Eco-conscious couples want their travel to have as little impact as possible. But staying at resorts, going out to eat, and even traveling itself all consume natural resources and contribute to carbon emissions. The question is, how do you explore, adventure, and appreciate the planet without harming it in the process?
One option is to book at an eco-resort. But before you do, make sure the resort is really eco-friendly, and not just exploiting environmentalism to pull in more tourists. In order to run, resorts use an enormous amount of resources like electricity, gas, and water. They generate a lot of waste, including plastics. However, by making minimizing waste part of their ethos, and incorporating practices that offset energy and resource usage, some resorts actually give back to the environment to improve the ecology of the areas where they're built.
Turtle Island Fiji is one of these resorts. A true eco-friendly property, Turtle Island was one of the first resorts in the world to build an extensive solar power infrastructure to provide energy to its villas, bures, and facilities. Known as the "Field of Light," the solar farm helps Turtle Island power itself only through the power of the sun. With clean solar energy to run Turtle Island, there are no fossil fuels being used when you turn on the lights or crank up the air conditioning. In addition, sustainable bamboo straws have replaced plastic here, so your cold cocktails never contribute to landfill waste.
A five-acre garden with a hydroponic growing section provides the fresh farm-to-table produce used in their cuisine, with up to 80% of the fruits and vegetables served coming right from the onsite gardens. Helping to pollinate the gardens are bees, raised on Turtle Island's bee farm where they work all day producing fresh honey.
The furnishings in the villas are all crafted by master Fijian artisans, using locally-sourced sustainable materials. The distinctly Fijian style of the bures, villas, and furnishings is crisp and natural, with carved wood and fine white linens. Thatch roofs and woven rope mosaics imbue the accommodations with distinctive island charm.
What's more, the resort has planted over a half-million trees on Turtle Island. These new plantings help the indigenous forest growth thrive while promoting biodiversity of other local plant and animal species.
You can hike, bike, or even ride on a solar-powered golf cart across the island, all along trails flanked by these blended native and hand-planted forests. The jungle of palms leads you to waterfalls, fern-lined mountaintops, private beaches, patches of protected coastal mangroves, and tranquil aquamarine bays. Stumble upon a freshwater pond introduced to the island by the resort, and you'll see some of the diverse indigenous bird species these habitats attract. At Turtle Island even the snorkeling helps protect the planet, with snorkeling guides trained to remove crown-of-thorns starfish. These fish eat away at coral, damaging ecosystems, and your guide can show you how you can help.
If you spot a turtle at one of these bays, don't be surprised: The island is rich with turtles, but that could change if turtle hunters have their way. To protect them, Fiji partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and local fishermen to protect these magnificent critters from hunters.
Since beginning their campaign, the turtle popuplation on Turtle Island and other local islands has shown a promising increase. Every guest who stays here becomes a part of the conservation effort. Learn more about being part of the change on Turtle Island's Global Good page.
This is a resort where you feel like family. And it only makes sense to take care of your home. Whether that means Turtle Island or the entire planet, they show that luxury travel can truly have the power to make the world a better place.