Dwarfed by its neighbors to the north and south, Central America is often overlooked by travelers seeking to reconnect with nature on their next vacation. Teeming with tremendous biodiversity and unrivaled natural beauty, here you can have the getaway of your dreams, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both.
For many eco-conscious travelers, however, the prospect of visiting a place with such precious and diverse habitats can come with a fear of contributing to that environment’s destruction. After all, the negative environmental effects of travel—stress on local land use, overuse of water and energy, increased habitat loss and soil erosion—cannot be ignored.
Fortunately, several Regenerative Resorts hotels have found ways to allow guests direct contact with the most beautiful natural offerings of the region in an eco-friendly and sustainable way, without compromising on luxury and comfort.
To enjoy a tropical getaway in Central America while still helping to save the planet, consider a stay at one of these sustainable boutique hotels.
1. Hamanasi Resort
Whether snorkeling among a rainbow of fish at a coral reef or hiking through a lush rainforest to an ancient Mayan pyramid, you’re sure to experience the best Central America has to offer at this intimate boutique beach resort in Belize.
Located in Hopkins, on the country’s southern coast in between the Maya Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, Hamanasi epitomizes paradise with sustainability in mind. After a long day of strolling along the pristine beachfront, you can retire to your eco-luxury room and relish the resort’s award-winning service.
Don’t expect to find any plastic straws during your stay; the hotel has virtually eliminated single-use plastics on the property. Instead, use the complimentary refillable stainless steel water bottle provided to you to stay hydrated during your adventures. Hamanasi has also recently banned non reef-safe sunscreen, since common chemicals in most sunscreens have been found to be harmful to coral reefs. The resort has partnered with All Good sunscreen to help you get the skin protection you need in the Belizean sunshine.
Through its conservation efforts and initiatives to save the reefs, Hamanasi does its part to ensure that future generations can also enjoy this little slice of tropical paradise.
2. Las Flores Surf Club
Put on your wetsuit and experience some of the best surfing Central America has to offer at this luxury boutique resort on the outskirts of El Cuco, El Salvador.
Start your day by practicing your sun salutations on the oceanfront yoga deck, then head out for a day surfing by the famous black sands of Playa Las Flores. When you need a break from catching waves, take a stroll along the beautiful black sand beach or explore the tropical flora surrounding the natural cove. You can enjoy all of this surf and sand with peace of mind, knowing that Las Flores Surf Club is committed to sustainability.
With 15 ocean view guest rooms, this stunning 7-acre beachfront property was built under sustainable development guidelines to minimize its impact on the environment and help conserve its tropical landscape.
The resort recycles and composts to maximize resources, and it has set a goal to reduce its use of single-use plastics by 75% in 2020. It also recycles all of its water at a wastewater treatment plant, using it to irrigate the beautiful gardens across the property.
3. Tranquilo Bay
Centrally located among the most biologically diverse protected areas in Central America, this adventure eco-lodge in Panama will give you the authentic vacation experience you desire.
When you stay in one of Tranquilo Bay’s nine stylish cabanas, you can start your morning by walking out onto the wrap-around elevated porch to get a view of the mangrove forest and the Caribbean Sea meeting the lush green rainforest. While enjoying the view, keep an eye out for toucans, macaws, or one of the other bird species identified onsite at this birding hotspot. To see more wildlife, immerse yourself in the jungle on a wildlife tour and spend your days surrounded by capuchin monkeys, sloths, and iguanas. You can even go island hopping along the Bocas del Toro Archipelago—called the “Galapagos of the Caribbean” for its ecological diversity.
You can be sure you’re having a sustainable, environmentally-friendly vacation when you stay at this boutique hotel. It uses the smallest amount of plastic possible when sending guests on excursions, and it sources large amounts of its food from within Panama, preparing as much of it onsite as possible. Tranquilo Bay even captures and purifies natural rainwater in its pledge to use water responsibly.
4. Finca Luna Nueva
Pack your binoculars and prepare yourself for a relaxing and educational vacation at this birder’s paradise in Peñas Blancas, Costa Rica.
With charming bungalow rooms and traditional woven hammocks scattered across the property, this boutique eco-lodge is located in an environment that combines biodiversity, birdsong, and beauty. Adjacent to the 50,000-acre Children’s Eternal Rainforest conservation area, this hotel gives you the chance to connect with the pristine nature of Central America in a sustainable way, soaking in all that a thriving tropical rainforest has to offer.
Finca Luna Nueva’s mission is to help reverse climate change through regenerative agriculture—by restoring soil fertility, optimizing photosynthesis, and creating an environment where humans and forests can coexist. In between chocolate-making workshops and birdwatching hikes, you can take a guided farm tour to taste the food grown onsite and learn more about their mission.
When your long day of learning and exploring is done, get a taste of true farm-to-table cuisine by dining on the organic produce and dairy from the hotel’s certified biodynamic farm.
5. Isleta El Espino
Nothing screams luxury like a private island resort, and at this Nicaraguan eco-lodge, you can experience the intimate island getaway of your dreams right in the middle of Central America.
A tiny boutique hotel with only five rooms, Isleta El Espino provides superior service—with staff looking after you personally—allowing you to lay back, relax, and enjoy the epitome of comfort in an intimate natural setting. Connect with the lush nature on the island by taking a nature boat tour, and then kayak your way across the glimmering turquoise waters of Lake Nicaragua. To unwind after a long day of adventure, you can pamper yourself with one of the resort’s premium spa treatments, or find your zen by taking a yoga class on its picturesque, lakefront yoga platform.
You can blissfully bask in this luxury, knowing that the hotel was designed with the environment in mind. Powered by solar panels, Isleta El Espino is off the grid and self-sustainable. The hotel even provides filtered lake water to its guests, asking that they bring their own refillable water bottles. And when you sit down to eat a delicious dinner at the resort’s restaurant, savor the taste of locally sourced ingredients, many right from the island’s garden and trees.