Best Small Eco-Lodges

Explore five local-minded lodges in relatively untouched parts of Latin America that are not only built with sustainable materials, but also give back to local communities.
A wooden path leads guests to La Loma’s vegetable garden and coconut groves.
A wooden path leads to La Loma’s vegetable garden. Photo © Kate Malone

1. Al Natural Resort

Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama

The Belgian-expat owners installed rain-catchment and solar-energy systems in these seven thatched-roof beachfront bungalows set on a former coconut plantation.

2. Cotton Tree Lodge

Punta Gorda, Belize

Guests at this 11-cabana lodge can help local Mayan farmers make chocolate from cacao pods grown on the 100-acre property.

3. La Loma Jungle Lodge

Isla Bastimentos, Bocas del Toro, Panama

The owners built the main lodge and three cabins without having to rip out any old-growth vegetation and bought as many locally produced furnishings as possible.

4. Machaca Hill Lodge

Punta Gorda, Belize

Part of an 11,000-acre nature reserve, with 12 cabins powered by solar-panel roofs and an on- site organic farm that provides much of the lodge’s food.

5. Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Five cabins were constructed from recycled materials (roof tiles were once plastic banana bags). The owners sponsor local employees to attend school.

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PUBLISHED August 2008

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