The 6 best eco tourism ideas for 2016

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Thanks to the rise of eco tourism there are now some seriously awesome places to visit that wont cost the earth or your eco credentials. Here are 6 of Salt’s favourite holiday destinations to help us all to be greener globetrotters.

Lapa Rios, Peninsula de Osa, Costa Rica

Lapa Rios is much more than a luxurious eco lodge. With 17 private bungalows built 350 feet above sea level overlooking the pristine point where the Golfo Dulce meets the Pacific Ocean – the setting is pretty idyllic. Set in a private nature reserve spread over 1,000 acres of Central America’s last remaining lowland tropical rainforest, Lapa Rios is paradise for wildlife, nature and beach lovers. Everything is taken care of, the team at Lapa Rios will provide you with three meals a day and can arrange all manner of trips and excursions. These range from sunset and sunrise tours, wild waterfall exploring and local medicine hikes – all giving you ample time to explore the rainforest, get chased by Howler Monkeys or simply stare and listen to the rolling waves of the pacific.

Prices start from $360 per person.

Book your stay here.

Chole Mjini, Chole Island, Mafia Archipelago, Tanzania

Chloe Mijini in Tanzania offers the true Indiana Jones holiday experience – set on Chole, a tiny tropical island in the virtually unknown Mafia archipelago you really will be ‘getting away from it all.’ Its location is ideal for the keen divers amongst us, boasting some of the best diving in the whole of Tanzania. Its location on the Mafia Island Marine Park – and Chole Bay itself make it ideal for novices whilst offering something a little bit extra for the experienced divers.  If a rather less wet adventure is more your scene, then Chole Mjini’s close relationship with the village means that it’s a great base from which to explore – either by yourself or with a local guide. The lodge was built to have as small an environmental impact as possible and to give real benefits back to the local community – guests can expect storm lanterns and torches rather than electricity; composting long-drop toilets rather than flushing ones; and a shower that is heated by a small burner that you light yourself.

Prices start $210 per person per night.

Take a look here to find out more.

Maison Anglaise, Taroudant, Morocco

La Maison Anglaise is based in the ancient walled market town of Taroudant in the Souss Valley between the High Atlas Mountains and the Sahara. This part of Morocco sees very few foreign visitors which enables guests to enjoy a much more authentic experience than offered in the better known Moroccan destinations. The team at Maison Anglaise take their eco credentials very seriously and have been named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 Eco Stays in the World. This place is perfect for the sun and heat worshipers out there, even in winter the daytime temperatures are 20-26 degrees C. If the heat isn’t your thing then there’s a lot to do to try and take your mind of it – everything from massages, hiking, trips to the coast, wildlife watching, local language instruction in Arabic and Berber, as well as town excursions and cookery lessons.

Prices stay £25 per person per night. Group Holidays for a week inclusive of activities and all meals start from £400.

Plan your stay here.

WWOOF

Okay so WWOOF isn’t exactly a place to go but more of an organisation to go away with – World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. With WWOOF, volunteers enjoy free food and accommodation at organic projects in return for unpaid work. The organisation puts you in touch with organic farms and smallholdings looking for a helping hand in return for board and lodging. For those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty then the world is your oyster with 12,000 farms in over 80 countries from which to choose. These holidays are perfect for those wishing to try an alternative lifestyle or learn new skills, with volunteer duties ranging from feeding and mucking out animals, harvesting produce, and small building projects. These holidays are great for the environment and for your budget.

Find out more here.

Trelowarren Estate, Cornwall

Stay in a luxury self catering cottage on the Cornish Trelowarren Estate. The Estate, which has been around for nearly 1000 years, has spent the last 600 years in the hands of the Vyvyan family. While the manor house and historic surroundings are of the past, this place has certainly got its eyes on the future. As a holiday destination, its methodology is simple: ‘you can be comfortable and green.’ Set on the stunning Cornish coast, you’ll be only 10 minutes away from the beach. With 1000 years of history to explore, plus tennis courts, swimming pools and leisure facilities, you certainly won’t be getting bored. With a restaurant on site too you won’t be stuck doing the cooking either. As for the eco side to Trelowarren the aim is to be truly carbon neutral – the heating comes from a bio-mass boiler and the buildings are made of traditional cob and thatch. Even the tap water is pretty cool, most of it comes from their own springs, which means that it doesn’t travel, it doesn’t need to be filled with chemicals, and it absolutely doesn’t come in plastic bottles.

Prices start from £115

Find out more on their website.

Tsala Treetops, South Africa

Upon reaching this magical spot you would be forgiven for thinking that you’d stumbled across a hidden civilization.  Tsala lodge is set high in the treetops with rustic suites and villas complete with fireplaces, spa bathrooms and infinity pools on private decks, where guests can admire spectacular vistas of a lush forest. Offering a unique take on a room with a view, the wood and stone treehouses boast an idyllic setting – in a peaceful location between the coastal towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Tsala has 10 private treetop suites and a further six two-bedroom villas, all set high in the sky on a treetop canopy above the forest floor. The setting is so luxurious that it’s surprising to discover that Tsala Treetops is also one of the most sustainable hotels on the Cape. Wastewater is reused in the vegetable garden, organic waste is composted and every cleaning product is biodegradable. What is more, hardly any indigenous trees were removed to create this treetop paradise, built from sustainably harvested forests. You’ll be kept busy too with everything from safaris, hiking, sailing, diving, wine tasting, bungy jumping, sky diving, bird watching, golf and horse riding aon offer.

 Nightly rates from £113.

Find out more on here.

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