White sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are what springs to mind for many people when they dream of a romantic getaway. So, it’s no surprise that so many Caribbean destinations have made it into the top honeymoon spots for 2023. But now we’re so aware of the damage travel can do to the planet (tourism is responsible for 8% of the world’s carbon emissions), you might have reservations about a luxury, long-haul trip like this.
Luckily, there are plenty of steps you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your Caribbean honeymoon.
1. Choose an eco-resort
Many Caribbean countries boast a selection of eco-friendly resorts. For example, if you travel to Dominica, you could stay at Jungle Bay Dominica – a resort that is certified at the highest level for sustainable tourism and quality standards with Dominica’s Nature Island Standards of Excellence (NISE). It has been funded by the country’s citizenship by investment programme, which allows investors to gain Dominican citizenship by purchasing government-approved real estate (including villas like those at Jungle Bay).
Choosing an eco-resort means your money will be supporting local sustainability efforts. However, it’s worth researching all the places you’re considering to make sure they are the real deal and not ‘greenwashing’ (exaggerating or fabricating their green credentials to attract eco-friendly customers).
2. Offset your carbon emissions from the flights
Carbon offsetting is when you voluntarily pay to make up for the emissions your flights produce. As you can’t remove the carbon dioxide produced by your flight, you have to invest in a project that will remove the same amount of carbon dioxide elsewhere, helping slow down the overall increase in carbon dioxide levels.
Common carbon offsetting projects are forestry (planting new trees or preventing existing ones from being cut down) or energy-efficient projects that reduce the fossil fuels being used. Sometimes you can offset directly through your airline but often you’ll have to find a project yourself. There are various online calculators you can use to estimate your flight emissions, helping you work out how much you need to offset.
3. Support the local environment
It’s so important to preserve the many natural riches you’ll find in the Caribbean, and it’s possible for you to add your support as a tourist. For example, in Grenada, visiting national parks like Grand Etang National Park & Forest Reserve will help local environmental organisations continue their work. Another example is the educational programmes offered by Rosewood Baha Mar and The Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation, allowing tourists to take snorkelling tours and learn about the importance of coral reefs.
4. Eat locally-sourced cuisine
Eating local foods will make a difference to your carbon footprint as this means you’re reducing the emissions that come from the transportation part of the process. The Anse Chastanet resort in Saint Lucia, for instance, sources many of its ingredients from the property’s farm in the Sourfiere Hills.
As well as thinking about where your food has come from, you may want to think about the environmental impact of what you’re eating. For example, writing for Our World in Data, Hannah Ritchie notes that: ‘Transport typically accounts for less than 1% of beef’s GHG emissions … Whether you buy it from the farmer next door or from far away, it is not the location that makes the carbon footprint of your dinner large, but the fact that it is beef.’ The article includes a chart comparing the emissions of different foods, so you may want to take this into account if you’re looking to eat sustainably.
5. Keep up usual eco-friendly habits
If you try to live sustainably at home, don’t drop all of your good habits just because you’re on holiday. For example, you could opt to travel by foot or bike rather than car and use reusable items (like bags and water bottles) wherever possible so you don’t need to keep replenishing. Minimising your use of plastic will be very valuable as many Caribbean countries don’t have recycling capabilities. You can also apply an eco-friendly mindset to your packing by choosing biodegradable toiletries in refillable containers.