Tuesday, September 28, 2010

RTA 2010 Finalist Site Visit: Sarinbuana Ecolodge

Nestled in the rainforest of Mount Batukaru, in the northwest region of Bali, Sarinbuana Ecolodge offers a welcomed escape from the hustle and bustle of the tourist track, and a refreshing experience that most people do not feel when visiting this island. Sarinbuana Ecolodge, which was started ten years ago, is run by Linda and Norm vant Hoff and their extended Balinese family. The eco lodge demonstrates a clear and committed practice of responsible tourism in every aspect of its operation, and is nominated this year for the Wild Asia Responsible Tourism Award.

Although a small lodge, with only 4 villas, Sarinbuana Ecolodge has had an enormous positive impact on the local village. Since the arrival to the Sarinbuana village, the vant Hoff family has dedicated themselves to improving local livelihoods, establishing a good relationship with the community, and learning the local language and culture in order to truly integrate with the local community. The eco lodge has provided a surplus of extra income for many village members. All staff are local and live within ten minutes from the eco lodge, including the lodge manager. The eco lodge believes firmly that the key to a successful lodge is by providing economic opportunities to the local communities. Whether it be from generating jobs on site, or through numerous workshops offered for guests, trekking guides, soccer coaching to a local team, employing a team to manage the tree planting program, or many others, Sarinbuana Ecolodge excels at generating income for the local community, while instilling a sustainable development philosophy. The lodge also aims to unite other eco lodges in the Bali area and helps to provide consulting and courses for other developers.

In terms of best environmental practices of responsible tourism, the lodge has adopted a number of strategies ever since the formation of the business. All cleaning materials, as well as soaps are all natural and 100% biodegradable. No plastic bottles are used on premises, and all waste is segregated and recycled. Organic waste is composted on site and used as fertilizer for the extensive permaculture gardens which cover the property. All villas are constructed with local sustainable timber, including coconut and bamboo and have a very low impact design. Water is sourced from a natural spring and all waste water is carefully treated and released into leach gardens, which in turn, support the gardens and various fruit trees. The eco lodge has successfully established an 800 hectare rainforest reserve and guests are offered the opportunity to offset their carbon emissions by physically planting trees in the neighboring reserve.

At Sarinbuana Ecolodge, one can embrace the cool mountain breezes, lush tropical rainforests, rich Balinese culture, and appreciate life at its purest. The eco lodge operates in a truly holistic manner, exemplifies sustainability environmentally, economically and socially, and provides comfortable and pristine surroundings for true peace of mind.

Written by: Melissa Cornejo (Bali, Indonesia: 6 - 9 September, 2010)

Special Note: Sarinbuana Ecolodge is one of the finalists for the 2010 Responsible Tourism Awards (Category: Small to Mid-size Accommodation). For more v-blogs on Wild Asia’s Responsible Tourism Awards, please visit the Wild Asia Channel.

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