…….you may never leave…….
Standing in the meditation area of The Yoga Farm you are overlooking the edge of the forest in the far south of Costa Rica, a full day’s journey from the capital San José. The bus from Golfito takes three hours to cover the last 60 kilometres, most of it unpaved. Narrow wooden bridges cross rivers, full, we’re told, of crocodiles. It arrives just after sunset. Campfires are the only light around, and the pounding sound is the Pacific surf breaking on the shore. This is literally the end of the road. It’s another 40 kilometres or so to Panama, but you would need a horse or a boat to get there.
From innovations in technology, to good ways of running a business, quality design and style, here are two handfuls of superb places to get away to. They range from places to stay to transport initiatives, festivals, and adventure and conservation holidays. All are pushing the boundaries of what green travel means.
Places to stay
At the edge of Bodmin Moor, Tregulland is a renovated self-catering pad, one of a new breed of eco-friendly
West Texas is as far off the grid as you can get in America. Miles of brush, and no power or water lines.
The town of Marfa is an artistic and intellectual oasis. Well worth the trip, and now there is a new destination. El Cosmico,at 802 S. Highland Ave.in Marfa; (432-729-1950; www.elcosmico.com).
There are not enough places like this in the world -an incredible, romantic assemblage of yurts, safari tents, a tepee and meticulously restored vintage mobile homes. Land here is so cheap that privacy is easy. El Cosmico is on 18 acres at the edge of town.
Near Lake Sumner in New Zealand, the Maruia Resort is a green jewel. It can be hard work.
On the banks of the Maruia River,in a sheltered valley, eight kilometres west of Lewis Pass, there is no mains power: the resort relies on a mini-hydro system, gravity-fed water and generator backup. Last year, snowfalls and landslides ruptured the inlet pipe, cutting off water for several weeks. Since then, owners Akira and Takako have not only replaced the pipes but upgraded the resort’s decor, giving it a more Japanese look. The aim is to give Kiwis a taste of an authentic Japanese onsen, a thermal resort.
If you are trying to spring-clean your mind before taking on the more banale cupboards and curtains routine, a yoga retreat is the ideal way to breathe in the new season. A three day escape to one of the most western points of Ireland overlooking Clew Bay and the Atlantic awaits you. It is the Clare Island Yoga Retreat Centre which is located about a half hour boat ride from Roonagh, Co. Mayo. If it is a retreat you are after, this is it. Family-run, it offers weekend and week-long yoga breaks, accommodation and home-cooked organic vegetarian meals, using local produce. Water is even sourced at the local private spring. The Centre is committed to sustainable living, recycling, and alternative energy as well as offering the visitor a window onto the life of this wonderful small island community.
We managed to tick off another box on the list of “Things to do to be a PP (perfect parent)” last year and took our two boys, Louis (6) and Hugo (3) camping. It was rapidly becoming clear that “Doing Cornwall” was also on the PP list, and although we deny all charges of trying to keep up with the Joneses, off we set to join the tourist throngs in Padstow, North Cornwall.
We took only the basics – a tiny four man tent, two ring cooker and army style camping beds for the boys, which were impossible to erect. We drank hot chocolate for breakfast, had cricket, rugby and football sessions with other families, and midnight feasts under the stars. But the best bit was the cycling.
UK tour operator, Thomson has changed power suppliers to use some green energy in its branches. Sixty percent of electricity consumed by Thomson and its airline Thomsonfly will be supplied from electricity generated by wind farms and other renewable sources such as hydro and solar power.
Thomson’s Managing Director Peter Rothwell, basking in the glow of his new eco light, stated, “Changes like this can make a huge difference on the impact we have on the environment”.
It may be a case of ensuring that your own house is in order before going elsewhere, but Thomson’s announcement forces us to open the debate on how responsible such companies are in their business practices further afield.