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When people hear “eco-lodge,” they often think that sustainable accommodations require a big splurge. Fortunately, Central America is one of the last great destinations with affordable eco-conscious options. From social enterprises to wildlife reintroduction to sustainable farming, Central America is full of opportunities to do good while you get away.

RELATED: 8 ways to make any trip more sustainable

Nicaragua: Hotel Con Corazon

Hotel Con Corazon

Photo courtesy of Hotel Con Corazon

Located in the cobblestoned center of Granada—Nicaragua’s oldest city—Hotel Con Corazon lives up to its name as the Hotel with a heart. This intimate property, which features only 15 rooms, not only offers quick access to local attractions, but makes for a good homebase to explore nearby beaches, volcanoes, trails and hot springs. Book adventures around Nicaragua directly through the hotel staff or spend time relaxing by the pool; it’s up to you. Using profits from your stay, Hotel Con Corazon encourages educational development in local communities by way of scholarships, tutoring, extra-curricular activities, and employment of locals. Prices start at just $35/night on Travelocity.

 

El Salvador: Palo Verde

Palo Verde

Photo courtesy of Palo Verde

For travelers looking to book a relaxing oceanside getaway with Pacific breezes, Palo Verde is as ideal as it gets. This hotel is especially perfect for skilled surfers looking to catch a wave in El Zonte, but it’s also great if you need to brush up with a few lessons. The mission behind Palo Verde is to provide a relaxing, chill getaway for ocean lovers while remaining sustainable and minimal. This property is dedicated to employing local workers and prioritizing the health of the ocean. You can even attend a Spanish school while you’re there, if you plan to stick around for a while. With an idyllic setting and incredible ocean views, you probably won’t want to leave anyway. Prices start at $125/night on Travelocity.

 

Belize: Blancaneaux Lodge by Francis Ford Coppola

Blancaneaux Lodge by Francis Ford Coppola

Photo courtesy of Blancaneaux Lodge by Francis Ford Coppola

This Belize accommodation is owned by filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who transformed it from his personal family retreat to a bookable accommodation in 1993. It’s perfect for solo travelers, couples and families looking for a private, luxury getaway deep in the Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Not only is Blancaneaux Lodge located within the forest reserve, it is adjacent to Noj Kaax Meen Elijio Panti National Park, as well as wild and protected uninhabited lands. Considering this proximity to treasured conservation areas, it seems fitting that Blancaneaux Lodge would feel some stewardship over surrounding nature, and use energy and land responsibly. The property features sustainably sourced pine, hardwood, bamboo and tiles, as well as their own organic garden, which produces fruits and vegetables for you to enjoy during your visit. Prices start at $289/night on Travelocity.

Guatemala: La Lancha

La Lancha

Photo courtesy of La Lancha

Owned by the same company as the Blancaneaux Lodge, La Lancha is a natural retreat in the midst of the lush Guatemalan rain forest. Also hidden away in this rain forest are the remains of ancient Mayan civilizations, which are well worth a visit. Like its Belizean sister, La Lancha focuses on using locally-sourced materials and locally produced arts, crafts, toiletries and furniture. While this property doesn’t feature an organic garden, it does support local businesses by sourcing many of its materials from regional artisans. Prices start at $149/night on Travelocity.

 

Costa Rica: Pacuare Lodge

Pacuare Lodge

Photo courtesy of Pacuare Lodge

While this one is more of a splurge, it’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience, right from the start. The resort isn’t accessible by road so almost all guests arrive by whitewater river raft. Pacuare Lodge has a deep respect for its location along the river; no trees were cut to build the huts, biodegradable soap and shampoo are available in the bathrooms, and a water turbine generates electricity. On top of that, Pacuare Lodge supports three local primary schools by donating supplies and directly passing along financial support from visitors. Pacuare Lodge pays attention to the local fauna as well; during rafting trips, visitors would camp in remote rainforest sites where group leaders started to notice a lack of monkeys. Since then, Pacuare Lodge has supported the reintroduction of howler monkeys to the rain forest as well as the study of jaguars. For an all-encompassing eco trip, Pacuare Lodge is one of the best in the business.

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