Ecotravel Bucket List 2019

Hello Wayajers! As another year ends and a new one begins, it is the perfect time to make plans and set intentions for next turn of the wheel.

Ecotourism is poised to be one of the main travel trends in 2019 -and it will keep growing in the following years, so we want to hear from you, our favorite eco explorers and trendsetters.

What eco-friendly destination and/or experiences are on your bucket list for 2019? Trekking on the Himalaya, stay in a bungalow on the turquoise waters of the Southern Pacific, combining your passion for travel and for social good by volunteering to help in some remote (or not) part of the world, or glamping in the African savannah?

Our poll is pretty simple, you can choose up to 3 answers, if you don’t see what you are planning you can add it in the “other” field.

Need some inspiration? Just open Wayaj on your smartphone and start browsing among hundreds of wonderful and unique sustainable hotels!

This poll is no longer accepting votes

Thank you for voting and for traveling sustainably, our planet needs YOU!

10 Gift Ideas for the Eco Traveler

10 Gift Ideas for the eco traveler

It’s just over 10 days to Christmas!! If you’re still missing some gifts for your favorite fellow green travelers, here are some last minute ideas for all pockets and travel styles.

  1. To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensil Set

There’s no need to use wasteful plastic cutlery when you travel. This lightweight reusable bamboo utensil set created by To-Go Ware contains a fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks. Each set comes in a carrying case made from recycled plastic water bottles. These sustainable bamboo utensils provide a lightweight, long lasting alternative to disposable silverware. They’re also stain resistant and dishwasher safe, so you can count on using them for quite some time. 🍜🍝🎋

bamboo portable fork, knife, spoon, chopstick set

2. hejhej Yoga Mats

Your favorite yoga buff will be certainly thrilled to receive a hejhej Yoga Mat. These mats are fully sustainable since they’re made from recycled materials and are also recyclable at the end of their lifespan. Utilizing recycled off-cuts from Hejhej’s partner factory and other industries like the furniture business, this gift is perfect for the person who loves yoga AND the environment.

In case you’re wondering, the name, hejhej, is the Swedish way to say “hello.” But when you want to say goodbye to your mat, it’s very easy to do. Normally a yoga mat lasts at least three years, but when your hejhej mat sees its last downward dog, just send them an email and they’ll send you a free shipping label. You’ll also get a 15% discount on your next order. hehej recycles the mats so they can be used as a resource for new products. Win-win! ♻️ 🧘‍♀️ 🙌

Eco-friendly yoga mat

3. 4ocean Bracelets

The best present for your sea-lover friend is definitely one of those bracelets. Not only they are perfect for any sea wolf, but when you purchase a 4ocean bracelet you’re removing one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines. In less than two years, 4ocean has removed over two million pounds of trash from the ocean. By giving plastic in the ocean a value, 4ocean is creating a new economy for the removal of trash! Made with recycled, clear glass beads on colorful cord made from recycled plastic water bottles, these sleek bracelets are unisex and adjustable.  💙 🐬 🌊

Eco-friendly bracelet
  1. w.r. yuma Sunglasses

Named after Yuma, Arizona, reportedly the sunniest place on earth, w.r. yuma sunglasses have a mission to shape the future of waste. Their black frames are made from recycled car dashboards and the transparent styles are from that soda bottle you drank last summer in Europe. Even the ink on the inside of the temples is made from recycled refrigerators.

The sunglasses are 3d printed in a zero waste process by using only the exact amount of material needed and the frames are assembled by hand. And even though they’re designed for disassembly so they can be easily taken apart for recycling, these glasses are sturdy AND stylish. ☀️😎

Eco-friendly sun glasses

5. The Greatest Candle in the World

That’s a pretty big boast to make, but this very well could be the real deal! Made with innovative technology (Oil2Wax) which, when added to recycled used oil creates totally ecological decorative candles scented with blueberry, spice wood, clove and cinnamon, mojito, and more.

The Greatest Candle in the World comes in glass cups or designer tins and they also offer a “do it yourself” option. All you have to do is add Oil2Wax powder to used vegetable oil.

Eco candle for gift

6. Simply Straws

With most plastic turning into trash after a single use, on average, one person creates 88 pounds of plastic a year. Yikes! Most of that doesn’t get recycled and ends up in landfills or the ocean. You can do your part by slurping with Simply Straws. These reusable and durable straws are eco-friendly, dishwasher and microwave safe, BPA free, and can be used for cold OR hot drinks.

Simply Straws is promoting and encouraging the work of activist groups with their glass “Non-profit Partner” series, which highlight Keep-A-Breast (Pink straws), Plastic Pollution Coalition (Amber straws), Protect Our Winters (Green straws), Non-Toxic Revolution (Smoke-colored straws), and 5Gyres/Reducing plastic pollution (Teal straws). Each of the straws features the name of the organizations listed above. You can also pick your own color and customize your straw with up to 26 letters. 🍹 🌈

Eco straws benefiting non-profits

7. Bee’s Wrap Lunch Pack

The best present for the eco-cook is definitely a set of Bee’s Wrap. Use it to pack bread, cheese, vegetables, or cover a bowl! Bee’s Wrap is the sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap for food storage. Since 2012, Bee’s Wrap has created wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage.

Their products are reusable, biodegradable, and compostable; their beeswax is sourced from sustainably-managed hives in the US. Bee’s Wrap uses only organic jojoba oil, needless to say the packaging is 100% recycled and plastic-free. Long lasting, biodegradable, easy to clean, made using renewable energy, this is definitely a must-have in any earth-friendly kitchen!  ♻️ 🐝 🧀

Healthy and sustainable food wrap

8. HallaxHalla swimwear

For the next foray to one of those fantastic eco-friendly beach hotels and resorts that can be found on Wayaj, HallaxHalla swimwear is the perfect accessory. Their products are all ethically and sustainably made. The fabric is created from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets recovered from the ocean which is manufactured into a high-quality nylon material.

As they aim to be a sustainable company through their packaging, products, and production, HallaxHalla only produces a limited quantity at a time in an effort to reduce waste due to excess production and surplus products. Not only do they make products ethically from sustainable materials, all their swimsuits are reversible, with a solid color on one side and a print on the other, so you get two looks in one! ♻️👙 🏊‍♀️

Sustainable swimwear made from recycled bottles and fishing nets

9. Compressible Pillow/Air Head Pillow

Whether you’re going camping or on a flight, the Therm-a-rest Compressible Pillow and Air Head Pillow are perfect for pampering your head. They’re stuffed with upcycled foam and the pillows pack small and expand large! Every piece of Therm-a-Rest gear is also backed by a lifetime warranty. 😴

Eco-friendly travel pillow


For 85 years the International Rescue Committee has been helping people whose lives have been shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover, and regain control. Their current drives include fighting starvation in Yemen, Zimbabweans battling the worst drought in 35 years, and help support refugees in 15 European countries, and much more!

You can choose from gifts for those in need by cause: Health, Education, Emergency Relief, Rebuilding, and Women and Girls. There are also special cold-weather gifts like winter supplies for refugees and warm blankets.

Just pick your gift and dedicate it to that special someone who cares as much as you do. Printed cards are delivered in seven to ten business days, but ecards can be sent immediately. Your gift helps provide critical assistance just where it’s needed!


Best Christmas fairs for ecofriendly travelers

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and to travel! The weeks before Christmas are one of the best times to visit Europe. Not only it’s low travel season (cheaper, less crowded …), but cities, towns and villages, all get in the season’s festive mood with ornate light decorations, special events and local crafts markets.

In recent years, Christmas fairs have been especially attracting increasing numbers of visitors looking for original and sustainable presents for the Holidays. These festive markets feature stalls with traditional gifts made by local craftspeople or small business, and they also offer local delights such as steaming mulled wine, and typical Christmas treats to the the weary traveler/shopper. Singing choirs, holiday plays, winter art exhibitions and fun fair rides complete the experience. Read on to discover some of the best Christmas fair in beautiful historic cities, and of course the local eco-friendly hotel to stay in.

Let the festivities begin!

Bruges Christmas Fair Market

Bruges, Belgium

In this medieval Flemish city, the Midwinter Festival brings holiday cheer with its Christmas market filled with traditional gifts, snacks like waffles with luscious Belgian chocolate, and sweet and tasty hot chocolate or jenever, a gin-like spirit. Also, check out master florists and their display of beautiful Christmas floral arrangements.

To complete your experience head over to the Adornesdomein, an authentic medieval estate in the heart of Bruges where you can hear Christmas songs in the chapel. For a more contemporary season’s mood, check out the first-ever digital ice museum at the Ice Sculpture Festival where video projections light up 60 sculptures, all over four meters (12 feet) high.

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Where to stay

A perfect place to plan your city wanderings is the Relais & Chateaux Hotel Heritage Brugge. Built in 1869, the hotel has an old-world feel with ornate rooms, a sundeck with city views on the top floor, and a fitness room with stone arches. Below the building, part of a 13th century cellar has been preserved and their sauna and steam bath room are fantastic for relaxing after visiting the holiday sites of the city!

Find it on Wayaj!

Salzburg, Austria

Spending the holiday season in Salzburg is like walking into a fairy tale! The tradition of Christmas markets in Mozart’s hometown dates back to 1491 , so  they definitely know what they are doing.

Wander through the market stalls selling sweets, toys, and warm sweaters amidst the smells of baked apple, gingerbread, and to warm up your body and spirit a cup of mulled wine (glühwein) is never far.

Also part of the holiday season in Salzburg are the “Perchten” processions.  According to folk tradition, there are plenty of ghosts and demons going around during the long, cold nights of December. In order to scare them away, people dress up in frightening wooden masks of animals like bears, wolves, or eagles all with enormous fangs, tusks, and horns. It’s a good thing that they’re adorned with bells to announce their arrival!

Where to stay

Stay ecofriendly and in the season’s mood at the Hotel + Villa Auersperg. Located in downtown Salzburg, this boutique hotel features readings of Christmas stories in a festive atmosphere with homemade vanilla crescent cookies and warm punch for the guests throughout the month of December.

Find it on Wayaj!

For more info on Christmas events in Salzburg:

Christmas market in Ljubljana

Ljubljana, Slovenia

In Ljubljana, one of the greenest city in Europe, the highlight of the holiday season is the Christmas Market along with “The Land of Ice.” Set in a huge hall cooled to -4 degrees Celsius (24 Fahrenheit), fairy tale images made from ice and snow are on exhibition. The city’s Zvezda Park is transformed into a Magic Forest with twinkling lights and workshops for making environmentally friendly Christmas decorations. There’s also a huge “Ice Fantasy” rink. But there’s even more!

Ljubjana winter installation
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For over 15 years Ljubljana-based artist Zmago Modic has put together an imaginative light display elegantly incorporated into the city’s holiday lights. This year’s theme, “Convergence,” symbolizes the desire for existence and was inspired by the famous touch depicted in Michelangelo’s fresco, Creation of Adam.

Where to stay

Stay green in Ljubljana at the Hotel Park Urban & Green, which boasts views of the old city center and is close to the historic center with all its attractions; if you arrive by train you can also get a nice 15% eco discount.

Find it on Wayaj!

See the calendar of events:

Prague in winter

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Christmas markets are considered among the best in Europe. The Old Town Square Christmas market (Staroměstské náměstí) is one the prettiest in Prague. Here, little stalls are nestled amidst centuries old Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings. Traditional Czech Christmas ornaments, roasted chestnuts, and Christmas cookies, are all for sale. Be sure to sip some hot wine or warm honey liquor (medovina) while you search for Czech Christmas potpourri (purpura).

In addition to Christmas Markets, this year is the first for the Manifesto Winter Market. Listen to carolers and DJs while you stroll the stalls with a selection of artisanal local products. Pick out a cozy, heated igloo with a fireplace ready for the roasting of sausages and marshmallows.

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Where to Stay

Close to the Wenceslas Square Christmas Market is Hotel Adria, one of Prague’s historic hotels, which has been renovated to offer modern comforts and implement sustainable operations. Its stalactite-decorated Triton restaurant has to be seen to be believed!

For millennials and hipsters the choice in Prague, Mosaic House, whose motto “Happiness, kindness and empathy, combined with eco-initiatives and sustainability” is also perfectly in tune with the holidays spirit!

Find them on Wayaj!

For more info:

Copenhagen Christmas market

Copenhagen, Denmark

Every year, Tivoli Gardens amusement park and arts center transforms itself in a winter wonderland of wooden chalets, twinkling lights, shows, gifts and local delicacies. Follow the aroma of caramelized almonds and Danish donuts through sixty stalls selling holiday sweaters, leather gloves, sheepskin throws, and much more. The Pantomime Theater also hosts the local Father Christmas grotto for the joy of all the children.

Christmas Trainsbury at Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen
photo credit:

Stop at Trainsbury Station to take a magical journey through Christmas land in tinsel-trimmed train cars. New this year is a spectacular projection show on the façade of Tivoli Concert Hall. Enter the hall to see the ballet classic, The Nutcracker. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe herself came up with the set design and costumes for the production.

where to stay

Close to Tivoli Gardens, and conveniently located to reach all the city’s main attractions by public transport, is the ecofriendly Hotel Alexandra. Filled with Danish mid-century vintage furniture and decorated with period textiles and wallpaper, it’s a time bubble of Danish design but with all the contemporary sustainable policies in place.

Find it on Wayaj!

Discover all holiday season’s events at: Visit Copenhagen

Travel Giving Tuesday: Donate for Environment and Community

As world travelers, we know first hand how much needs to be done to preserve the beautiful diversity of our planet and support the native communities that often are the guardians of these natural treasures.  Since this objectives are also part of any wholesome sustainability policy, many of the hotels listed on Wayaj actively work with non-profit organizations, there fore if travel is your passion, here are some worthy travel-related environmental and social charities and non-for-profit organizations to make the most of Giving Tuesday.

Land & Life Foundation (East Africa)

The Land & Life Foundation is the charitable sideof Elewana and Cheli & Peacock Safaris. Working with communities and conservation projects in the areas surrounding Elewana’s properties, the Land & Life Foundation supports local people and preserves the wildlife and habitats of these important landscapes. With all operational costs covered by Elewana, 100% of every single donation goes straight to benefit the communities, schools and wildlife in the areas around Elewana’s properties work.

Yachana foundation

Yachana Foundation (Ecuador)

The Yachana Foundation together with the Yachana Lodge runs education and hands-on training programs to provide locals with the skills to improve their lives and protect their rainforest. For over 24 years Yachana has implemented improvements in local communities in the areas of education, training, community development, health, micro-enterprise and micro-finance while exposing needs to the world through its tourism programs. Staying at the Yachana Lodge offers opportunities to visit an indigenous healer, make chocolate from local cacao beans, help local farmers and hike in a 2,500 acre rainforest reserve.

White Hawk Foundation (Costa Rica)

Lana Wedmore, owner of the Luna Lodge, is the founder and president of the White Hawk Foundation, which actively protects and preserves the ecosystems and biodiversity on the Osa Penininsula in Costa Rica. The Foundation collaborates with national and international research institutions, organizations, and businesses to improve the understanding and exploration of one of the most biodiverse places on earth. They also work to expand critical habitat corridors around the Corcovado National Park by acquiring privately held lands along the borders to ensure the survival of native populations and to prevent isolation and extinction.

Daughters Rising (Thailand)

The Chai Lai Orchid is much more than an ecofriendly hotel. Through the Daughters Rising anti-trafficking organization, they provide a safe home, education, and employment, which empowers women in Thailand to rise above poverty and help their communities. With so much exploitative tourism in the world, Chai Lai Orchid strives to be different by prioritizing social transformation over profit.

Rainforest Alliance (International)

From fighting deforestation and climate change to building economic opportunities and better working conditions for rural people, the Rainforest Alliance focuses on urgent environmental and social challenges in crucial regions. For over 30 years, this international organization has been working to preserve forests and wildlife by promoting a sustainable approach to food, farming and economic development. Within this scope, they also certify sustainable hospitality in rainforest areas.

Riviera Maya Tulum Sea Turtle Conservation Program (Mexico)

The Riviera Maya is one of the most popular vacation spots in the Americas, and for this reason the unique natural habitat that attracts tourists is threatened by the economic development of the region.

Since 1998, Nueva Vida De Ramiro Ecolodge , one of the ecohotels that you can find on Wayaj, has collaborated with the Riviera Maya Tulum Sea Turtle Conservation Program for the conservation of endangered and nesting turtles. The program was created to protect, monitor, investigate and conserve the population of sea turtles that come and spawn in the nesting beaches of the central coast of Quintana Roo.

Sustainable Travel International

Sustainable Travel International is currently campaigning for donations to  supports the MesoAmerican Reef Initiative (MARTI) . The world’s second largest coral reef is threatened by the exponential development of tourism in the region.  MARTI focuses on balanced development that maintains a thriving tourism industry while supporting local communities and promoting practices to preserve a healthy ecosystem.

Friends of Flora (New Zealand)

Wherever an hotel is based, it is crucial  that it helps to maintain the natural environmental balance, especially if they are surrounded by unique habitats. The Resurgence Luxury Eco Lodge supports local conservation efforts alongside its own ecosystem restoration by working with Friends of Flora, a community group advocating the preservation of New Zealand’s native wildlife for future generations. In collaboration with the Department of Conservation, FoF works to protect and/or return endangered flora and fauna to the Flora Stream catchment area in Kahurangi National Park.

I AM WATER (South Africa)

While I AM WATER is committed to advocating for high quality ocean management and using a global platform to publicize key research for conservation, they’re also about transforming ocean experiences. This organization facilitates physical and emotional connections to the aquatic world. They’re especially passionate about working with underprivileged coastal communities where, despite living within walking distance to the shore, young people have never seen the world beneath the waves.

5 Ecofriendly Beach Destinations

Easter is behind us, this means that if you haven’t finalized your summer travel plan yet, you’ll end up with two alternatives:

  • Get the leftovers, that is: not exactly the destination/room/experience that you were planning
  • or be prepared to spend a lot of $ to get the destination/room/experience you want.

Spending a lot of money and getting the leftovers is also a possibility, but we’re trying to keep things positive here. The gist of it is: it’s time to plan summer vacations!

Whether you are a jetsetter or a backpacker, if you plan to have an eco-friendly vacation, on Wajay you’ll find the ideal destination. Here are a few suggestions based on travel types, fashionable, active, with kids, splurge and budget , to help you planning your perfect earth friendly beach escape.

Glitz and glam: Grand Hotel Cannes

Since the Belle Epoque, when it was the favorite summer destinations of aristocrats from Europe and beyond, Cannes has been the summer playground of the rich and famous. At the center of all the action, on the famous Croisette, the palm-lined boulevard that runs along the shore, the Grand Hotel Cannes offers the perfect balance of old-time glamour and modern sustainable luxury. Not only the hotel offers organic and/or locally produced food, ecolabel or natural cleaning products and participates in a carbon offset program, but it also supports several humanitarian charities and actively promotes the welfare, diversity and development of its employees. Knowing this can only enhance the pleasure of drinking a glass of organic wine on the hotel’s private beach or enjoying a sustainably produced meal in the Michelin-starred restaurant.

Active: Tranquilseas Ecoresort

If vacation means indulging in your favorite sports and activities in every waking hour of the day, then head to the Tranquilseas Ecolodge, where the only quiet thing around you is the sea. A Green Star certified PADI center, this ecoresort offers a variety of excursions aimed at appreciating the beauty of the ocean and of this Honduran island. Scuba diving in one of the largest coral reefs in the world is the main attraction, but yoga, deep-water fishing, golf, ziplining and numerous excursions keep guests busy between dives.

With Kids: Puri Dajuma

Beach and kids is always a winning combination, especially if your destination has specific facilities for them as does Puri Dajuma. Throughout the beautifully landscaped grounds of this eco-resort in West Bali, guests can enjoy 2 infinity pools, 20 km of pristine beaches, waterslides, 3 kid pools, for swimming and several relax areas. To restore energies between adventures, 3 restaurants and 4 bars, serving international cuisine as well as vegetarian menus, can satisfy every taste.

The hotel has a babysitting service and it offers several kid-friendly excursions like the visit to the Pulukan Ecotourism State Plantation to learn all the secrets of rubber trees, and to a local turtle conservation program run by the WWF.

Splurge: Bawah Island

If you plan to vacation like an eco-queen, Bawah is the place to choose. Indeed, this award-winning private archipelago epitomizes the definition of ecoluxury, as far as beach destinations go.

6 Virgin islands, 3 crystal-clear lagoons, 13 powder white beaches, 150m high primary forest, that’s what Bawah Island resort offers to the lucky 70 explorers who can afford the min. $1,780 a night (min. 3 nights) on this unique resort. The price includes full round-trip (including flight) transfers from Singapore, daily meals (breakfast, lunch and a-la-carte dinner), full unpacking service, soft drinks, wellness center and surface water sports.

The resort offers a variety of accommodations: from the romantic Garden Suites, immersed in the lush tropical greenery, to the cabins over the water, ideal to enjoy the unadulterated energy of sun & sea around the clock.

Budget: Tinos Ecolodge

Located on the namesake island, one of the lesser known, and therefore still peaceful, Cyclades isles, Tinos Ecolodge offers a full immersion in authentic Mediterranean lifestyle. Two stone houses, off-the-grid and built according to local traditions and sustainable architecture principles, on a promontory facing the sun rising on Mykonos the Aegean, accompanied by the soundtrack of the bells, goats, birds, cicadas and bees. Those are real priceless eco-luxuries and you don’t need a big budget to enjoy them!

We hope that this post helped you to find ideas and inspiration for your next green vacation, if you need more download Wayaj and you’ll discover many more breathtaking sustainable beach resorts from all around the world!