How Ecolodges Work

Photo courtesy Sani Lodge One of eight private, thatch-roofed cabanas at the community-owned Sani Lodge located in Rio Napo, Ecuador.

Every year, millions of Americans go on vacation. In fact, you may be pondering your next vacation destination right now. Will it be a visit to ­New York, London or Paris? Or, maybe a few weeks at the beach. Instead of simply lying on a beach or hitting the hot spots in some big city, why not take a vacation that is not only fun for you, but one that is good for the environment and others, too. Tourism that respects natural habitats and helps improve the local community is often referred to as "ecotourism" or "responsible tourism" or "sustainable tourism." This type of travel can involve a variety of activities from adventure or nature travel to travel that invites you to participate in community service.

Once you decide that you want to go on an eco-vacation, you will become familiar with the term ecolodge. An ecolodge is simply a hotel or vacation spot that follows the philosophy of ecotourism.

­In this article, we will examine the ecolodge experience including types of ecolodges you ­can visit, what criteria are necessary to be considered an ecolodge and how to choose an ecolodge for your own vacation. In addition, we will briefly discuss the broader issue of ecotourism.