The growing awareness of the dangers faced by the earth’s natural habitat has made eco-tourism a popular choice for ecologically conscious travelers. Eco-tourism is gathering momentum everywhere in the globe, because it not only educates and offers a different kind of travel experience to eco-tourists, but it also benefits local communities by preserving their environment, culture and way of life through various ways of conservation efforts.
The ecolodges in Latin America are one of the best examples of ecotourism in action. To stay in these interestingly constructed eco-lodges is a great adventure in itself.
The Sacha Lodge in Ecuadorian Amazon
Nothing brings the lush attractions of the Amazon rainforest into view better than sunrise at Sacha Lodge. Travelers wake up to cool mornings of birds chirping and rainforest animals such as toucans, agoutis and monkeys busy with their own morning rituals.
Lodging accommodations at Sacha Lodge are comfortable and constructed using locally sourced materials, strategically built into the lush jungle surroundings, as close to nature as possible. The amenities of the modern world are present in these quaint surroundings, but they are unobtrusive from the inaudible generator, to water from a local well using the best purifying systems. Even the soaps and shampoos are biodegradable!
Be it hiking the pristine rainforest, or paddling a canoe along the creek, or piranha-fishing in the lakes, adventurous souls will delight in the sights and sounds of Sacha Lodge from sunrise to sunset.
The Selva Bananito Lodge in Costa Rica
Selva Bananito Lodge & Reserve was originally a family farm that was later on converted into a private, biological reserve. A moral decision to preserve 850 hectares of wood rather than earn a formidable income out of it is the most fascinating bit of history about this lodge.
The lodge embraced recycling to extreme but positive levels, using second-hand hardwood trees discarded by loggers to construct almost 80% of the cabins. Water in the lodge is heated through solar energy, and every room has biodegradable soaps. Waste composting is practiced and water lilies are part of the water purification process.
Since the Selva Bananito Lodge borders the La Amistad Biosphere Reserve, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a natural bird migration corridor, a spectacular migration of raptors, vultures, and other migratory birds will delight ornithologists and bird-watching tourists.
For great adventures to the rainforest, Selva Bananito Lodge & Reserve offers treks to the Morpho waterfalls, a canopy walk in the tropical jungle, horseback riding and rappelling.
The Eco-Camp in Patagonia
The Patagonia Eco-camp in Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most remote of ecotourism sites in the world. A hike in untouched beech forests or to the view of ancient glaciers, and even the silent grandeur of the Torres del Paine granite mountains is an experience like no other.
Chile’s foremost eco-tourism site received an ISO14001 Environmental Management System certification for its many environmental initiatives. At the Eco-camp, eco-tourists sleep in dome-shaped tents capturing the nomadic spirit of Chile’s ancient ancestors the Kawesqar. The semi-hemispherical structure of the Eco-Camp domed tents allows eco-tourists a close encounter with nature without interfering with the environment.
The Patagonia Eco-camp is a great travel adventure with a trek of the Torres del Paine circuit and nature tours of the flora and fauna of the area. Solar and wind energy are harnessed to power the camp, and Eco-camp Patagonia has joined the CarbonFree program of Carbonfund.org to offset the camp’s carbon emissions.
The Chalalan Lodge in Bolivia
Chalalan, a dream-like location in the heart of the Bolivian Amazon, is nestled in the Madidi National Park jungle for over 300 years. The Chalalan Lodge is built in the heart of this jungle and today sustains the lives of many local inhabitants. Nurtured by the mystical Chalalan Lagoon, the eco-lodge was designed to blend with its environment using old-world construction techniques and indigenous local materials.
In Chalalan, the jungle is alive and welcoming. Visitors can get lost in a boat-ride of the rivers Beni and Tuchi or through a maze of paths to explore the Madidi National Park. Scientists call the area around Chalalan the planet’s “Biodiversity Hotspot,”,with almost 45,000 plant species and more than 1,000 tropical bird species calling this place their home.
The rooms in Chalalan are comfortable and luxurious, made wholly of copa palm, dried matting, asa palm leaves and fine hardwood. And with each cabin surrounded by ancient forests, Chalalan is a priceless source of diversity, serenity, and incomparable beauty.
Visitors’ stay in Chalalan will be filled with guided forest tours, bird watching, wildlife observation, canoe trips, and star-watching at night perched in the branches of the trees.
The Manu Wildlife Center in Peruvian Amazon
One of the best-kept secrets of the Amazon rainforest is The Manu Wilderness at the Peruvian Amazon. The Manu Wilderness teems with thousands of bird species, mammals, monkeys, and an amazing variety of butterflies. And with 15,000 flowering plant species in the area, the abundance of nature’s bounty in this area is almost overwhelming.
The Manu Wildlife Center is the perfect foil for a visit to historic Cuzco and Machu Picchu. The lodge is so remote that a certain amount of effort and time has to be spent to get to the lodge. The middle of nowhere can best describe this lodge, but visitors all agree that it is well worth the effort. Wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, scientists and naturalists gather at the Manu Wildlife Center at all times of the year to experience this jewel of an eco-lodge that joins Andean heritage with the Amazon’s untamed beauty.