Celebrate Earth Day at These Eco-Friendly Resorts

Jerry Gibson brings 38 years of hospitality leadership experience to his new position with Turtle Bay Resort, most recently serving as area VP for Hilton Hawaii.
Photo by Turtle Bay Resort.

Travelers looking for an eco-conscious Earth Day (April 22) getaway can choose from a number of exotic destinations around the world, including Hawaii, Nicaragua, Fiji and more. Here are some sustainable hotels and resorts that offer environmentally-friendly experiences.

Mukul, an Auberge Resort – Nicaragua


At Mukul, sustainability is key. The resort was built with the use of rainwater catchments, regional materials and energy-efficient windows. The implementation of a gray-water program is ongoing. Plus, environmental disturbance was minimal; builders removed and replanted more than 1,500 trees – including a one-million pound, 150-year-old Guanacaste – rather than cut them down to make room for construction.

For Earth Day, Mukul invites guests to attach ribbons inscribed with their Earth Day intentions (actions they plan to do while in Nicaragua, such as avoid using plastic straws) on specially designated “Intention Trees” located throughout the property. Mukul will help facilitate these intentions where possible. On the evening of Earth Day, Mukul will also “turn down the power” and ask guests do the same – when the resort is extra dark, a local astronomer will lead an evening of stargazing, pointing out celestial bodies that are better seen in the darkness.

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Nekupe Sporting Resort and Retreat – Nicaragua

With only eight accommodations on over 1,800 acres of nature reserve, Nekupe's ecological footprint is minimal. The luxury countryside resort houses an animal sanctuary and refuge with spider and howler monkeys, deer, foxes, sloths, 78 species of birds and 61 species of butterflies. The reserve contains over 150 species of plants, more than 34,000 reforested trees, reservoirs developed by a team of local experts and ecologists, a greenhouse, organic farm and butterfly garden.

Nekupe invites guests to celebrate Earth Day with an itinerary of nature-centric activities such as bird and wildlife watching, horseback riding through the nature preserve and taking cooking classes using produce plucked from the resort’s own farm.

Ka’anapali Beach Hotel – Maui, HI

“Hawaii’s Most Hawaiian Hotel” gives complimentary daily cultural classes for guests such as ukulele lessons, Hawaiian language lessons, hula classes, lei making, nightly hula shows, cultural garden tours and more. According to results of a 2016 survey conducted by the County of Maui for the 15 largest hotels on Maui, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel’s energy usage per room is 60 percent less than other hotels.

Based on some of the key cultural values of native Hawaiians, Ka’anapali Beach Hotel has implemented environmentally sustainable initiatives such as adding solar panels on the main buildings to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions by 15 percent; planting Taro, sweet potato and lemongrass on the hotel’s garden to further reduce carbon emissions; and promoting reef-safe sunscreen. Spray sunscreen is completely banned on property, and notes are placed in each guestroom to bring awareness for reef-safe products.

Nanuku Auberge Resort – Fiji

Set along the coastline of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, also known as the “adventure capital” of the island chain, this all-villa resort showcases a blend of contemporary luxury and traditional Fijian culture, outdoor adventure, and personalized service.

Nanuku Auberge Resort has one of the top ecological sustainability programs in Fiji. Nanuku employs an on-site Fijian marine scientist that spearheads hands-on ecological sustainability offerings for guests including planting coral nurseries, reef conservation and Mangrove replanting. The resort has banned single-use plastics like straws and shampoo bottles.

Turtle Bay Resort – Oahu, HI

Turtle Bay Resort is home to the largest area of protected swimming and snorkeling waters in Hawaii, with Humpback whales, sea turtles, monk seals and dolphins among the marine mammals and endangered species that visit the resort’s shores. The beach resort located on Oahu’s North Shore offers ocean and land adventures through its on-property horse stables, tennis courts, two golf courses, 15 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, daily fitness and wellness classes, surf school and water adventures including eco-kayaking.

Resort team members participate in monthly beach clean-ups of nearly five miles of shoreline. Efforts to reduce its carbon footprint include the creation of a Green Committee in 2009, the addition of 1,600 solar roof panels in 2013 that made Turtle Bay the first resort in Hawaii to complete a major solar project that significantly reduced its carbon footprint, a lighting retrofit initiative where nearly 70 percent of the resort’s lighting has been converted to Compact Florescent Light Bulbs, resort-wide recycling and cups in the resort’s restaurants and outlets that are either washable and reusable or are made from corn-based or post-consumer materials.

Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo – Costa Rica

Andaz Costa Rica showcases the area’s natural beauty with views of Culebra Bay and an experience in the tropical forest. Located within the Peninsula Papagayo community on Costa Rica’s north Pacific coast, this luxury resort was developed by Costa Rican architect, Ronald Zurcher, with interiors by DAS Concepts.

The resort holds the highest level of Certification for Sustainable Tourism. After an extensive evaluation process, the resort was awarded this status joining an elite group of companies with level-five certification for Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica. The rating recognizes the resort for the efficiency of its internal processes in the management of waste and the use of technologies for saving electricity and water. Additionally, the resort will make an effort to become carbon-neutral by 2021.

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