Everyone needs a place to sleep while they travel – finding accommodations can be an overwhelming task in itself, let alone figuring out how to do it responsibly and not make a negative impact on the local economy, environment, and socio-cultural aspects. Here are some simple things to do that will help you choose accommodations that support local the community.
Travel Accommodations that Support Local Communities – Where to Start?
Here are some tips on choosing accommodations that are locally owned and operated and/or support sustainable tourism. Before you start, determine your budget range and what you are comfortable spending and the type of accommodations you are searching for – for example, a bed and breakfast versus a self-catered cabin. Luckily there are many review-based booking systems such as TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com that provide consumer reviews to help you choose a suitable place. Using words like guesthouse, homestay, Bed & Breakfast, boutique hotel, ecolodge, and locally owned in your keyword searches usually will start you in the right direction.
To further investigate the accommodations you can check out their website (if they have) to get a better feel of the place, learn about the owners and if they support any local causes. You can also assess if it is an eco-friendly place that has a low impact on the environment. And a final step is to email the potential places that you choose to get a feel for them and how they communicate to make the booking. This is just an extra step for quality control.
Keep in mind, many local places aren’t listed on the Internet so you can take your chances and just show up and hope for the best. However, this option can sometimes lead to disappointment especially when travelling at peak tourist season. Another option is to ask around and engage with other travellers to learn about their favourite places and where they recommend to stay – you never know what you will stumble upon.
Some of our favourite travel accommodations that support local communities:
Desia Ecotourism Project in Odisha India – an ecolodge with the goal to preserve the rich tribal culture through a local tourism development initiative. Special focus is given to empower the local women below poverty line through capacity building and training programs on various initiatives including arts & craft development. More details found here – http://www.travelroots.ca/desia-grassroots-ecotourism-project.
Upachaya Ecolodge and Wellness Resort in Roatan, Honduras – Nestled in the lush jungle on the island of Roatan, Honduras, it is the perfect place for those looking for sustainable tourism, eco-tourism, or simply a place to truly relax and getaway to rejuvenate. More details found here – http://upachaya.com.
BaseCamp Bartola in the Indio Maiz Biosphere Reserve in Nicaragua – Basecamp Bartola is a community-based organization that protects the natural resources, promotes environmental education and earns an income through sustainable tourism. Read our blog story here.
Wya Point, Ucluelet, BC, Canada – Nestled in the lush coastal rainforest of Vancouver Island’s west coast, a few kilometres outside Ucluelet and within minutes of world-famous Pacific Rim National Park, Wya Point Resort is an ideal retreat for couples and families offering luxurious lodge accommodations, rustic eco yurts and a family-friendly campground. With direct access to pristine private beaches, the area’s newest resort sits amongst 600 acres of old-growth forest, located on an old village site of the Ucluelet (Yu-klew-ith-aht) First Nation. More details found here.
Maple Pine Lodge in Meghalaya, India – a small family operation only 25 km out of Shillong near Mawphlang Sacred Forest. They haves four cottages with attached toilets, camping facilities, surrounded by agricultural land and bordered by two streams. The farm lies off the grid and is powered by solar and wind. More details found here – http://www.travelroots.ca/living-root-bridges-of-meghalaya.
Pooks Hill Lodge in Belize – situated within a private reserve, is located at the foothills of the Maya Mountains in the Cayo District of Belize, bordering the Roaring River and Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve. Adventurers, birders, researchers, families, and anyone looking to explore all that Belize has to offer will find Pook’s Hill an ideal destination. More details found here.
Amantani Island Homestay in Lake Titicaca Peru – Enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals living on Amantani Island situated on beautiful Lake Titicaca. This island community still practices local sustainable community living and living with a local family is the best way to experience it! For details on Peru can be found here.
Tranquil Seas EcoLodge in Roatan, Honduras – Unique island accommodation set amongst beautifully landscaped tropical gardens, offering privacy and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle, yet easily accessible to the best activities on Roatan. From the start, the concept of Tranquilseas Eco Lodge was to have the smallest impact possible on the island and on the local people, while supporting every sustainable option on Roatan. More details found here.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands Environment Team (ANET), Andaman Islands, India – The ANET base is located in North Wandoor, on the southern tip of the South Andaman Island. The accommodations are situated in the jungle but minutes from the beach – the best of both worlds. While staying at ANET you will have a chance to learn about the local flora and fauna on the island and participate in various research and environmental education initiatives. More details found here – http://www.travelroots.ca/andaman-islands-eco-adventure.
If you would like more details or info on choosing travel accommodations that support local communities contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.