Eco Lodges: Central America

eco lodges, cabins and rural retreats in Central America and the Caribbean.

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Belize:

Big Falls Lodge - http://www.thelodgeatbigfalls.com
Big Falls
An intimate, family run jungle lodge in the village of Big Falls. Curiously there are no "big falls", its just a name! The lodge organises a range of activities both natural and more adventurous, as well as cultural experiences with the locals. The lodge works in partnership with local people and a range of conservation organisations to protect the surrounding rainforest.

Black Rock River Lodge - http://www.blackrocklodge.com
San Ignacio
First of the eco lodges around San Ignacio, the Black Rock, prides itself on its location first and foremost, and it certainly does afford spectactular views of the Maya Mountains, jungle and Rio Macal. Offers a range of trips and activities around Belize. Very eco-conscious using solar and hydro power only, composting, recycling and organic farming as part of an eco-friendly program.

Blancaneaux Lodge - http://www.blancaneaux.com
San Ignacio
Fantastic website for a very green lodge near San Ignacio. Surrounded by beautiful national park land the lodge gives guests the opportunity to interact with nature straight from their luxury cabins through a program of activities such as horse riding, hiking and mountain biking. Harvests hydroelectric energy, recycling program and an organic garden. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, director of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Casa Caballo Blanco - http://www.casacaballoblanco.com
San Ignacio
A family owned eco lodge, again near San Ignacio, with an on-site Avian sanctuary. Affords guests sweeping views of the surrounding countryside as well as comfortable accommodation and activities programs. The lodge takes pride in a sustainable approach, with a raft of sustainable measures including organic plantations for locals to farm in the grounds and, a nice touch, the provision of metal canteens for all guests to reduce the usage of plastic. Casa del Caballo Blanco is host to the Casa Avian Support Alliance which works in support of conservation of bio-diversity in Belize.

Cotton Tree Lodge - http://www.cottontreelodge.com
San Felipe
Well known new lodge that has been featured in the New York Times. Located next to a spectacular jungle river, the lodge offers the usual range of jungle activities as well as the unusual chocolate workshops, allowing guests to take part in all aspects of the chocolate making process. Lots of sustainable policy implementation, including solar power, organic farming, composting and reforestation to name but a few measures.

Hidden Valley Inn - http://www.hiddenvalleyinn.com
Cayo
A luxury lodge in the verdant rainforest of Belize, with its own collection of private waterfalls set in a private reserve. The conveniences are everything you would imagine from a high end lodge/hotel and they use a team of locals to conserve the large private reserve.

 

Table Rock Camp & Cabañas - http://www.tablerockbelize.com
San Ignacio
Very pretty and not expensive lodge that has been built up from abandoned farm land. They offer a range of activities, some of which are free and also have a range of easy trails around the reserve. The owners are also big on conservation with water harvesting, organic farming and replenishment of local mahogany stocks all part of their eco policy.

 

Caribbean:

Ecolodge Rendez-Vous, Saba -http://www.ecolodge-saba.com 

A small family-operated eco resort on the island of St Maartin surrounded by lush tropical vegetation -they have eleven 'cottages' made from eco-friendly and recycled materials, individually decorated by local artist Heleen Cornet; lighting and water heating is from solar power, toilets are composting type and rainwater is collected for re-use. They provide diving packages in association with Sea Saba Advanced Dive Centre.

Tiamo Resort - http://www.tiamoresorts.com
Bahamas
Beautiful Caribbean location with picturesque white sands and azure seas. Absolute luxury. Featuring the largest solar power facility of any hotel/lodge in Latin America, sustainably fished seafood, recycling, composting and no plastic allowed!

 

Costa Rica

Coyote Mountain Lodge, -http://www.cerrocoyote.com
 
 
La Cusinga Ecolodge and reserve - http://www.lacusingalodge.com
Uvita
La Cusinga Lodge is a coastal rainforest ecolodge dedicated to marine and terrestrial conservation and environmental education. One of the best places in the world to watch humpbacks, the lodge also offers a range of activities and wildlife experiences both in and out of the water. Uses hydroelectric and solar power, employs locals only and provides education on sustainability for the local community.
 
Lake Cota Ecolodge - http://www.ecolodgecostarica.com
Neuvo Arenal
First established in 1990, this lodge was created as a pilot for South America and was the first lodge built in Latin America using an economic endowment from the World Bank. Its mission is to preserve the environment and develop a true ecotourism program with 218 hectares of primary forest as a private reserve. It offers cabins with views of Lake Arenal and the volcano, and activities include fishing and birdwatching in the primary rainforest, and is a popular destination for honeymoon packages.
 
Lapa Rios Ecolodge -http://www.laparios.com
Pacific Coast
Award winning ecolodge built by John and Karen Lewis on a private nature reserve at the point where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean. The main lodge and bungalows are built of local, natural materials along three ridges connected by walking paths and steps. Built over 350 feet above the sea, Lapa Rios catches the cooling tropical breezes. Climb further to overlook the forest canopy and breathtaking ocean vistas. A huge range of activities are on offer including birding tours, overnight jungle walks, yoga, fishing, sustainability talks or football with the locals.
 
La Paloma Lodge -http://www.lapalomalodge.com
Drake Bay
Sitting on a high bluff overlooking Drake Bay, the lodge extends over twelve acres of tropical rainforest. The accommodation is in rooms and ranchos that open up on to the west to catch the cooling breezes coming in from the Pacific Ocean.
 
Luna Lodge - http://www.lunalodge.com
Carate
Well known, award winning and extremely popular lodge in the jungle close to Costa Rica's Pacific coast. It offers all the usual amenities together with impressive views over the surrounding jungle and the ability to mix with the local wildlife. Features organic gardens and environmentally friendly policies.
 
Sabalo Lodge - http://www.sabalolodge.com
Corcovado national park
Budget lodge situated next to mangrove and jungle ecosystems. Offers a large range of activities including mountain biking, kayaking, hiking and trips for whale watching, snorkeling and scuba diving. Sustainability and low impact is a major concern for the owners so they use recycling, water reharvesting and organic cooking to help the environment.
 
Saladero Lodge -http://www.saladerolodge.com
Dolfo Dulce
Nestled between the luxuriant green mountains of the Piedras Blancas National Park and the turquoise waters of Costa Rica's Golfo Dulce, Finca Saladero is an environmentally sensitive 480 acre private preserve. Their goal is to provide to travelers the opportunity to observe wildlife in a sustainable fashion while enjoying the comfortable accommodation. Their green approach includes energy supplied by hybrid system of solar power and hydro, composting of organic waste, grey water recycling and use of organic produce. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, snorkeling or dolphin watching or trek the forest accompanied by the sounds of tree frogs and howler monkeys.
 
Selva Banito, Limom - http://www.selvabananito.com
Award winning and extremely eco-conscious lodge set in mountainous jungle near the coast. Also provides a wide range of activities for individuals and groups but their main mission is focused on eco-sustainability, with no electricity, carbon offsetting and reforestation only a small part of the environmental policy.
 
Terrapin Lodge - http://www.terrapinlodge.com
Carate
Beautiful lodge located in dense jungle, but also close to the coast. Provides guests with a myriad of activities as well as providing information and assistance for onward travel in Costa Rica. Uses hydro and solar power only along with composting and recycling.

 

Dominica

3 Rivers http://www.3riversdominica.com
Small award winning, eco lodge set in a lush rainforest valley, surrounded by pristine rivers, in natural and unspoiled eastern Dominica. Activities include trekking, diving and sustainable living & artist workshops. They have an impressively long list of eco activities and are a fully certified member of Green Globe 21 and the International Eco Tourism Society.


Guatemala:

Chelemha Cloud Forest Lodge, Coban - http://www.chelemha.org

Beautiful wooden lodge set in verdant cloud forest. Surrounded by the jungle this budget lodge provides the opportunity to experience nature close up and also to interact with the local culture. The reserve is one of the largest and diverse in Guatemala. The lodge works together with conservation organisations to protect the cloud forest and was built using sustainable measures.

La Lancha - http://www.blancaneaux.com
Tikal
Sister lodge of blancaneaux in Belize, this is another fantastic location on the shore of lake Peten Itza and very close to the spectacular Mayan ruins at Tikal. Offers a range of activities and day trips around the region. Features recycling, water harvesting and organic gardens as part of an ongoing environmental policy. Owned by Francis Ford Coppola, director of the Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

 

Honduras

Hacienda San Lucas, Copan Valley -http://www.haciendasanlucas.com
Beautiful, family owned and rustic lodge situated in the hills above the Copan Valley, with views over the Mayan ruins at Copan. Offers a range of facilities and activities for a relaxing or educational visit. Has a small environmental policy including solar lighting, heating of water and sustainable refurbishments.
 
Las Cascadas Lodge, La Ceiba - http://www.lascascadaslodge.com
Luxurious lodge, found in a reserve surrounded by deep Honduran rainforest and a collection of beautiful cascades. Offers a luxury experience, from deep within the jungle along with a range of activities that can be organised at your leisure. Conserves water as well as working with the government to protect the reserve.
 
Pico Bonito Eco Lodge, Pico Bonito - http://www.picobonito.com
Extremely well known and popular lodge located on the Caribbean coast. Includes a butterfly farm and serpentarium. The lodge offers luxury relaxation or activities both in equal measure, while attempting to help the environment with hydro-electricity, conservation efforts and education programs.

Mexico

Amansala - http://www.amansala.com
Tulum
Calls itself an eco chic resort offering six night bikini boot camps limited to 25 men and women. The aim is to get in shape -healthy diet and exercise in a beautiful setting. Beachfront accomodation is simple, but elegant, with rooms made from stone and wood, under thatched palapa roofs, in a village-like atmosphere. They offer a natural lifestyle, sleeping in a beach cabaña, eating fresh grilled fish, and drinking fresh fruit juices.

Cabañas Copal - http://www.cabanascopal.com
Tulum
Beautiful thatched and simple cabanas on the beach in tulum, offering guests the opportunity to experience the jungle on one side and the beach and ocean on the other. No electricity, water harvesting and conservation efforts are part of the lodges eco-policy.

Dazante Eco-Outreach - http://www.danzante.com
Dazante
Idyllic setting on a volcanic knoll overlooking the sea of Cortez. Offers luxurious accommodation and a wide range of activities mainly involving the marine park, which is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. The resort is entirely solar powered and the owners work with local government to conserve the marine park.

Hotelito Desconocido - http://www.hotelito.com
Aguas Dulces
Beautiful new age resort, featuring a spa and beach to relax on. No electricity and water wheels for the spa make it extra eco-friendly despite the luxurious trappings. Perfectly placed for just relaxing or taking part in the many activites including trekking and scuba diving.

La Duna - http://www.ecobaja.com
Baja
An ecological centre for creative renewal. Beautiful location next to the sea of Cortes, offers guests a fabulous mix of holistic and natural activities in the desert or on the beach. Makes use of solar power, wind energy, recycling and conservation areas to improve the local environment.

 

Nicaragua

Ecolodge Carazo - http://www.ecolodgecarazo.com
Diriamba
A pleasant looking small eco lodge, located in Nicaragua's golden triangle, the countries main coffee growing region. They offer a few cultural experiences and tours of the local area, but the main highlight is the beautiful organic garden that fills with wildlife all year round. Organic coffee farming.

Finca Esperanza Verde - http://www.fincaesperanzaverde.org
Describes itself as a cool, green and tranquil paradise, set in the mountains of central Nicaragua. The lodge was constructed by hand and offers a lot of interaction with the locals. It is also more of a budget option, but still offers a range of activities. A sideline for the owners is organic coffee farming, which combines with solar energy and water harvesting to form a part of their ecological policy.

Los Cardones -http://www.loscardones.com
Nr. El Transito
Surf eco-lodge set in a, bungalows with hammocks, terrace and loungers on a pacific beach, one and a half hours from Managua. Their ecotourism project includes weekly art classes and yoga retreats, and they take great care to manage their environment sensitively.

Morgan's Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge - http://www.morgansrock.com
Playa Coactal
Luxury natural haven offering beautiful beaches, tropical wildlife and a project of nature conservation, community development and reforestation as well as using extensive recycling of materials in its construction.

 

Panama

Al Natural Resort - http://www.bocas.com/alnatura.htm
Bocas del Toro
About as eco-friendly as you can get, the thatched cottages are made of driftwood, the showers from collected rainwater and the fans solar powered! All on a small Island off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Relax away or experience the fantastic marine park.

Coral Lodge - http://www.corallodge.com
San Blas
Isolated eco adventure lodge set in a pristine natural habitat with suites in charming over-water bungalows in San Blas archipelago with its beautiful unspoiled islands and cultural heritage of the Kuna Indians.

Canopy Tower - http://canopytower.com
Soberania National Park
One of the top Eco-lodges in the World, the canopy tower is in fact a former US radar station providing views of the rainforest split over 5 different levels that give guests views of the different layers. Offers a fantastic insight into the workings of the jungle, combined with luxury accommodation and spellbinding views. Water saving showers are just one of the eco friendly measures in place.

Finca Lerida Eco Lodge - http://www.fincalerida.com
Alto Quiel
Family run, extremely cozy and highly recommended eco-lodge in the West of Panama. Home grown coffee and a plethora of bird species are the two highlights here. The lodge works together with the government to maintain the reserve in which it is situated.

Sierra Llorona Bird Lodge - http://www.sierrallorona.com
Sabanitas
A beautiful location for this jungle lodge surrounded by rainforest, but with views all the way down to the Caribbean. The lodge offers comfortable lodging and varied activities in addition to the obvious birdwatching focus. Promotes sustainable tourism and also conservation efforts by local universities.


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Featured books:
Green Travel: The World's Best Eco-Lodges & Earth-Friendly Hotels
Fodor's Travel Publications
Paperback - 29 April 2008
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Green Places to Stay: Eco-lodges and Other Green Places to Stay
(Alastair Sawday's Special Places to Stay)
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by Richard Hammond
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