There’s something universally captivating about the ocean. From the sparkling kaleidoscope of blue hues in the morning, to the golden glimmer on the waves at sunset; the ocean is critical to regulating life on our planet.
It’s no coincidence that some of the most popular travel destinations are on the coast, as tourists flock to seaside spots in search of a tan and the perfect Instagram shot. Unfortunately the damage caused by pollution, overfishing and global warming threaten to leave our oceans barren.
So how can we continue to travel to these beautiful coastal spots without compromise? A great starting point is opting to stay at resorts that are conscious of their impact on local waterways, but also active in their ocean conservation efforts.
The following four eco-resorts offer travellers a guilt-free island experience that’s both relaxing, and good for the planet.
Orpheus Lodge, Australia
Accommodating just 28 guests, Orpheus Lodge is an all-inclusive, private island resort located in the Great Barrier Reef. The island itself is covered by more than 1,000 hectares of national park and enveloped by 11km of sparkling turquoise coastline.
The Orpheus Lodge team is passionate about reducing their impact on the environment and they use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
The staff are vigilant about the removal of single use in-room amenities to reduce excess plastic waste and are constantly on the lookout to reduce this further. They also discourage guests from using plastics that may end up in local waterways by providing stainless steel water bottles and ceramic Keep Cups as environmentally-friendly alternatives.
Read more: 8 Steps To Take Action On Climate Change
For every guest stay, they donate $50 to the Morris Family Foundation Reef Keepers Fund, supporting projects that protect and preserve the Great Barrier Reef. The Reef Keepers Fund has funded research and protection initiatives run by James Cook University, World Wildlife Fund and the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
Some of their other ocean-supporting activities include assisting the Australian Marine Conservation Society in their ‘Good Fish’ project, which promotes sustainable consumption of Australian seafood; and backing organisations such as the Boomerang Alliance and Tangaroa Blue Foundation in their efforts to improve ocean conservation remove and prevent marine waste.
Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Hidden among dense foliage, within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives, Soneva Fushi sets the standard for all barefoot desert island hideaways. The resort’s pure connection with nature inspires the imagination with 62 one to nine bedroom beachfront villas.
The Baa Atoll is home to stunning, globally significant biodiversity. Covering approximately 139,700 hectares of coastal and marine areas, the site is an incredible example of the Maldives’ high diversity of reef animals, with stony and soft corals, reef-dwelling fish species, marine turtles, manta rays and whale sharks.
The resort itself offers unparalleled diving experiences with their onsite Soleni Dive Centre’s multi-lingual PADI instructors; snorkels are available for guests to explore the house reef at their own leisure; and some of the activities available include a sunset dolphin cruise, swimming with mantas, and a guided tour with a marine biologist.
Soneva Fushi is not only passionate about educating guests about the importance of ocean conservation, but also the locals, who despite growing up surrounded by water, do not know how to swim. Soneva’s learn to swim program teaches local children how to love and care for the ocean and coral reefs they call home.
Bawah Reserve, Indonesia
Bawah Reserve is a barefoot, back-to-nature luxury resort, set in the previously uninhabited Anambas archipelago, which comprises six lush, forest-canopied islands, three sheltered lagoons and 13 beaches.
Located in the Coral Triangle, the Anambas is home to outstanding marine biodiversity (10 times more diverse than the Great Barrier Reef), and the Bawah Anambas Foundation is dedicated to preserving it.
The foundation was independently established in 2018 to rehabilitate and conserve the marine and terrestrial life across the six islands that make up Bawah Reserve, and the wider Anambas archipelago, which comprises more than 250 islands across seven sub-districts.
Not only does the foundation ensure the resort responsibly removes its waste, it oversees regular beach clean ups to keep harmful rubbish away from the ocean and educates the locals on the importance of ocean conservation and keeping the ocean clean.
The origin story of Bawah is nothing short of a love story – an island paradise at risk of destruction by illegal dynamite fishing, rescued with a desire to protect it and see it flourish. The owners created Bawah with a passionate commitment to preserving it as an ecological utopia.
The six islands are now a designated marine conservation area, making it illegal to fish in its waters. The design and build of the resort was planned to avoid damage and erosion and prevent the destruction of the mature island flora. The result of all this hard work and conservation is a marine playground sadly found in few other parts of the world.
Toberua Island Resort, Fiji
Toberua Island Resort – a unique, privately-owned island set on four sandy acres of lush, tropical gardens located in the middle of a private azure lagoon, is a Fijian resort committed to protecting its local reef ecosystem.
The resort recently adopted a dive site and registered it with Project AWARE, a non-profit organisation with 25 years of experience making a difference in our oceans. The Project team have sponsored initiatives such as establishing marine-protected areas, developing sustainable fishing practices, and monitoring coral health.
The “Adopt-A-Dive-Site” program allows the Toberua team to focus on one area (although they are doing more) by sponsoring monthly cleanup dives of this site and educating staff and guests about the role they play in keeping the ocean in pristine condition.
The selected site is aptly named the “House Reef” and is easily accessible by both snorkelers and divers. It is home to some soft coral; however, the reef structure is covered with hard corals. Numerous fish species are prevalent, especially juvenile fish and divers can easily spot several different types of sea cucumbers and four different varieties of starfish.
Need more inspiration?
From weekend travel inspiration, conscious brands to shop and farm to table dining spots; to sustainable living news and wellbeing essentials – This Weekend is the first sustainable living guide for millennials.