Though the Caribbean is known for its beautiful ecological sites, from vast jungles to towering volcanoes to vibrant coral reefs, there’s a surprising lack of sustainability-focused hotels. While many resorts do have some programming to mitigate their impact on the environment—things like recycling efforts and using local ingredients at their restaurants—only a few of them truly have green living in their ethos. If you are looking to stay at an eco-friendly hotel on your next trip to the Caribbean, check out the following properties.
Hotel Manapany, St. Barts
While many green hotels in the Caribbean tend to fall on the more rustic eco-lodge side of the spectrum, Hotel Manapany is a true luxury hotel—not too surprising, given its location on the tiny island of St. Barts. Opened in 2018, the 43-room hotel is nestled into a hillside that rises from the beach, just five minutes from the airport and St. Jean and 10 minutes from Gustavia. As far as sustainability goes, the hotel generates much of its electricity from solar panels, it produces its own water, and only electric cars are permitted on the property. Additionally, rooms aren’t cleaned with harsh chemicals, but with steam and natural products. And finally, the hotel has a robust garden that produces fruits and veggies for the restaurant, which is an impressive feat given the fact that the island is arid and has no natural water source.
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort, Aruba
In August 2018, Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort on Aruba’s famous Eagle Beach became the first hotel in the Caribbean to officially achieve carbon neutrality, but that’s not its only accolade. The 104-room, adults-only hotel also is LEED Silver-certified, Green Globe Platinum, and the 2017 winner of the Gold Adrian Award, a sustainable tourism award presented by National Geographic and the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International. Some of its many sustainability initiatives include using water reducers in showers and faucets, grey water to irrigate the gardens, solar panels for energy, local products made in Aruba to cut down on the carbon footprint associated with importing goods, and biodegradable cleaning supplies. The hotel also contributes to programs off property, including animal efforts like the Donkey Sanctuary Aruba and Turtugaruba, a turtle conservation group.
True Blue Bay Boutique Resort, Grenada
As far as eco-friendly hotels go, Grenada is one of the greenest Caribbean islands out there. One of its most popular resorts is True Blue Bay, a 70-room property on the South Coast with four pools, a spa, a waterfront restaurant and bar, a marina, and a dive center. Beyond removing straws and plastic bags from the resort, True Blue Bay has an elaborate water treatment system to irrigate its land and uses solar panels to power its spa. It also uses vegetable waste as compost for its gardens and gives non-vegetable food waste to local farmers to feed their pigs.
Jungle Bay, Dominica
After a landslide triggered by Tropical Storm Erika destroyed the original property in 2015, Jungle Bay was rebuilt and partially reopened in June 2019. The property, which will have 85 rooms and villas when it’s completed, focuses on geotourism, which combines ecological preservation with social and cultural support for the community. The hotel has taken environmentally-friendly measures like having local craftspeople build furniture on site with bamboo grown on the island and installing waste and energy management systems to limit its impact on the ecosystem. But what makes it stand out is its dedication to humans, too: it was a founding partner of the Open Books, Open Minds project, whose goal is to improve literacy rates of schoolchildren on the island.
Fond Doux, St. Lucia
With just 15 cottages on a 135-acre working cocoa plantation, Fond Doux is an ideal choice for those seeking solitude. There’s no lack of activities, though—the resort has two restaurants, three pools, a spa, cooking classes, and three nature trails. You can also book off-site activities like heritage tours of Soufriere or horseback riding around a volcano. Given its plantation setting within UNESCO World Heritage Site La Soufrière National Park, the hotel’s sustainability measures are focused on growing produce for the restaurant, preserving the natural landscape through using shovels for excavations versus traditional machinery, and using existing colonial buildings from St. Lucia as its accommodations (they’re brought in from around the island). The hotel also heats water through solar panels and has reduced its use of single-use plastics.
Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada
This all-inclusive resort on Grand Anse Beach in Granada is one of the most luxurious hotels on the island, offering 64 beachfront suites, two restaurants, recreation like tennis and golf, and a spa. But protecting the environment is very much a priority at the hotel, which has a dedicated Green Team overseeing its sustainability practices, from natural composting to resource conservation via solar panel water heating and a desalination plant to a ban on styrofoam and polystyrene. Spice Island also participates in tree planting and community cleanup projects.
Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent
For those seeking a private island experience, look no further than Petit St. Vincent, a resort on its own 115-acre island. It’s the perfect place to unplug—there’s no Wi-Fi, TVs, or phones—and to indulge in the natural beauty of the land and sea. To fill your day, you can dine at the two gourmet restaurants, relax at the spa and wellness center, or enjoy land and water sports. As part of National Geographic's Unique Lodges of the World collection, Petit St. Vincent is dedicated to sustainability, not only enacting measures like eliminating plastic water bottles on the island (glass bottles are filled via an on-site desalination plant), but also working on a coral restoration and reef monitoring project around the island.
Castara Retreats, Tobago
The boutique Castara Retreats in Tobago is a 16-room rustic-chic resort that’s all about a sense of place; its owners want guests to really experience island life as the locals do. While the hotel brands itself as an eco-resort—its grounds are a sanctuary for wildlife, and it promotes recycling, composting, and reducing resource consumption—it also places an emphasis on the community, too. The hotel is staffed by locals, and any off-site activities contribute to the local economy.
Blue Horizons Garden Resort, Grenada
Set just 300 yards off Grand Anse Beach in Grenada, Blue Horizons Garden Resort feels as if it could be miles away in the middle of a dense jungle. The property comprises just over six acres of lushly landscaped gardens that are home to a variety of tropical birds—not to mention 32 self-catering gustrooms, two restaurants, and a pool. Its approach to ecological conservation includes using biodegradable trash bags, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and solar-powered water heaters. From a human ecology standpoint, the hotel contributes to the local economy by hiring locally.