Luxury With a Heart Top Eco-Resorts and Sustainable Lodges

Written by
Jennifer Richt, Byron Thomas & Kate Herz

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.

Lapa Rios Costa Rica Balcony

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.

Lapa Rios Costa Rica Bedroom

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.

Beach Lapa Rios Costa Rica

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.

Sunset Lapa Rios Costa Rica
Porch Sunset Wolwedans

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.

Canopy Bed Private Camp Wolwedans Namibrand Nature Reserve Namibia

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.

Private Camp Wolwedans Namibrand Nature Reserve Namibia
Kitchen at Segera Retreat, Lakipia, Kenya

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.

Luxury Accommodation Segera Lakipia Kenya

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.

Canopy Bed Segera Lakipia Kenya

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.

Camels Segera Lakipia Kenya

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.

Guest Room Nihi Sumba Island Eco Resort Indonesia

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.

Horse Riding Nihi Sumba Island Eco Resort Indonesia

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.

Sumba Horse Races
Villa Accommodation Song Saa Cambodia

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.

Canopy Bed Bedroom Villa Song Saa Cambodia

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.

Luxury Accommodation Song Saa Private Island Resort

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.

Linda Vista Suite Pacuare Lodge Costa Rica

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.

River Rafting Pacuare Lodge Costa Rica

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.


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