Monthly Archives: August 2013

Global Interest in Nature-Based Travel is Increasing: Why We Are Designed by Nature

Designed by Nature Part 1: Resort Community & Villas

There is a movement in current resort design to be green and show visitors a good time without taking down the natural environment that inspired us in the first place.  Some of the most forward-thinking designers and developers are helping make the most, while leaving the most, of the best nature has to offer.

Bocas Del Toro Mangroves environment

Mangroves sprawling near Isla Bastimentos

Research from Cambridge confirms increasing interest in nature-based tourism.  For some travelers this brings images of packing your tent and needs on your back, trekking from hostel to hostel.  Couples, individuals and families all want to discover the natural world, but having modern comforts alongside the authentic environment enables more people to actually be able to, or want to, do it.  Sometimes called eco-tourism, this includes accommodations that are conscious of leaving a small local footprint.

In approaching the Red Frog Beach Resort project, the goal was to respect the values making Isla Bastimentos a World Heritage site while allowing worldwide visitors to savor the authentic culture, the clear and bountiful seawater, and the natural, inspiring wildlife all around.

Here is what they did that adds meaning for the island, the native communities, and the visitors.

Local Isla Bastimentos, Bocas Del Toro residents

Children from Bastimentos having fun at the dock

First, the Rana Roja Foundation became a primary partner/overseer to represent the interest of the natural ecosystem and the local people.  With more than a dozen environmental and community interest points, including improving education systems in two island villages, the Foundation keeps the Red Frog Beach Island Resort in close touch with what really matters most locally.

Red Frog Beach Island Resort proudly says that their community resort was Designed by Nature.  To them, this means that a multi-million dollar lobby was less important than natural rainforest and ocean views and the prevailing habitat.  Instead of constructing over-stacked hotel buildings, a modest network of private luxury villas is tucked into the natural landscape sloping towards the beach.

The Foundation and resort developers established eco-standards including setting buildings at least 150’ back from the beach to preserve the beach habitat and vistas, employing more than 500 local residents, as well as creating a protected turtle nesting area

Why the emphasis on nature?  After being there, it’s easy to imagine the developers working with community members to create the kind of vacation getaway that they would put their own work down for.  It’s the kind of authentic experience to dream of and take advantage of.  Luckily there are enough villas for the rest of us to enjoy it too.