Vacationing with a purpose
Long before it became a trend, Belize proved to be a champion for traveling better. In the past few years, the Caribbean nation has made a splash in the ecotourism front, becoming a prime example in sustainability, environmental awareness and now, regenerative travel. The latter has bloomed into a worldwide endeavor, with travelers and destinations vowing to take part in the new green initiative. The entire concept of regenerative travel goes a step further than “leaving no trace behind,” which has been the ethos of sustainability. Instead, it revolves around leaving somewhere better than you found it, an effort many in the tourism industry have taken to heart. Belize, while a small nation, has recently achieved removing the Barrier Reef off UNESCO’s Danger List, earning a Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council, and initiating a ban on single-use plastics. These accomplishments have only further reflected how easy it is to partake in regenerative travel in Belize. To make it even easier, these are some of the best eco-resorts in Belize leading the way by example.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek. As the first eco-resort in Belize, the Lodge at Chaa Creek has been strongly advocating for the environment since its inception in 1981. Today, the resort has adopted a plethora of eco-friendly policies they instill in both their staff and guests. Ten percent of all room revenue goes directly to their “Chaa Creek Cares” initiative. This initiative was born out of the motive to give back to the environment as well as the community. Some of the program’s benefits include regenerative projects like Pack a Pound, their Eco-Kids Summer Camp and more. The award-winning luxury resort also reflects its values both outside in its 400-acre reserve as well as within. Apart from their recycling program, the eco-friendly hotel also produces its own water through a high filtration system, uses energy-saving lighting, and gently reminds guests to conserve water and electricity.
Jaguar Creek. As a “socially-focused eco-resort,” Jaguar Creek can be found tucked in the rainforests of Belize, about a half-hour away from the city of Belmopan. Known for their private bungalows, this jungle lodge is a haven for families, honeymooners, and adventurers. The hotel owns 1200 acres of rainforest while sitting on 700 acres, all protected in a conservation trust. Their key regenerative initiative lies in their partnership with the PathLight program, where Jaguar Creek assists at-risk children in rural Belize. This may include providing tools, support and encouragement to help them thrive in school and their lives. Their large yearly donation is derived from their net profit, meaning any guest staying at Jaguar Creek leaves knowing they have helped shape the futures of many children.
Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort. Located on Belize’s southeast coast, Hamanasi Resort can be found in the culturally-vibrant village of Hopkins. The Dive Resort’s entire premise lies in regenerating the ecosystem and its biodiversity. They also encourage both staff and guests to participate in their efforts, citing the need to improve the environment and communities rather than sustain. Hamanasi’s Environmental Management Policy is one they carry out daily. It includes the Habitat Protection, where they are built literally within nature and keep a strip of vegetation at high tide point to minimize erosion. The policy also highlights sustainable design in each room with efforts dedicated to reducing, reusing and recycling. Hamanasi also boasts its own Green Team, a team of volunteers committed to protecting the flora and fauna around us.
Chabil Mar Villas. With its Maya name translating to “beautiful sea,” Chabil Mar is the only guest-exclusive resort on the Placencia Peninsula. This all-villa boutique resort is also a proud member of the Pack for a Purpose program. Each guest is encouraged to use a bit of space in their suitcase to bring much-needed supplies to the destination they visit. This can include valuable necessities for schools or medical clinics, where the lives of locals can be vastly improved. The resort’s Environmental Plan focuses on water usage, waste management, landscaping and even energy. This works hand in hand with their Sustainable Community, Social and Cultural Plan where local employment and community development are top priorities.
Muy’Ono Resorts. Guests booking online at any of Muy’Ono’s resorts will notice a prompt to take the “Travel Better Pledge.” This is an example of how the resort collective inspires each traveler to take a more environmentally friendly vacation. The pledge includes only using reusable containers, eating locally sourced ingredients, respecting wildlife, and many others. This goes in line with their focus for “preserving the beauty of Belize through philanthropy, sustainability, celebrating culture and creating WOW!” Not only do six of their resorts donate a portion of every night booked to local charities, but Muy’Ono also lists detailed sustainable initiatives in every step of a guest’s stay.
Each of these resorts listed are a direct echo of Belize’s hopes in increasing regenerative travel across the destination. Whether taking small steps by packing a few supplies or actively donating to local charities, each effort counts and is bound to leave a better world behind.