These eco-resorts are committed to protecting and bettering the destinations that guests are traveling to see. We all want a dive holiday we can feel good about. It’s easy to achieve this when staying at resorts whose policies and infrastructure are designed to be as low impact as possible to help the local marine life thrive in their natural habitats.
Thailand’s Master Divers on Koh Tao has succeeded in creating a small, yet professional dive center that is equally as friendly to visiting divers as it is to its local community and environment. In addition to regularly scheduled Dive Against Debris cleanups, the Master Divers team also hosts coral restoration workshops, environmental evening lectures, and events focused on shark conservation. Reducing their use of single-use plastics is of great importance to Master Divers – they offer water re-fill stations, use re-usable cloth bags, and encourage visiting divers to join them in saying no to plastic bags and styrofoam boxes. They even use environmentally friendly cleaning solutions to rinse their dive gear, and use salt water to flush their toilets to save the island’s precious fresh ground water supply.
This seaside village offers upscale tents at the water’s edge—and a promise to do everything in their power to protect the reefs that divers are traveling to see. The team behind the eco-resort helped establish the local Shaa’b Samadai Marine Park, and is committed to monitoring the protection of shark populations. One third of the property’s power comes from solar sources, and Marsa Shagra protects a large mangrove forest to help preserve growing reefs.
A visit to Bonaire will clearly show that Dive Friends Bonaire leads the way in ocean conservation initiatives around this incredible little Caribbean island. They host quarterly underwater cleanup dives where they invite local and visiting divers to help collect plastic debris that has made its way to Bonaire’s coastal reefs. The Dive Friends Bonaire team even invites non-divers to use their large mesh bags to collect trash along the beach, and then take care of the sorting and proper disposal of the debris collected. In partnership with Debris Free Bonaire, Dive Friends Bonaire helped more than 27,000 volunteers to remove over 50,000 items of marine debris from the local reefs and shorelines. This outstanding dive operator is also a 100% AWARE partner with Project AWARE, and also serves as a REEF survey station for interested divers and snorkelers to help collect vital data on the marine life that call Bonaire’s underwater ecosystems home.
Small and unpretentious, this 43-room resort in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef is one of the leaders in the green resort movement. For starters, a bank of 313 solar panels powers the property. Lady Elliott Eco Dive Resort participates in a carbon-offset tree-planting program to negate the carbons emitted from flights to the island. Plus, the staff is removing non-endemic flora and fauna while replanting the trees and shrubs that should be there to help restore the balance of this fragile ecosystem—all so divers can witness pristine reefs in their natural state.
This liveaboard that takes guests to the Caribbean islands of Saba, Statia and St. Maarten has committed to the Green Fins policy, guaranteeing that their floating resort will adopt minimum discharge policies to help keep the oceans as clean as possible. The staff is also committed to regular beach clean-ups and dive policies that ensure guests dive with proper buoyancy to better preserve local reefs.
Villas do Indico set out to create a low-impact resort experience on the Africa coast, with just 10 villa suites set at the ocean’s edge. In addition to diving, snorkeling and whale-watching trips following marine best practices, the resort also offers local camping trips and picnics on nearby red dunes so guests can experience the local environment without adding stress to it.
Set on the uninhabited island of Birie in Raja Ampat, Papua Paradise has worked with local communities to protect the environment, establish respectful relationships with nearby villages and follow all local rules when building their resort. The 26 overwater bungalows have been built in traditional, local styles with sustainable materials.
Turtle Bay Eco Resort is the first and only resort built within the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park of Honduras. Set on a private spit of an island, Turtle Bay accommodates just a few guests and divers each week, allowing for a truly intimate experience at this simple, rustic setting—with modern amenities excluded. This is not the place to escape to for AC and Wi-Fi, but rather to have a true back-to-nature experience.
The only resort on the remote Laamu Atoll, Six Senses achieves its goal of being a self-sufficient, zero-waste resort committed to eco adventures from diving with mantas to witnessing sea turtle hatchings. Six Senses works in conjunction with three partner NGOs, including the Manta Trust, to reach research goals. The resort also donates back to the community, including 25 water purification systems, to help make the surrounding environment a better place for all.
Use the PADI Dive Shop locator to find other dive centers near you.