When it comes to sustainable country houses, South America is a wonderland of quirky, unique, and downright beautiful ecolodges
Latin American eco-lodges are accommodations that gets us closer to the environment. In order for a hotel or hostel to be eco-certified, the establishment needs to follow strict green guidelines. Green hotels generally have certain attributes, including the utilization of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, energy efficient lighting, the service of organic and locally grown food, non-toxic cleaning supplies, linens and mattresses that are made out of 100% organic cotton, the infrastructure for recycling, and on-site transportation with green vehicles.
Eco-lodges in the region range from cheap, fun and backpacker-style, to stylish and luxurious resorts. A traveler of any age can choose sustainability without compromising their idea of a vacation.
Whether you venture deep into the forests, explore high up in the mountains or roam around a stunning city, there are a range of sustainable lodges in South America to choose from. Here are some:
La Serrana (Salento, Colombia):
Located in the Los Nevados mountain range, La Serrana provides coffee tours, mountain biking, rock climbing, and a free gourmet breakfast. Their restaurant serves fresh veggies from the on-site organic garden. La Serrana offers the ultimate affordable and authentic Colombian hacienda experience. The rooms are clean and comfortable, the food is amazing and there are bonfires outside at night.
Cristalino Jungle Lodge (Matto Grosso, Brazil)
Named one of the 25 top eco lodges by National Geographic Traveler, Cristalino Jungle Lodge lies along the superbly biologically diverse Southern rim of the Amazon basin in Matto Grosso. In that area, 570 birds have been identified and new species are being identified each year. To help experience this extraordinary eco-sanctuary, Cristalino offers guides to take you on birdwatching, photography, and canoeing tours.
Mashpi Lodge (Ecuador): Since its opening in 2012, Mashpi has set a new standard; 3,000ft high in the Ecuadorean Andes, it overlooks cloud forest that provides refuge for rare animals. It also employs 80% of its staff from the local community, and engages in wildlife projects. Its striking floor-to-ceiling glass structure was even constructed in Quito and then transferred to the jungle to limit any environmental impact.
Remota Hotel (Magallanes and Antarctica, Chile):
One of only five hotels in Chile to receive accreditation by the prestigious virtuoso hotel network, Remota Hotel is an architecturally stunning eco-hotel that serves as the ideal gateway to the Torres-del-Paine National Park. The eco-friendly hotel offers a portfolio of over 30 excursions daily that allows guests the opportunity to tour via 4X4 vehicles, horseback, or boat. In a region where environmental pressures force hotels to be innovative in conserving energy, Remota Hotel in Puerto Natales is a leader among green hotels. Built with locally-sourced materials and local workers, the sustainable green design includes natural grass turf on the roof. Additionally, this green hotel has employed energy-efficient lighting, low-consumption water systems and greatly utilized natural heat. Each of the hotel's 72 spacious rooms is naturally lit with spectacular views of the fjords outside.
A brisk shower greets guests at this Colombian lodge, standing amid the shore-side foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, the world’s highest coastal mountain range. Hot water is one of many sacrifices for the environment, but some swaps are worth making. Television and Wi-Fi are replaced by peace and serenity; lovely, lonely beaches offer room for reflection; cabins come with L’Occitane toiletries and hammock-strung decks, perfect for watching hummingbirds. Activities range from visiting Valencia Falls to beachfront massages.
Black Sheep Inn (Cotopaxi, Ecuador):
Black Sheep Inn provides a truly memorable vacation to eco-tourists seeking adventure off the beaten path. The remote but geologically spectacular Ecuadorian mountain state of Cotopaxi is home to three spectacular national parks. This unique location allows visitors to see cloud forests, crater lakes, canyons, and the renowned Cotopaxi volcano. Cotopaxi volcano, which has erupted more than 50 times, is considered by many to be the world's highest active volcano. Black Sheep Inn also offers horseback riding and mountain excursions in addition to a zipline, waterslide, treehouse, sauna, yoga studio, and delicious vegetarian cooking.
When it comes to sustainable places to stay, South America is a wonderland of comfortable and just downright beautiful eco-lodges that you must visit.
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Baez
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto