Tuesday, June 18, 2024

At These 6 Sustainable Caribbean Resorts, You and the Planet Can Take It Easy

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Travel to the Caribbean for a little rest and relaxation — and at these six resorts, you can make it sustainable, too.

Craving the crystal clear ocean, white sands, and rolling green hills of the Caribbean? You’re not alone. Hundreds of thousands of travlers visit these tropical islands every year. If you want to be one of them, but you want to make sure your vacation is also as environmentally conscious as possible, good news: you have plenty of sustainable resort options, from St Lucia to St Barth’s.

Sustainability in the Caribbean

The Caribbean Islands, renowned for their natural beauty and diverse ecosystems, are making significant strides in promoting sustainability and environmental conservation. Tourism is a cornerstone of the Caribbean economy, but it can also place a strain on natural resources and local communities. To ensure a more sustainable approach, several islands have embraced eco-tourism, promoting responsible travel practices that minimize environmental impact and maximize community benefits. Dominica, for instance, has positioned itself as the “Nature Island of the Caribbean” and emphasizes sustainable tourism experiences centered around its pristine landscapes, hot springs, and hiking trails.

The Caribbean Islands are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels, more frequent and intense hurricanes, and changing rainfall patterns. Recognizing the urgent need to protect their unique environments and address the challenges posed by climate change, governments, organizations, and communities across the region are implementing various initiatives to foster sustainable development. These efforts include infrastructure upgrades, early warning systems, coastal zone management, and community-based initiatives to enhance disaster preparedness and reduce vulnerability.

a woman swims in clear water
Photo curtesy Shifaaz shamoon

A crucial aspect of sustainability in the Caribbean is the transition to renewable energy sources. Many islands are heavily reliant on imported fossil fuels, which not only contribute to carbon emissions but also present economic vulnerabilities. To combat this, several nations have set ambitious goals to increase the share of renewable energy in their energy mix. Countries like Barbados and Jamaica are leading the way with their commitments to achieving high levels of renewable energy generation through wind, solar, and geothermal power.

The Caribbean is home to some of the world’s most vibrant coral reefs — vital ecosystems supporting marine biodiversity and attracting tourism. Recognizing the importance of preserving these fragile ecosystems, initiatives such as marine protected areas, and coral reef restoration projects have been implemented across the region. The Caribbean Coral Restoration Consortium and the Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative are notable regional collaborations that aim to protect and restore coral reefs through research, community engagement, and policy advocacy.

As plastic pollution poses a significant threat to the Caribbean’s marine life and coastal ecosystems, governments and organizations have also been actively working to address plastic pollution across the region through comprehensive waste management strategies, including recycling programs, bans on single-use plastics, and public awareness campaigns. The Dominican Republic’s “Desplastifícate” campaign and Aruba’s ban on single-use plastics are examples of successful initiatives driving change and promoting sustainable consumption patterns.

Sustainable Caribbean resorts

As sustainability efforts across the Caribbean Islands are playing a vital role in safeguarding the region’s natural resources, preserving its unique biodiversity, and mitigating the impacts of climate change, the tourism industry is going all in with sustainably focused hotels and resorts across the islands. Through a combination of renewable energy transition, coral reef conservation, waste management, sustainable tourism, and climate change adaptation, the island destinations are pioneering a greener future.

jade mountain

1. Jade Mountain, St Lucia

As one of the most luxurious resorts on the island, Jade Mountain, with its ensuite infinity pools, complimentary yoga, and organic restaurant, is a favorite of many searching for a relaxing vacation in St Lucia.

But as well as stunning views and excellent customer service, Jade Mountain is also known for its commitment to good environmental practices. It carefully manages its water supply, for example, taking great care not to take away from the local community by using rain and river water from the local reservoir. Plus, produce for the restaurant is sourced as locally as possible and organic waste is composted. 

On top of this, the resort is also focused on teaching its customers about the local community’s environmental protection efforts.

Belle mont farm

2. Belle Mont Farm, St. Kitts

This luxury resort in St. Kitts has so much to offer its guests, including its own microclimate and gorgeous cottages with wrap-around verandas and private pools.

But it also gives its customers the opportunity to learn more about the land, by allowing them to forage through its own organic farmland, and teaching them how to use the ingredients they have found during cooking workshops. But of course, guests can also enjoy expertly crafted organic meals at the resort’s prestigious restaurant, The Farm Table.

“By sharing our expertise and organic approach, we can help the surrounding community successfully cultivate quality food without the use of pesticides or unnecessary chemicals,” the resort notes.

st james montego

3. Secrets St James, Montego Bay, Jamaica

If you’re looking for a hotel that will give you a high-end, all-inclusive, adults-only Caribbean vacation, you’ve found it. The award-winning resort is a cut above the rest when it comes to luxury travel, thanks to its private beach, ocean view pool, and gourmet dining options.

As well as unrivaled customer service, this hotel is also committed to good environmental practices and has taken great care to introduce effective, efficient energy and water conservation measures. All organic waste is composted, and used oil from the kitchen is converted by a local recycling company called Green Fuel.

On top of this, it organizes monthly beach and mangrove cleanups, is a sponsor of the International Coastal Clean Up Day, and planted more than 1,000 new trees and plants in 2022.

true blue bay

4. True Blue Bay Resort, Grenada

For waterfront tranquility on the stunning island of Grenada, there’s True Blue Bay. This is a boutique resort with more of a family-friendly vibe, so take note if you’re not traveling with kids or prefer an adults-only policy.

Complete with yoga classes, an on-site spa, and ocean-view suites, you’ll still feel like you’ve had a pampering relaxing experience at this pretty resort. Plus, the Cocoa Pod rooms are all eco-friendly, complete with solar water heaters and solar-powered electricity. 

rosalie bay

5. Rosalie Bay Eco Resort, Dominica

Nature is the primary focus of this eco-focused resort in Dominica. It’s not quite as luxurious as some of the other options on this list (and also comes with a significantly cheaper price tag!), but you’ll still come away relaxed and rejuvenated, with a new respect for the environment and wildlife. 

The resort is pioneering in terms of Dominica’s eco-tourism scene — it was home to its first wind turbine and its first sea turtle conservation program. It’s also committed to renewable energy, waste reduction, and promoting environmental awareness and environmental responsibility. 

manapany

6. Hotel Manapany, St Barths

If you don’t want to compromise on 5-star luxury, but you still want a hotel with an eco focus, then St Barths’ Hotel Manapany might be the resort for you.

With 43 stunning suites and private villas, this resort — Eco Resort of the Year in 2019 — is both luxurious and sustainable. For example, its water system is totally autonomous and is not discharged into the ocean. It’s also single-use plastic-free for the most part and is committed to energy- and water-saving practices. 

You can even hire an electric car from this eco-resort, and enjoy a variety of locally sourced fruits and vegetables at the breakfast buffet.

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