Ecotourism is a growing worldwide trend for any traveler who is trying to do right by Mother Nature. Defined by The International Ecotourism Society as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” Ecotourism is the logical progression for the environmentally conscious with wanderlust.
Hawaii offers an ideal location for ecotourism with its diverse ecosystems, stunning landscapes, and storied history and culture. Recent years have shown an increase in eco-friendly boutique resorts and retreats.
The Big Island has the most variety when it comes to ecotourism. There are at least three facilities spread across the vast island. One of the newest boutique hotels is Kipuka in Kapoho, Hawaii Island’s eastern tip. This resort blends off-the-grid systems, eco-friendly building materials, and tropical architecture, including an intricate water and solar-power system that services all four vacation homes, Polynesian buildings constructed of bamboo and roofs made of palm fronds that were created from recycled materials. Nestled in palm trees, this resort blends form and function for a conscientious guest.
Along the Big Island’s North Kohala Coast sits the Hawaii Island Retreat, a hotel and spa with 50 acres of gardens, wild groves, and ancient valley trails. Sustainably engineered and designed, with nine Hawaiian-styled rooms, a yoga studio, saltwater pool and spa, the Hawaii Island Retreat is a tropical oasis.
Another appealing retreat is Kalani, a nonprofit on Hawaii Island’s eastern shore. This educational institution promotes wellness as well as Hawaiian nature and culture. The facility is volunteer-run, and features vegetarian cuisine, bodywork treatments, yoga, recreational facilities and educational adventures. Kalani is the largest retreat center in Hawaii, and has activities and accommodations for any interests or budget.
When planning your next Hawaiian adventure, consider the Big Island with one of its many eco-friendly hotels or retreats. Not only will you have a fantastic and refreshing stay, you’ll also be participating in a growing trend to travel conscientiously.