To recognize Earth Day, April 22, 2023, here are some destinations to visit that demonstrate some of the coolest sustainability efforts and showing off the way they show love to Mother Nature.
Rancho Pescadero | Todos Santos, Mexico
Off the coast of Baja California is the newly opened hotel Rancho Pescadero, a 5-star resort in Todos Santos with a focus on wellness and sustainability and a commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy in the next five years.. A desert-meets-sea Mexican oasis, Rancho’s wellness philosophy is rooted in the wisdom of native plants — and the property is blooming with them — nine interconnected gardens with two farms, a citrus orchard, a bird sanctuary and sea turtle hatchery can all be found across the property’s 30 seaside acres. The gardens at Rancho are designed to be low-impact and self-sustaining, with hundreds of palm and neem trees cooling the grounds and preventing erosion, while its recycling and composting programs help minimize waste. Infused with touches from local artisans and crafted with the spirit of Mexico in mind, the resort’s 103 suites and 12 ocean-front villas provide the perfect sanctuary to bask in the natural beauty of Mexico. Suites have roof-top decks that offer panoramic views of the ocean and Sierra de la Laguna mountains that will take your breath away. Tucked into the dunes, the villas offer private plunge-pools, beach access and firepits to cuddle up at night, gazing up at the stars. At Rancho, ingredients for the food and beverage are home-grown or sourced within 50 miles of the resort to reduce their carbon impact. There’s also a major regenerative angle — Lisa and her team are building 170 homes for her employees that they’ll have the rights to own, with plans to offer affordable housing to the broader local community next.
Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort
There’s no better place to celebrate Earth Day than on Hawaii’s oldest and greenest island: Kauai. Perched on the oceanfront, the Sheraton Kauai Coconut Beach Resort is paradise for those seeking to explore the natural wonders of the Garden Isle during the day, and come back to a blissful homebase to take in the sunset by night. Located on the gorgeous Eastern coast of the island, the hotel offers free bicycles available to guests to go out and explore eco-consciously, with both the north and south shores an equidistant ride away. At the resort, flora and fauna grow fiercely, the property itself accented by luscious greens and earthy sandalwoods. Take in Kauai’s natural beauty on a hike up the Sleeping Giant trail, paddle up the Wailua River, swim in the clear blue waters of the ocean, or take in the beauty from your own backyard with sunrise yoga on the beach and a fresh-squeezed juice from First Light Coffee. The hotel offers many activities to take part in the local culture and promote sustainable tourism, from traditional luaus to providing DIY beach cleanup kits for guests to leave the Earth better than they found it.
Salt, Sip, and Science at Quintessence Hotel | Long Bay Beach, Anguilla
This Spring, celebrate our planet at a locale that beautifully intersects history with sustainability. Prior to its reputation as an off-the-grid luxury escape, the celeb-adored island of Anguilla’s main industry consisted of salt picking, with the mineral being found in abundant quantities at the 17 salt lagoons that dot the island’s 16-mile stretch. Anguilla’s forefathers dedicated their efforts to salt picking – uplifting the local economy and providing for their families for generations to come. Not only have the salt ponds boosted the economy for centuries, but they’ve also acted as a vital barrier between terrestrial and marine ecosystems – filtering contaminants and preventing them from entering the ocean. Travelers can visit the bountiful salt ponds and experience the art of salt picking, as well as catch a glimpse of a unique wetland region filled with interesting marine and avian species.This year, in partnership with Quest Experiences, Anguilla’s beloved Quintessence Hotel is offering its guests the opportunity to visit the Road Bay salt pond and learn about its importance on the island. Following the expedition, guests will be greeted with a refreshing, ice-cold margarita back at the hotel using salt sourced directly from the island’s rich deposits. Salt, sip, and science as you learn about the island’s hidden treasures and diverse ecosystems… topped with boozy beverages to toast to one of earth’s most magnificent creations.
Jade Mountain Resort | St. Lucia
This Earth Day, head to a locale that embodies all the natural elements of its surroundings, from a stunning open-plan design to an Organic Emerald Farm which is home to over 1,000 cocoa trees and an incredible selection of herbs and produce – supplying ingredients for the resort’s kitchens and breathing new life to the concept of farm-to-table. Jade Mountain’s thoughtfully designed structure renders the need for electricity and artificial lighting obsolete, optimizing natural light through its stunning open-plan design. In addition, the resort’s water supply operates independently from that of the local town of Soufriere, ensuring the least amount of impact to the surrounding community. Beyond the technical specs, Jade Mountain is a space that encourages its travelers to leave their planet infinitely better than how they found it. Beginning with the 29 open-plan sanctuaries that immaculately weave the earthly elements of the island into everything from an absent fourth wall to a breathtaking infinity pool, providing sweeping vistas of the iconic Pitons and the lush greenery of St. Lucia. Guests can venture to the Emerald Farm and participate in truffle-making workshops using locally sourced cacao, as well as create their own healing elixirs in the indigenous medicine garden, which contains an abundance of restorative and healing properties that serve as nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit.
Explore the World’s First Blue Destination | Bonaire
The world’s first Blue Destination renowned for its scuba diving, the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire has long had a 100% protected shoreline and a renewed focus on preserving its pristine ocean which has helped evolve the destination into one committed to sustainability. In line with Earth Day of 2022, the island launched ‘The Bonaire Bond’, a thoughtfully designed destination pledge inviting visitors to sign a promise to travel responsibly and respect the island with a goal to sustain Bonaire’s natural appeal and its untouched nature for years to come. The Bond serves as a reminder of how critical sustainable tourism is to the livelihood of its local community. To take it a step further, the island reinvested in its conservation efforts by adopting a coral tree through the Reef Renewal Bonaire foundation on behalf of visitors that committed to this cause throughout the pledge’s inaugural year. The Reef Renewal Foundation (RRFB) trains, engages, and inspires the local community so that visitors to the island can also learn and play an active part in protecting Bonaire’s pristine underwater world. Additionally, the island is completely single use plastic free. Visitors will find eco-tourism experiences throughout the island such as kayaking through a protected Mangrove Forest, exploring the art of coral restoration through a discovery dive, hiking among the cacti and cliffed beaches of of Washington Slagbaai National Park and learning about the protection of Bonaire’s wildlife at Echo Conservation Centre or the Donkey Sanctuary. www.bonaireisland.com
Sail the Galapagos with Ecoventura
Intimate and exclusive for just 20 guests, the identical luxury expedition yachts, Origin, Theory & Evolve by Ecoventura are named after Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Origin of Species. They are managed like floating boutique hotels and are the only Galapagos vessels to have joined the ranks of the esteemed Relais & Chateaux collection. The seven-night itinerary includes daily excursions and educational briefings led by two certified naturalists — the most favorable passenger to naturalist ratio in the Galapagos. Daily activities include beautiful snorkeling opportunities, kayaking, beach walks and hiking tours that bring you up close and personal to the destination’s most fascinating species. Wildlife wanders freely and fearlessly throughout the archipelago, so travelers frequently find themselves swimming with sea turtles, sun bathing with sea lions or face-to-face with the famous blue-footed boobies. With a commitment to sustainability for over 20 years, Ecoventura became the first recipient of the SmartVoyager ecological certification and established the Galápagos Biodiversity & Education for Sustainability Fund to support research and conservation projects. Ecoventura also produces its own fresh water onboard, has a waste and recycling program and avoids single-use plastic on-board. To explore the Galápagos and honor the planet all in one trip, visit www.ecoventura.com
Desert Bathing in Aruba
Forget forest bathing – it’s time to desert bathe. The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has taken forest bathing (yawn), and put a fun twist on the concept, introducing Aruba to the game with its natural backdrop of the desert. This wellness experience allows travelers to slow down and become immersed in the natural environment, helping them to clear their mind while boosting mood and immunity. The experience consists of a private roundtrip transfer to either the historic Alto Vista Chapel – surrounded by cacti and tranquil peace labyrinth – or Arikok National park, as well as yoga mats and a picnic basket including healthy snacks and beverages. Here, travelers can find zen while enjoying their favorite meditation or yoga podcast, or simply bask in the sun and serenity to disconnect and unplug. Following the toes-in-the-(desert)-sand experience, guests can keep the wellness theme going back at the resort, as the experience also includes a $160 spa credit and locally sourced Aruba Aloe products to replenish sun-kissed skin. For more information or to book, visit here and use the code ‘ZJL.’
This April, head to one of the planet’s most magical sights to celebrate Earth Day. Perched above the shores of the majestic Lake Atitlán, Casa Palopó provides a full immersion into the stunning natural landscape of Guatemala – surrounded by mystical volcanoes and charming indigenous villages. Guests of the hotel are in for exclusive access to all that the area has to offer – beginning with a breathtaking boat ride on Lake Atitlán, providing unobstructed views of the volcanoes and Mayan villages across the shore. Travelers are also encouraged to take the plunge into the lake’s waters, which possess powerful healing and restorative properties, said to holistically address various ailments. The property also offers private glamping experiences and a special blessing ceremony, led by a Mayan Shaman, both overlooking the lake and volcanoes – where earth, water, and fire meet to create a cleansing aura for you to immerse yourself in.
Tucked away in the Caribbean Sea, the five-square-mile Dutch Caribbean island of Saba sets the stage for a desolate getaway where guests can escape the monotony of everyday life in an off-the-grid destination surrounded by Mother Earth. Take the meaning of an unplugged vacation to the next level as Saba solely uses solar power throughout the entire island for eight to ten hours a day through its two solar parks and is plastic-free as the island has put a ban on all single-used plastics. In 2022 alone, Saba collected over a million points of recyclable materials that were then exported to the U.S to be properly processed. While on the island, become immersed in an abundance of nature that can be found both above and below the sea. On-land, visitors can be engulfed by serenity when exploring 20 hiking trails dotted with flora and fauna, many of which locals use to mix medicinal teas. Embark on a guided hike with James “Crocodile James” Johnson – a seventh generation Saban – for a sampling of the local vegetation! Fun fact: it takes 48 hours to complete all of Saba’s hiking trails – a gratifying physical and mental challenge for anyone’s up to conquer it. Meanwhile below the ocean’s surface, an entirely unique world awaits. Saba plunges below as steeply as it rises above, and 30 protected dive sites are closely off-shore. What better way to disconnect from the world than to escape underwater for a bit? Not to mention, Saba was named a “Hope Spot” by Mission Blue – an international marine conservation organization. Destinations that receive this award are considered special places as they have been scientifically identified as being critical to the ocean’s health.
Sitting in the quiet village of The Keys, Vicky’s Keys is the only hostel — specifically, an eco-hostel and volunteer center — in the charming Caribbean island of St. Maarten. In conjunction with Marlin Yard, an organization that works to create a sustainable agricultural economy alongside the tourism industry, Vicky’s Keys can house up to 19 guests across four buildings, all of which are decorated with recycled or hand-built furniture. The hostel was founded with the mission of being fully eco-focused, self-sufficient, and powered solely by renewable energies. On the property are herb, fruit, vegetable, and fish gardens — cultivated in permaculture and aquaponics gardens, then freshly served garden-to-table to hotel guests. This hostel is a place where both local and international volunteers can partake in the Marlin Yard’s eco-friendly efforts — which include anything from bringing new agricultural methods to increase food security on the island or building hurricane-proof housing to help those living in areas prone to natural disasters. Aiming to help everyone live a more sustainable lifestyle, Vicky’s Keys is the place to stay for eco-tourists who like to leave a destination slightly better than they found it. Learn more at www.vickyskeys.com or www.marlinyard.org.
Earth Day | Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa
Appreciate some of Mother Nature’s best work in Cabo San Lucas this Earth Day. One of the world’s most stunning desert-meets-sea landscapes with 320 days of sunshine a year deserves to be cared for and appreciated for generations to come. Corazón Cabo Resort & Spa is doing exactly that. On April 21st, guests can participate in a hotel-wide beach clean up on the shores of Medano beach to ensure that Cabo’s sparkling blue waters stay pristine for the amazing sea life that call the Sea of Cortez home. After a day of healing the beach, visitors can head to Aleta for an Earth Day Green Menu, curated specifically to center around organic produce, local ingredients and supporting small farms in the area. For tequila lovers, Corazón is offering a special Earth Day Tequila Tasting, featuring Tequila Herradura, a premium tequila brand committed to sustainable practices like utilizing solar energy, reducing water usage and recycling waste. This Earth Day, travelers can take action in preserving the Spirit of Mexico – literally and figuratively – so that the beauty of Cabo can be appreciated for a long, long time. Learn more at https://www.corazoncabo.com/
Baby Sea Turtle Sunset Send Off at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa | Mexico
To the Huichol people native to the Sierra Madre Mountain range, the spiritual symbol of the tortuga (turtle) is an important one, as the creatures are touted as the helpers of the rain goddesses. From June to December, guests staying at Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa (nestled between these mountains and the breathtaking Banderas Bay) can share in paying this special respect to Mother Nature and this tradition of the local culture by playing a role in the resort’s turtle protection program with the opportunity to release newly hatched turtles into the ocean on the resort’s beach, as well as learn the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and taking care of environment so that species like these can thrive. This program, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2023, is a family favorite as children staying at the resort have the chance to name their tiny turtles, gather at sunset to wish them luck and set them free to return to the ocean. When the resort first started this program in 2005, the Ridley Sea Turtle was in danger of extinction so Marriott Puerto Vallarta donated a part of their beach to create a permanent nursery, as well as employs a biologist / turtle specialist to oversee the program, patrol during the night, and educate the hotel’s staff and guests about the species. Today, the Ridley is now a vulnerable species with an increased survival rate due to programs like these. This activity is offered every day during turtle season as Mother Nature permits. www.puertovallartamarriott.com
Swim with Whale Sharks in Cancun | JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa
Get lost in the serenity of Cancun’s natural views this Earth Day, known for its year-round turquoise blue waters and 80-degree temperatures. With frequent flights from most major U.S. cities, Cancun makes for a convenient trip to reconnect with nature. Located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, the JW Marriott Cancun offers guests the chance to experience the best that Cancun has to offer, from palm-studded grounds, beach-chic spacious rooms with private balconies, to a drink off the Lobby Bar’s 150 Margarita Menu. For guests searching for an unforgettable, GoPro-worthy experience guaranteed to stand the test of time, they can snorkel with Cancun’s population of whale sharks. These gentle giants usually flock off shore between Spring and Summer each year and have bigger smiles than any other mammals you’ve likely encountered. Say cheese!
Explore Andros Reef – The Third Largest Barrier Reef in the World | Caerula Mar Club
Nestled on the island of South Andros in the Bahamas, Caerula Mar Club offers guests the chance to encounter the wildlife of this secluded paradise. Adventurous travelers will jump at the chance to explore the Andros Reef, which is the third largest barrier reef in the world at 100 miles long and is conveniently located directly in front of the resort! Guests can experience the purest diving experience in the Bahamas, with dives suitable for all levels of divers offering encounters with sea turtles, rays, reef sharks, tropical fish and blue holes that some say are home to the mythical creature called Lusca. South Andros is also an amazing destination for fishing enthusiasts. Guests can book a fishing excursion and find out for themselves why the island is called the “Bone Fishing Capital of The World.”
Protecting Our Planet at Playa | Playa Largo Resort & Spa
Celebrate the planet at Playa Largo Resort – a breathtaking beachfront getaway in Key Largo, Florida, committed to being the most environmentally-friendly property in The Florida Keys. Once the site of an 1800s pineapple farm, the resort team dedicated $300,000 towards environmental preservation to survey trees and wildlife in the nearby area to ensure the Keys’ delicate ecosystem wasn’t harmed in the process of construction. The team moved and preserved dozens of decades-old gumbo limbo trees and studied local butterfly species to create a natural trail for guests to observe them in the wild. Its continued commitment to Mother Nature can be shown in the resort’s power knot liquid food composter to turn organic food waste into nutrient-rich gray water, which is used to water the grounds and reduce the carbon footprint by 147 tons per year. Additionally, guests can enjoy an Eco Tour with on-property environmentalists and learn all about the marine life and ecosystem that call Key Largo home. This tropical oasis is truly perfect for connecting with nature and supporting the Earth’s protection. For more information please visit https://www.playalargoresort.
Exploring and Journaling in Nature at Barnsley Resort
Tucked away in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Northwest Georgia lies Barnsley Resort, where nature, history, and hospitality come together as one. With 3,000 acres and only 140 rooms, the grounds naturally provide the perfect backdrop to unplug, unwind and reconnect with Mother Nature. Here, guests are encouraged to get outside and take advantage of the resort’s numerous nature-focused experiences, including horseback riding, catch and release fishing, canoeing, miles of wooded hiking trails, golf and more.
Those opting for a more laid-back option can participate in the resort’s Forest Bathing Journaling experience, in which travelers are encouraged to create natural art inspired by the gifts of nature. Guests receive a journal with sketch pencil, colored pencils, tape and glue stick. A guide takes guests out to set an ‘intention’ for the walk, and then guides them to different parts of the resort’s grounds where they can collect and be inspired by different leaves, flowers, etc. A fanny pack is also provided to collect the nature goodies in, and then travelers can go back and craft it in the journal in whatever way speaks to them, be it leaf collages, sketches, poems and more. For more information or to book, visit www.barnsleyresort.com.
Fly into the Future in Iceland’s First Electric Aircraft at Hotel Rangá
Hotel Rangá, set in the secluded countryside of Southern Iceland, is ideal for travelers seeking adventure, sustainability and luxury alike. Taking off for the first time earlier this year, a revolutionary, fully electric aircraft now soars above Iceland’s incredible cliff sides, waterfalls and lava fields without leaving a carbon footprint. Bringing the two-seater plane, the first of its kind to Iceland, was championed by Hotel Rangá’s owner, Friðrik Pálsson, who is passionate about the environment and green energy and incorporates sustainable practices into how they run the property. The goal was to introduce emission-free transport to the country as a step toward a future of more sustainable travel. For a one-and-only experience, book the new Flying into the Future offer which includes accommodations, a one-on-one flight with the pilot in the new electric aircraft as well as champagne in the hangar for toasting to a great cause. Available exclusively to Hotel Rangá guests, this flight of a lifetime will provide passengers with aerial views of Southern Iceland’s beautiful countryside and serene rivers. Additionally, the hotel, which is naturally powered and heated by the country’s geothermal water sources, offers charging stations for electric cars, donates materials to the local elementary school as well as sends leftover food from Restaurant Ranga home with staff to feed their farm animals. www.hotelranga.is
Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao
This Earth Day, head to the gorgeous Dutch Caribbean Island of Curaçao for an exclusive look at some of our planet’s most magical sights. Beginning with virtually untouched turquoise waters only comparable to the Maldives, a colorful reef system, mystical underwater caves, and so much more. The island has enacted several efforts to protect its unique ecosystems – from turning plastic into beautiful island souvenirs to creatively eliminating invasive species, as well as the creation of a coral tree nursery – which provides a nourishing environment for various species of coral to thrive. Visitors are welcome to participate in sustainability efforts by joining a traditional Lionfish Dinner — solving the problem of an invasive species in a creative, delicious way. The tasty and beautiful fish is served up in inventive plates, such as fish cakes and bacon-wrapped fish bites. The island is also globally known as a scuba diving haven, with 65 distinct dive sites perfect for exploring the expansive underwater reefs and ecosystem.Travelers can also venture on snorkeling tours of the island’s diverse marine life, where it isn’t rare to spot wild sea turtles and vibrant corals on the seafloor. For those who prefer land activities, travelers can visit Mt. Christoffel, the island’s highest peak, and experience unobstructed views of magical Curaçao. The island also offers ATV rides through Shete Boka National Park, with scenic overlooks of giant waves crashing against majestic underwater caves. With such a variety of marine life, excursions, and sustainability efforts – the magical island of Curaçao is the perfect place to celebrate our planet.