Retreat Centers with Heart

There are thousands of retreat centers all over the world that offer luxurious accommodations for your vacation. The location of these retreats is often the centerpiece of their appeal- beautiful beaches, views etc. It’s important to choose a retreat center that respects and cares for the place they reside, assuring all of it’s wonders are preserved for future generations. We can each make a difference when we are green conscious and make good decisions in our homes, and because running a retreat center is much like running a giant household, the impact they can make is tenfold. Always remember, we as consumers vote with our dollars, so supporting these ecologically sound companies will in turn support efforts to tread lightly on our planet.

Some awesome ways hotels, resorts, and retreat centers reduce their environmental footprint:

  • Solar power
  • Solar heated pools, water, hot tubs
  • Floors made from renewable and/or abundant resources such as bamboo
  • Waste water is treated on-site and reused to irrigate gardens
  • Skylights included in the building’s design to increase natural lighting
  • Light fixtures and appliances chosen with energy efficiency in mind
  • Organic sheets, bath towels, and bath mats
  • Allow guests the option to reuse linens to reduce water usage
  • Cloth hand towels and napkins instead of disposable paper
  • Organic gardens
  • Compost excess food and organic materials to use as fertilizer
  • Aerated showerheads and low-flow toilets
  • Organic personal care products – shampoo, conditioner, cleaners, and lotions. Also purchasing care products in bulk reduces single-use containers
  • Green cleaning products
  • Recycling wherever possible and primarily using rechargeable batteries
  • Provide every guest a refillable bottle to reduce wasting single-use plastic bottles
  • Offering special incentives for guests who chose low-impact transportation
  • No concrete, no land modification during construction- erecting their structure without harvesting lumber
  • Utilizing well and rain water
  • Using compostable materials for any disposable items
  • Arranging carpools for guest transportation

These are only some of the amazing efforts eco-retreats make to decrease the impact on the earth. You can find these green retreat centers all over the world, some of our favorite eco-retreat centers:

Xinalani Retreat, Mexico*

Kalani, Hawaii

Prana Del Mar, Mexico*

Sanctuary at Two Rivers, Costa Rica

Blue Spirit, Costa Rica*

*Retreat centers Alchemy Tours will be traveling to in 2014, more info at Alchemytours.com

nature cottages on hill Blue Spirit from Pool copy cabanakomunebalisunset komunerestaurantbali

Green Your Vacation: Featuring Prana del Mar

In our on-going effort to help provide resources for how to Green Your Vacation today we are featuring Prana del Mar, located at the Southern most tip of the Baja peninsula. Here is a youtube clip of this incredible place.

You should know at Prana del Mar stewardship for the environment is a primary concern, and this is not just lip service, they really do tread as lightly as possible. Here are some of the ways that they are reducing the impact on the local environment and the planet:

-All of their electricity comes from solar panels installed throughout the property.

-The pool is solar heated.

-All waste water is treated on-site and reused to irrigate the gardens. They also have their own well.

-Skylights were incorporated in the design to increase natural lighting and so they can almost eliminate the need to use lights during the day.

-All appliance and light fixtures were selected with energy efficiency as a criteria.

-Organic sheets, bath towels and bath mats are used in all of the rooms.

-In order to reduce water use guests have the option to reuse linens and towels.

-Cloth hand towels are used rather than papers towels.

-The garden is completely organic. No pesticides or herbicides are used and compost is made on-site from food waste and organic materials and then used as fertilizer.

-Only green cleaning products are used….and I saw them so this is really the case.

-Organic personal care products -shampoo, conditioner, soaps and lotions -are available for guests, and they are supplied in dispensers to reduce single use plastic containers.

-Aerated shower heads are in all of the bathrooms, which create great water pressure but at low flow rates, and toilets are low-flow.

-Wherever possible they recycle and they use only rechargeable batteries.

-Purified drinking water is available for guests, and every guest receives a refillable bottle to eliminate single use plastic bottles.

-The floor of the yoga studio is strand bamboo.

-Even the servers that host their website are 100% powered by wind energy.

-If guests purchase carbon offsets for their plane flights Prana del Mar will credit you that amount toward any massage, spa service, surf lesson or any other excursion that you organize through the hotel….Now that is really encouraging everyone who visits to take responsibility in every way that they can, and they will pick up the tab.

5 Stars by Eco Hotels of the World

Prana del Mar has exemplary eco credentials. The resort solar panels as its sole source of power and all waste water is treated on site and then used to irrigate the garden, itself organic. And if you purchase carbon offsets for your flight the resort will credit you that amount towards a spa treatment, surf lesson or excursion.

Prana del Mar has been awarded 5 stars by Eco Hotels of The World.

All of the above remain in harmony with the natural environment due to Prana del Mar’s commitment to environmental stewardship. Not only is all electricity solar-powered, the vegetable and herb garden is organic, the pool is solar-heated, wastewater is treated on site and reused for the xeriscaped gardens, sheets and bath towels are all organic, and more!

Join us here on retreat December 8-15, 2012!