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Luxury Eco-Travel Destinations
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Luxury Eco-Travel Destinations

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Going to an exotic locale with breathtaking surroundings to relax and restore yourself doesn't necessarily mean leaving behind a giant footprint. Here are a few for you to checkout:

1. Alaska - Birch Pond Lodge
Located on 100 acres of spruce and birch forest to the north of Anchorage, this lodge was built by owner Bill Royce and his family. They stripped logs by hand, dug foundations and post holes by hand, crafted the cabins, and made sure that the baths integrate water and energy-saving technology.

2. Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania - Pole Pole Resort
Located in a World Wildlife Fund-protected ecosystem, this resort uses a plant-based system to purify water, and actively works to fund environmental education in the area. Pole Pole Resort also started the first recycling program in the park and funded a trust that makes sure local residents benefit from eco-tourism. An Italian couple built the resort on an archipelago that is home to untouched coral atolls, mangroves, baobab trees, and wildlife as varied as monkeys, falcons, and dwarf hippopotamuses.

3. South Africa - Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve Lodge
This large sanctuary for endangered species is located 160 miles from Cape Town and features luxurious accommodations for 32 guests. Daily excursions into the surrounding areas visit rock art, wildlife viewing, and educational lectures by local rangers in the reserve's heritage center. The 350,000-acre reserve employs a full-time manager to oversee and protect the area's water quality, soil, vegetation, and wildlife.

4. San Francisco, California - Orchard Garden Hotel
In one of the greenest cities in the United States, it's only fitting to find a luxurious green hotel. The Orchard Garden is LEED-certified, meaning it was built with advanced energy- and resource- saving techniques, and at the time was only the fourth hotel anywhere to receive this certification. Rooms are cleaned with chemical-free cleaners and guests are given organic bath products.

5. Helsinki, Finland- Scandic Simonkent
Located in the heart of Helsinki, this hotel provides guests with organic bath products, rubbish bins made from recycled rubber, and containers for separating out recycling. The hotel chain recently announced that its goal is to have zero carbon dioxide output by 2025. So far, the hotel has started relying on hydro-power, water-efficient taps, and has eliminated disposable packaging. In 2007, the hotel chain reduced its CO2 output by 30 percent.

6. Likoma Island, Malawi - Kaya Mawa Lodge
So remote that there was no machinery around for construction, this African lodge was constructed entirely by hand through a partnership with the native community. Kaya Mawa's operation provides much-needed income for local workers and supports reforestation in the area. According to its website, more than 10,000 indigenous trees have been planted. The lodge also works with park officials to combat illegal fishing in Lake Malawi. All of the cottages are self-sustaining, using water, wind, and solar power to keep the appliances working.

7. North Vancouver, British Columbia - King Pacific Lodge
Floating on Barnard Harbor, this sheltered seasonal lodge offers guests a combination of eco-friendliness and outdoorsy activities like fly-fishing and kayaking. The lodge, which is only accessible via boat or sea plane, is surrounded by the Pacific Northwest's temperate rainforest. It was the first tourism business to sign a special agreement with a First Nation people, the Gitga'at, to protect the land. Recently the lodge set out to cut its carbon output in half over the next five years by installing a hydro-power plant and solar panels.

8. Machu Picchu, Peru - Inkaterra Machu Picchu
This collection of cottages designed to fit seamlessly into the Andean mountainside is actually carbon neutral. The eco-lodge is powered with hydro-electricity, works with local communities to promote reforestation, and practices recycling. Inkaterra also works closely with the local people to invest in river cleanup efforts, school supplies, and tree planting.

9. Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica - El Silencio Lodge and Spa
The newly opened suites at El Siliencio Lodge and Spa are situated on a forest reserve and powered by hydro-electricity. The suites were built with environmentally responsible materials and the lodge is run by a cooperative that is working to protect and restore surrounding forest covering 6,000 acres. The lodge employs "eco-concierges" to guide guests on activities around the area and educate them about local ecosystems and wildlife.

10. Park City, Utah - Sundance Resort
In addition to hosting the annual Sundance Film Festival, this picturesque corner of Utah boasts excellent skiing, snowboarding, and a vibrant nightlife. The Sundance Resort's comfortable suites have a mountain style that includes rough-hewn wood, fireplaces, and Native American decor. Robert Redford clearly knows what he's doing because the resort has a long list of environmental policies, including a linen reuse program, a commitment to green purchases, and free mass transit for pass holders.

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