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It’s not very often you find a hotel where you can book a 1-hour onsite sustainability tour. At Black Rock Lodge, it’s easy to fill up an hour, if not more, discussing sustainability efforts with a tour guide. It’s pretty incredible how Black Rock Lodge has been able to create a sustainable experience deep in the Belize jungle without having to compromise on luxuries like a swimming pool and 4-course dinners.
Through the tour, we learned that Black Rock Lodge practices sustainability through these 5 pillars:
- utilizing renewable energy
- energy and water conservation
- farm to table: onsite farm and garden
- eco-friendly septic system
- hiring local staff and tours that educate on local and Mayan culture
After touring the grounds, we were so impressed at how seamlessly they work with nature create an eco-friendly hotel. Here are the top 7 sustainable practices that blew us away:
- Black Rock Lodge is 80% off-grid. They use 40% solar power and the rest is run on hydro (thanks to the nearby waterfalls), with a backup generator for emergencies or in ‘sun droughts’ due to being in the jungle.
- Black Rock Lodge conserves energy in the rooms with dimmed lights and no AC or hair dryers (neither of which were an issue – the rooms are shaded by the trees and we had no need for straight hair in the jungle!). They also use “tiki torches” at night to help light the pathways – total Jurassic Park vibes! Their pool isn’t heated to conserve energy but it’s very refreshing after a long hike or on a hot day.
- Laundry is hand-washed and line dried – now that’s commitment!
- The pool is spring fed – no chlorine or hash chemicals. This is especially important with all of the birds that live in the nearby jungle.
- Black Rock Lodge has over 100 acres of land. There is a large organic vegetable and herb garden and a large pen for chickens and goats. The goats produce goat milk, yogurt and cheese, and the chickens provide eggs.
- They have an eco-friendly septic system – this means they’re not pouring raw sewage into the nearby river. They have a 3-tier pond filtration system meaning they don’t need to treat the water with harsh chemicals either.
- Part of sustainability is also being able to support the local community you’re visiting, and support hotels that are doing the same. We did the “Wild Side hike tour” with a local Belizean where we learned about Mayan culture and many of the native flora that provide anything from food to rubber to natural medicine.
This sounds incredible to us “eco nerds” – but of course for most people the question always comes down to – what do I have to sacrifice or give up to stay at a place that is essentially off-grid? In the case of Black Rock Lodge, there was no sacrifice for us. Never did we feel like we were deprived of any necessary amenities. From the pool, to the yoga platform, to the 4-course dinners, we felt well taken care of. But most importantly, we got a chance to reconnect with nature while not simultaneously disrupting it.
Have you ever stayed an an off-grid hotel or resort? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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