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Green Vacations: Rancho Margot (Part 2 of 3)

Alexandra shades her face from the sun in the Quagga Green Kovalam Striped Floppy biodegradable paper straw hat. Photo by Jeremy Goss in partnership with Big Life Foundation. https://biglife.org/

While we are in the midst of the scariest pandemic of our lifetimes, stuck at home in quarantine, let’s dream about our next green vacation…Costa Rica!

 Second Stop: Rancho Margot, Costa Rica

 Costa Rica tops anyone’s list of eco-friendly vacation destinations, and with good reason. The country was one of the first to recognize the importance of sustainable tourism and is on its way to becoming the world’s first truly carbon-neutral nation. The country’s protection of its forests and beaches is setting the standard for environmental conservation.

Rancho Margot Eco-Lodge, in Costa Rica shows that sustainability and amenities can co-exist. This off-the-grid lodge combines luxury, adventure, and environmentalism to provide something for everybody. The lodge aims for 100% self-sustainability, producing everything from food to soap on-site and with an eye toward eliminating waste. In fact, Rancho Margot was recognized as Costa Rica’s first carbon-negative company in 2012. Living roofs, hydroelectric power, and furniture made from repurposed materials provide comfort with a focus on conservation.

The off-the-grid lodge will both relax you and excite you with adventures! https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Visitors to Rancho Margot can partake in a wide variety of activities that take advantage of the lodge’s expansive grounds within Costa Rica’s pristine forests. The area can be explored on foot, on horseback, or by kayak. Fishing provides hours of relaxation and guests can take a dip in one of Rancho Margot’s spring-fed pools. You can also leave the lodge to enjoy all the exploration opportunities the area has to offer. Nearby Arenal Volcano Park offers challenging hikes, zip-lining through the forest, whitewater rafting, and tours of the region’s chocolate farms.

Explore nearby Arenal Volcano Park while staying at Rancho Margot. https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Rancho Margot offers more than outdoor adventure, though. Sustainability and luxury come together in the lodge’s first-class amenities. Twice-daily yoga classes and professional massage services let you unwind in a peaceful tropical setting. Common areas provide WiFi access in addition to a well-stocked library, playground, athletic facilities, and a well-stocked bar. The on-site restaurant uses no processed foods. 75% of the food comes from Rancho Margot’s grounds, with the rest being locally sourced from independent growers.

Get a cold drink at the well-stocked bar at Rancho Margot. https://www.ranchomargot.com/

Of course, Rancho Margot is more than just an eco-lodge. It is also a working organic farm with a community dedicated to service and environmentalism. Visitors are encouraged to take advantage of Rancho Margot’s educational programs to learn more about sustainability. You can tour the organic ranch, which includes grass-fed cows, free-range chickens, and of course, organic produce. The ranch also provides learning opportunities, from milking the cows that provide all the restaurant’s yogurt and cheese to touring the vegetable gardens. The truly dedicated can even receive free lodgings in exchange for volunteer work on the farm or in the community.

Green Vacations? Issa Vibe! (Part 1 of 3)

Basking in the African sun
This photo were taken on location at ol Donyo Lodge in the Chyulu Hills, Kenya. Amy Baird, Big Life’s Associate Director, is wearing Quagga Green Spring 19 product on her vacation in Africa!

We’ve all said it at some point: “I need a vacation.” For some people, that phrase might conjure visions of an all-inclusive resort or a luxury cruise. But more and more people are looking for alternatives to the traditional vacation.

Sustainable travel is about more than just admiring the local wildlife. Truly eco-friendly travel options prioritize both environmental protection and the needs of local human populations. Working with local farms and residents, the best green destinations have a commitment to the land and people. But going green on vacation doesn’t mean you have to skimp on comfort or miss out on activities. While some people might think an eco-friendly vacation means sleeping rough and skipping showers, the following picks for some of the best environmentally conscious vacations around the world show that you can relax in comfort while getting close to nature.

This 3 part blog series highlights 3 green destinations!

 First Stop: Mwaleshi Camp , Zambia

Camp Hut at Mwaleshi Camp
Twilight dinner at Mwaleshi Camp-Photo courtesy of Remote Africa-Copyright Scott Ramsay https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/

An African safari is on many people’s list of dream vacations, and it’s easy to see why. The chance to see iconic animals in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Sadly, many tours in sub-Saharan Africa aren’t as environmentally friendly as you might hope. Huge resorts and the constant use of vehicles adds to pollution and disrupts local wildlife.

Mwaleshi Camp in Zambia is not a typical safari experience. Operated by the family-owned Remote Africa Safaris, Mwaleshi Camp provides a truly unique opportunity to get close to nature. A true bush camp, the site is tucked away on a river bend far from any resorts or towns within North Luangwa National Park.

Remote Africa Safaris is dedicated to conservation efforts in the region and nowhere is that more apparent than at Mwaleshi Camp. A truly seasonal camp, Mwaleshi is built every year from local materials using traditional techniques. You won’t find any concrete or screws in the camp’s four open-air chalets. The camp is meant to truly work with nature, using sustainable and biodegradable materials that leave no trace.

You won’t find a fleet of Jeeps at Mwaleshi Camp, either. After a brief ride away from camp, all safaris are on foot. Knowledgable local guides help you safely follow existing game trails to see animals truly in their element. Lions, elephants, hippos, kudu, and buffalo are all found nearby, and black rhinos have recently been reintroduced to the park. Walking safaris also help you appreciate the smaller animals you wouldn’t spot from a vehicle, from tiny shrews to the region’s 400 bird species. Experienced trackers will show you how to spot animal prints, the plants they eat and, without the rumbling of an engine, the sounds they make.

Relax in the open air at a handmade Mwaleshi chalet. Photo courtesy of Remote Africa-Copyright Scott Ramsay https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/

A stay at Mwaleshi is all about relaxing in a truly natural habitat. While hot water and limited charging stations are available, the camp has no WiFi or cell phone signal. Food, much of which comes from gardens at a sister camp, is cooked over an open fire. The truly adventurous can even choose to leave camp for a night and sleep under the stars. But one of the most popular activities at Mwaleshi is simply relaxing in one of the camp’s hammocks, enjoying the sounds of nature.

A trip to Mwaleshi is about much more than your individual experience, however. Remote Africa Safaris provides financial and material support to local conservation efforts, including anti-poaching initiatives. In addition, the company’s own Tafika Fund provides educational and healthcare support to local communities. Through camp revenue and private donations, the fund supports local schools and provides scholarships, and supports a health clinic that includes maternity care. It also runs a unique Football for Wildlife program, encouraging local villages to come together with both men’s and ladies’ leagues.

“Mwaleshi Camp, located in the vast wilderness of North Luangwa National Park, is a 40 minute flight from Mfuwe Airport. Hidden within a scenic bend of the Mwaleshi River 10km upstream of the confluence with the Luangwa River, the camp is a truly special and remarkable place.” (https://www.remoteafrica.com/camp/mwaleshi-camp/)

If you are looking for a little more luxury, check back next week to learn about a lush and sustainable “off-the-grid paradise”!

See animals on foot during a guided walking safari at Mwaleshi Camp. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Goss of the Big Life Foundation.

Quagga Green x Causebox Collaboration

Quagga Green is doing a collaboration with Causebox this summer! Causebox is a seasonal delivery of hand-curated product from socially conscious companies. They don’t just support brands that give back, they also give back and work with charities like, Freedom Firm, Speak Your Silence, & The Jessie Reese Foundation just to name a few. When you subscribe to receive a Causebox you’re making a difference. Check out our Wet/Dry swim pouches in the Summer box made exclusively for Causebox and featuring an illustration by Mélanie Johnsson.

Learn more!