These days travel’s impact upon the environment has become a subject of great debate; travelers are growing increasingly aware of the immediate need for conservation and changes in attitudes towards the Earth’s limited resources. As a result, there are more eco-friendly hostels emerging around the world to satisfy the demands of eco-conscious travelers.
HostelBookers is a budget accommodation specialist and also a member of TIES – The International Ecotourism Society. Among HostelBookers vast range of quality properties, a number of these hostels do their bit to save the planet and are committed to a form of sustainable travel that’s working with Mother Nature and not against her. Many of them operate sustainably, are built using renewable resources, and work towards being carbon neutral by reducing their emissions and waste.
With HostelBookers, customers can save money without costing the world. Situated in the foothills of the Spanish Pyrenees and 25 km from the center of Girona, the CEL – (Centre Ecologic Ilemena) Hostel is more a retreat than just a place to sleep. Self-described as the most “decent place to stay,” just about everything in this 12th century country house is based on sustainability, with a naturally-heated swimming pool, 100 percent latex mattresses, and an organic vegetable garden. In addition to this, CEL has an on-site shop selling only organic products, which are also used in the hostel’s own vegetarian restaurant.
A classic centenary house located in the center of downtown Aveiro, Aveiro Rossio Hostel is the very first eco hostel in Portugal. For nine months of the year, all their hot water is heated by solar panels to conserve energy. Other eco-policies include the widespread use of energy saving lightbulbs, recycling of glass, paper and plastic, water saving systems in taps and toilets, sealed windows, and recycled common area furniture.
Hostelling International, Washington DC, the only hostel in the world to be Energy Star certified, is just eight blocks from the White House and is one of the greenest hostels in North America. Each floor has its own recycling center where they promote the recycling of aluminum, glass, paper, and plastic. But that’s not all, the paper used at reception is 100 percent recycled. Compact fluorescent light bulbs are used throughout the hostel, and the soap used in the kitchen is environmentally-friendly. They even host documentary film nights on environmental topics once a month.
In Costa Rica, Cabinas Tina’s Casitas is geared towards the environment. Staying in one of the nine rooms in the four “casita” houses, guests will be surrounded by rustic furniture designed to blend in with the natural environment. From May through to October, the hostel is involved in a tree-planting project to reforest the Pacific slope and preserve local flora and fauna. Guests can also sign up for an ecotourism tour of Costa Rica to learn more about the local environment.
Staying in an eco-hostel means that travelers can make less of an impact on the environment. Thankfully, ecotourism is here to fight the corner of the conscience-troubled traveler.