The World’s Top Ten Ecolodges

Seven years ago, Florida resident Hitesh Mehta embarked on a journey that took him through 46 countries in six continents. The purpose of his trek? To find the world's greatest ecolodges--places where tourism and sustainablility combine to create one-of-a-kind, environmentally friendly vacations. The result? Authentic Ecolodges, a beautiful coffee-table book replete with photos of far-away bungalows sure to inspire your next vacation. The book comes out today. Here, Mehta shares his top ten ecolodges in their respective categories:   1. Sustainable Building Materials: Crosswaters Ecolodge (pictured above) Location: Nankunshan Reserve, Guangdong, China Date Completed: 2007 Built on fundamental feng shui principles and featuring bamboo, Crosswaters is the first master-planned ecolodge in China. 2.Creative Design: Chumbe Island Ecolodge _DSC0054 Location: Chumbe Island, Tanzania Date Completed: 1998 Chumbe Island has one of the world's most diverse reefs. The Architectural team has created the ultimate eco-architecture guest villa. 3.Community Owned and Operated: Il Ngwesi Lodge 12940051 Location: Laikipia, Kenya Date Completed: 1996 Owned by the Il Ngwesi community, the Lodge is the world’s  first community owned and operated ecolodge. It provides jobs to the locals and helps them become financially self-sufficient. 4. Holistic Wellness Programs: Ranweli Holiday Village _DSC0108 Location: Waikkal, Sri Lanka Date Remodeled: 1996 Bordered by a sandy beach on one side and mangroves on the other, the Holiday Village was once a traditional hotel built in 1975. Ayurvedic doctors advise guests on the most holistic mind-body-soul treatments. 5.Indigenous Construction Techniques: Adrère Amellal Location: Siwa Oasis, Egypt Date Completed: 2000 Located near the Libyan border, Amellal seems to emerge from the sand itself. Traditional ‘kershef’ rock-salt construction techniques were used extensively to create this unique desert architecture. 6. Biodiversity Conservation: Campi ya Kanzi 12940030 Location: Chyulu Hills, Kenya Date Completed: 1998 Located on the Kuku Group Ranch, Campi ya Kanzi is owned by 6,000 Maasai members of the ranch. The ecolodge helps protect lions and elephant migratory routes. 7. Culinary Experiences: Lapa Rios Ecolodge _DSC0141 Location: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica Date Completed: 1993 Serving mainly local foods, the Brisa Azul restaurant overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Dine on coconut curry or fresh heart of palm salad. Buy the restaurant's cookbook to take the recipes home with you. 8. Innovative Technology: Guludo Beach Lodge _DSC5507 Location: Quirimbas National Park, Mozambique Date Completed: 2005 With shower fittings made of bamboo and a dry composting toilet system, this Lodge is truly innovative. Relax while taking in views of the Indian Ocean. 9. Art as Architecture: Las Torres EcoCamp _DSC0149 Location: Patagonia, Chile Date Completed: 2000 Each dome-shaped cabin resembles the traditional hut of native Patagonian tribe, the Kawesquar.A local artist painted murals depicting local culture and nature on each canvas-walled tent 10. Interpretation Programs: Basecamp Maasai Mara _DSC0053 Location: Koyiaki Group Ranch, Kenya Date Completed: 1998 Guided tours of  traditional Maasai medicine plants, Maasai villages and wildlife safaris by local Maasai are part of the fun at Basecamp Maasai Mara. Source: The Outside Blog

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