12 Hip Green Hostels Around the Globe
9. Southeast Asia: Enigmata Treehouse Eco-Lodge (Camiguin, Philippines)
© Enigmata Eco-Lodge. The bartender's backpacker room.
Built by musician Ben Aicha, the Enigmata Eco-Lodge is a quirky retreat overlooking the ocean and set amid waterfalls and hot springs. The artist/environmental-protection group that runs the lodge, the Enigmata Creative Circle, offers biodiversity workshops and other conservation-themed seminars. It teaches programs for kids on eco-guiding, makes birdhouses (to attract birds back to the forest), and recycles art -- which they display at the hostel -- and is working with the local department of education to make the whole town plastic-free.
Honorable Mention: The lockers are made from plastic piping and the seats from old fuel cans at the Hostel One66 in Singapore, which specializes in funky recycled furniture, local foods, and nature walks in a nearby wetland reserve.
10. Australia: One World Backpackers Hostel (Perth, Western Australia)
© One World Backpackers Hostel. Relaxing with friends old and new.
With an eye on the "long, hot summers and severe water shortages" in the region, the One World Backpackers Hostel in Perth has reduced its water consumption with efficient showers and toilets and a system that minimizes waiting times for hot water. The drought-resistant native-plant landscaping is watered with efficient drip irrigation. Solar water-heating, top-notch insulation, and efficient lights help reduce the energy needed for lighting and temperature control, while the building itself, a old heritage house, was restored using many recycled materials.
Honorable Mentions: The centrally located Cloud 9 Backpackers Resort in Brisbane has an underground tank system that can process 45,000 liters of rainwater at a time. There are kangaroos on the lawn and free-range eggs in the kitchen at the Grampians YHA Eco-Hostel in Halls Gap; wind power fueling the lights in common areas at the Port O Call YHA in Port Douglas; and organic herbs ripe for the picking at the Eco Beach YHA in Apollo Bay.
11. New Zealand: Shambala Backpackers Guest House (Golden Bay, New Zealand)
© Shambala Backpackers Guest House. Just another day by the beach.
New Zealand's wealth of forward-thinking eco-hostels makes it difficult to choose a favorite, but Shambala's dreamy beach location puts it ahead of the pack. Close to Abel Tasman National Park, a spectacular location for single- or multi-day hikes and kayaking trips, the hostel uses solar power for energy and water heating, composts food scraps, collects rainwater, and has installed composting toilets. The on-site yoga/meditation space was built out of wood grown on the property -- as locally sourced as you can get.
Honorable Mentions: Those looking for a more urban experience can opt for the Bamber House Hostel in Auckland, which has its own worm farm, extensive recycling program, graywater-management system, and a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system that pumps naturally heated or cooled air throughout the building. Eco-travelers should also keep their eyes on the Youth Hostel Association of New Zealand's Stewart Island Project, a 56-bed hostel and environmental learning center set to open next year on the country's smallest island.
12. Central America: Bigfoot Hostel (León, Nicaragua)
© Bigfoot Hostel. An urban oasis.
Despite its name, the Bigfoot Hostel strives to leave a small footprint, with ambitious new plans to set a sustainable example for the local community. Hostel staff broke ground on a "bad-ass urban garden" last fall, and are recycling graywater, setting up a worm-composting system, filtering tap water to help guests reduce their bottled-water consumption, and working with a farm outside the city to provide locally sourced food.
Honorable Mention: Ideally situated for birding, wildlife viewing, and backpacking, The Lost and Found Lodge inside Panama's Fortuna Forest Reserve has an organic coffee farm, citrus orchard, and vegetable garden and offers volunteer opportunities in organic farming, habitat construction, and wildlife rescue.
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