Lodges We Love
As we’ve traveled the globe, we’ve stayed in a lot of places, and fallen in love with a lot of places. Somehow, we’ve managed to narrow the list down to seven incredible lodges where you’ll get a good night’s sleep and so much more. These lodges stand out for doing sustainability the right way – supporting their local communities in a variety of innovative ways.
Little Kulala Camp - Photo courtesy Wilderness Safaris
Wilderness Safaris is an example of a business that has taken sustainability principles to scale. Operating remote safari camps in 7 countries, and employing over 2,800 people, the company uses the 4 C’s as a guiding principle for how they run their business: community, culture, conservation, and commerce.
Our favorite of their initiatives is the Children in the Wilderness Program that was started with the support of Paul Newman. They close down their camps for a few days each year to invite underprivileged children to stay at the camp and learn life and leadership skills focused on conservation and cultural heritage.
The view from La Loma Jungle Lodge
La Loma Jungle Lodge – Bocas del Toro, Panama
La Loma is a small lodge consisting of three treehouse-style cabins in a chocolate farm (yes!) overlooking a bay in Bocas del Toro, Panama. The owners work closely with the local community, grow the food they serve to guests, and they have even started a foundation that supports a number of local development projects. It’s a true sustainable tourism success story!
In the heart of Madidi National Park - San Miguel de Bala
San Miguel de Bala – Bolivia
San Miguel de Bala helped set the standard for sustainable, community-based tourism in Madidi National Park, Bolivia. They reduce local people's dependence on extractive industries by creating employment in sustainable tourism. They also help keep Madidi pristine by enforcing park regulations and dedicating profits to support conservation projects.
A true community experience - Photo courtesy Runa Tupari
Runa Tupari is a great tour operator and lodging facilitator in Ecuador specializing in rural community tourism. Guests stay with indigenous families (in one of 14 rural homes), and all profits are reinvested to improve living conditions in the communities. They also offer sightseeing, hiking, horseback riding and biking trips in the region - and have trained over 25 native guides who live within the local communities.
Breakfast at Hotel con Corazon - photo courtesy Hotel con Corazon
Hotel Con Corazon in Grenada, Nicaragua, is a quaint boutique hotel that is run completely as a social enterprise. As they put it, “it all started with two guys and one plan: to open a hotel in Nicaragua and invest profits in local education programs”. They have more than succeeded. Today, they are the top-rated hotel in Grenada and 100% of their profits have gone to support local education programs. But what’s even more exciting is their next goal - to open 10 similar hotels in 10 years!
Great food with a great view - Photo courtesy Bohol Bee Farm
The Bohol Bee Farm is so much more than just a farm. The lodge offers tours, crafts, a spa, and beautiful water views, but the real draw is the incredible food – all locally sourced and locally prepared. The heart of the lodge is the organic farm, where local farmers are taught sustainable farming practices that support their livelihood. As one Solimar staffer put it, “I will never forget my stay at the Bohol Bee Farm in the Philippines. It literally takes FOREVER to get there from DC and I'd hop on a plane right this minute if I could.”
Dunes Lodge - Photo courtesy Wolwedans
Wolwedans was founded on the principle of sustainability, and has become an industry-leader. Wolwedans is a collection of camps and lodges that strive to be completely self-sufficient – an amazing feat considering their location in the middle of the Namibian desert! They are growing and storing food, employing & training local staff, using solar panels, even opening a garage with mechanics for safari vehicles so that they don't have to service them miles away.