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Ecuador

Black Sheep Inn

Crave a little quiet? You won’t hear any traffic at this small, ecologically-friendly hotel, but you’re likely to be serenaded by the dogs, ducks, llamas, and black sheep who call it home. Rated one of the top ten eco-lodges in the world by Outside Magazine in 2003, Black Sheep Inn is a sustainable operation that embraces—and operates by—the philosophy of caring for the Earth. On the road to becoming a permaculture demonstration site, the inn features composting toilets, gray water recycling systems, organic gardens, and the recycling of metal, paper, and glass. Wellness features: Vegetarian meals, sauna, sweat lodge. Call 593-3-281-4587 or visit www.blacksheepinn.com

Ontario, Canada

Algonquin Eco Lodge

This rustic, wilderness lodge is adjacent to a waterfall and a well-populated beaver pond. Hiking, wildlife learning programs, birding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are available seasonally. Studio tours of local artists and craftspeople can be arranged as well as horseback riding and mountain biking. The lodge operates with a combination of renewable energy sources. Accommodation choices include rooms in the main lodge, bunk bed rooms, or lakeside cabins. Wellness features: Outdoor wood-fired sauna and hot tub. Call (888) 333-8621 or visit www.algonquinecolodge.com.

Manitoba, Canada

Elkhorn Resort & Spa

Deep in Riding Mountain National Park, the Elkhorn Resort & Spa provides a comfy oasis with a distinct wilderness ambience and gourmet dining. Ride, hike, bicycle, snowshoe, dogsled, or cross-country ski through some of Canada’s finest open space. Environmental awareness programs range from Dogsledding and Snow Ecology to intensive three-day Canadian Research Adventures. You can also take part in a moonlight outing with astronomers, hike with wolf and elk research teams, or enjoy a gourmet lakeside meal while learning about native flora and fauna. Wellness features: Holistic, full-service luxury spa featuring indigenous ingredients. Call (204) 848-8739 or visit www.elkhornresort.mb.ca

Honduras

Wilderness Gate/Lodge at Pico Bonito

This luxury eco-lodge, a member of the Small Leading Hotels of the World, is situated in the rainforest buffer zone of Pico Bonito National Park. Extensive nature trails, bird watching, snorkeling, whitewater rafting, and visits to the Mayan ruins of Copan are available as well as day trips to Lancetilla Botanical Gardens. Accommodations include individual cabins. Wellness features: Butterfly sanctuary and nursery, full service spa, gourmet dining. Call (312) 345-3257 or visit www.picobonito.com

Costa Rica

Arenal Observatory Lodge

Situated on a ridge facing Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most active and dramatic volcano, this sustainably-run lodge is surrounded by native wildlife, including howler monkeys and toucans. Originally established to house scientists and researchers from the Smithsonian Institute and Earthwatch, visitors can now enjoy ongoing eruptions from the safety of their room, canoe in the lake of a nearby extinct volcano, climb lava flows, tour Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, hike, or go horseback riding. Local guides also provide mountain biking, whitewater rafting, birdwatching, wildlife expeditions, and fishing, kayaking, and canopy tours of the tropical rainforest. Wellness features: Massage, natural hot springs. Call (506) 692-2070 or  visit www.arenal-observatory.co.cr

Tabacon Hot Springs Resort & Spa

Also located in the vicinity of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano, this property has a decidedly tropical ambience, enhanced by the waterfall pool and extensive gardens. Each guest room offers garden views from private balconies or terraces. Most of the eco-experience is found in the surrounding environment, which includes tropical rainforest, hiking trails, and thermal pools. Activities include horseback riding, tours of Venado Caves, whitewater rafting, hiking, fishing, and mountain biking. The resort’s Iskandria Spa offers a full line of treatments, and traditional Costa Rican cuisine is served in both on-property restaurants. Wellness features: Full-service spa, natural mineral springs. Call (877) 277-8291 or visit www.tabacon.com

Lapa Rios

The philosophy behind ecological efforts at Lapa Rios begins with demonstrating respect for the social and cultural customs of the area. John and Karen Lewis built Lapa Rios as a private nature reserve using native woods. The resort employs local craftspeople and members of the community and operates under the principles of conservation, culture, and biodiversity. Honeymooners are invited to plant a tree in the lodge’s private rainforest reserve to commemorate their stay. Nearby, the Caiman Ecological Refuge’s Blue Macaw Project is making efforts to protect the Blue Macaw, currently threatened with extinction. Wellness features: Massage, yoga. Call 011-506-735-5130 or visit www.laparios.com

Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge

Deep within a 165-acre private reserve, Playa Nicuesa fronts Costa Rica’s undeveloped Pacific Coast. The property, which operates on renewable solar energy, was designed to blend in with the surrounding environment, while embracing sustainability. The roofing materials consist of recycled banana bags, and the wood and timbers used have been taken from tree farms and naturally fallen trees. Accommodations include private cabins and guestrooms in the main lodge. The lodge’s restaurant procures seafood from local fishermen, and  the property’s fruit trees supply lemons, papayas, coconuts, star fruit, pineapples, bananas, mangoes, and water apples. Wellness features: Yoga Rainforest Adventure Retreat programs. Call (866) 348-7610 or visit www.nicuesalodge.com

Samasati Nature Retreat

Nestled within a jungle setting in a 250-acre biological reserve on the Caribbean coast, Samasati’s water system comes fresh from the property’s springs, while used water is cycled through a gray water disposal system using environmentally-friendly biological products. Activities include excursions into the rainforest canopy, Cahuita National Park, Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, Black Beach Botanical Garden, bird watching, dolphin spotting, waterfall trekking, and sea kayaking. Wellness features: Yoga, meditation, massage therapy. Call (800) 563-9643 or visit www.samasati.com

Australia

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa

Daintree is a haven of luxury and seclusion amidst Queensland’s rainforest region, a scant hour and a half from Cairns. In addition to promoting sustainable tourism, environmental conservation, and biodiversity protection, Daintree offers guided rainforest walks and Aboriginal arts and crafts workshops. Nearby points of interest include Lizard Island, Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park, and the Undara Lava Tubes. Wellness features: Full-service spa featuring such locally-inspired treatments  as the Julaymba Rain Therapy. Visit www.daintree-ecolodge.com.au

Kanimbla View Environmental Retreat

Situated on a cliff overlooking the Kanimbla Valley, the twelve-acre property sits deep in the Blue Mountains two hours outside of Sydney. Voted one of the world’s ten best alternative energy tourism sites by Discovery Channel’s Travel Unit, it bears Advanced Accreditation from the Ecotourism Association of Australia. Built with recycled windows, timbers, and doors, the retreat also operates with passive solar, composting toilets, and water-saving technology. A maximum of twelve guests can be accommodated at any given time. Wellness features: Massage, spa house. Call 61-2-4787-8985 or visit www.kanimbla.com

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