This is a feature from Issue 14 of Charitable Traveller. Click to read more from this issue.
An eco outpost set in a quiet fisherman’s village on the eastern coast of Uruguay, Posada Ayana was built using mostly local materials and is furnished and decorated with pieces from local carpenters, artists and blacksmiths. But the highlight is artist James Turrell’s Skyspace installation, Ta Khut, meaning ‘The Light’, in the hotel’s grounds. Using the rising sun it celebrates light at play, and the surrounding parkland has been filled with more than 15,000 indigenous plants. All the Skyspace profits are used to support local artists, particularly women, and the hotel partners with two Uruguayan community organisations, which guests can get involved with if they wish.
Sol Y Luna is spread over 25 acres of gardens in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and surrounded by the majestic Andes Mountains. Hummingbirds and butterflies flutter around while guests stay in cosy casita houses made of local stone and eat food based on locavore principles – the hotel works closely with local farmers to serve the exceptional flavours of the Sacred Valley. Profits from the hotel finance the Sol y Luna Association, which helps educate the children of the Sacred Valley and sustainable work opportunities for local families.
Set in the 14,800-acre Ibitipoca National Park in the south-east of Brazil, Ibiti is an environmental project rather than a hotel resort. Home to a community of 20 residents, day-to-day operations are inspired by the idea of the GNH (gross national happiness) index. Guest accommodation is spread across three locations: the private, eight-room Engenho Lodge (pictured); The Village, with restored villagers’ houses; and the isolated Remote. Organised activities around the reserve include hiking trips (don’t miss the dozens of waterfalls), horse riding, cycling and yoga, plus farm-to-table gastronomy.
Located on a private peninsula on Lake Titicaca, Titilaka provides
guests with unmatched solitude. Each morning stunning sunrises greet guests, as day breaks over South America’s largest lake, and fiery sunsets are an evening tradition, with campfire nibbles, soul-warming beverages, and local folk legends. Titilaka keeps a low carbon footprint. The three-storey lodge and its 18 lake-view rooms use hydroelectric power and natural gas, and the hotel’s social commitment is to support the sustainable economic development of the villages around the lodge.
Surrounded by vineyards and endless views of the Andes Mountains, Casa de Uco sits on 320 hectares of fertile land in the heart of Argentina’s Mendoza province. The foundation of the resort is the underground wine cellar, while above are the natural, minimalist wine bar, award-winning restaurant, living room with wood-fire chimney, and outdoor terraces, all with views of the mountains and vineyards. And in an attempt to combat deforestation, for every reservation that’s made at the resort, the owners donate 10 metre squared of native forest in the Misiones jungle.
At the gateway to Patagonia, in the picturesque Araucanía region of Chile’s Lake District, is Vira Vira. Surrounded by everything from glacial lakes and snow-tipped volcanoes to rainforests and ancient monkey trees, the Vira Vira estate and organic farm runs along the River Pucon O Minetue, with forest all around. The beautiful wooden lodge is the base for a range of activities and experiences, hosted by expert and engaging guides, and the hotel staff love to introduce their guests to local uplifting projects, including conservation lessons and reforestation sessions.
Paying heed to the eco-sensitivities of its remote location, Pikaia Lodge blends exceptional comfort and services with environmentally conscious design, giving adventurous travellers close contact with the unique wonders of the Galapagos. Much of the hotel’s food is sourced from the local El Cascajo community and the hotel promotes to guests activities owned and run by village residents, including visits to lava tunnels, craters and wildlife refuges.
Explora’s Lodge, in the Torres del Paine National Park, has been welcoming guests to the incredibly diverse Patagonia for over 20 years. Encouraged to do so with a light touch, explorers can visit the region’s rich ecosystems, including the Magellan forest, pre-Andean scrubs, steppes, and Patagonian deserts. Special for many reasons, Explora’s location means you can see both the Paine Horns and the Sierra Baguales, two of Patagonia’s most distinct landscapes.
Built on stilts among lush rainforests, the Awasi lodge has 14 villas, each with their own pool and plenty of privacy among the wildlife, but centred around the main lodge with an outstanding restaurant. Twenty minutes from Iguazu Falls, amid impressive natural scenery, it’s the perfect place to enjoy the very best of the Misiones Province and the Awasi rainforest, with its 400 species of birds, orchids, ferns and Capuchin monkeys. The hotel is carbon neutral, and helps fund local organisations that protect this rich ecosystem.
From an ongoing sea turtle preservation project to promoting sustainable agriculture, Txai Itacaré does its best to be at one with its 227 acres of land within the Itacaré-Serra Grande Environmental Protection Area. Found at the edge of the Atlantic Forest, the resort and its bungalows, built from wood and natural materials, nestle among the trees and spill on to the Itacarezinho beach – on stilts – with sweeping ocean views. Expect coconut palms, white sand and warm blue ocean year round.
This is a feature from Issue 14 of Charitable Traveller.