April 12 2010 by Julie Drossos
It's cool to be green, no doubt about it. From cars to homes to schools, we're all making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint. That said, most of still like to enjoy a vacation once or twice a year, and with the green movement gaining more and more momentum by the day, there has been a marked increase in options for vacations that are a little more socially responsible. Here are a few eco-vacation ideas worth checking out.
Red, White & Green
If you're a lover of vino like myself, you undoubtedly find Napa Valley to be a little slice of heaven. But grandiose gargantuan wineries and huge gas guzzling vehicles used to transport wine enthusiasts from estate to estate can be a little off-putting for the socially responsible wine lover. Enter the Holme Grown Brand. Holme Grown will come pick you up I one of their bio-diesel run vehicles (capable of traveling 600 miles on a single tank of fuel) and take you on an unforgettable trip through Napa Valley stopping at a number of smaller "hidden gem" wineries with a passionate and meaningful focus on sustainability. What exactly does this mean... they farm the land in a way that allows them to produce crop indefinitely, without causing long-term damage to ecosystem health. One of the things that I love about Holme Grown is that each year, they plant one acre of trees per vehicle in its fleet to further offset its carbon emissions. You also won't do all your delicious wine-tasting on an empty when you go with Holme Grown... part of their deal is that you get to enjoy a delicious organic picnic lunch along the way. Dorsey Holme Kindler - founder of Holme Grown is a superstar (I have met him and experienced his hospitality and passion firsthand) who goes above and beyond to make your visit to Napa memorable, educational and very special.
You Better Belize It!Yes, you can "go green" on vacation... A very cool eco-vacation resort exists in Belize. The Black Rock Lodge in Belize is green & affordable. It is surrounded by rain forest with its electricity supplied by a custom hybrid of hydro and solar power. The resort is staffed by locals from the surrounding communities, and it is one of the few places in Central America where you can observe three Toucan species! You will feast on fresh, organic fruits, all grown on site... and 100% of the water for the resort is supplied by a nearby mountain spring. Rooms start as low as $80, and there's no shortage of adventure to be had - you can head out with a local guide on a jungle trek to a waterfall or a cave. After that you can blissfully fall asleep to the sounds of the rushing river below as you drift away on the hammock (each of the resorts 14 cabins have one).
Moccasin Trail Tours
Moccasin Trail Tours offers a unique eco-adventure through the James and Hudson bays in Northern Ontario, Canada. You will visit national historic sites with artifacts dating back over 10,000 years. Be thrilled on a photo safari or watch for wildlife such as polar bears frolicking in their natural habitat - truly breathtaking. You'll stay in the acclaimed Cree Village Ecolodge (one of the most advanced environmental accommodations in Canada). The lodge has 20 eco-friendly rooms including features such as highly-efficient low-noise ceiling fans (no air conditioning system needed) that together with the natural wind conditions and window doors provide optimum temperature and air circulation; all-natural wool carpeting, organic cotton mattresses and bedding; biodegradable soaps and shampoos; Clivus Multrum composting toilets that use no water, have no odor and create organic fertilizer! In addition to your stay at this ultra-green resort, Moccasin Trail Tours will have you partake in a guided trip to Polar Bear Provincial Park, and - the icing on the cake - sleep under the stars in a teepee! Visit http://www.moccasintrailtours.com/ for more info.