Travel with Purpose: Celebrating Earth Day 2021
April 22, 2021 by Hidden Doorways
Happy Earth Day! As we honor and celebrate our planet on April 22nd, we are delighted to share with you our clients’ extraordinary conservation and sustainability initiatives for their guests to travel more consciously and become stewards of our world.
While our lives may feel like they are on pause, our earth is responding quite differently. Our eco-system, wildlife, marine life and natural surroundings have flourished during lockdown.
The Covid-19 pandemic has given us new perspective on our lives and of our world. It has reminded us of what we truly miss about it- exploring. Now is the time to travel with purpose and support properties and travel companies around the world that are invested in sustainability and conservation, especially to uplift vulnerable communities and protect endangered wildlife whose existence is threatened now more than ever by poachers.
Now more than ever, we feel the need to heal and seek solace in nature and create a more profound connections with each other after a year of isolation in a lockdown.
LEADERS IN SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
The Stewards of Tetiaroa: The Brando
Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
The Brando is the ultimate example of how a luxurious resort can be a leader in sustainability. It preserves Tetiaroa’s 12 secluded motus and the atoll’s rare cinematic beauty in Tahiti. The Tetiaroa Society continues Marlon Brando’s vision through Richard Bailey’s commitment to sustainable tourism to support Tetiaroa’s community through educational programs, scientific research, and conservation programs with the conception of the Ecostation. Marlon Brando was always scanning the horizon for new technological answers to ecological problems. He was the one that first identified the Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) system that eventually was built by The Brando and used by the Ecostation. In partnership with The Brando and the Tetiaroa Society, guests can venture out on guided tours with trained professionals in Tetiaroa’s biodiversity and cultural history to see the atoll’s natural beauty from seabird nesting sites to a coral reef system, archaeological sites and more. Children can also explore this atoll’s natural beauty through educational programs at the Lagoon School. Since the start of the pandemic, the wildlife and natural surroundings of Tetiaroa has flourished. Guests at The Brando not only indulge in a sumptuous tropical hideaway escape but become a part of Tetiaroa’s environment and connect with the biodiversity and ecology of this special atoll in French Polynesia.
Blending In: Kasiiya Papagayo
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Meaning “find your pace” in Swahili, Kasiiya is an intimate wilderness retreat tucked away in Costa Rica’s verdant Peninsula Papagayo-a country known for its biodiversity and commitment to lowering its carbon footprint. Its location is discreet; set amongst 123 acres of an exclusive coastal fringed jungle straddled by three secluded beaches overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the heart of Guanacaste. Designed by Parisian architectural firm AW2, the bones of this award-winning Costa Rican hideaway blend into its natural surroundings with the goal to tread respectfully and not leave a footprint. This breezy open-air eco-retreat offers seven luxurious tented suites with two additional beach- front suites coming in November 2021. Kasiiya is an incredibly special place that was designed to evolve with its incredible surrounding environment, topography and climate while deeply respecting its connection with the natural world.
Costa Rican Trails
Costa Rica, known as a living Eden, is one of the most biodiverse nations in the world. Leading the ultimate environmental frontier, it recently announced an ambitious plan to decarbonize its economy by 2050. Costa Rican Trails is your guide to discover the beauty of this lush eco-minded country with curated outdoor activities and exhilarating excursions to celebrate the pura vida spirit while immersing in the natural wonderland of Costa Rica. No two days are the same touring with their guides, families especially will enjoy zip lining through the rainforest, hiking to natural springs, spotting hundreds of indigenous birds to meeting a volcanologist.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
For nature lovers, there are few places as spectacular as like the Galápagos Islands, the birthplace of Darwin’s theory of evolution. While this ecosystem is legendary, it’s also fragile. In 2019, approximately 271,000 travelers came to the Galápagos’ shores. Since the lockdown in 2020, visitors were reduced to zero allowing nature to replenish its flourishing ecosystem that can be seen from vegetation along trails to nesting iguanas. Naturalist guides today remark that it is easier to see the famed indigenous blue-footed boobies as well as sea lions in the local bays and piers.
Pikaia Lodge is your home base to explore the Galápagos Islands. This eco-lodge sits in the middle of a giant tortoise reserve spanning 31 hectares, which once used to be a cattle ranch, but the soil was worn away due to the grazing. Pikaia Lodge took on the massive task of reforesting the grounds and to dates has planted over 11,000 trees, resulting in many tortoises and other wild animals returning to the area. The sleek, minimalist, yet luxurious eco-lodge is carbon neutral, powered by alternative energy sources. Rainwater is collected for cooking and drinking. What’s more, they’re dedicated to bringing endemic flora and fauna back to the former cattle ranch. A population of wild tortoises lives on property and the wild birds are swiftly returning.
If you are seeking adventure this summer, plan a trip to northern Nevada to experience a Western-inspired safari in the presence of hundreds of wild mustang horses at Mustang Monument Eco-Resort & Preserve. A passion project in its truest form, Madeleine Pickens, an American businesswoman and philanthropist, founded Mustang Monument to save the rare wild mustangs and bring travelers closer to America’s iconic Western culture. Set on 900 square miles of open plains, this remote and truly special homestead offers an all-inclusive experience with 10 chic cottages, farm-to-table cuisine, and a variety of activities to connect you to the remote vastness of the American West. In the mornings, guests can wake up early to take part in a memorable excursion that begins with a hayride and ends with a feeding of the majestic mustangs.
North Malé Atoll, Maldives
Gili Lankanfushi is another worthy steward of a Maldivian paradise where sustainability is at the heart of the property. Like Six Senses Laamu and its neighbors, this tropical eco-resort has pledged to stop the removal of seagrass from around Lankanfushi Island. While seagrass meadows get less press than coral reefs, they are just as important to the health of the ocean. When Gili Lankanfushi closed for renovations two years ago, they seized the opportunity to develop coral transplanting techniques to help revitalize the ocean after the 2016 bleaching event. Guests can see these projects up close through the “Gili Underwater Story,” a guided journey with an in-house marine biologist to learn about the local marine life and how to protect it.
Great Plains Conservation
Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe
When you think of conservation in Africa,: Beverly and Dereck Joubert are some of the most profound change makers on the continent. Founders of Great Plains Conservation, award-winning photographers, filmmakers and philanthropists, this inspiring couple and their team have turned severe threats from this pandemic into a silver lining. Together they have spearheaded several conservation projects to protect wildlife from poachers and local communities surrounding their camps in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Great Plains launched Project Ranger, an initiative to prevent poaching of endangered species and provide critical funding to the brave men and women who are on the frontlines of conservation. You can join this critical movement by purchasing one of Beverly’s signed wildlife prints from her personal art collection through Art for Rangers.
Great Plains also launched Replacement of Shade Programme where a local sapling is planted for every guest who stay at their solar-powered camps in Kenya. They launched Solar Lanterns project to bring safe light to families, especially school children, who live in rural communities. From the success of this project, Solar Mamas was born, which Great Plains Foundation selected nine ladies from rural communities in Botswana to India for six months to undertake solar engineering training. Upon returning to Botswana, these Solar Mamas shared their knowledge and set up solar plants and businesses in their communities as a source of power, income generation and empowerment.
For younger safari enthusiasts, Great Plains believe that education is at the centre of positive change and growth. The week-long programs are hosted throughout the year for children in surrounding communities near Great Plains camps with lessons that incorporate classroom instruction, field studies, and mentorship. Young Explorers is a program that turns the safari experience as an outdoor classroom teaching children to be the next Conservation Ambassadors with fun activities such as spotting animal tracks and practicing traditional bush survival skills.
Leading in conservation, The Great Plains Foundation’s Rhinos Without Borders initiative relocates rhinos from high poaching zones in South Africa to safe Wilderness areas. To date, 87 rhinos were relocated to remote wilderness areas in Botswana and today roam free in the wild under high levels of safety and monitoring teams.
Conservation is deeply rooted in SUJÁN’s ethos, which is evident throughout its three wilderness camps located in Rajasthan, India. Its founders Anjali and Jaisal Singh are some of the most respected voices and visionaries advocating for positive change for India’s endangered wildlife conservation and local communities. During the pandemic, Anjali and Jaisal have been re-imagining SUJÁN for guests to become a part of its story, as their family has a deep connection to Ranthambore Tiger Reserve. Your stay at their camps contributes to its vast conservation efforts while supporting its wildlife populations, local schools and nearby communities. While staying at SUJÁN, you will become connected to India on a deeper level, whether it is getting up close to entrancing leopards on billion-year-old granite rock formations or immersing yourself in local culture by walking with a Rabari herdsmen at JAWAI, spotting Royal Bengal Tigers at Sher Bagh or marveling at the local craftsmanship that blend into its desert surroundings at The Serai. In its on-going effort to preserve its endangered tigers, SUJÁN partnered with Tiger Watch, led by Dharm Khandal, Conservation Biologist. Jaisal is also a Member of the Government of Rajasthan’s Standing Committee for Wildlife and the State Wildlife Board while Anjali’s portraits of the Ranthanbore tigers and wildlife continue to inspire us with the chance to see one up close.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand
New Zealand is an outdoor enthusiast’s heaven. Known for its otherworldly diverse landscapes, exhilarating activities, organic and biodynamic wine and more. Set 6,000 acres of rolling pastures on the rugged coast of Hawke’s Bay, guests get a taste of New Zealand farm life at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers on the North Island. Home to New Zealand’s precious Kiwis, which are rare birds found only in New Zealand. Guests can join their Sanctuary Manager, on extraordinary, guided discovery walks of the Sanctuary’s Cape to spot and find indigenous bird species like the elusive Kiwi.
UPLIFTING VUNERABLE COMMUNITIES
Cape Town, South Africa
Kindness to each other has shined a light during the dark times of this pandemic.
Ellerman House is a Relais & Chateaux property committed to serving Cape Town’s vulnerable communities and invites guests to join them, along with their partners, to prepare and deliver food to local communities. This Earth Day marks a year since Ellerman House kicked off Music for Meals and announced its initial pledge to prepare over 100 meals a day to its local communities in need. To date, 7.1 million meals have been served including 133,243 bags of maize, 14,006 bags of fortified porridge and 127,548 hot meals. If you’d like to get involved or make donation to Music for Meals, a project close to their hearts in partnership with South African and international musicians where you can view pasts concerts and chefs demos on their website.
East and Southern Africa
Throughout the pandemic, The Micato-AmericaShare team in Nairobi, Kenya have been working around the clock to distribute masks around Mukuru-the community where their non-profit is based. In response to the challenges faced by COVID-19, Huru, a partner of Micato Safaris, pivoted their business to make face masks for young women in Mukuru, one of Nairobi’s largest housing projects. Huru is known for manufacturing reusable sanitary pads, which have been provided to more than 175,000 girls in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Color has the transformative power to change people’s lives. Casa Palopó, Guatemala’s first Relais & Chateaux property set on the shores of the famed Lake Atitlán, invites guests to partake in an immersive experience and uplift the spirits of locals living in the nearby Guatemalan village of Santa Catarina by painting their homes in vibrant colorful hues and geometric patterns with its organization Pintando Santa Catarina.
It begins with the soil at Heckfield Place. This lovingly restored Georgian family home set on 438-acres in Hampshire, England is constantly evolving with nature and redefining the idea of a country hotel with its credited biodynamic farm in 2020, farm-to-fork offerings, a natural skincare line and more. The hotel rooms are zero plastic and zero single-use plastic in the Kitchens while all lamps run on LED. To reduce water costs, 70,000 litre is extracted every day from a nearby bore hole. Everything the hotel does relates to nature by preserving its Woodlands, which date back to 1865 when William Wildsmith was brought to Heckfield Place as a foreman and became its head gardener in 1867. Today the estate manages the original woodlands and ancient trees while propagating centuries-old trees in their Biodynamic Tree Nursery so they can be enjoyed for another 150 years. Heckfield Place opens our eyes to better, more natural ways of living and being and believes its guests are the future custodians of this stunning English estate and countryside.
Twin Farms is a famed culinary destination set in the secluded, lush countryside of Vermont with cozy yet luxurious accommodations and cottages that offer spectacular farm-to-table gourmet experiences evolving with the seasons. Executive Chef Nathan Rich and his team specialize in clean, crisp dishes made by sourcing fresh ingredients, produce, and meats from neighboring farms. The seasons act as inspiration for the ever-changing farm-to-table menus. As dining is an integral part of your stay, their Culinary Team customizes each menu with thoughtfully paired wines from its cellar of 15,000 bottles that are sustainable, organic, and biodynamic. A stay at Twin Farms is a truly spectacular experience in every way, and there’s no wonder why it is considered one of the most beloved Relais & Chateaux properties in New England.
Brush Creek Ranch
Nestled across 30,000 acres of expansive, rolling wildness at the base of Medicine Bow National Forest surrounded by the Sierra Madres Mountains in south central Wyoming outside the historic town of Saratoga, Brush Creek Ranch imbues the heart of the American West. This iconic ranch has made transformational strides to live off the land following the traditions of pioneers who went out West. Brush Creek Ranch not only operates an authentic cattle ranch sustainably. Following the traditions of the pioneers who went West, they work to operate an authentic cattle ranch sustainably with rotational grazing, forest management and run a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse that produces enough fruit, vegetables and herbs to supply the entire property. They also help educate guests on locavore cuisine. This learning – and eating – takes place at The Farm, a 40,000-square-foot complex that includes a creamery, distillery, cellar, bakery and restaurant with exceptional seed-to-table cuisine.
Barrio Jesús de Atenas, Costa Rica
Perched on a 50-acre quartz mountain in Atenas overlooking rolling green hills and the Pacific Ocean, The Retreat is an immersive healing haven redefining wellness in Costa Rica founded by wellness guru, Diana Stobo. The Retreat has established some concrete actions to respect the environment and make a positive impact through its local community, to preserve its natural surroundings, like chemical-free spa treatments. Anti-inflammatory meals are the heartbeat to its wellness programs, and The Retreat it has an organic permaculture farm and locally sourced fish and meat for its restaurant which specializes in a farm-to-table menu that evolves with the seasons. Supporting its local community, 90% of their employees are from the area, while excursions are designed to support local farmers, cultural tourism and animal reforestation projects.
Learn More about Six Senses Extraordinary Sustainability Ethos here.
We hope this sparks inspiration to become better citizens of the natural world through travel, in the world to be more responsible, conscious travelers who are curious about Earth. Travel transcends borders while helping us to be more mindful about our carbon footprint and the ability to make a positive impact in the world around us, a core belief to Hidden Doorways’ ethos.
We’d love to hear from you, so please reach out to our team at email@example.com.