Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 20, 2021
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Eco-lodges that do morethan pay lip service

PERU: Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica is on a private ecological reserve about an hour by boat down the Madre de Dios River from Puerto Maldonado. Originally a scientific lodge — 14 new species including orchids, frogs and a butterfly were discovered here — it’s recently become an upscale lodge with 35 cabanas. With backing from the National Geographic Society and the World Bank in 2005, it opened a 345-metre-long treetop canopy complex of seven hanging bridges, six observation platforms and two 30-metre-tall towers. The walkway gives visitors access to the rare plant and animal species of this delicate ecosystem. Room rates are US$153 a person, double occupancy, including all meals, activities and transfers.

BELIZE: Cotton Tree Lodge in Toledo has all you’d expect from a serious eco-resort — an off-the-grid existence, solar power, an organic garden, a composting system with flush toilets and a self-contained reservoir that uses banana plants to help nutrients return to the soil. If that weren’t enough, Cotton Tree takes things further with chocolate-making workshops. Guests get hands-on experience in everything from picking cacao and drying the beans with local Maya farmers to cooking chocolate and discussing fair trade with members of the Toledo Cacao Growers Association. From US$198 a person, double occupancy, including all meals, activities and transfers. A standard cabana is furnished with one queen or two twin beds, is approximately 30 square metres with private bath, comes with a ceiling fan, screened shutters and is decorated with handcrafted furniture in native woods, woven fabrics and rugs.

KENYA: Ol Malo Lodge & Trust is in the deserts of Samburuland in Northern Kenya, on what was once an overgrazed cattle ranch. There are four cottages dotting the cliff edge — each with thatched roofs and built out of rock and olive wood. Each has a huge window facing onto the view. All come with king-size beds, bathrooms and a private veranda. One of the most stunning parts of Ol Malo is the swimming pool built on the cliff edge with its water spilling over. The resort has camels and ponies that can be ridden across the plains. You can also meet local Samburu children, visit their school, learn tribal dancing, make beaded artifacts and visit their manyatta (village). O Malo’s owners set up a trust fund providing help for the Samburu (the Ol Malo Eye Project focuses on the eradication of trachoma). The stunning location comes at a price: $US550 per person including food, drinks and all activities.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.