Top Ten Eco-Resorts in North America, Caribbean, and Central America

Live the good life while doing right by the environment and by your wallet at these ten not-too-far-from-home eco-resorts.
El Roble room at Finca Rosa Blanca, Heredia, Costa Rica
The El Roble room at Finca Rosa Blanca (courtesy, Finca Rosa Blanca)

The sustainable tourism movement has grown leaps and bounds in the past decade. No longer can you simply throw compost in the back of a hotel and call it an eco-resort. To be green, destinations have to offer indigenous culture and food, encourage outdoor recreation that highlights the region, curb greenhouse gases that impact the environment, and involve the entire community in the tourism effort. Many resorts even go a step further by helping to support local school systems and food banks. These ten lodgings are green in every sense of the word.

10. Finca Rosa Blanca, Santa Bárbara, Heredia, Costa Rica
High above the urban buzz of San Jose, Costa Rica, Finca Rosa Blanca is a tranquil retreat nestled in the countryside. Watch the colorful turquoise-browed motmots play in the centuries-old fig trees as you sip the inn's organic-grown coffee. Then talk to the owner about everything she does to make the place sustainable. The inn recently received five stars, the highest ranking, from the country's green tourism commission, and its owners have been asked to train other innkeepers on their environmentally friendly practices. Of course they recycle, but they don't stop there. The inn houses a recycling center that educates the whole town about the practice. Local artisans, including painters and cast iron welders, and a local senior-citizen center provide the artwork in the suites. The vegetables found in the restaurant's innovative fare are grown organically in a greenhouse. Large solar panels create heat in the pool, and, instead of chlorine, they use an ionized system that keeps the water clean and clear. The inn also uses some of its profits to help fund the local high school. If you like what you see, ask about their second boutique hotel, Arenas del Mar, recently opened on the beach of Manuel Antonio National Park. Spacious suites at Finca Rosa Blanca start at $235 a night, which includes a large breakfast.


Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at farandaway@comcast.net.

Published: 8 Apr 2009 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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