9 Eco-Friendly Trips That Are Better for You and the Environment

Eco-friendly travel in Costa Rica
Photo: Gaile Juknyte/EyeEm/Getty

The newest eco-friendly travel destinations meet every style, so you can reconnect with nature or get a hit of city culture, all while protecting the environment.

01 of 10

The Eco-Friendly Travel Trend

Woman biking at an eco-friendly travel destination
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Eco-friendly travel has never been more popular: Almost three-quarters of people in a Booking.com survey favor responsible travel choices, and 70 percent say they are more likely to pick an accommodation if it's environmentally friendly. "Travelers are eager to experience the world in a more sustainable way, and the industry is responding," says Arjan Dijk, the chief marketing officer at Booking.com. More specifically, "people are seeking earth-friendly retreats that also respect, celebrate, and protect the local inhabitants and cultures and give back in powerful ways," adds Costas Christ of Beyond Green, a new hotel brand that requires its properties to adhere to over 50 sustainability indicators.

Increasingly, trips are designed to prevent over-tourism and leave less of a footprint on local communities. And they're healthier for travelers too. More organic, locally sourced, plant-based foods are available at hotel restaurants; you can have a deeper, more meaningful connection with your surroundings, whether it's in the wilderness or a city; and you go home with the satisfaction of having traveled in a responsible, respectful manner.

No matter what type of trip you're looking for, these nine eco-friendly travel options will energize and inspire you, while doing good along the way.

02 of 10

DuVine Cycling & Adventure Co.

These small, customized luxury cycling trips through wine country let you experience your destination like a local. DuVine focuses on bringing tourism into small towns rather than major cities, and with a guide from the region, you'll bike on back roads, stay in small inns, eat at family-owned restaurants, and visit independent artisans. For example, in Alentejo, Portugal, you'll have an eco-friendly travel adventure riding through olive groves, stay in a renovated 15th-century convent, and cook with a local chef. (

Where: U.S., Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia
Price: From $2,795 for 4 days, includes gear, accommodations, meals, and activities

03 of 10

Kasiiya Papagayo

Untouched nature meets total indulgence at this seaside resort. The top priority at the eco-friendly travel destination is conserving the tropical forest, so the eco-friendly suites (built from sustainable materials and powered by solar energy) are designed to be in total harmony with—and have no impact on—the 123 acres of wilderness that surround the hotel. This includes spring water and paths made from wood, not cement. You can enjoy the waves, fresh air, mountain hikes, and sounds of the birds and monkeys with a clean conscience. (Before you hit the trail, make sure you stock up on these pieces of hiking gear.)

Where: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Price: Rooms from $615, including all meals, snacks, and sports equipment, like snorkels and kayaks

04 of 10

1 Hotel West Hollywood

Located in the Hollywood Hills with a view of the city below, this hotel is one of the most energy efficient in the Los Angeles area. Designed to be an eco-friendly travel destination where you can connect with nature, the property has an organic, sustainably grown vegetable garden, 100-year-old olive trees, and a beehive.

A farm stand in the lobby is stocked with fresh seasonal fruits that look imperfect but are still delicious—produce bought from growers that would otherwise go to waste. The hotel's restaurant, 1 Kitchen by Chris Crary, serves locally and sustainably sourced breakfasts and lunches, like the turmeric ricotta and beets. Even the minibar, curated by Hannah Bronfman, has locally sourced products for wellness-conscious guests.

Where: West Hollywood, California
Price: Rooms from $449 a night

05 of 10

Villa Copenhagen

Copenhagen's goal is to become, by 2025, the world's first carbon-neutral city. And it has already been named one of the world's happiest and healthiest cities. That's incentive enough to book a room in this chic brand-new hotel. The building at this eco-friendly travel destination, however, is not so new—it started as a post office over 100 years ago. The refurnished design is part modern Nordic and part neo-baroque, and it offers a luxe, sustainable experience in the city's cultural center.

The hotel's many sustainability efforts include using new technology to convert food waste into green energy, working with ethical suppliers to preserve the environment, using renewable energy, and designing some furniture from recycled ocean waste.

Where: Copenhagen
Price: Rooms from $210

06 of 10

The Lodge at Gulf State Park

Stay in a peaceful state park with 28 miles of hiking and biking trails, a butterfly garden, a nature center, and miles of beachfront just steps from the lobby. The Lodge was rebuilt in 2018 to be more environmentally friendly and to help guests spend time outside. Much of the landscaping is designed to provide habitats for birds and sea turtles by using native species that can thrive without irrigation, chemical pesticides, or fertilizers.

From May to October, you can catch an amazing sight on the beach at night: the sea turtles during nesting and hatching season. During the day at the eco-friendly travel destination, you can go kayaking to search for marine life, grab binoculars to go birding, or explore the park's nine different ecosystems with a naturalist as your guide. (BTW, biking can give you a mental health boost.)

Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama
Price: Rooms from $130 a night on weekdays, $165 on weekends

07 of 10

Lindblad Expeditions in the Galápagos Islands

Get up close to wildlife on this weeklong cruise that packs in the adventure, both on land and undersea. You'll snorkel and kayak with friendly sea lions, penguins, and sea turtles; hike alongside giant tortoises; and admire blue-footed boobies, all under the guidance of professional naturalists, while a wellness specialist helps you design expeditions that are as active as you'd like. Guests can support a Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fund to create large marine-protected areas, finance education, and aid fisherman to develop sustainable catches and ways to clean up tourism trash. Also, the eco-friendly travel destination's farm-to-table program is a first for the Galápagos Islands: Over 30 tons of local, organic produce is purchased annually to invest in farms and fuel the economy.

Where: Galápagos Islands
Price: From $5,900 per person for 7 days for 2 people

08 of 10

Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo

This 550,000-acre reserve on the Colorado border is on a mission to save everything: mountains, valleys, streams, forests, and wildlife. What you get to experience is a wilderness wonderland with a slew of outdoor activities — horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, fishing 19 lakes and 30 miles of streams — while staying in luxe but eco accommodations. And you can contribute to the land's well-being too. Vermejo has programs that regenerate the natural ecosystems, rebuild forests, conserve water, and protect endangered species. In fact, the eco-friendly travel destination has been instrumental in bringing back the cut-throat trout and American bison from near extinction (the bison herds roam the grounds).

Where: Raton, New Mexico
Price: $1,400 per night for 2, including all meals and most activities and beverages

09 of 10

Mauna Kea Resort

The Mauna Kea resort comprises two stunning hotels. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is Hawaii heaven, with white-sand beaches, moonlight snorkeling, and weekly luaus. While paddling in the crystal-clear water of Kauna'oa Bay, you'll see some of the 7,000 forms of protected marine life among the reefs. The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort sits on beachfront bluffs, so you can enjoy endless sea and sky. Hawaii is the only place in the U.S. where tropical rainforests and cloud forests exist, and the hotel is working to keep them safe and supporting reforestation throughout the island. Both hotels are participants in the Malama Hawaii campaign, an effort to inspire mindful travel. Guests can volunteer for projects, including tree planting, beach cleanups, and creating Hawaiian quilts for kupuna (older adults). (

Where: Kohala Coast, Hawaii
Price: From $1,139 for Mauna Kea Beach Hotel; from for Westin Hapuna Beach Resort

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Sand Valley Resort

This is wild landscape for the Midwest: 1,700 acres of tumbling prehistoric sand dunes within 10,000 acres of quiet natural beauty. The resort prioritizes preservation of the ancient land: It was once abused by pulp trees for a timber company, but those crops are being removed to encourage growth of native vegetation. At the eco-friendly travel destination, you'll get a mental and physical reset hiking through red pines and oak savannas, biking over those sand dunes, swimming in three lakes, bird-watching, fishing, and stargazing. The cabins (to respect the environment, there are a limited number) and lodge are designed to showcase the serenity of the terrain and indulge the craving for nature. Meals are sourced from its own garden and local providers, and all activities immerse guests in the otherworldly setting. (Expect to give these muscles a major workout while you bike across the dunes.)

Where: Nekoosa, Wisconsin
Price: Lodge rooms from $325, cabins start at
$900

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