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FACTOR Fireþies and tiki torches illuminate the paths to candlelit cabanas on stilts over a lagoon.Windmills pump water for spa treatments; organic produce is purified with herbal iodine.Today, the Kloof blooms with 800 tree and plant species, down to rarities like the Clanwilliam cedar.Threatened wildlife has come thundering back, too, including red hartebeests, black wildebeests, bontebok, aardwolves, 150 rare birds, and one of the largest private herds of endangered Cape mountain zebras in the world.
We have been in Panama only a few days, but already we're wise to the promise and peril a little jungle bling can bring.On our first night, my wife, Ruth, and I find true conservation visionaries, like Raúl Arias de Para, the gracious bankerturned bird-watcher, whose radical Canopy Tower guesthouse (see No. And yet a few nights later, at Gamboa Rainforest Resort, a million hotel selling itself as the ultimate luxe bio-reserve, we're issued green wristbands (a tag-and-release program, if you will) that let us indulge in Jungle Burgers ("broiled for the predator") from the 24-hour room-service menu in our air-conditioned suite. If we want nature, I'm sure the guest-relations manager will have a bellman whisk it to our room. One hotel's idea of ecotourism is another's ploy to cash in on conscience.10), which sits above the Canal near Panama City, is a converted U. Some eco-sensitive retreats ask guests to reuse towels and insist they've saved the world.Although the 38 casitas have satellite TV and overstuffed couches, the (mostly) solar-powered sanctuary hints at the future of sustainable travel.If you're not convinced, consult the in-house psychic.