Eco-Honeymoons | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Eco-Honeymoons

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Cori and Mark Sullivan of Jackson spent their 2009 eco-honeymoon in Costa Rica.

When most couples talk about their honeymoon, it's usually stories of how wonderful the masseuse was at the hotel spa or how delectable the food. They might even mention the breathtaking view from their room. This is about the time we nod and smile, and act like it all sounds so exciting and interesting.

The truth? It's not really that exciting. But imagine a couple describing the rush they got zip-lining through a tropical forest, being surrounded by majestic waterfalls while snorkeling among rainbow-colored fish, or their up-close encounters with whales, seals and polar bears. Now that makes for an interesting honeymoon recap.

What could be a better start to spending the rest of your life with the person you love than having an adrenaline-filled, once-in-a-lifetime experience together?

It's easier than ever to share these experiences with the current trend of "eco-adventure" honeymoons. Whether you want to feel the snow of the Alps, the sands of African deserts, the salty waters in the Australian coral reefs or anything in between, an eco-adventure honeymoon offers a one-of-a-kind honeymoon experience, all for about the same price as a normal honeymoon.

Eco-tourism is gaining in popularity, even for those looking for a laid-back honeymoon. Just go for a little more eco and little less adventure. Eco-tourism is also an environmentally conscious way of traveling.

Former "Hitched" couple Cori and Mark Sullivan decided to take an eco-honeymoon after their 2009 nuptials.

"If you're flying or have to drive around, it's not environmentally friendly, but at the same time, it's your honeymoon, and I feel like you should still get to experience what you want to experience. It was very important for us to stay at places that were very environmentally conscious," Cori says.

They chose to travel to one of the most environmentally conscious destinations in the world: Costa Rica. The country follows the Certification for Sustainable Tourism Program (CST), which ranks tourist spots on a 1 to 5 scale based on their "natural, cultural and social resource management." CST allowed the Sullivans to be aware of the eco-friendliness of each location they visited.

Costa Rica is growing in popularity, thanks to its eco-friendly tourist spots, and is quickly becoming the go-to vacation spot for environmentally conscious or adventure-seeking tourists. McGehee Cruise and Vacation in Highland Village suggests Costa Rica as a great eco-adventure and eco-friendly destination.

While they cite Costa Rica for its adventure activities—zip lining, hiking, rock climbing and white-water rafting to name a few—McGehee also features Costa Rican hotels such as the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation and Inn, where the Sullivans spent a few days of their honeymoon. The inn is a lavish hotel that has consistently scored the highest ranking from the CST due to its earth-friendly practices such as serving on-site grown organic coffee and vegetables, using solar panels and composting.

Many countries are trying to reduce tourism's carbon footprint, and more eco-friendly resorts are popping up in countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Bali and Kenya. Jackson's VIP Travel, which bills itself as the "Honeymoon Experts," offers many eco-friendly honeymoon destinations, ranging from exotic eco-friendly Kenyan safaris to simple stays at a luxurious eco-friendly hotel in Colorado.

The United States is also becoming more environmentally conscious, and eco-friendly hotels are sprouting up everywhere. Some hotels are taking steps toward being "green," like the Orchard Garden Inn in San Francisco, built from the ground up in an eco-friendly way, and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified. Other hotels are taking smaller steps, such as 70 Park Avenue Hotel in New York City, which offers discounts for hybrid drivers and recycles its kitchen oil as bio-diesel.

Eco-friendly and Eco-adventure Honeymoon Resources

McGehee Cruise and Vacation
Highland Village, Suite 104, 4500 Interstate 55 N.,
601-981-7070, http://www.mcgeheecruise.com

VIP Travel
3000 Old Canton Road, Suite 250, 601-321-1939,
http://www.viptravelexperts.com

http://www.theworldoutdoors.com
http://www.responsibletravel.com
http://www.ecotourism.org
http://www.travel.nytimes.com/travel/guides/eco-tourism

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