Best Caribbean Islands For Ecoescapes
Minimize your carbon footprint and give back to a local community. Eco-friendly resorts and stunning natural landscapes are just a few reasons that an environmentally sensitive escape to a Caribbean island should be on your wish list.
Where: Trinidad and Tobago
Home to several world-class eco-resorts, Trinidad and Tobago celebrate the island group's biodiversity with lush rainforests and bountiful flora and fauna. On the edge of Tobago's rainforest -- surrounded by wild heliconias, bamboo groves, and ancient forest trees -- lies the Cuffie River Nature Retreat and Eco-lodge (tel. 1-868/660-0505; www.cuffie-river.com), known for its birding and rainforest adventure tours. Trinidad's Acajou Hotel (tel. 1-868/670-3771; www.acajoutrinidad.com) gives the eco-conscious traveler the opportunity to bask in the primitive beauty of Grande Rivière and experience its abundant bird-life and native turtles.
Where: St. Lucia
Stocking Island is one mile across Elizabeth Harbor from George Town, Great Exuma. On one side of the island lie the shimmering sands of Silver Palms Beach with nearby reefs for snorkeling. On the other side, Turtle Lagoon is the perfect spot to kayak and explore adjacent lagoons, Mystery Cave, or the famous Blue Hole -- to follow in the fins of Jacques Cousteau. With over 40 species of birds, a vast array of marine life to explore and only one boutique, five-cottage eco-resort, this tiny Bahamian retreat is a natural paradise.
Where: St. Lucia
Home to 1,400 acre Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, Culebra is a nesting oasis for seabirds, endangered leatherback turtles and the Culebra giant anole lizard. Only 3,000 people live on this quiet, undeveloped island. Marine life abounds in the shallows and inviting reefs that encircle the island, offering exceptional snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities.
Grenada has a lush interior, with hiking trails, waterfalls, hot springs and the Grand Etang Lake and Forest Reserve, situated in the crater of an extinct volcano. With two other National Parks, coral reefs and mangroves, Grenada is home to a vast array of wildlife and rare flora, plus its marine life is astounding, mainly due to the government's restrictions on fishing to preserve the region's diversity and sustainability. Go camping in a national park, stay at one of the island's eco-lodges or sleep at an ecological research station.
Where: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
Approximately two thirds of the island of St. John is a national park, creating one of the most pristine, environmentally protected regions in the Caribbean. Imagine over 100 tent-cottages laid out on wooden platforms connected by elevated walkways on a hill overlooking turquoise Caribbean waters and nearby islands, within the National Park and you have Maho Bay Camps, St. John's famed eco-resort. Indulge in water sports, massage, yoga and hikes, while still having the opportunity to eat fine food, listen to live music and stay on one of the world's most beautiful islands with minimal environmental impact.