The health benefits of spending time in nature are well-documented, as are the stress-relieving benefits of taking a vacation. Travelers looking to really get away from it all, and help conserve some of the world’s most pristine natural habitats, should consider de-stressing at a relaxing and secluded eco-resort.
Good for your stress levels and for the environment, these destinations are both tranquil and invigorating, often featuring spa services and complimentary yoga classes alongside rainforest tours and water sports. And it’s a vacation you can feel good about: From a private island and reserve off the coast of Zanzibar equipped with the latest eco-technology to a sustainable lodge celebrating Pueblo culture in Taos, New Mexico, all are committed to preserving the surrounding land, benefiting native communities and employing local staff.
Click through the photos for 10 of the most tranquil (and conservation-minded) eco-tourism destinations around the globe, and tell us: Would you go on an eco-vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet @HuffPostTravel.
Lapa Ríos Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Lapa Rios Ecolodge and Wildlife Reserve brings nature and luxury together on 1,000 acres of private nature reserve lush with pristine rainforest. The lodge and 16 private bungalows are strung along a coastal ridge, connected by steps and narrow walkways. Beautiful beaches, rainforest access, sporting activities, massage and yoga classes keep guests returning to the resort for more.The lodge, which has been awarded Costa Rica’s highest sustainable tourism award, only employs members of the local community. Rates start at $260 per person/night for a double room.
Kasbah du Toubkal Ecolodge, Marrakech, Morocco
Nestled up in the Atlas Mountains, Kasbah de Toubkal Ecolodge was rated the best mountain retreat in Morocco by Conde Nast Traveler, and was also a 2012 Fodor’s Choice selection. The fort-style hotel — run in partnership with the loval Berber community — at the foot of Jbel Toubkal, the highest mountain in North Africa, is just 40 miles outside Marrakech for nearby sight-seeing. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the mountain, panoramic views, steam baths, and gardens.Standard double rooms start at $208/night, and five percent of all fees are sent back to the local community.
Chumbe Island Coral Park, Chumbe Island, Tanzania
Off the coast of Zanzibar, Chumbe Island is a private nature reserve surrounded by stunning coral gardens. Guests can explore the coral reef sanctuary and forest reserves — where they may even glimpse a few endangered animal species — and enjoy the facilities at the small ecolodge, which uses sustainable technology designed to have no impact on the environment. The seven private bungalows, all overlooking the ocean, are popular for honeymooners. Bungalow rates start at $260 per person/night, including meals and services.
WIth no televisions and alarm clocks on the premises, visitors to this tropical Northern Thai mountain oasis can truly get away from it all. Spa treatments use only natural and organic products, and guests can also enjoy yoga classes and vipassana meditation. All visitors stay in private cottages, which include complimentary breakfast and yoga instruction.Staffed fully by local employees, the family-owned lodge prides itself on its excellent hospitality and emphasis on wellness. Rooms start at $85 per person/night.
The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Chaa Creek, Belize
Belize has become a mecca for geotourism, andThe Lodge at Chaa Creek leads the pack as one of the country’s best ecolodges. Visitors enjoy a true rainforest experience at the foot of the Maya Mountains. The resort has been named the Best Eco Resort & Hotel in the Caribbean for four years in a row by Caribbean Travel & Life. Enjoy a variety of adventure activities, explore the surrounding natural beauty, and unwind at the full-service spa. Double-occupancy rooms start at $165 per person/night.
El Monte Sagrado, Taos, New Mexico
Enjoy the rich Pueblo culture of Taos, New Mexico at one of the only sustainable resorts in the region. El Monte Sagrado guests can take advantage of the spa, art gallery, and local adventure activities, like hot air ballooning, rafting and skiing. Luxury accommodations, spa and dining also make it a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons. Prices start at $135/night for double rooms.
Natura Cabañas & the Attabeyra Spa, Cabarete, Dominican Republic
This boutique hotel and spa located between Cabarete and Sosua has been said to attract a New Age clientele with its seclusion, free yoga classes and spa. Be prepared to really experience a more natural lifestyle with no air conditioning, televisions or phones. The Dominican Republic’s stunning nearby beaches offer prime surfing and kiteboarding, while guests can also enjoy oceanside classes at the lodge’s yoga temple. Ten bungalows surrounding a central, palm tree-lined pool. Rates begin at $90 per person/night for a double room.
Adrere Amellal Oasis Ecolodge, Siwa, Egypt
The unique experience of Adrere Amellal includes hand-built desert rooms, a real Egyptian oasis and local, organic cuisine. One TripAdvisor reviewer described the lodge as «so relaxing you never want to get back to the crowded world.» And remote from the crowded world it certainly is: With no electricity at the facility, guests’ rooms are lit only by locally-made beeswax candles and the night sky. Prices start at $55 per person/night.
Milia Mountain Retreat, Crete, Greece
This 17th-century mountain settlement, located in a secluded corner of western Crete, is the perfect destination for a secluded, peaceful getaway. The retreat’s cottages feature orthopedic-ecological mattresses, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, gardens and balconies, and hammocks. Guests enjoy eating healthy Cretan cuisine made from local ingredients, and taking long walking tours around their nook of the island. National Geographic called Milia Mountain Retreat “a top ecolodge for family, active adventures and local culture.” Rates start at $90 per person/night for a small room.
Daintree Ecolodge & Spa, Queensland, Australia
Guests enjoy a true outdoor experience in treehouse-style lodgings («Bayans») scattered through the Australian rainforest at thissustainable lodge and spa. With Aboriginal-inspired massages and spa treatments, reef excursions and guided tours of the world’s oldest living rainforest, and balconies with private jacuzzis, a stay at Daintree is both luxurious and full of adventure. Double-room rates begin at $287/person.