When researching hostels, there are a few common things that we all look for – location, price, availability and atmosphere. Should we start adding ‘eco-friendly’ to our list? I know what you are thinking – eco-hostels have to be really expensive, vegan, and without TV’s or WiFi. Well, think again. Here are 4 reasons why travellers should love eco-hostels and they might just surprise you!
Eco-Hostels are unique!
Many eco-hostels are built from recycled materials or are adapted in a unique way to perfectly suit their natural environment. In Ghent, Belgium, you can stay at Ecohostel Andromeda in a converted barge that is carbon neutral and even has its own water purification system!
My favourite eco-hostel has to be YHA Sydney Harbour, which has actually been built in Australia’s largest urban archaeological dig! That’s right, IN an archaeological dig! The hostel is built on stilts with the dig underneath the building and its design means that you are able to view the dig throughout the building. They have created unique artwork to represent the story that has been uncovered through these digs including a horse, sheep and chickens, all of which provided for the families who lived on this land. The sense of history in this hostel is just incredible and it is a great way to learn more about Sydney without even leaving your hostel.
Eco-Hostels DON’T mean giving up comfort
Just because a hostel is eco-friendly doesn’t mean that you have to give up the modern technology and comfort that you are used to.
In New Mexico, USA, you can spend the night in an Earthship. What is an Earthship? Well, it is a house made from recycled materials, solar panels, water collection, and even a greenhouse! All of this and WiFi, Netflix and plush beds – what’s not to love! These houses are truly sustainable modern homes complete with growing food, jungle greenhouse, fish pond and fireplace – everything that you need for a luxurious holiday.
Eco-Hostels mean getting lost in nature
One of the best things about eco-hostels is that they are perfectly suited to their natural environment. While there are many incredible eco-hostels in urban environments, there really is nothing quite like escaping into the wilderness and getting lost amongst wildlife, rainforests, mountains or waterfalls. After all, we all want to get back to nature sooner or later.
Chepu Adventures run a lodge that is in a spectacular location in northern Patagonia, facing wetlands that are teeming with birds and animals. This award-winning lodge uses alternative energy, solar showers and promotes low-impact activities within the surrounding environment. Take an early morning kayak and keep your eyes peeled for the Southern River Otter, one of the rarest otters in the world!
Eco-Hostels help you to connect with a community
At the heart of many eco-hostel’s is their strong ties with the local community. As well as sourcing local products and hiring local staff, many hostels have projects that directly benefit the community.
Bulungula Backpackers near Qunu, South Africa is a collection of 10 huts run completely on solar power. The lodge is 100% owned by the Nqileni village and they are committed to making visitors feel welcome. You can join local fisherman as they catch crayfish and octopus, hear incredible stories from the community elders, or wander through the local forest with the traditional herbalist to learn about the natural remedies that can be found nearby. This hostel has to be number one my bucket-list!
My hope is that one day the big hostel and hotel search engines will include the option to search by environmental rating, maybe then more people will give eco-hostels a try!
Thank you to YHA Sydney Harbour for hosting me during my stay. The opinions expressed in this article are my own and have not been influenced in any way.
So, what do you think? Are you convinced? Have you stayed in an eco-hostel before and loved or hated it?