From jungles of the Amazon to Barcelona, the misty Scottish moors and great Aussie coast, eco-hostels have become an established part of the global tourism industry. And it’s not a moment too soon.
Of course, with a wide range of ‘eco’ declarations flying back and forth, it’s hard not to get lost in the lingo and rhetoric. And, with travelling green more fashionable than ever, there is always the worry that broad claims will not be backed up by a longer term game plan.
To make it all a little easier, here is a sample of the top five eco hostels heralding the global green movement…
High St Hostel (Edinburgh): Having invested in more than 75 hectares of woodland to absorb its total CO2 emissions, High Street Hostel can claim to be 100% Carbon Neutral. Now that’s an investment! In addition to this, the historic building has implemented in a waste recycling system and relies on energy sourced from non-nuclear renewable supplies, making it a popular Edinburgh hostel for eco-warriors!
Rivertime Resort and Eco Lodge (Laos): The premier eco-hostel destination in South-East Asia, Rivertime was built entirely by local labour and from local resources. Everything in the lodge is designed to minimise energy and water consumption, from its ‘green’ air conditioning to low wattage lightbulbs, hand washing, hydropower and low-water toilets. Next up on the green agenda is solar water heaters, so make sure you keep an eye out!
Barcelona Urbany Hostel (Spain): An eco project prior to its construction, Barcelona Urbany was designed around the three ‘R’ principles – reduce, reuse and recycle. Since this stage, a number of innovative eco-practices have been introduced; from a noise level absorbing façade to the recycling of water supplies, energy efficient installations and a rainwater harvesting system.
Eco Oasis (Montenegro): Tucked away in the UNESCO World Heritage Black Pine Woods, Eco Oasis is a haven of natural living. Far from just a place to sleep, the hostel offers outdoor activities including rafting, camping, fishing, hiking and mountain bike tours. Forget TV or other entertainment devices though – with a focus on the great outdoors, these electric guzzlers are seen as an encroachment on the peace.
Jetpak Forest (Berlin): Using power from 100% renewable energy sources, Jetpak has certainly got the right idea on the eco stakes. The entire hostel is heated by a modern wood-burning CO2-neutral heating system, while hot water is warmed by solar panels.