It sounds like a paradox: green resort. After all, most resorts use large amounts of water, energy and disposable items. They attract high levels of tourism and congestion, which can damage the area ecology. Rainforests, vegetation and even animals can be disturbed during construction and renovation. So how can an all-inclusive resort to be green?
Fortunately, many resorts in the Caribbean have taken initiatives to institute green policies, including using renewable resources, providing cultural opportunities for guests and supporting local communities. Waste is often recycled into useful items – compost, soap, packing and more. The beautiful beaches and rainforests are carefully preserved and become part of the resort appeal. Many resorts even grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Here are our best picks for green resorts in the Caribbean:
Best for Families: Four Seasons Resort Anguilla
The Four Seasons Resort Anguilla is a family-friendly, luxury resort dedicated to sustaining Anguilla’s natural beauty. Resort initiatives include a drip-irrigation system for all trees and flowerbeds, eco-friendly toiletries, an onsite plant that produces natural spring water, and a reduction in newspaper and plastic bottle use.
While many resorts on the tiny island work hard at maintaining the ecosystem, the Viceroy’s kids programs make it a standout for families. Programs are centered around a respect for the environment, with nature safaris to learn about Anguilla’s native plants and wildlife, and family picnics with a local chef.
Best for Couples: Sandals Ochi Beach Resort
All Sandals and Beaches resorts employ sound environmental practices such as staff participation in workshops and seminars conducted by the environmental committee, instituting water conservation and energy management programs, and encouraging social and cultural development.
In particular, Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in Ochos Rios implements many procedures to reduce waste, such as donating leftover food from the kitchen to a local pig farmer, composting fruit and vegetable waste to reuse as mulch in the gardens and donating shredded office paper to local manufacturers for packaging.
Best for Seclusion: Galley Bay, Antigua
At Galley Bay, an all-inclusive, adults-only resort located on a beautiful tropical beach, guests enjoy a dedicated bird sanctuary and private accommodations, some hidden within the gardens with private plunge pools.
All of the Elite Island Resorts are geared toward ecological preservation. Daily operations include grey water irrigation, donating organic waste to local farmers and reducing the use of non-biodegradable products. Foods and products from endangered species are banned and produce and other sustainable products are purchased locally whenever possible.
Other initiatives include employment of a 95% local workforce and support of cultural events, charities and scholarships.
Best for Wellness: Rosalie Bay, Dominica
Rosalie Bay in Dominica takes a holistic approach to both wellness and the environment. The boutique resort located at the foothills of Morne Trois Pitons – an UNESCO World Heritage Site – has its own wind turbine, solar panels and UV-filtered natural spring water, and is committed to preserving natural habitats, such as endangered sea turtles, which nest on the resort’s black sand beaches.
The resort also has a nature-inspired spa featuring local healing ingredients like volcanic mud and coconut oil. Daily yoga is complimentary, and the Zamaan restaurant features organic herbs and produce grown onsite, with vegan and gluten-free options available.
Best Exotic Locale: Spice Island Beach Resort
With its own desalinization plant, energy-efficient products, and a strong “reduce, reuse, renew” mindset, luxury property Spice Island Beach Resort in Grenada is one of the most environmentally conscious resorts in the Caribbean.
The all-inclusive resort has a staff training program to educate employees about conservation efforts. Environmentally-friendly practices include replanting beachfront trees, grinding used bath soaps to make detergent for employee uniforms and donation of shredded office paper to local companies for shipping. The resort also posts literature to promote guest involvement.
Best Ecological Experience: Concordia Eco-Resort, St. John
Concordia Eco-Resort is located in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park on St. John and offers accommodations ranging from comfortable, wood-framed tents to studios with kitchenettes. It’s the perfect resort for nature lovers, who can spend the day sailing and snorkeling at Salt Pond Beach, hiking through the park’s trails, or simply relaxing at the freshwater pool .
The resort makes every effort to protect natural resources by collecting rainwater in cisterns, using solar energy and purchasing local, environmentally friendly food and supplies. All Concordia buildings – cabins, restaurant, store, registration area, bathhouses – are built on raised platforms connected by raised walkways to prevent natural vegetation from being trampled.
Tips for Travelers
Each person has the ability to minimize negative impact on cultures and the environment. Even the slightest effort goes a long way. Some suggestions:
Hire local tour guides – Ask for recommendations at the resort and look for guides who are licensed and live locally.
Respect the environment – Do not pick plants or flowers, or touch animals. Make sure to follow marked trails when hiking. Do not buy any souvenirs made from endangered species.
Read the literature when you arrive – Many resorts won’t wash towels or linens daily unless you request it.
Conserve energy – Turn off the lights when you leave your room. If you’ll be gone most of the day, consider turning the air-conditioning off as well.