Luxury With a Heart Top Eco-Resorts and Sustainable Lodges
Sustainable travel is at the heart of what we do here at Jacada and now, it's more luxurious than ever.
Environmentally conscious travel doesn't mean compromising on comfort. Some of today's most stylish and exclusive hotels and lodges are also some of the most sustainable and forward-thinking.
In these top-of-the-range eco-resorts, comfort, glamour and indulgence combine with authenticity, sustainability and incomparable beauty.
Here's our pick of the world's best eco-resorts, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience you simply won't find elsewhere.
1) Lapa Rios Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Pool | Spa | Yoga Area | Restaurant | Nature Trails | Beach Access | Early Morning & Sunset Birds Tours | Wild Waterfalls | Rainforest Ridge Walk | Night Walk & Jungle Overnight | Corcovado National Park | Massage, Hatha Yoga & Chi Kung | Golfo Dulce & Cana Blanca Dolphin Tours | Surf Lessons | Sea & Mangrove Kayak Tour | Kayak or Horseback Riding to Bijagual Farm
Blending seamlessly into its surroundings in one of the world’s most diverse primary rainforests, Lapa Rios lodge lets you enjoy an unbeatably authentic and intimate rainforest experience, without compromising on luxury. Its sixteen bungalows are the epitome of sustainable style, with bamboo furniture, warm wood flooring, private bathrooms and two showers.
Wake up in comfort with rainforest canopies over your head, sweeping views of the sunrise over the Pacific Ocean from your balcony, the call of howler monkeys in the air and the smell of freshly roasted Costa Rican coffee drifting in from the next room. Spend your days getting close to the incredible wildlife, hiking, taking in the sights of the sumptuous rainforest and stunning waterfalls, learning to surf, kayak and ride horses, or simply relaxing on the pristine beaches.
Finally, fall asleep to the gentle rise and fall of the ocean waves in the distance, happy in the knowledge that your stay at Lapa Rios supports the conservation of the rainforest and provides direct employment and income to more than 55 families in the area. Unsurprisingly, the lodge has won numerous worldwide awards for social and environmental excellence.
2) Wolwedans, NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Main complex: 2 lounges, sundowner decks, fireplace, tea deck, library, wine cellar, 2 dining rooms, swimming pool | Scenic drives | Walking Safaris | Hot Air Ballooning | Scenic Flights | Star Beds (sleepouts) | Village Tours | Photography | Massage and Wellness Treatments
Nestled into the dunes at the heart of NamibRand Nature Reserve, this collection of four camps is the perfect base from which to explore this vast area of breathtaking, unscathed natural beauty. The luxury tented accommodation here is entirely solar powered and boasts delicious local ‘bush-cuisine’, but each camp is built in its own distinctive, striking setting.
The superb range of activities on offer provides something for everyone and allows you to get even more intimate with this spectacular environment: you can explore scenic nature walks with resident field guides, picnic in the wild, watch the spectacular sunset over the dunes, enjoy 360 vistas of the timeless desert landscape from a hot air balloon, tour the local villages, go horse riding, and even treat yourself to an indulgent spa or wellness treatment.
This is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the sombre, tawny beauty, natural grandeur and dramatic geological landscape of the desert all whilst enjoying five-star luxury, complete with swimming pool, marble bathrooms and air-conditioned rooms. What’s more, the Wolwedans Foundation is committed to promoting an inclusive, holistic paradigm of conservation that minimizes environmental impact, enhances livelihoods and fosters intercultural dialogue.
3) Segera Retreat, Laikipia, Kenya
6 Timber thatched villas with their own terrace | Outdoor area with day beds, Jacuzzi and sun deck | 3 Dining areas serving cuisine inspired by home grown produce | Art gallery | Gym | Private sun deck area with lounge beds | Spa treatment room | Wine tower | Game drives | Flights in Out of Africa’s G-AAMY biplane
Segera is a unique, one-of-a-kind destination for fun, adventure, spiritual reflection and peace, combining the ultimate in luxury, bespoke service and exclusivity with a holistic approach to wellness and an authentic safari experience. The beauty of Segera is enhanced by its deep commitment to conservation and community practices, allowing its guests to reconnect with nature and embrace a new way of viewing their relationship with the natural world.
Segera’s six spacious timber thatched villas provide the perfect base from which to adventure out on wildlife excursions, enjoy art exhibitions, conservation projects, holistic wellness treatments and trips to local markets and communities, catch a flight over the plains in a vintage yellow biplane, or dine in a lovely Winetower. There’s even a gym and private swimming pool, should you feel so inclined.
Nestled between Mount Kenya to the east and the Great Rift Valley to the west, the retreat is settled in the heart of Laikipia, one of Kenya’s most exciting safari locations. With its golden savannah plains, wild grasslands, rocky waterfalls, rivers, woodlands and tropical botanical gardens, this is one of the most wonderfully diverse and magical environments you will ever have the joy of discovering.
4) Nihi Sumba Island, West Sumba, Indonesia
32 villas | Swimming pool and plunge pools | Restaurants & bar areas | Jungle and hilltop spas | Private beach | Wi-fi | Yoga and meditation | Horse riding | Mountain biking | Trekking | Visiting local villages | Deep sea fishing | Surfing | Diving | Cookery classes
Idyllic and secluded, Nihi Sumba Island feels like the island that time forgot – so it’s unsurprising that it’s widely regarded as one of the finest resorts in the world. Its 32 villas, with their panoramic sea views and picturesque balconies, are constructed by local craftsmen from reclaimed wood and nestled amongst the trees of a truly stunning natural environment.
438 acres of paradise made up of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands converge on a picture-perfect private beach. From this island paradise you can explore the unregulated beauty of the Sumbanese countryside on foot or even on horseback, hike into local villages, relax and revitalise with a gentle yoga class, indulge in a sunset massage, or head to the water for surfing, paddle boarding, diving and fishing drips.
The Sumba Foundation is deeply committed to lessening the consequences of poverty on the island of Sumba, as well as preserving and respecting the fragile culture and traditions of the Sumbanese people. This is a rare opportunity to authentically immerse yourself in the island’s magnificently preserved ancient culture and traditions, from local arts and crafts to megalithic burial sites and the world-famous Ikat weavings.
5) Song Saa, Koh Rong Archipelago, Cambodia
27 stilted villas | Yoga and meditation | Infinity pool | Island boutique | Spa and wellness | Ecological programme | Two bars and restaurants | Kayak around the archipelago | Dive and snorkel | Guided trek around the rainforest | Private movie night
Created with sustainability in mind, Song Saa Private Island is a haven of 27 thatched villas, each with their own private pool, built by local hands from local reclaimed and upcycled materials (think thatched roofs, linen-draped canopy beds and beautiful salvaged wood decks). Spotless, out-of-the-way beaches, heavenly spa sanctuaries and a vibrant coral reef teeming with sealife complete the picture.
Take a sunset cruise across the sparkling blue seas, explore magical rainforest trails with experienced guides, dip into the spa and wellness sanctuaries, try out scuba diving, kayaking or snorkelling, immerse yourself in the island’s ecological and cultural programmes, relax on the stunning private beach and feast on delicious Khmer or western cuisine made with fresh local produce and dished up by world-class chefs.
Song Saa reflects the natural beauty of the Cambodian coastline as well as its spirit, combining authenticity, integrity, creativity, innovation and design to create an island paradise that seeks to empower, revive and regenerate both local communities and guests, whilst fostering intimate connections between individuals and the items and experiences they consume.
6) Pacuare Lodge, Costa Rica
Bar | Restaurant | Wine cellar | Massages | Fishing | Swimming | Nature trails & hiking expeditions | Bird-watching | Bird-watching | Eco-tourism | White water rafting | Waterfalls & Canopy tours | Horseback Riding | Visit indigenous Cabercar Indian community
All of the staff at Pacuare Lodge are from local communities, natural light is provided by lanterns and candles, the walls are hung with local art, and the lodges are built with lumber purchased from a local sustainable reforestation project operated by small farmers. Palm leaves form the roofs, installed by local Cabecar Indians in their traditional style. Simple and sophisticated, Pacuare Lodge offers adventure and comfort in perfect harmony with its environment.
The adventure starts before you even set foot in this unique eco-lodge, arriving and departing via white-water raft. Once there, you will find yourself in a stunning location overlooking the Pacuare River (listed by National Geographic as one of the world’s top scenic rivers), surrounded by over 1.2 million acres of luxuriant rainforest.
Venture out on canopy tours and canyoning expeditions, hike past waterfalls along beautiful rainforest nature trails, relax and invigorate with some swimming, fishing and horseback riding, visit the indigenous Cabercar Indian community, relax with an indulgent massage treatment, and don’t miss the chance to experience an unforgettable meal in the Nest: a platform 60 feet above the jungle floor in the branches of the century-old Kapok tree.
Find out more about our top eco resorts...
- Lapa Rios$$$$$You don’t have to forego luxury in favour of natural beauty at the safari-style eco-lodge Lapa Rios. Located in one of the most diverse primary rainforests in the world, the Corcovado National Park, this ethically-responsible hotel does all it can to blend inconspicuously into its delicate surroundings and to create as little disturbance to the environment as possible. Guests enjoy exceptional intimacy with nature in authentic comfort. Its lodgings are 17 simple, spacious and stylish open-sided thatch bungalows decorated with bamboo furniture, warm wood flooring, and private bathrooms with two showers. As such Lapa Rios’ assimilation into its rainforest habitat means that you often get toucans visiting your bungalow balcony, and the adventure and wildlife activities have never been so close to hand. There are no TVs, phones or internet in the bungalows, so it’s the perfect place to escape and unwind completely. The hotel and each bungalow have sweeping views of the Pacific and rainforest canopies, and it’s a short downhill walk to a quiet and beautiful beach for a dip in the ocean. The main lodge has a high roof and open sides, magically lit by candlelight in the evenings. Tuck into hearty meals made using responsibly-caught local seafood, ethically-sourced meat and fresh vegetables at Brisa Azul Restaurant and Bar. And sip on organic South American wines with your fellow guests as the sunsets.
- Wolwedans$$$$$This is a collection of four camps in the NamibRand Nature Reserve (200,000–hectares) in the Namib Desert and south of Sossuavlei. The camps have a strong emphasis on protecting the environment, rebuilding the eco-system and uplifting local communities. The group is also part of The Long Run organisation. Wolwedans boasts both an assortment of luxury tented accommodation all powered by solar energy but each has a different backdrop for a distinctive experience, and some of the best ‘bush-cuisine’ on the Namibian Safari Circuit. The experience here is one of desolate, copper-tinged beauty, tapestry landscapes, extreme geology, kaleidoscope colours, fantastic yet down-to-earth service, scenic drives, hot-air balloon flights and rewarding nature walks. Plus all the modern creature comforts and old world charm.
- Segera$$$$$Styled in a very natural way, Segera is an unusual and elegant safari retreat founded by philanthropist Jochen Zeitz as part of the Zeitz Foundation to support creative and innovative sustainable projects and solutions that balance conservation, community development, culture, and commerce. Surrounded by lovely sculpted gardens complete with expansive lawns, the property is set in a 50,000 acre ranch right in the heart of Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, with stunning views of Mount Kenya. Accommodation is in six spacious timber thatched villas. There is one large Segera villa that has a bedroom, terrace, day bed with its own pool, and both an indoor and outdoor lounge, and Segera House with two bedrooms, central lounge, roof terraces and its own private pool area, a good option for families. A new addition and one of the most unique rooms in Africa, spend a night in the NAY PALAD Bird Nest. Built and designed from raw materials, including actual tree branches which have been woven into a nest by local community members, the interior suite features a fully-equipped bathroom with running solar heated water and a literal 360 degree bird’s eye views over the river and plains below from the top deck. There is also a spa, gym, art gallery and a simply wonderful old Wine Tower which you can dine in. This is also a first class area for viewing game; while on your daily drives it is common to see elephants, lions, leopards, hippos, buffalo, antelopes, gazelles, along with the very rare Grevy’s zebras and Patas monkeys. Another star attraction is Gipsy Moth biplane that starred in Out of Africa from which you can enjoy an unforgettable aerial safari.
- Nihi Sumba Island$$$$$Regarded as one of the finest resorts in the world, Nihi Sumba Island, formerly known as Nihiwatu, has a blissfully remote location on West Sumba. This eco-friendly resort takes a responsible approach to hospitability, and its restaurants make use of organically grown produce from the grounds, while its foundation and community outreach programmes seek to benefit and upskill the local villages, and protect the environment. Positioned within the diverse natural setting of 438 acres of tropical forest, rice terraces and grasslands on a private stretch of beautiful beach, Nihi Sumba Island provides utter scenic seclusion. All rooms are tucked amongst the trees, with huge windows and private terraces or balconies boasting expansive sea views. With 32 villas, all made from reclaimed wood by local craftsmen and furnished with unique regional artefacts, the accommodation here is exceptional. Meanwhile, the restaurant is a fusion between Eastern and Western cuisine, with an extremely accommodating team and chef. Though dining tends to be a communal affair with couples, families and friends, the staff will happily arrange private dining in your room or at one of many private romantic locations among the grounds. During the day, guests can try their hand at surfing along the beach or take in the Sumbanese countryside and culture by horseback. Those looking for a more relaxing pursuit can indulge in the Jungle Spa, with a massage or yoga class. There’s also fishing trips, stand-up paddleboarding and diving to be enjoyed, plus destination dining and a sea turtle hatchery.
- Song Saa private island resort$$$$$Song Saa is a beautiful eco-resort that sits across the islands of Koh Bong and Koh Ouen, which are affectionately known as the Sweetheart Islands. Accessible by a 45-minute speedboat journey from the mainland, Song Saa is the perfect place to completely unwind and explore southern Cambodia’s stunning coastline. The resort was built with sustainability in mind, and reclaimed timber and other materials from the mainland were used in its construction. Salvaged wood from old fishing boats and factory yards were turned into decking and beams, oil drums became lamps, and weathered driftwood was crafted into beautiful pieces of furniture. Set in a self-made marine reserve, Song Saa is also home to a team of marine biologists, implements recycling practices, and is involved in the funding and founding of sustainability projects in the area. The 24 luxury pool villas are scatted across the island, some nestled within the rainforest along the shoreline and others perched over the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Thailand. The open-plan design of the villas creates a real sense of space and light and the natural decor and design compliments the surrounding environment. For the ultimate exclusive escape, the two-bedroom Royal Villa is reached by private boat and has its own pool, kitchen and indoor dining space for up to 12 guests. Locally caught seafood and seasonal fruits and vegetables are used to create delicious Khmer cuisine at the overwater Vista Restaurant. Driftwood Bar on the beach is an ideal spot to grab a crisp beer or a mojito, along with a wood-fired pizza or some tapas as the sun goes down. Dotted around the resort are little sanctuaries where you can indulge in a spa treatment surrounded by nature. There’s also a large infinity pool, a fitness centre and yoga sessions for those that like to keep active while away. You’re surrounded by white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, so grab a snorkelling mask, a paddleboard or a kayak and explore. Alternatively, take to the rainforest trails and discover the native plants and wildlife.
- Pacuare Lodge$$$$$It could be the remote and unrivalled seclusion of Pacuare Lodge’s setting in 740 acres of primary rainforest or its luxury cabins emerging from the thick milieu of foliage that makes this a great place to stay: but the combination is what transforms it into a truly unique one. The Pacuare Reserve is home to toucans, howler monkeys, and a large variety of birds meaning your stay here is an intimate one with nature and located on the banks of the Pacuare River the hotel has the advantage of offering a wealth of activities, such as expert wildlife and jungle expeditions all right from your canopy threshold. Simply but sumptuously furnished with polished wood floors, local art and open-plan living, the 20 bungalows and suites are constructed with local wood timber frames and palm thatch roofs expertly embrace this tropical habitat and jungle lifestyle. The choice of rooms and suites range from luxury garden bungalows and riverside suites to tree-top honeymoon and Linda Vista suites that look out onto unparalleled views of the river and jungle. Some have their own private infinity plunge pools. At night the lodge is lit by candlelight, creating a magical honeycomb-like effect, and delicious food is served at the main restaurant along with wines from its own cellar. There is also a beautiful new swimming pool, heated by special radiating tiles.