This Earth Day, why not treat yourself to a green vacation? In honor of Earth Day 2012, Groupon has a number of excellent, eco-friendly trips. You can stay off the grid in a eco-lodge or live it up in luxury at a sustainable retreat. From Nicaragua and Thailand to Botswana and Hawaii, there’s sure to be a trip that fits your budget and travel style.
6 Awesome Green Vacation Travel Ideas
Jicaro Island Ecolodge – Granada Isletas, Nicaragua
Three-Night Stay for Two in a Private Casita with All Meals and Nonalcoholic Beverages. Combine Up to Six Nights.
From its buildings down to its furniture, Jicaro Island Ecolodge was built almost entirely from trees that were toppled by 2007’s hurricane Felix. That’s one of the many ways the lodge has managed to keep in harmony with its setting on a private island in Lake Nicaragua.
The resort also stocks only biodegradable soaps and uses an underground electricity system to avoid disturbing the local wildlife. When you want to get outside, there are plenty of ways to check out the scenery.
The lodge sits in the middle of a freshwater lake, and the hotel can help set you up on rainforest hikes and zipline tours. Onsite nature guides also lead tours through the area that shed light on local wildlife and the area’s colonial past. For dining, three meals are crafted daily with locally sourced produce and fish caught fresh from the lake. You can watch chefs work magic thanks to the restaurant’s open kitchen area.
Get the deal for Jicaro Island Ecolodge.
Hacienda Tayutic – Costa Rica
Three-Night Stay for Two Adults with All Meals Included. One Kid 5 or Younger Stays Free. Combine Up to Six Nights.
Get the Deal: $529 ($1,065 value)
At Hacienda Tayutic, a rustic colonial-style inn overlooking Costa Rica’s central valley, you can begin your day like a local, with a fresh cup of agua dulce.
You can even witness firsthand the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of organic sugar—as well as coffee and macadamia nuts—via guided plantation tours.
The farm-to-table ethic is an integral part of the experience here, with included meals highlighted by the estate’s produce and herbs. Costa Rican favorites are prepared with an upscale twist and served family-style under the open-air dining room’s grass-thatched roof.
Costa Rica contains 6% of our planet’s plant and animal species—an impressive statistic when you consider that it comprises just 0.03% of the earth’s surface. This biodiversity is on full display a few miles from Hacienda Tayutic at the CATIE Botanical Garden, a plant sanctuary with more than 4,400 floral specimens.
You can also take in the natural splendor on early morning bird-watching hikes and forest tours led by hotel staff.
Get the Deal for Hacienda Tayutic.
9-Day African Volunteering Trip and Safari – Zambia & Botswana
9-Day, 8-Night All-Inclusive Volunteering Trip in Zambia with Victoria Falls Excursion and Botswana Safari
Get the Deal: $2,000 ($3,500 value)
You’ll read with students in a schoolhouse, dine with Zambian families, and visit historical sites for an immersive cultural experience. Meals are included in the package, and they are a combination of common American meals as well as traditional local fare such as chicken, fish and the maize-based porridge known as nshima. You’ll serve a meal to malnourished kids at Hope Community Schools near Ndola.
You’ll see cultural sites and learn about a farm’s work to help others achieve financial independence. Then you’ll round off the trip with excursions to the gorgeous Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park.
Get the deal for the Volunteering Trip and Safari.
Algonquin Eco-Lodge – Algonquin Provincial Park, ON
One- or Two-Night Stay for Two Adults. Up to One Kid 12 or Younger Stays Free. Combine Two Groupons to Extend Your Stay.
Get the Deal: C$121 (about $122 USD; a C$220 value)
The phrase off the grid is often thrown around to describe a home without WiFi or mail service. Algonquin Eco-Lodge is literally off the grid. Power lines don’t reach out this far, so the lodge generates hydroelectric energy from a small waterfall onsite.
There’s an unwavering commitment to the environment, from low-energy LED lights to meals made from locally-sourced ingredients. Despite the low-impact philosophy, staying here hardly means roughing it, as you’ll find out while relaxing in the carbon-neutral hot tub or the wood-fired sauna.
Algonquin Provincial Park is Canada’s oldest provincial park and Ontario’s second largest—at more than 7,500 square kilometers, it’s larger than Delaware. That means you can hike the interior for days without seeing a wilderness TV crew.
One of the most popular ways to navigate is by portaging, or carrying, a light canoe from one lake to the next. The landscape is speckled with hundreds of ponds formed by retreating glaciers. There’s plenty of activity beneath the water as well: with a rod and a license, you can fish for pike, yellow perch, and trout to roast up for dinner.
Get the deal for Algonquin Eco-Lodge.
Elements Boutique Resort & Spa – Koh Samui, Thailand
5-Night Stay for Two Adults in a Sea-View Apartment. One Kid 10 or Younger Stays Free. Combine Up to 10 Nights.
Get the Deal: $699 ($1,710 value)
Koh Samui still possesses a far-off feel; its beaches along the Gulf of Thailand have fine white sand and seem almost untouched.
Minutes away from these exotic beaches you can find the Elements Boutique Resort & Spa, which honors Thai traditions while cultivating a more modern aesthetic.
With the water so close, it’s only natural that a lot of the activity happens there, whether it’s kayaking along the shore, snorkeling, or touring the gulf in a long-tail boat—a common watercraft in Thailand that is covered with a canopy and powered by an automotive engine.
Bicycles are also available for rental, and it’s pleasant to hike the nearby rainforest trails. Off Thailand’s eastern shore, Koh Samui is set amid a cluster of islands in the temperate Gulf of Thailand. Its temperatures typically hover near a balmy 86 degrees Fahrenheit, thanks in part to tropical winds off the gulf that keep Koh Samui warm year-round.
The warm climate and clear waters attract tourists to the island’s many white sand beaches. If you want your experience to go beyond sunbathing, you can snorkel along vibrant coral reefs or go fishing. Koh Samui has a longstanding Buddhist culture, and you can get a feel for the local traditions by paying a visit to some ornate temples in the area.
Get the Deal for Elements Boutique Resort.
Hawaii Island Retreat at Ahu Pohaku Ho’omaluhia – North Kohala, HI
Four-Night Stay for Two in an Ocean-View Room with Massage and $25 Dining or Spa Credit. Combine Up to Eight Nights.
Get the Deal: $1,255 ($2,285 value)
In fact, early Hawaiians believed the forests, waves, and skies were spiritual beings that were to be treated with the utmost respect.
At Hawaii Island Retreat at Ahu Pohaku Ho’omaluhia, innkeepers Jeanne Sunderland and Robert Watkins bring a similar reverence to their 50-acre patch of island paradise.
Robert harvests sunrise papaya and avocados for the garden restaurant, and Jeanne incorporates kukui nuts and exotic oils into the onsite spa’s holistic treatments. In keeping with its eco-friendly efforts, the retreat uses solar panels and windmills to provide electricity for its ocean-view rooms.
Fresh blooms enliven the spaces. In the Crimson Poinciana room, bold red walls bring an exotic flair, and a marigold palette brightens the Golden Penthouse room, where a lanai balcony opens onto views of the ocean.
On the northernmost tip of Hawaii’s Big Island, North Kohala boasts black sand beaches, dormant volcanoes, waterfalls, and cloud forests—tropical forests with an ever-present fog. Nearby, in the former sugar town of Hawi, handmade jewelry stores, coffee shops, and art galleries have moved into the old plantation buildings.
Get the Deal for Hawaii Island Retreat.
Treat yourself this Earth Day with an eco-friendly vacation. Whether your style is roughing it at an eco-lodge or staying at a more luxurious eco-resort, there’s a trip for you in these Earth Day deals.
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