In the fight against the climate crisis, it is important to remember the vital role oceans play in regulating life on Earth. Oceans absorb about 26 percent of all CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year. It is thought between 50 and 80 percent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants, nearly all of which are algae. With more than 80 percent of oceans unmapped and an estimated 91 percent of marine species yet to be explored, oceans remain the single greatest ecological asset yet to be fully discovered. Despite this, ocean acidity is on the rise, having increased an astounding 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution. Coral bleaching, die-offs, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification are just some of the threats oceans face today. Every day, regenerative resorts honor these great blue beacons through their passion for marine life and oceanic conservation. Discover how these six destinations are working to save our oceans.
1. Chole Mjini – Tanzania
Few destinations can boast pristine warm waters, meandering whale sharks, and a vibrant forest, but Chole Mjini is no ordinary destination. Located on the strikingly beautiful Mafia Island of Tanzania, Chole Mjini offers travelers the opportunity to explore the natural world like never before. The resort’s team is intensely dedicated to protecting the island’s diverse marine life in any way it can.
Currently, the resort is busy with its comprehensive coral propagation and restoration program as well as the internship program it accommodates. Among the project’s many objectives are to train at least 2 coral gardeners, creating an intra-archipelago Rapid Response Team to respond to coral reef attacks, rehabilitate one blast crater, and sustain a coral nursery with at least 5,000 individuals of at least 5 coral species sourced from corals within Chole Bay. On top of all of this, Chole Mjini runs a seasonal whale shark project and associated internship program through Kitu Kiblu, which has been running for 10 years. Guests can experience the majesty of whale sharks while learning about the vital role it plays in the ecosystem.
2. Hamanasi Resort – Belize
Last but not the least in our list of regenerative resorts is this natural wonderland nestled between the Caribbean Sea and Maya Mountains. Hamanasi Resort is spread across four different eco-zones on Belize’s central coast. Belize is also home to its very own barrier reef, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996 and remains one of the largest living reefs in the world today. The reef is home to hundreds of species of coral and fish, which Hamanasi works to protect by only allowing the use of reef-safe sunscreen.
The resort’s designated “Green Team” also conducts beach cleanups, protects the area’s biodiversity, and helps support local communities. Hamanasi has partnerships with both the Belize Humane Society and The Nature Conservancy, the ladder of which is establishing seaweed farms in the region. Besides its marine conservation efforts, the resort has also helped regenerate Belize’s famous Littoral Forest – one of the most threatened forests worldwide due to coastal development. The hotel hosts weekly “Green Hour” presentations for guests to learn about Belize’s wonderfully diverse ecosystem and how to be better environmental stewards.
3. Kokomo Private Island – Fiji
Situated in the gorgeous Kadavu Islands of Fiji, Kokomo Private Island is encircled by the Great Astrolabe Reef, the fourth largest on the planet. To ensure the protection of the reef, the marine life it homes, and the local fish communities it supports, Kokomo instituted a 200-meter “no fishing zone” around the island. In 2018, Kokomo joined Dock to Dish – an international network of small-scale fishermen, marine biologists, and sustainable seafood advocates committed to sustainable and responsible fishing.
Among Regenerative Resorts, this one is unique for boasting an in-house marine biologist is responsible for leading the resort’s many sustainable initiatives. These include a clam nursery, coral restoration project, mangrove reforestation program, a seabin project, and a recycling initiative. Guests can assist in the planting, maintaining, and transplanting of mangroves for Kokomo’s Mangrove Reforestation Project. The resort’s beloved Manta Conservation Project has helped identify over 100 new mantas.
4. GoldenEye – Jamaica
Surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Oracabessa Bay, GoldenEye is a dreamy oasis in the heart of Jamaica. It is also one of James Bond author Ian Fleming’s favorite haunts. The luxurious stay works diligently to protect its world-famous lagoons and beaches through numerous initiatives. GoldenEye is fiercely passionate about coral conservation. In addition to selling reef-safe sunscreen on the property, GoldenEye propagates the critically endangered staghorn coral for reintroduction in the neighboring beaches. The shore itself is home to many sea turtles, which the regenerative resort conserves by protecting their nests from poachers. Guests also have the pleasure of watching the release of baby sea turtles at the nearby Gibraltar Beach.
GoldenEye is a proud supporter of the Oracabessa Fish Sanctuary, which helps to encourage sustainable livelihoods for locals by protecting and restoring the Bay’s natural resources. Additionally, GoldenEye supports the Oracabessa Foundation, which focuses on getting more people working, creating a positive environment for the local youth, and conserving a healthy bay area.
5. Nay Palad Hideaway – Philippines
At the Philippines’ Nay Palad Hideaway, bigger is not always better unless you’re talking about the waves. Here in the remote island of Siargao, small is beautiful. Hidden coves, underground caves, and lush jungle cover Siargao, Philippine’s surfing capital. Nay Palad, meaning “mother palm,” is all about nurturing its guests as much as the environment, especially the ocean. Plastic bottles and straws are completely banned and single-use plastic products are not welcome at the property.
Nay Palad’s dedicated staff conducts regular coastal cleanups to preserve the island’s natural beauty. The ancient mangrove forest behind the resort undergoes constant cleaning and replanting to promote a healthy ecosystem. Nay Palad makes great strides to protect the Sohoton Lagoon and accompanying marine life from destructive dynamite fishing. In addition to its oceanic conservation efforts, Nay Palad is incredibly active in the community, supporting a number of local charities and healthcare efforts.
6. Bawah Reserve – Indonesia
Bawah Reserve is not the average getaway. Made up of three lagoons and thirteen beaches spread across six islands in Indonesia, Bawah Reserve is as much a steward of marine life as it is an extension of it. This is exemplified in the reserve’s “Minimal impact” approach to design – only clearing what is necessary along the island’s shore, working without machinery, and using bamboo and other locally sourced natural building materials. Bawah’s iconic jetty was built using a team of specialist divers to guide construction so as to not damage the coral reef. Moorings were also installed in the lagoon to enable boat users to anchor without damaging the reef.
As most regenerative resorts do, Bawah Reserve works closely with the Bawah Anambas Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to conserve and expand biodiversity in the Anambas Islands through marine conservation programs, community development, and forest conservation. The islands provide important nesting beaches for Green Sea Turtles and Hawksbills. Bawah’s marine biologists have relocated turtle eggs to nests in locations where they can be better protected, significantly improving the rate of successful hatching.
The next time you get a case of wanderlust, try booking a stay at any of these regenerative resorts that are making a difference not only in conserving our oceans but in building communities too. Schedule a complimentary travel consultation with Regenerative Travel here.