If you’re looking for a guilt-free reason to book a stay at a luxury oceanfront resort, or even visit one for the day, Ritz Carlton’s Ambassadors of the Environment program offers half a dozen. Ambassadors for the Environment is a great way to incorporate learning and environmental stewardship into your vacation. These eco programs for kids, youth, and, adults are currently offered at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel (in Southern CA), Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, and Ritz Carlton Kapalua (Maui).
What is Ambassadors of the Environment?
The Ambassadors of the Environment program, run by local naturalists and marine biologists under the guidance of Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of legendary Jacques Cousteau), is available to Ritz Carlton resort guests and non-guests alike, with sessions ranging from beach and garden tours and scavenger hunts to snorkeling or whale watching expeditions and hotel kitchen cooking classes using sustainable seafood and local produce. Each resort offers classes and excursions unique to their local environment in both their indoor learning centers and their outdoor environment, and each rotates its offerings by day of the week. Some are available to all ages, while others are listed especially for children (ages 5-8), youth (9-16), or adults.
The Ambassadors of the Environment ‘Forests Under the Sea’ Experience
My kids Nate (age 13) and Calvin (age 11) experienced Ambassadors of the Environment’s Forests Under the Sea snorkeling program at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel last July.
Check out our video of the facility and our experience:
We’d snorkeled in the area before, so we thought we’d know what to expect. We were wrong: after a Powerpoint presentation by a local biologist, we were far more prepared to understand what we were experiencing underwater. Better yet, my kids were educated in the reasons why some species have been eradicated from the local Southern California Pacific Coast environment, and why others are thriving. They learned not only which animals to look for in the kelp forests we’d be visiting, but how to be good stewards of the local environment.
The Ambassadors of the Environment staff outfitted everyone in quality snorkeling gear, and we departed by van to a local beach ideal for viewing kelp forests. During the 45 minutes underwater, the kids saw everything from sea stars to girabaldi to snails unique to the environment. We were given plenty of water, which the kids could store in their own eco-friendly metal water bottles (eco souvenirs from the experience). Back at the Ambassadors of the Environment learning center at the Ritz Carlton, we were presented with a slide show of our excursion, taken by the biologists attending with an underwater camera.
Costs of the Program
The cost of each Ambassadors of the Environment program varies, but all range from $80-110 per person. Our experience with Forests Under the Sea was $100 per person, and the value was consistent with this price. The program enhanced our understanding of the area where we were vacationing, which in turn made us better travelers. Another perk: the cost of the program also goes toward local eco-preservation. The Laguna Niguel program runs regular beach clean-ups and school educational sessions.
How to Book an Ambassadors of the Environment Session
If you’re staying at a participating Ritz Carlton hotel, simply ask for a schedule and booking information with the concierge. If you’re visiting as a non-guest, call the hotel for the week’s schedule at least 24 hours prior to the day you hope to participate. The Ambassadors of the Environment staff at Laguna Niguel reported that they are busy, but not always full, during the summer months. The Laguna Niguel program runs year-round, though note that the Grand Cayman program does close for some off-season months.
Have you tried an Ambassadors of the Environment program? What did you think?
As I disclose whenever applicable, my kids and I experienced Ambassadors of the Environment as guests of Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, for the purpose of getting word out about this beneficial program.
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