7 Dreamy, Eco-Friendly Hotels and Resorts in the Caribbean – AFAR – AFAR Media

Resorts and hotels across the Caribbean are working to make their stays sustainable for eco-conscious travelers.
Courtesy of Coulibri Ridge
Millions of travelers visit the Caribbean Islands every year to enjoy the region’s verdant peaks, sandy beaches, waterfalls, and cultural offerings. Lately, a growing number of hotels and resorts are boosting the islands’ reputation for sustainable hospitality.

Disproportionately high electricity costs, an abundance of natural sunshine, and the threat of power disruptions that come with increasingly menacing hurricane seasons have led an increasing number of properties in locations from Puerto Rico to the tiny St. Eustatius to invest in more affordable and reliable energy sources—many of them greener.

Currently, the most cost-effective clean energy technologies on the market are solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind technologies—and nearly every country in the Caribbean has the potential to use them, according to a 2023 report by the Atlantic Council, an American think tank.

Significant hurdles remain, according to the report. Since many Caribbean nations are small and isolated, they often don’t have the physical space for large-scale solar or wind farms that allow for economies of scale. In addition, clean energy projects are inherently more expensive in this region because everything needs to be imported, due to a lack of local supply chains. But even in the face of these challenges, hotels across the region are finding ways to invest in new technologies, offering an example to others—and in some cases, creating surplus power for the islands they call home.

Larger-scale adoptions of clean energy occur across the region, too, including at major airports on islands such as St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados and the Bahamas. The PV system built at Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas, funded by a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, was the largest of its kind in the Virgin Islands when it was built in 2011 and remains a stalwart example in the region.

Every initiative is a step in the right environmental direction—and a direction guests can move in, too, when planning a more sustainable Caribbean vacation. “For the greater future benefit of the region and its people, it’s a really good thing,” says Steve Bennett, who was born in St. Croix, writes the travel blog Uncommon Caribbean, and has traveled extensively through the islands. “A hotel that’s committed to renewable energy is great. One that’s also locally owned is even better. If said hotel also sources all of its art, furniture, food, soaps, linens—everything from local businesses, well, that’s just about perfect.”

For travelers vacationing in the Caribbean, booking off-the-grid stays is one way to show support for the region’s long-term sustainability. Luckily, there are many to choose from.

The Blacaneaux Lodge is located in the mountains of Belize, close to many Mayan settlements.

At Francis Ford Coppola’s 20-room Blancaneaux Lodge in the rainforests of Belize, the Privassion Creek, known for its beautiful swimming holes and waterfalls near the property, supplies 85 percent of the energy used for the property and its staff housing. Pools use saline systems to avoid chemicals that are harsh on the environment. And treated water from the creek supplies the resort’s showers and laundry. During complimentary eco tours, guests can get an up close look at how the hydro system works—perhaps after a morning of sunrise bird-watching. From $439/night
Casa Solaris at Hix Island House Hotel is an incredibly private, eco-friendly getaway. Aside from its stunning views of Vieques Island’s beaches, the hotel is Puerto Rico’s first all-solar hotel.
Nick Spinder // Shutterstock

On the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, Casa Solaris at Hix Island House Hotel features six one- and two-bedroom lofts with outdoor showers and views of the Caribbean Sea, as well as a yoga pavilion set among the casuarina pines. It is also Puerto Rico’s first all-solar hotel, operating completely independently of the commercial power grid. From $230/night
The 14 hillside suites of Dominica’s Coulibri Ridge run on solar power.
Courtesy of Coulibri Ridge

Coulibri Ridge, located on the island of Dominica, is a 14-suite luxury resort based on principles and practices that other hotels can use as a blueprint to become more sustainable. (For this reason, this property was chosen as one of Afar’s 15 Best New Hotels in the World in 2023.)

The 200-acre property operates as its own small village, with all of the electricity for the air-conditioned suites, two restaurants, multiple heated swimming pools, spa, and conference rooms generated by solar panels. All on-site water comes from filtered rainwater, and the property’s hurricane-resistant exterior was built by locals from hand-chiseled rock sources on site. These elements have served as an inspiration for other properties on the island forced to rebuild after Hurricane Maria’s destruction in 2017. From $582/night
Visitors to Golden Rock Resort are able to experience Saint Eustatius’s stunning ecological diversity.
Photo by Jaquil Imagery

Sprawling across 40 tropical acres on an under-the-radar Dutch Caribbean island, Golden Rock Resort is the first eco-friendly resort on St. Eustatius. A favorite among scuba divers, the resort recently unveiled a new PADI dive center that offers courses in an ocean-fed lagoon the size of a football field (the largest of its kind in the Caribbean).
It also features an on-site solar park with 2,240 panels that produce 0.8 megawatts of electricity a day. Batteries store excess electricity that can be used to power the resort and its fleet of electric vehicles at night. The solar park benefits the greater island, too, according to Anthony Reid, the resort’s general manager. “While we generate power for the resort, we also generate excess power, which is given back to the island and into their grid,” he says.
Additionally, Golden Rock Resort’s reverse osmosis machines transform salt water from the ocean into clear drinking water, and wastewater is treated and used to irrigate plants and grass that provide a habitat for local wildlife. From $380/night
The Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, in addition to being a beachside favorite, prides itself on being a steward to the land it’s set on.

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa is a Seven Mile Beach favorite with a great kids camp. Here, electricity is generated via a 143,000-watt solar array (one of the largest in the Cayman Islands). It also uses aluminum water bottles instead of plastic and harvests rainwater for landscaping.
The hotel prides itself on being stewards of the animals that also inhabit the land. For that reason, the technology used on the property is conscious of its impact on wildlife in the area. Outdoors, they use turtle-friendly lighting to prevent distractions for the local turtle population, who use the moonlight to guide them toward the sea. The property has also trained a group of local divers, deemed “Seafire Guardians,” to assist with local coral reef regeneration. The resort’s commitment to local wildlife makes it ideal for travelers looking to closely support the island’s critters. From $949/night
The biodiversity of the Cayman Islands’ sea life makes Lighthouse Point Dive Resort an ideal stay for scuba divers.
Photo courtesy of Don McDougall/Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Resorts across the Cayman Islands are turning to solar for sustainable hospitality, including scuba diver–favorite Lighthouse Point Dive Resort. Powered entirely by solar and wind energy, it has condo-style accommodations with full kitchens that include a penthouse complete with a turret accessed via a spiral staircase, affording exceptional reef views.
The resort caters to both beginners as well as avid divers who book “dive and stay” packages that include several guided dives daily. Scuba tanks are always on hand for the taking (read: diving) at the resort’s dock, too, for experienced divers keen to explore the resort’s “house reef,” just out front, on their own with a buddy, You’ll likely spot underwater life like eels, tarpon, and a rainbow array of reef fish as you fin around. Contact tour operators (such as Reef Rainforest Dive & Adventure Travel or Fly & Sea Dive Adventures) for pricing details.
Zemi Beach House brings sustainability to its five-star stay experience.
Zemi Beach House

Anguilla’s Zemi Beach House, set on six oceanfront acres with an adults-only infinity pool and direct access to Shoal Bay Beach, is the only five-star hotel on the island to operate entirely on solar power during the day—and often at night, too, thanks to surplus stored in a lithium-ion battery system. The resort’s five-acre solar plant has a whopping 2,700 solar modules, which, at peak output, could power 200 traditional households. From $976/night
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