Archive for September, 2009

Eco-Brazil: Cristalino Jungle Lodge

Brazil Eco-Lodge Cristalino

How impressive is this?  In 1992, Victoria Da Riva Carvalho bought 1,730 acres of Brazilian rain forest and built a lodge in one of the most diverse regions in the world.


Because 550 different birds flock to the region and she wanted to protect her beloved homeland.  So, when loggers threatened to purchase a nearby old growth plot eight years later, she pulled the money together to buy it herself. Now, she’s created a 24,000 acre private reserve of primary forest that borders a state park.

Talk about a hero.

The Cristalino Jungle Lodge, together with other organizations such as Botanic Kew Gardens and Fauna and Flora International, now supports the Cristalino Foundation, which is a Non-Profit-Organization located in the municipality of Alta Floresta, Brazil.

The main projects are focused in the buffer zones of the Cristalino State Park and are dedicated to the promotion of environmental awareness and the sustainable use of Amazon’s natural resources.Brazil Eco-Lodge Cristalino

The main projects are:

This is a program with two main divisions – one destined to students from all over the world and the other to the local community. The latter is centered on teenagers from local schools and aim to increase their ecological awareness. This program received the Whitley Award in 2007 from the Whitley Awards Foundation, United Kingdom, as a recognition for its valuable work.

This project brings local children to spend a whole day learning about the rainforest and its importance to their daily lives.

This is a research project focused on studying the forests in the Cristalino Region, being the first large program gathering information on this issue. It has already identified more than 700 species – three of them were new to science.

This project was conceived by Silvio Marchinni and is destined to prevent the killing of jaguars, especially in the buffer zone of the Cristalino State Park.

This program uses the White-Whiskered-Spider-Monkey as an icon to raise ecological responsiveness with the children.

The lodge has a friendly restaurant with bar serving delicious regional dishes and appetizers including the famous Caipirinha. For special nights there is a thatch roof patio where candlelight dinners are served. A common living room is used for presentations and meetings, having a small but carefully selected library
Eco-Lodges Brazil Adventurefloating deck above the river is also great for swimming and resting on your free time. Canoes & inflatable boats are available at any moment. The lodge also keeps a rustic Screened Tree House in the forest which is used for spotting tapirs and peccaries.  For the adventurers like us, there’s even a station with a Rope Bridge and Rappelling!

Your arrival is made through the city of Alta Floresta, in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil. There are daily flights and coach lines from Cuiaba – the state capital – to Alta Floresta, but the lodge is only accessible by boat. After arrival in Alta Floresta, there will be a 1 ½ hour transfer by car and a ½ hour boat ride, but once you get there… trust us… wildlife watching is top-notch. Burrowing owls and macaws are just a few gems along the way. The property functions with a generator so it can be noisy and this is the amazon… bring bug repellent, but otherwise, you’re set!

Wales: An Eco-Retreat for the City Slicker

UK Eco-Retreats MeditationWe love a good tipi or yurt. We also love the glorious land of England.  Deep in the heart of one of Wales’s largest forests in the Dyfi Valley is a remote, beautiful location on a 1,300 acre organic farm seven miles north-east of Machynlleth. Here, weary Londoners can recharge their batteries with an eco-retreat complete with guided meditations and Reiki.

Mental health and spiritual guidance is a large part of this amazing experience and, to that end, the following morning after you arrive, you and your guest will each be offered a healing session – normally lasting for about half an hour each.  At around 5 o’clock there is another meditation led by one of their experienced team to help you relax further.  It’s entirely optional, but they thoroughly recommend it. If that’s not cool enough, they’re also located near the Centre for Alternative Technology ( and the price includes tickets for entrance, in case you really want to get into the holistic aspect of your mini-retreat.

There is no electricity and limited infrastructure, to ensure that the space has no direct impact on the land and its ecosystem and there are also no inhabited houses for a 2 mile radius, enabling a greater opportunity to stargaze with minimal pollution giving a completely different perspective on a clear starry night.

You’ll have a choice to walk along streams, hills, and ancient oaks, almost as if you were in your own private version of King Arthur.

Accommodations range from your choice of an awesome tipi or yurt.

Wales Eco-Retreats Meditation Yurts TipiEach Tipi is 21 feet in diameter (surprisingly spacious), and includes a double bed with a proper mattress, organic bedlinen, cushions, a coffee table, sheepskin rugs, and a central wood burning ‘chimenea’. They supply you with the wood and kindling and the tipi is lit by an abundance of candles in lanterns. There is a 2 ring gas stove for cooking complete with all utensils, crockery, and cutlery and each has its own washing and toilet unit with a fresh spring water shower and basin situated just a few yards outside.

The yurts (a living dome that originated on the steppes of Mongolia) are similarly equipped, but even larger, so they’re recommended for larger families or groups.

They’re running specials right now, so we say… Better get on it!

Sept./Oct. Mid-Week

2 adults for 2 nights: £225-270

Regular prices range from £305-359 with additional costs or deductions based on children and what time of the week.

Prices are for 2 guests staying two nights, including a Reiki session each, twilight meditation, tickets for Centre for Alternative Technology and organic welcome hamper.

Cambodia: Sustainable Adventures

Cambodia Eco-Travel Children Wells“Guests are able to see Angkor Wat in the morning and change a life in the afternoon.  It doesn’t get much better than that,” says Andrea Ross, part-owner of Journey’s Within Our Community, a Cambodia-based non-profit, tour company, and B&B, that offers scholarships for university students, holds free English classes for children and adults, and provides micro-finance loans for small businesses.  What began as a dream to start a tour company and bed and breakfast in Cambodia with Brandon, her husband of seven years, has now become a way of life for herself and so many others.

Eco-Travel Cambodia Children WellInstead of hiring volunteer tourists to build wells, she uses monies raised to hire locals. With 180 wells and counting around Siem Reap, their non-profit has helped provide water for almost 4,000 Cambodians.

FYI – For only $300, you too, can pay to have a well built that will supply 20 people with water and then visit the families and community it benefits.

It doesn’t get much better than that, indeed.

Journeys Within B&B

Journeys Within Our Community

Movies with Environmental Impact

We were recently informed of a service we had to share. Earth Cinema Circle, the only DVD club dedicated to increasing environmental awareness through entertaining films, is like the Netflix of the eco-world. Screening over 500 environmental films each year to bring the best to you, they deliver 4 films per DVD, 6 times a year. The best part? They’re all for you to keep. Of course, Earth Cinema Circle also uses 100% recyclable packaging with carbon neutral shipping and our favorite eco-warrior, Ed Begley, Jr. is also a spokesperson. So, if you can’t galavant around the world right at this very moment, you might as well have the world sent straight to your mailbox.

Only $17.95 (+ $4.95 S&H) every other month

Eco-Beauty For the Travel Goddess

Natural Makeup - Travel Beauty

We love Lauren Hutton. That gap, those eyes. We hope that one day we’ll age as gracefully, but… since we’re not so sure, we’re extra happy that she’s developed a natural make-up line to help us out.

In the days of the “Mod” look (60’s heavy HEAVY makeup!), she quietly, cover by cover, snuck in the natural look, and kept it. When she returned to modeling at age 47, Lauren Hutton had created her own makeup in her kitchen.  Existing cosmetics contained strong pigment, heavy filler, mica and pearl for collagen plumped-water-filled youthful skin.  They made her look older and artificial, instead of natural.  Eight years ago, after a near-death motorcycle accident, she finally had the time to make it for all women and wanted it to be fast, easy, with the best ingredients and affordable for everyone.  The original color-coded face disc has sold close to 1 million units now.  The sensible evolution was to go to (100%!) all natural formulas.

With Naturals by Lauren Hutton, women don’t have to choose between anti-aging care and natural ingredients—the line utilizes potent natural formulas to turn back the clock developed to meet the rigorous standards of the Natural Products Association, providing naturally efficacious makeup products that leave skin looking just as good as—if not better than—synthetic alternatives.

If that’s not cool enough, she’s transformed her most popular Face Disc into an all natural circular palette featuring 11 make up must haves in an all in one kit for creating a natural, youthful balanced complexion.  The face disc formulas provide the following natural components for eco-adventurer’s around the globe: 95% + Natural Origin Ingredients and high concentrations of plant-based ingredients Hutton’s anti-aging cocktail of Grape Seed Oil, Green Tea, Vitamin A, E and C, Avocado Oil and Bamboo.  So, if you’re not necessarily born with her good looks, go ahead and buy them.

Retails for $70.o0

Bhutan: AdventureWomen’s Humanitarian Vacation

BhutanBhutan… you’ve probably heard about it, but we’re pretty sure you haven’t been. Travel to this Far Eastern gem is restricted (to keep the riff-raff out and the beauty in). That said, now is the perfect time to stamp that passport and go where few others have gone before. It’s safe, it’s beautiful, and it’s full of an ancient culture trapped in time.  So, change your life, get your feet of your desk, and jump into an adventure of a lifetime.

AdventureWomen, Inc., the oldest worldwide adventure travel company for active women over 30, is offering a new customized women’s only adventure travel tour to Bhutan’s tiny kingdom nestled in the heart of the Himalayan Mountains. In addition to hiking, cultural exploration and sightseeing, on this Bhutan adventure vacation, women have the opportunity to “give back” to the people of Bhutan with three special humanitarian projects that have been integrated into this unique itinerary.

Throughout this Bhutan journey, travelers are immersed in the culture, history, and Buddhist practices of this amazing country. Participants visit the friendly Bhutanese people in their traditional pastoral hamlets; walk to spectacular ancient dzongs, monasteries and Buddhist temples; and ogle at sweeping vistas of scenic valleys and the snow-capped Himalayas. Culturally and spiritually, this modern-day “Shangri-La” is a profoundly rich country where human relations and Buddhist beliefs outweigh economic indicators—where “gross national happiness” is promoted by the King of Bhutan as a measure of his enchanting country’s progress.

Highlights of this trip include:

  • Exploring a country where Buddhism permeates all strands of cultural, ethical, and secular life.
  • “Giving back” with three humanitarian projects in Bhutan: donating blankets and/or clothes to a Buddhist nunnery or monastery; sponsoring and attending a special prayer ceremony at a sacred temple; donating reading glasses to women weavers.
  • Visiting Haa, only recently opened to tourists, and staying 2 nights in an elegant tented camp.
  • Allowing for the “magic” of spontaneous and unplanned activities in Bhutan—festivals, ceremonies, rituals— and be treated to events experienced by few visitors to this unique and special destination.
  • Ending the stay with 2 nights at a new luxury hotel, handcrafted in traditional Bhutanese-style architecture, combining fine Bhutanese hospitality with 21st-century technology.

Dates: October 17th-30th, 2009. Cost: $5,295 from Bangkok, Thailand. Internal air: $789 round trip from Bangkok to Paro, Bhutan ($800 deposit).

For more information, contact Susan Eckert at 406-587-3883 or visit:

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