22 sustainable hostels for responsible travelers 🌿

Perhaps by now you already know the close relationship between travelling and taking care of the planet, but if you’re still a little clueless, let’s see… does the concept of sustainable tourism ring a bell?

Sustainable travel is about making simple decisions that minimize our negative impact on a given destination and, ideally, turn it into a positive impact.

But… where do we start? In this article we reviewed some of the different aspects you can take into account when travelling to avoid damaging the planet along the way, such as choosing the least polluting means of transport, saving energy and water or respecting the local culture. In this article we will delve deeper into the concept of sustainable accommodation.

What must a lodging have or how must it be in order to be considered sustainable?

To find out if a hostel is truly sustainable, you’ll need to look at it:

Do you use renewable, natural, sustainable energies? Do you use ecological materials in your furniture, sheets, bathroom products, etc? If the answer is yes, it may be a sustainable hostel!
The actions they carry out in their daily management, such as recycling, recovering water, avoiding single-use plastics or composting.
Your gastronomic offer, if you have one. A sustainable accommodation will use ecological, healthy and local products, and they may even grow them themselves.
Its impact on the environment. Ideally, sustainable housing will be sustainable from the moment it is built, taking into account that it is not invasive with its environment and consciously choosing construction materials, which should be recycled or renewable and of local origin.
Its offer of leisure and activities. Sustainability is a way of life and those responsible for sustainable hostels know it and practice it. For this reason, they will offer you activities that are healthy and do not harm the environment, such as ecological hiking, bicycle rides, book exchange, guided tours to get to know the environment and the culture of the place, etc.

It is not necessary that the hostel we are considering meets all these requirements in order for us to accept it as an eco. Moving towards sustainable lifestyles and business models is a process in which progress is made at different rates. The important thing is to be willing to improve and move forward in the eco policies of the place to contribute to change, protect the planet by contributing each his grain of sand and transmit to others the need and importance of this model of life and tourism.

We must also bear in mind that the fact that a hotel has many stamps that distinguish it as an eco place or that carries that concept in its name is not, in itself, a reliable indicator of its sustainability. Unfortunately, we have to take into account the greenwashing with which some businessmen try to slip us as sustainable accommodation or products that are not.

Now you have some clues to identify and choose truly sustainable accommodations on your next trip, but we want to help you by presenting some options you can book through hostelworld.com:

EUROPE

@almyramaria

In addition to being sustainable, the Jetpack Eco Lodge is located in a privileged environment, surrounded by forest, and offers its guests the possibility to enjoy activities and sports on its tracks outdoors. An oasis in the middle of the city!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

100% of the energy they use comes from renewable energy sources. It is heated by a modern wood heating system without CO2 emissions. The hot water of the hostel is obtained through solar panels.
Waste is divided, bottles are returned to the manufacturer for reuse, food is composted on site (a safe distance from the shelter) and many other items are recycled.
Bicycle rental and good connections to the city centre by city bus.

Make your reservation at Jetpak Eco Lodge!

The hostel is located in the Trastevere district, one of the most fashionable areas of Rome. You will only have to cross the river to visit the most iconic points of the city. It also has a garden and terrace, a luxury in the Italian capital!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

All electricity is generated by photovoltaic panels, so the air conditioning and heating are 100% green.
Toilet paper and cleaning products are completely biodegradable.
They separate waste for recycling.
All windows have double glazing to save energy.
All walls are fireproof with double gypsum plasterboard and have an air chamber inside to keep constant temperature and energy waste to a minimum.

Make your reservation at Hostel Trastevere!

At HI hostels in Iceland all equipment purchased is chosen based on durability as well as water and energy saving options. They save resources by not buying unnecessary or single-use items and by choosing eco-labelled products whenever possible. They also recognize their responsibility to climate change.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Recycling facilities (different containers, information available to the customer).
Ecological ingredients. They prefer Icelandic and/or organic foods, which are produced without pesticides and labelled as fair trade products.
They reduce food waste by not throwing food unnecessarily and strive to compost organic waste.
They protect nature by avoiding the use of polluting chemicals.
Wastewater is properly managed and solid waste is recycled.
Re-use corner (leave what you no longer need, take what you need). This avoids unnecessary purchases.

Make your reservation at Downtown HI Hostel!

Make your reservation at City HI Hostel!

City Backpackers has an ecological approach and a global environmental policy. They define themselves as passionate travelers who love our planet and therefore want to contribute to saving it. And you, do you join the challenge?

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Bicycle rental.
Recycling of waste.
Electricity from renewable sources.
Use of ceramic tableware (no single-use dishes!)
Use of energy-saving light bulbs.

Make your reservation at City Backpackers Hostel!

Apart from its green vibes, what we like most about Alter Hostel are its events where you can meet local people and do a lot of activities (DIY workshops, volunteer work in local organizations, participate in radio programs to share experiences…). It is also a short walk from the most attractive area of Lyon!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Thermal insulation of the habitat.
Energy from Enercoop, a French supplier working with small producers of renewable energy.
Dry toilets.
Accumulation of communal compost.
Rainwater collection.
Signage to inform guests.
Delivery of organic bread by bicycle.
Object swapping corner.
As a guest you can participate in volunteer programs to help local entities and projects.
Bicycle and kayak rental.
Secure bicycle parking for guests who bring their own.
Ecological awareness events.
Calculation of the carbon footprint.

Make your reservation at Alter Hostel!

A few years ago, Sleep Well made a large investment in an ecological key to install two condensing boilers, a dual-flow ventilation system and a cogeneration system (combined heat and power production). This optimization allowed a 20% reduction in waste, unbelievable! In addition, Sleepwell participates every year in the European Waste Reduction Week.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Waste management.
Saving energy and water. The bathrooms are equipped with half-flush cisterns and showers are efficient. Halogen patio lamps and common spaces were replaced by LEDs.
Use of sustainable supplies. The consumption of CO2 connected to your gas consumption is compensated and your electricity is 100% green.
Used paper (printer/copier, brochures, etc.) is recycled or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.
Most of the cleaning products used at Sleep Well are environmentally friendly.

Make your reservation at Sleep Well Youth Hostel!

Ecomama, Amsterdam (Netherlands)

Ecomama means Green and Conscious Hospitality, concepts that are reflected in the different ways in which Ecomama is built and executed. You can see it in every detail!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

They use Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) furniture, a production system in which waste generation is not considered.
Use of fair trade materials.
Natural stone heater.
Ecological water system.
Recycling of waste.
They remember, inform and invite their guests to join in their mission to participate in a green and conscious way of life.
They donate 1 euro every night that a guest stays with them to NiΓ±os de Guatemala, an NGO located in Guatemala that provides quality education to underprivileged children, and to the Artis Zoo.

Make your reservation at Ecomama!

The Eco Hostel Republik is committed to achieving complete environmental independence. They plan to incorporate solar-powered LED lighting on the roof and install battery-saving devices to regulate shower time, as well as purchase a dishwasher to save water. He also has a project to start treating his wastewater. A real pass!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

The furniture and interior of the hostel are made of recycled and reused materials. The bedding and other textiles are of the best cotton and the bathroom is built with natural materials collected in the local community.
They pay great attention to the selection of waste that is sent to the Duboko landfill and then recycled and sold.
They promote sustainability among their guests by helping them find eco-friendly means of transport, such as cycling, walking and using local buses and trains. Posters in the hostel help guests save energy and point out interesting facts about the human impact on the environment.
They have a garden where they grow vegetables and fruit.
They use renewable energies. Solar energy is used for the boiler (300 liters capacity), there are solar panels on the roof and sensor batteries in the bathroom. The hostel also uses special showerheads to reduce water consumption and low energy bulbs to reduce energy consumption.

Make your reservation at Eco Hostel Republik!

The Urban Garden Hostel offers a relaxed atmosphere that invites you to socialize with other guests in its common room and nature-inspired courtyard, right in the heart of Lisbon, within walking distance of the city’s main attractions!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Extensive recycling program.
Medium flush toilets.
Low consumption light bulbs and appliances.
Use of recycled materials in construction projects.
Washable and reusable hand towels.
Recycled paper products.

Make your reservation at Urban Garden Hostel!

TwentytΓΊ Hostel Barcelona Eco-Albergue is the first tourist accommodation building in the city to obtain the highest rating in terms of energy efficiency. He has been awarded several prizes and recognitions for his work in applying responsible and sustainable tourism criteria (including Best Green Hostel 2014 by Hostelworld). Wow!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Lighting. Each floor has lighting elements with LED technology. Presence and timing detectors in some spaces.
Air conditioning. The supply of hot and cold water for air conditioning and sanitary hot water is made through Districlima, the network of heat and cold that supplies the entire technological district 22@Barcelona.
Grey water recovery. System for recovering water from showers and washbasins to treat it and then use it for WC cisterns.
Timing systems. All taps have timer mechanisms, thus saving between 40% and 60% of water.
Pneumatic waste collection. Property equipped with a system of selective collection of waste through ducts that lead to a central receiver.
PMS/BMS. Integration of a hotel management system that allows, at the time of check-in, to activate all the interior facilities of the room, and deactivate them at the time of check-out, thus optimizing consumption.
Ventilated facade. The air conditioning is optimized and very low solar absorption crystals are incorporated depending on the orientation of the same one.
Smartwatts devices. Incorporation of devices that allow the reading of power and instantaneous and online consumption of all the electrical lines, which allows the efficient management of the installations and the application of energy saving policies depending on the hours or the concurrence of people.

Make your reservation at Twentitu Hi Tech Hostel!

ASIA

At The Yard Hostel you can have yoghurt and jam made by themselves to reduce plastic containers and accompany them with milk from the Thai Dairy Farm Promotion Organization to support Thai farmers. They also serve coffee from organic farms in northern Thailand, but the best part is that you’ll be able to drink it in the large green space they have (something very valuable in the chaotic Bangkok), which is also home to birds, squirrels and other animals!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Use of recycled materials to build the rooms, which are actually old containers.
Insulation of rooms with recycled paper to reduce energy consumption of air conditioning. These materials help naturally cool the warm environment around it, so guests can sleep comfortably.
They use water-saving toilets, which can reduce consumption by 35%.
They use air conditioning inverter technology, which can reduce energy consumption by 40%.
They have motion sensors and timers to control the lighting.
They offer guests reusable bottles to borrow during their stay, thereby reducing the use of plastic by 1000 bottles per month.
They offer a closed breakfast pack with the aim of reducing food waste (more can be asked for if the person remains hungry).

Make your reservation at The Yard Hostel Bangkok!

None of the Gili islands allow motor traffic, but in the case of Gili Meno, the smallest of the three islands that make up the archipelago, nature and tranquility are multiplied by ten. At the Gili Meno Eco Hostel you can enjoy this little paradise from the moment you wake up in its bamboo rooms overlooking the beach and go down to breakfast pancakes in the company of other guests and staff. Those who have tried have felt in family!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Their bathrooms are compost and ecological.
They have bamboo showers with fresh and salt water.
There is a dry cleaning service on the property.
The rooms are made of bamboo.

Make your reservation at Gili Meno Eco Hostel!

AMERICA

The project is inspired not only by Frida Kahlo’s amazing life, but also by the great culture, art and traditions of Mexico, which offers all of that during her stay. Your garden is programmed to help you release any energy you no longer want in yourself. Their motto is “Here you sleep, you learn and you heal”. You can’t ask for more!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

They use solar panels to generate 80% of the electricity.
They have a modern biodigester to treat their organic waste.
Awareness of the importance of sustainability both to their guests and through their social networks
Promote the development of activities that benefit the planet.

Make your reservation at Frida’s Garden!

This is a beautiful small hostel, located in a cenote, a few steps from the coast of the Mexican Caribbean. Nested in the jungle, surrounded by lush green jungle and mangroves just steps from the beach. Paradise in eco version!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

The site respects the plants and integrates the environment in its design.
The building is made of bamboo and coconut in a completely sustainable way.
It’s powered by solar energy.
They offer free bicycles and electric transport from the hostel to your beach club.
It’s a pet-friendly place: your pet will be welcome!

Make your reservation at Bamboo Gran Palas and Cenote!

Utopia Tica is a sustainable hostel project surrounded by a food forest, located in the heart of Corcovado nature, at the foot of the El Tigre river in the National Park. Guests will be able to enjoy the waterfalls, the natural pools, the work of the gold diggers, the jungle trails and all the other wonders that surround this place, with the peace of mind of being in a place that respects the planet!

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Grey water reuse. The water from the kitchen and showers flows directly into the orchard creating a sustainable cycle. That’s why they ask their guests to use only the biodegradable products that will be offered upon arrival.
They use locally grown ingredients.
Recycling of waste. All organic matter is composted and used for the food garden. The city of Puerto Jimenez also recycles cans, plastic bottles and Tetra Paks. For the rest there is a classic trash can available, but they encourage their guests to try to reduce them as much as possible.
They collaborate with local producers. Their products are all certified organic and many come without plastic packaging, i.e. in bulk, for buyers to use their own containers.

Make your reservation at Utopia Tica Sustainable Lodge!

In this hostel-farm guests and workers can enjoy nature while learning about environmental sustainability, organic agriculture and indigenous culture. His idea is that New World becomes a museum of sustainability, a place where people from all over the world can learn, debate and contribute to this cause that concerns us all.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

All of your furniture and buildings are made of fallen trees from the property.
They produce their own food.
Provide eco-friendly soaps to guests and staff to reduce wastewater contamination.
They use septic composting tanks.
They aim to become self-sustainable in terms of food, water supply and energy and finance.
They also act as an educational centre that aims to raise awareness of the importance of a more sustainable life.
They work to protect the unique environment of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta from further deforestation and to preserve and, where necessary, recover its natural ecosystems.

Make your reservation at Mundo Nuevo!

In addition to all these measures, El Rio hostel is involved with the local community. They were suppliers of the recycling points of two schools in the area, collaborate with the waste collection processes of Buritaca, lead an Animal Welfare program and are supporting a reforestation day in the area.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

They have several Recycling Points where the different types of garbage can be classified.
They have active compost to take advantage of organic waste, with a high capacity septic system.
They work with a recycling collection company in the city of Santa Marta that employs workers who previously lived on the street.
They use cloth towels for the bathrooms.
They do not use chemicals to treat consumable water. Instead they use a reverse osmosis and filtration system.
They don’t throw away anything they can reuse (tree fruits are used in the dishes they serve, they replant cuttings to generate new plants in their own nursery, etc).
For internal application, task forms and personnel use plastic laminated sheets to avoid the use of too many sheets of paper.
They do not provide single-use plastic. Instead other materials are used (metal, glass, paper, tuppers, etc.).
80% of its bulbs and lighting are low consumption (LED or others).

Make your reservation at El Rio Hostel!

OCEANIA

The Apollo Bay Eco YHA is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and the idea of being a responsible member of the community through a complete combination of conservation and sustainability practices and services.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Passive solar design with thermal storage benches throughout the building.
Solar hot water system with gas reinforcement.
Low energy consumption lighting inside the hostel and activated sensor lighting in common areas.
The bathroom extractor is linked to the lighting.
They have double-flow toilets and urinals without water.
Low-consumption electric heating.
Computers shut down at night.
Recycling stations for paper, cardboard, glass, plastic, aluminum and steel cans, batteries, clothing and printer cartridges in kitchens, common areas and office areas.
All organic kitchen waste is collected and composted.
They use eco-friendly cleaning products.
There is a tank to collect rainwater, which is used to water the gardens.
Bathrooms and kitchens are signposted encouraging guests to minimize water use.
They promote public transport.

Make your reservation at Apollo Bay Eco YHA!

Habitat HQ, Melbourne (Australia)

Habitat HQ is committed to sustainability at many levels, including the local bee population! They help revitalize it by caring for thousands of bees in their own hives. These, in turn, produce fresh honey that guests can enjoy at breakfast.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Efficient toilets, cisterns and showers to save water and signage to encourage guests to use as little water as possible.
40% of its energy is green and renewable.
Efficient lighting system with low energy bulbs and lighting of common areas programmed according to the time of sunset.
They help educate both staff and guests on how to reduce environmental impact and are certified as climate action leaders in Australia’s tourism industry for their commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
They offer their guests activities related to a local bay maintenance program.

Make your reservation at Habitat HQ!

All hostels in the YHA chain, such as Wellington City, participate in local community projects as well as the Green Footprint Project, which gives guests the opportunity to purchase a native shrub or tree to help offset the impact of their trip on the environment.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

Use of renewable energy (solar panels)
Well-marked recycling facilities for plastics, glass, paper/cardboard, aluminium and tin. They also recycle fluorescent tubes, batteries, collect used clothes, reuse messenger bags, and their cards are made from recycled PVC.
They try to save energy with energy-saving light bulbs, insulated hot water cylinders, insulation of ceilings and walls, light switches with motion sensor, low energy heat pumps and hot water heat pumps, gray water recovery systems, double glazing of windows and replacement of appliances by more efficient models.
Clever Flush water-saving devices in low-flow toilets and showers.

Make your reservation at YHA Wellington City!

The Eco Lodge Pakowhai is a family business built on land they used to grow fruits and berries. His intention is to maintain the property as a productive site that continues to bear fruit for his family and guests, as well as a refuge for bees and birds.

🌱 Eco characteristics:

They collect and recycle all the glass, plastic and metal waste generated by guests and staff.
They collect rainwater, which is stored in large tanks and used for toilets and for watering the garden.
They use solar energy. Part of its electricity is obtained through a solar electric panel and stored for use with a battery.
They use renewable resources to heat the building in winter, including the firewood they grow on their plot and replant for the future.
The buildings are completely insulated, mostly with double glazing, avoiding a greater waste of energy.
Composting kitchen waste, paper, cardboard and garden waste allows them to produce organic compost for their tree and garden crops.
They save energy. They use a combination of compact fluorescent and LED lighting along with a light detection switch to minimize energy use. They also have ropes for laying outdoors, taking advantage of the sunny climate.
They rent bicycles, including helmets and locks.

Make your reservation at Eco Lodge Pakowhai!

You no longer have an excuse not to choose a sustainable hostel on your next trip! If you stay at one of them, don’t forget to tell us what you think, and we’ll also be delighted to meet other eco hostels you’ve discovered on your own. As you know, the way to a more sustainable life and tourism is to get these ideas as far as possible, spreading the word among other travellers and using the feedback channels of the places where we stay so that little by little we all start to take action towards a healthier and more respectful tourism with the planet. Remember that every little gesture counts!

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