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As many of us are inching closer to a dark, cold winter, some are already daydreaming about escaping to a warm beach to take the sting out of it. How many more winters are you just going to daydream about it? Maybe it’s time to invest in a memory (memories, unlike new gadgets, won’t break, you won’t lose them and you won’t have future maintenance costs). Here’s a list of ideas so you can start planning before your fingers are numb!

Cala Mia Boutique Resort, Panama

If you can’t decide between spending time at a beach, in a tropical rainforest, hiking in the mountains, or exploring volcanoes, you don’t have to deliberate for long at Cala Mia where you can do all that in one day. Panama is known for its wildlife, and here you can see forest animals, especially birds, found nowhere else on Earth and follow that up with whale watching. Cala Mia offers guided tours, fishing, horseback riding, sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.

Mangrove Ecolodge,Zanzibar

The Mangrove Lodge was started by a tour guide whose mission is to enable guests to travel responsibly, comfortably, and in alignment with the principles of responsible tourism. You can feel good about where you are staying on this beautiful beach in Zanzibar as you scuba dive, snorkel, hike and birdwatch your way through the days.

Encantada Tulum, Mexico

White sandy beaches, hugging the shores of the Caribbean is exactly what you would expect from a beachfront hotel in eastern Mexico. And Encantada Tulum measures up to that. The rustic cabanas at this eco-friendly hotel have the additional benefit of being in proximity to the archaeological and historical sites of Tulum. Encantada Tulum can set you up with guided tours, kayaking, kiteboarding, and sailing as well.

Koh Jum Beach Villas, Thailand

If you assumed eco-friendly beach accommodations always means rustic, then the Koh Jum Beach Villas in Thailand will be a surprise. Of the 19 villas at Koh Jum, some have private pools and all have access to the resort’s beach and tropical gardens. Spend your days stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, kayaking, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, taking a cooking class, or getting a spa treatment.

Castara Retreats,Tobago

It’s always refreshing to find yourself in a place that is proudly run by a family. Castara Retreats, on the island of Tobago, is such a place. An eco-resort overlooking the Bay of Castara that includes not one, but two tropical beaches with a backdrop of deep green rainforest. The 15 rooms were designed to fit harmoniously with the natural landscape. It was rated number one on TripAdvisor for specialty lodging in Tobago. Here, you can enjoy bird watching, hiking, scuba diving, and yoga.

Nemasu Ecolodge, Gambia

The word, “Nemasu” in the native Mandinka language, means ‘sacred place’, and this idyllic slice of coastal forest along the pristine beach is treated like the sacred place it is. The goal of Nemasu Ecolodge is to be as self-sustaining as possible. Nemasu is developing organic farming, using solar panels for energy, warming water with solar, and recycling waste and food. Even the buildings are made mostly from natural materials found locally. Spend your time kayaking, swimming, going on guided tours, fishing, bird-watching, or taking a yoga class.

And if you decide you MUST go to one of these places, be sure to mention when you make a reservation. Each time there is a booking, it helps to support the website, and ecotourism (rather than one of the ‘big guy’ companies)!

Terry Lawson Dunn, Founder

To read an interview about Basecamp Explorer, see:

Doing Kenya the Right Way

For more about Bhutan Mahayana Tours, see the interview with it’s owner at:

The Scoop from Bhutan


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