provide the necessary information to guests and thus promote culture, sustainable tourism and the consumption of local products.
A hotel immersed in the purest nature, designed with all the comforts, the highest service and highlighted not only for implementing methods of low environmental impact, but also for reminding us that luxury, comfort and sustainability can go hand in hand.
The Virgin Islands, United States
Located in the West Indies, between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, this group of more than 50 islands of mountainous origin and tropical abundance enjoys some of the most dazzling landscapes on the planet. Paradisiacal beaches and islands that include six national parks of great biodiversity where conscious tourism and nature conservation are prioritized. Proposals for responsible hotels and eco-resorts, volunteer beach cleaning and reef protection, as well as restaurants that grow their own food and promote local production are some of the practices that can be seen on the islands.
One of the most important policies carried out since the ocean is the main protagonist is that tourists cannot use sunscreens containing the “3 toxic Os” (oxybenzone, octinoxate and octocrylene), which are prohibited by law in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thus, the use of non-nano mineral sunscreens made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the only sunscreen ingredients considered safe for both human health and the environment, is encouraged.
In turn, because of its geography, sailing is one of the main ways to discover the islands and one of the great sources of local employment thanks to the tourism that arrives every year. And Beyond Yacht Charters, based in the U.S. Virgin Islands and created by two nature lovers, was born with a common purpose: to share their passion for sailing while preserving natural areas and sharing their respect for wildlife. The love for the islands, for the sea and for every animal that inhabits it is evident in every activity and experience designed by its crew of professionals. On each yacht, the crew lives and works surrounded by nature, far from the challenges associated with modern life, and they make a week of sailing in the Caribbean have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of the people who experience it. On their way to a more responsible form of tourism, in addition to guiding their guests in responsible practices, they have been incorporating new policies such as the use of organic amenities that do not harm the ecosystem, boats with solar panels (such as the Dream Catcher and Sweet Ann Marie yachts), elimination of single-use plastics and consumption of local and seasonal products. A new -and positive- way of tourism, combining enjoyment and respect for our planet.
Bocas del Toro, Panamá
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Panama’s first National Marine Park, Bocas del Toro has become one of the most visited ecotourism destinations in Panama and is also one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. In this privileged natural environment is located La Coralina Island House, a property of 8 villas and 23 rooms designed and built with natural materials that blend in with the surrounding scenery. The different experiences proposed by the hotel combine high standards of service and quality with respect for natural raw materials, the conscious use of resources and low environmental impact practices.
Its gastronomic proposal focuses on fresh and seasonal local ingredients, a simple contemporary cuisine prepared by experts who collaborate with the consumption of local products.
Its spa, a sacred place hidden in the rainforest, proposes guests to relax and live a holistic wellness experience using organic products and ancient treatments that honor the cultures of the region.
La Coralina Bay is also home to Coral Nation, a non-profit organization committed to the preservation of marine ecosystems through the engagement of the region’s communities, scientific research and the protection of biodiversity. By establishing coral nurseries in the ocean and on land, they regenerate damaged coral reefs. They transplant coral clones in degraded areas of the reef, allowing marine life to return and strengthen the reef against future damage.
With spectacular views of the ocean, its proximity to the rainforest and wildlife and its fully equipped facilities, La Coralina invites us to experience its philosophy that living close to nature in a respectful way is the greatest luxury possible.