The best eco-lodges in Central America

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Chances are you’ve already experienced the volcanic splendor, lush cloud forests, vast Mayan ruins, stunning black sand beaches and rich indigenous cultures of Central America. To walk lighter but dive deeper into the region, just book into one of the excellent sustainable places in the region to say.

There are eco-lodges powered by solar energy, guest rooms made with recycled materials, fincas (ranches) with farm-to-table dining, family-friendly eco-hotels, rejuvenating yoga retreats and immersive stays with local communities. These impressive accommodations actively protect the spectacular biodiversity and living culture of Central America, and staying with them is an unforgettable experience in itself.

Here’s a guide to the best sustainable places to stay in Central America.

Presentation of Central America

Lush Atitlan – Lake AtitlanGuatemala

Ideal for sustainable lakeside luxury

Flanked by three spectacular volcanoes and dotted with Mayan villages all along its shores, Lago de Atitlán – the crown jewel of Guatemala’s highlands – has long been on the radar of backpackers, digital nomads and serenity seekers. . But tourism to this fragile lake ecosystem often comes at an environmental cost, which Lush Atitlan — one of the few eco-luxury family addresses on the lake — is determined to minimize. Its charming rooms and suites are furnished with recycled and reclaimed wood and recycled glass windows, and the owners seek to maximize energy efficiency, using biodegradable cleaning products and treating gray water to protect crystal-clear waters from the sun. lake.


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Aventuras Naturales Yorkin – Talamanca, Costa Rica

Ideal for chocolate lovers

There is no lack of pura vida (pure life) in Costa Rica, where 24% of the country’s primary forests are still intact and protected. But to truly understand the importance of the forest, venture off the beaten track to enjoy a homestay at the Yorkin Indigenous Reservation, near the Panamanian border, where the Bribris – one of the last indigenous cocoa-growing communities – still live off-grid by the Yorkin River in naturally cooled thatched-roof houses. Trips are organized through the Cooperative Consortium’s national ecotourism network and the journey to get there – by canoe, maneuvering through the rapids of a roaring river – is not for the faint-hearted, but the rewards. are numerous. You will be able to harvest, roast, grind and drink (not eat) chocolate in its purest form, swim to a waterfall across the river in Panama (no passport required) and deconstruct your notions of colonialism and how it affected the original inhabitants of the Central American Isthmus.

A terrace with a dizzying view at El Respiro in Nicaragua © El Respiro

El Respiro Ecolodge – Granada, Nicaragua

Ideal for a fully immersive experience

A French-Hungarian couple swapped lives as restaurateurs and chefs to build this truly stunning, off-the-grid four-bedroom eco-lodge on the lap of the formidable Volcan Mombacho – just a short drive from the ancient city of Granada in western Nicaragua. Fully powered by the sun (thanks to solar power) and rain (thanks to rainwater harvesting), it’s your exclusive gateway to the neighborhood’s coffee and cocoa farms, secret pools , authentic Nicaraguan crafts and superb hikes on an extinct volcano. Return home to gourmet meals sourced from the house’s organic farm, panoramic sunsets from a private wooden deck, refreshing swims in a stone-carved pool, and a twinkling canvas of stars to end the night.

Dolphin Bay Hideaway – Bocas del Torro, Panama

Ideal for a Robinson Crusoe atmosphere

Bocas Del Torro may be Panama‘s favorite party destination and home to some of its most coveted beaches, but you can leave the crowds behind – literally, as the only access is by boat – at the family-friendly Dolphin Bay hotel. Hideaway, located on a small, otherwise uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The off-grid cozy sheds (cabins) are powered by solar power and rainwater, and the retreat lives up to its name, with frequent sightings of dolphins, stingrays and other offshore marine wonders. Swim, snorkel, discover the incredible biodiversity of the islands and have lunch on neighboring islands by day – at night, after lovingly prepared communal evening meals, marvel at the vast starry sky.

Cangrejal River in Pico Bonita National Park in Honduras
Staying at the Omega Eco Lodge is an opportunity for jungle adventures like riding the rapids on the Cangrejal River © Manuel Chinchilla / Shutterstock

Omega Eco Lodge – Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras

Ideal for easy access to the rainforest

Sandwiched between the wild forests of Pico Bonito and Nombre de Dios National Parks in northern Honduras, the Omega Eco Lodge has been handcrafted from recycled wood and fitted with an air heating system. solar powered water. All water used in the lodge is recycled and right on your doorstep you can enjoy some of Central America’s most epic mountain biking, rainforest hiking and birding trails, as well as rapids class IV on the Rio Cangrejal – an experience not to be missed! End a day of thrill-seeking with a bit of toucan from your hammock or a refreshing dip in the freshwater pool, until the natural air conditioning of the rainforest lures you into a deep sleep.

Laguna Volcano – Nayarit, Mexico

Ideal for yoga enthusiasts

Located on the shores of the volcanic crater lake of Santa Maria del Oro, surrounded by mountain vistas in Nayarit, western Mexico, Volcan Laguna is an all-vegetable, partially off-the-grid yoga retreat – and gathering of artists, volunteers and travelers seeking to commune with nature in its purest form. Okay, we know Mexico isn’t officially in Central America, but it would be remiss not to mention this amazing place. The retreat’s vegan kitchen uses seasonal ingredients to create nutritious foods – vegan cheeses, savory salads and entrees prepared according to Ayurvedic recipes – to please all taste buds. Savor homemade picnics while waterfall jumping, then return to elaborate veggie burger bars after a day of hiking the volcano, paddle boarding or swimming on the deck. Above all, let the fragile beauty around you inspire you to leave a lighter footprint on the planet.

Tourists paddle canoes on Lake Peten Itza in Guatemala
Staying at Bio Itzá is your chance to escape the tourist crowds and properly explore Lake Petén Itzá © Rob Crandall / Shutterstock

Bio Itza – Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

Ideal for Mayan adventures

Far off the beaten path of northern Guatemala, the shores of beautiful Lake Peten Itzá are dotted with small Itzá Mayan villages, dense rainforests and ancient Mayan ruins, including the famous Tikal. In the tiny village of San Jose, the community-led ecotourism initiative Bio Itzá offers homestays with local Mayan families and Spanish immersion programs, plus a chance to engage in the ancient – and sadly eroded – culture of the Itzá Maya. Staying here is equal parts rustic and enriching experience, ideal for anyone looking to delve into the fascinating past and challenging present of the Maya people.

Rancho Margot – Lake Arenal, Costa Rica

Ideal for biological life

Nearly 20 years ago, long before the hashtag #regenerativetravel became fashionable, a Chilean scientist began converting the depleted Rancho Margot cattle ranch near Lake Arenal in the northern highlands of Costa Rica into a endemic forest. Today, scattered throughout this 400-acre green area, you’ll find bungalows equipped with living roofs for temperature control and hydroelectric generators for electricity, spring-fed rock pools, and an organic farm that provides more than 75% of the ingredients. for healthy farm-to-fork meals served to guests. Adventure seekers can kayak, hike and mountain bike around beautiful Lake Arenal and the Caño Negro River, while volunteering and sustainable living immersion programs are available for slow travelers who want embark on a deeper journey.

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