The Best Eco Lodges in the World

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(Last updated on: 03/11/2021)

Which are the best eco lodges in the world? Well, this is a difficult question to answer! After all, there are soooo many eco lodges all over the world nowadays. However, some ecotourism entrepreneurs have mastered the eco lodge business more than others, and in this article I introduce you to some of the best eco lodges in the world…. read on to find out more!

The best eco lodges in the world

Here on Tourism Teacher you can find plenty of information about what an eco lodge is, and why eco tourism is seeing such a surge in popularity. You can learn about eco lodges in specific countries. You can find out the boxes businesses have to tick in order to be an eco lodge. This post includes a round up of the best eco lodges in the world – in case you are planning a future trip with the environment in mind.

Gili Eco Villas, Gili T

the best eco lodges in the world

Gili T is one of the most famous (and most beautiful) Indonesian islands. Here you’ll find Gili Eco Villas. The whole island has a no car or motorbike rule, so the pollution here is minimal. This also means there is an incredibly peaceful vibe. Gili T is just a stone’s throw from Bali, a real hotspot for tourists and backpackers. Expect crystal clear blue water, pure white sand and almost-endless sunshine. From SCUBA diving to boat trips to barbecues on the beach, there is an incredible list of things to do during your time on the island. It’s a real paradise!

With villas built from locally sourced and sustainable materials, you’ll be living in nature during your time at Gili Eco Villas. Furnishings are made from recycled teak, and each villa has its own outdoor shower area. The resort even has its own vegetable garden and greenhouse! There is a pool for those wanting to swim, or you can take a horse and cart ride around the island or go snorkelling. 

Choose from one, two and three bedroom villas. Rooms have doubt beds, so sleep up to six or seven. There is free WiFi in public areas, daily housekeeping should you want it and free toiletries too. Breakfast is served daily. Orange fruits and vegetables are produced at the aforementioned on-site greenhouse! All in all this is hands down one of the best eco lodges in the world, in one of the most beautiful locations you could pick.

Footsteps Eco Lodge, The Gambia

what is an eco lodge

The smiling coast of Africa is known for a lot of things: lively beach holidays, sex tourism, fishing… It may not strike you as a particularly sustainable or eco-friendly location, but it absolutely is. In fact, I have compiled a list of the top eco lodges in the Gambia here. However, the number one spot goes to Footsteps Eco Lodge, which is one of the best eco lodges in the world, not just in the Gambia!

Located next to Kufoong Forest Park, Footsteps is recommended for all types of travellers from families to backpackers. You can take part in plenty of activities here. Choose from bike tours, cooking classes and hiking, or just relax by the fresh water outdoor pool. The birds love it, so you won’t need binoculars to dose birdspotting here! There’s a spa offering gorgeous treatments, and a bar and restaurant on site.

The houses and cabins have en suite facilities and are all heated by sunlight.  With odourless composting toilets, self-catering facilities and so much more it is a great option for an eco-friendly stay in the Gambia. They’ll welcome your pets, and there is free parking as well as free WiFi. Guests are given reusable water bottles to use during their stay. This has saved thousands of water single use plastic water bottles over the course of the hotel’s life time.

Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge, Costa Rica

the best eco lodges in the world

Costa Rica is so beautiful. Nature is a big part of the country’s attraction, and Dantica Cloud Forest Lodge is a great place to experience it. They have perfected the blend of sustainability and luxury! With just 10 guest rooms, the lodge isn’t far from the Rio Savegre Waterfall. The views are absolutely breathtaking and you’ll be looked after by multilingual staff who are always keen to help you get to know the nearby area.

In terms of being sustainable, this is one of the best eco lodges in the world. They re-use rain water which is heated by solar panels, with laundry dried in the open air. Toiletries and cleaning products are biodegradable, and all food is local. Everything that can be recycled is. The business is working hard to reforest nearby areas, and they employ local residents as staff as well as promoting donations to the local school and church. They also aid in cleaning and maintaining the Los Quetzales National Park.

With suites and bungalows to choose from sleeping up to 4, this is a great option for an eco-friendly stay in Costa Rica. Floor to ceiling windows and plenty of outdoor seating means you can enjoy the view whenever you want! There is plenty to do: horseback tours, night time guided tours and botanical garden visits as well as so much more. 

Kachi Lodge, Bolivia

the best eco lodges in the world

This South American country might not be on your radar, but it should be. Bolivia has wildlife, glorious sunsets and a whole range of weather depending on where you are and the time of year. Located at the Uyuni salt flats, Kachi Lodge is a one-of-a-kind eco lodge in Bolivia. There are six luxury domes here: 28 sqm each with comfortable beds, private bathrooms and bespoke furniture. Said furniture is made from sustainable materials. These include straw, old sieves and cactus wood. The simple decor gives off a clean and relaxed vibe, while the views of the salt flats are unparalleled here as you look out of the huge side windows.

The entire business is permanent but mobile. The domes stand on wooden pallets – they are not drilled into the salt flats at all. Solar and wind energy is used here, along with incineration toilets. Kachi Lodge is aiming for an entirely plastic-free policy, along with hoping to set up their own waste treatment structure in the future.

You can completely relax here and just enjoy the peace. Or, head out with local guides to see what there is to see nearby. Kachi Lodge offer beautiful meals cooked daily with local ingredients as well as traditional Bolivian flavours – the restaurant also serves as a foundation which aims to give underprivileged local youths a great start in life. One of the best eco lodges in the world? Probably! It is also something a bit different to most eco lodges, which tend to be in a rainforest or on a beach…

EcoCamp Patagonia, Chile

the best eco lodges in the world

Located in the gorgeous Torres del Paine National Park, EcoCamp Patagonia has 33 domes inspired by the shelters built in ancient times by the Kaweskar people of this region. Each dome is 100% sustainable. They’re not too close to each other, meaning it’s nice and quiet; they’re cosy, some with en suite bathrooms and all with stunning views. Experience the colours and scenes of nature without having to even leave your dome!

The domes are low impact. They are built in such a way that prevents soil erosion, and animals can wander underneath them too. The use of solar energy and hydropower means EcoCamp’s carbon footprint is low; composting toilets and the promotion of offsetting your own carbon emissions mean that they are now recognised as being carbon neutral. 90% of the staff are local, receiving more than the Chilean minimum wage.

Food comes from local ingredients, with local flavours being used to ensure you get an authentic Chilean experience. The on-site store sells crafts from local artists and start-ups, which is just one way that EcoCamp aim to support their community. By staying here, you are giving back too! The company work with likeminded organisations in the area, aiming to protect the local landscape and provide educational opportunities to regional children. Not only this, but they offer incredible options when it comes to inclusive travel: catering to dietary requirements, providing sensory experiences for those with additional needs, and offering use of the Joëlette. This is an innovative hiking wheelchair – so nobody has to miss out on the amazing experiences available in this part of the world. All of this and more is why EcoCamp Patagonia is one of the best eco lodges in the world!

Karijini Eco Retreat, Australia 

the best eco lodges in the world

This campsite offers non-permanent tented accommodation meaning it again has a low-impact environmental factor. It is based in Karijini National Park – so the views are incredible. Think rolling green hills and roaring waterfalls under blue skies that are completely illuminated by stars come night time. There is a restaurant and grocery store on site, meaning everything you need is to hand. Even BBQ facilities!

Karijini Eco Retreat uses solar power, natural ventilation and limited lighting. Tents are stylish and spacious, with all flooring made from recycled timber. Choose from a double bed or two singles – the tents are ideal for couples or pairs of friends. A thermos flask is provided in each tent, reducing the need for single-use coffee cups. This is just one way that the company are reducing waste here. There is no internet in terms of WiFi, but phone signal does reach across the national park. Friendly staff and a variety of hikes make this a great place to stay if you’re looking for an eco friendly stay in a stunning part of Aus.

The best eco lodges in the world: Further reading

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Dr Hayley Stainton

Hi, I'm Dr Hayley Stainton

Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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