Burning fossil fuel is unavoidable if you want a tropical wedding or honeymoon, but you don't have to give up on the green lifestyle entirely. There are many new resorts that have taken earth-consciousness way past the point of asking guests to sleep on the same sheets for a few days. Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, shares some tips on how to have your cake, and help the planet too.
Many properties are billing themselves as "green" and it can be hard to distinguish the truly eco-friendly resorts from the ones that are mostly talk. Look for resorts that state specific and verifiable eco-efforts, like these:
Calibishie Cove in Dominica has only four suites, all overlooking the ocean. Hot water is provided through solar power and the suites are designed to make the most of natural breezes and sunlight. Food and activities are not included in the price, but the staff can point you in the direction of the best nearby restaurants and local fruit vendors, and you can easily book independent tours. Rooms start at $120/night from June through November, and $135/night from December through May.
Aqua, a new resort opening soon in Nicaragua, has treetop villas made from sustainable hardwoods that are elevated to reduce the footprint on the forest floor. This means that you get to enjoy the same spectacular views of the coastline as the native monkeys—when you're not cooling your feet in the surf with the flamingos. Aqua offers many nature-based activities as well as classes in organic gardening and earth-friendly eating habits. Aqua is so new that resort prices have yet to be set.
The Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort on Vanua Levu island in Fiji has won numerous awards for its environmental activities, like starting the island's first recycling program and its innovative wastewater system that uses coconuts and recycled bottles to ensure clean water in the lagoons. The resort keeps a marine biologist on staff who gives lectures on the local flora and fauna. Don't miss the Saturday morning trips to the farmers market, Fijian language classes, and lessons in Fijian basket weaving. All activities, meals and non-alcoholic drinks are included with the price. Rooms for two start at $669/night. —Tammy Levent