By Natasha McGowan

From LEED-certified lodging in one of America's greenest cities to a turtle-saving sanctuary in French Polynesia, these eco-friendly hotels are destinations unto themselves. Throw in pristine beaches, thriving wildlife and immersive cultural experiences, and there's no question that these sustainable sites deserve a place on your bucket list. This summer, this is where to go–and what to pack–for the ultimate green getaway.

St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
And you thought you joined the green movement early on. Caneel Bay, developed in the 1950s by conservationist Laurance S. Rockefeller, stakes claim to the title of the Caribbean's first eco-resort–and it's also the only one that's located inside the protected land and waters of the Virgin Islands National Park. Its waterfront cottages span seven secluded beaches, where local wildlife–donkeys, deer, mongoose, iguanas–roams the property alongside guests. By design, accommodations and amenities are low-key and low-impact, and natural ingredients like organic honey pop up in cocktail and spa menus alike. Be prepared to unplug, though: as might be expected, most of Caneel Bay is a no-Internet, phone or television kind of sanctuary.

Portland, U.S.A.
Posh and planet-friendly? That sums up the Nines, a boutique hotel that offers a fashionable take on Portland’s famous green scene. Occupying the top nine floors of the city's iconic Meier & Frank building (a former department store that once employed Clark Gable), this LEED Silver-certified hotel blends Gatsby-esque glamour with a socially conscious spirit: Works by local artists hang on the walls of the historic structure, and its electricity comes entirely from renewable energy sources. 
The Nines sits across the street from bustling Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, and its bike-rental package encourages eco-friendly exploring among guests. But Urban Farmer, the farm-to-table steakhouse in the hotel atrium, and Departure, the rooftop restaurant that serves up Asian fusion with a view, may just tempt you keep it hyper-local–as in, on-site. When in Rome…

Valle Sagrado, Peru
Think beyond Machu Picchu and explore the former heartland of the Inca empire along Peru’s Urubamba River. Here in Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) is where you’ll now find Tambo del Inka, Peru’s first and only LEED-certified hotel. With lush riverside gardens and fertile grounds where superfood snacks are grown on-property, the resort is understandably committed to protecting the environment, and this slice of land in particular. Valle Sagrado was prized by the Incas for its geography and climate, and it remains a hot spot for its views of the Andes, abundance of local handicraft shops, proximity to Cusco, and attractions like river rafting and kayaking. Of course, we’re not suggesting you skip the wondrous ruins altogether. Tambo del Inka is the only hotel on the Urubamba with a private train station, which makes for easy access to must-see Machu Picchu.

The Gobi, Mongolia
If you hate spending holidays just sitting by a pool, find a mix of adventure and luxury at Three Camel Lodge. Guests at this camp in the Gobi desert sleep in gers, the traditional felt tents of Mongolia's nomadic herders–but before comfort lovers turn away, note that these gers house king-size beds and private bathrooms, plus exotic touches like camel-milk-based toiletries. Bulagtai, the restaurant at the renewable-energy-powered lodge, offers a taste of regional specialties, with meat sourced from the country's free-range livestock herds. When it's time to explore, Three Camel's expedition arm can arrange treks through the desert by foot, horseback, four-wheel drive or even on two-humped Bactrian camels, an endangered species that benefits from the lodge's preservation efforts. Your itinerary might also include an excursion deeper into the Gobi with an overnight stay in a catered tent, or a visit to the Flaming Cliffs, a fossil-rich site where the first nest of dinosaur eggs was discovered.

Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Forget glass-bottom boats–Le Méridien Bora Bora boasts glass-bottom beach bungalows. It’s hard not to while away some hours peering into the electric-blue waters of "the most beautiful lagoon in the world," but keep an eye on the clock–there’s plenty more to do. Located on a motu (islet) minutes from Bora Bora proper, the resort and location beget a range of aqua-centric activities, from sunset cruises and snorkeling to waterskiing and scuba diving. The resort's Ecological Center, opened in 2012, spans an underwater observatory, several aquariums, and a coral nursery that aims to repopulate damaged areas of the lagoon’s coral reef. For an even closer experience with Bora Bora’s marine life, visit the touch pools, join Le Méridien’s in-house marine biologist on a tour of the lagoon, or go for a swim at the turtle conservatory for a chance to feed the ancient sea creatures that locals consider sacred.


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