Costa Rica


We recently had a great insight about wellbeing and what it entails with Alicia Ray of Alicia Ray Wellbeing in an interview titled “Interview with Alicia Ray”. The interview covers all the important questions about life challenges, what well-being means to Alicia herself, what her business day looks like, and where her ideal retreat location would be.

The journey that led you to launch your brand Alicia Ray Wellbeing

Unknowingly I think I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Working for the NHS for 17 years I have needed to find ways of infusing wellbeing practices into my daily lifestyle to balance out the intensity of my work. A few years into my career as a psychologist I started teaching fitness classes part-time, inspired to motivate others towards good physical health. I launched Alicia Ray Wellbeing without knowing it was going to develop into a holistic health and wellbeing platform.

Experiencing some periods of high stress in my personal life led me to find my own method of self-care. I have always been drawn to travel and so, seeking dedicated time away to focus on my health and wellbeing, I found myself booking solo surf & yoga retreats in Portugal, Morocco, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica. The appeal was the combination of immersing myself in a beautiful location and being guided through an itinerary of daily activities to nourish my body, mind and soul. I wasn’t sure about yoga back then, and I much preferred high-impact cardio exercise where I felt in my comfort zone and felt good knowing that I had achieved a workout. I loved learning to surf, though found the challenge tested my ego! Yoga enabled me to find a different type of space for myself. Learning to slow down, tune in, and face my inner critic was one of the toughest aspects, but I soon recognised the value of having this dedicated space. I began trusting the process of looking inward as well as focusing on physical heath which was truly eye-opening for me. Booking a surf & yoga retreat became my annual self-care ritual and inspired the future direction of Alicia Ray Wellbeing.

In 2018 I spent 6 weeks in Costa Rica training as a yoga teacher and extending my knowledge of the application of Eastern approaches to health and healing. During this time, I found a deep connection with the environment and through this gained an appreciation of something more powerful than the small things that had led to me becoming stressed. Being so deeply immersed in nature I felt more connected to myself than ever. I wanted to bring this experience back home and share it, which led me to start up twice-weekly beach yoga classes as soon as I returned to Cornwall. The intention was to create a discipline that enhanced my own lifestyle and to share the benefits of yoga in nature with others. Over the last 4 years, beach yoga has become an important part of my lifestyle in Cornwall. Witnessing the value others gain from practising yoga on the beach has been so rewarding for me!

Yoga has extended into my work as a psychologist in so many ways. I recognise the transferable skills I gained from yoga teacher training in terms of discipline, overcoming ego, bringing the attitudes of the Yamas and Niyamas, and infusing compassion into my entire approach. In my therapeutic work, I acknowledge that individuals benefit from different approaches to facilitate their own unique journey to improving health and wellbeing. I blend the knowledge and practices from Eastern philosophies intuitively in my clinical work, advocating an integrative approach that includes a combination of talking therapies, yoga, mindfulness and yoga therapy. I have moved away from the linear Western medicine model of health which likes to categorise health conditions into discrete areas and treat them in isolation. I see the value of blending Eastern and Western approaches more intuitively, approaching health treatments holistically.

Developing my wellbeing platform has been guided by my practice and training and continues to evolve in different directions. It has of course been influenced by my own experience of the health benefits of spending time in the outdoors and on retreats. The practices I offer incorporate elements of the benefits gained from retreats; such as connecting people to nature and helping create dedicated space to tune into body and mind. Being fortunate to live in Cornwall I deliver bespoke surf and yoga wellbeing retreats, yoga and mindfulness on the beach and psychology-informed wellbeing days from waterside studios and hotels by the sea. I continue to work for the NHS as well as run an independent psychology practice one day a week. My heart is in every aspect of my work, and I feel blessed that I have built a business from doing the things that resonate with my core values and enable me to facilitate others on their journey towards positive health and well-being.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Interview with Alicia Ray

In honesty, the biggest challenge I often face can be myself. By that, I mean the traps and snags of the human mind that create powerful obstacles to seeing things clearly. We really can be our own worst enemy and our own worst critic! Stress plays a significant part and can make me see things in a skewed way, whether that be in the form of self doubt, an inner critic, or a sense of imposter syndrome. I find it hilarious that even with the insight I have from being a psychologist I am still just as suspectable to these distorted thinking patterns as everyone else! The key to overcoming this challenge for me is to recognise the impact stress and tiredness have on my perspective; set boundaries with my time and say no to things when I feel the balance tipping. Not always easy. I remind myself to continually check whether the expectations I place on myself are helpful or realistic. One of the most empowering ways I have come to deal with these challenges is to accept it is all within me. I am responsible for whatever voice shows up and whatever energy I feel and give out, so I practice directing my energy towards self-compassion, and practice being my own best friend!

If you to were to describe your business mantra in three words, what would they be?


What advice would you offer anyone interested in venturing into the realms of wellbeing and yoga?

Be kind towards yourself and others always and be prepared to work incredibly hard. If your drive does not come from your heart then do not even waste your energy.

Be willing to lean into uncertainty and with this, bring so much compassion towards yourself; you will need to be your own best friend!

Be authentic and find your niche. Try not to feel intimated by anyone else doing similar things and be supportive towards others. There is plenty of room out there for all!

Focus on the wins, acknowledge the positive steps (each and every small step) and give yourself a high five every now and then!

Find what gives you your glow. By this I mean that feeling; the warming glow you get when you sense you are channeling energy from the heart. This can be different things at different times. It can be love and compassion for yourself, gratitude for life at that present moment, kindness and compassion for others and the drive you get from knowing you are following your true values.

Talk us through an average business day in your life…

Typical Monday to Thursday schedule:
5am coffee in bed
5.45am set up livestream studio in my attic room
6am-6.45am RISE livestream yoga practice
7am-8am breakfast and social media posts
8am-6pm NHS role (currently lead psychologist for pain management service)
6pm time outside; maybe a walk, paddle board, bike ride or beach yoga class followed by sunset BBQ
9pm-10pm Unwind, read, sleep

Fridays take a slower pace; I run my independent psychology practice, catch up with business admin, and try to have an early night.

Weekends are a balance of beach time, yoga, mindfulness, and general downtime relaxing as well as spending time with my partner, family, and friends. I love packing in as many outdoor activities as possible which means my house is always untidy (a sacrifice I am willing to make!)

Business can be an upward struggle at times, what do you do to stay positive?

It certainly can! I am fortunate to love my work as it takes a lot of energy. I am careful to replenish lost energy with activities and practices that make me feel uplifted and restored. I remind myself ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup!’ and prioritise self care always. My go to uplifting practices are yoga outside, taking time to find peace and stillness through meditation and mindfulness, nature walks and being by water.

To stay positive, it is so important to have fun! For me this is spending time outdoors and enjoying nature. At weekends we love going on mini adventures in our campervan, exploring Cornwall’s epic coastline, surfing, paddle boarding and having BBQ’s on the beach. Living in Cornwall I am lucky that I can create my own mini wellbeing retreat each weekend!

What is your go to quote when lacking motivation?

Hussle harder! This is something my partner said to me recently when a Monday morning felt overwhelming and I was lacking in energy. I aim to keep my motivational inspiration lighthearted so that I don’t end up giving myself a hard time, however, I think it is also important to acknowledge the drive and the discipline it takes to keep moving forward. I remind myself of this regularly and visualise the end goal. Visualising owning a retreat space with an infinity pool in Costa Rica gives me the motivation I need to keep driving forward!

What do you do for yourself when it comes to self care?

For me self care is crucial, and I try and find small ways to infuse this into my daily lifestyle. Time to rest is as important as time moving and driving things forward. I aim to practice what I preach in terms of the things I share with others. Early morning yoga has been an amazing habit to kick start positive energy for the day, keeping a healthy routine (lessons I have taken from Ayurveda) and remember the simple things that often get overlooked during times of stress, such as keeping hydrated and nourishing my body with good whole food.

Often self-care gets neglected when life gets busy and so it can be about pausing for enough time to recognise when and what I need to do in order to build my inner glow. This might be taking three deep breaths, yoga, time outside, being by the water, or spending time with people who radiate light back to me. It might simply be having a good cup of coffee!

How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?

Facebook and Instagram have been great tools for reaching out to my local beach yoga community in Cornwall. As I continue to develop the brand in new directions these platforms have been helpful for reaching people from other areas and countries. I am learning to develop more confidence in my voice and what messages I put out there on social media. I also recognise the importance of maintaining boundaries around the amount of time I invest in this work.

How do you want people to feel when they first experience an Alicia Ray Wellbeing class or retreat?

I want people to feel empowered and flowing with positive energy! Importantly I want people to gain whatever it is they need from the practice, whether that be peace, calm, or an uplifted sense of energy and strength. Finding that connection with yourself is what my classes and retreats are about, and this can take many forms and lead to different feelings.

It is wonderful feedback when after a class people tell me they have experienced that moment of realisation when they just know intuitively what it is they need. I feel it is an amazing privilege to teach practices that can facilitate this for people.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list, and would you practice any of your wellbeing rituals while travelling?

Sri Lanka will always be a special place close to my heart. I’ve been lucky to visit this beautiful country five times and have hosted two yoga and wellbeing retreats there. Costa Rica is my top yoga and wellbeing retreat destination. I dream of buying land there and owning a retreat space one day!

Yes I absolutely practice my wellbeing rituals while travelling, as this is how I came to experience their value! I think travelling provides a fantastic opportunity to focus on self care, and practice routines and rituals that keep the body in flow and healthy. Finding new locations to practice yoga at sunrise and sunset is one of my favorite wellbeing rituals while travelling.

What’s next for you and your brand?

I’m continuing the fourth season of Gwithian beach yoga, near Hayle in Cornwall and this summer I have some fun plans including bringing silent disco yoga, mindfulness and fitness classes to the beach. I will be delivering surf and yoga retreat days and have some psychology-informed yoga therapy workshops planned in Cornwall.

I am continuing my livestream yoga classes and am currently building a subscription-based on-demand platform.

I am excited to be planning a yoga and well-being retreat in Costa Rica next year. On the horizon, I am working on creating a Mindfulness in Cornwall journal to give people knowledge about practising mindfulness outdoors and share local tips on where best to practice mindfulness in my beautiful home county.

Where can people find out more about Alicia Ray Wellbeing?

People can get in touch directly via my email address or via my website or social media channels.

Website: Alicia Ray
Facebook: Alicia Ray Wellbeing
Instagram: Alicia Ray Wellbeing
YouTube: Alicia Ray Wellbeing

We recently interviewed new business owner Natalie Firth of Just The Fox Kitchen who has been working tirelessly these past few months to get her new nutritious meal prep delivery service off the ground. In the interview we find out about her cooking history, the most recent chef she has worked with, plus all her ups and downs of launching her brand new business.

Tell us about the journey that led you to launch your brand Just The Fox Kitchen…

I’ve always loved cooking food and have been a chef for many years now. Before I started Just The Fox Kitchen I worked as the executive chef for Matt Healy’s Gron Kafes where I really fell in love with creating recipes that were delicious and nutritious.

I had the idea for a meal prep delivery service that wasn’t focused on diet culture. More on eating well to make you good inside and out, for a while as I felt this was a real gap in the market. Aimed at busy people that like good food and eating well but are just too busy to cook everyday and make lunches for work. Allowing customers to ‘reclaim your time’ and get on with the things they enjoy doing.

I’ve always wanted to work for myself and build my own business, so this year I decided it was going to be my business year, and I would finally make it happen. So I did plenty of market research, tested recipes, worked with an amazing business women on branding and marketing, and I launched Just The Fox Kitchen in March this year. And it’s been all go since.

What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?

Everyday there is a new challenge when setting up and running a business, I learn something new everyday. I knew how to cook and what I wanted the Just The Fox Kitchen concept and brand to look like but I had no idea about marketing, website building, social media ads etc so its been a steep learning curve.

But I think my biggest obstacle was my own confidence and building that up to a point I felt like a could launch my own business. I’m lucky, I have a great support network and I work with some amazing people who help Just The Fox Kitchen grow. When I look back on the Just The Fox kitchen journey so far, I’m amazed at how far I have come in such a short space of time and that keeps me motivated to keep pushing forward.

Just The Fox Kitchen

If you were to describe your business mantra in three words, what would they be?

I’m not sure I have a business mantra in the strictest sense of the word. I believe that the effort you put in you will get back out in everything you do. I have a life I want to lead (that involves lots of holidays) and I work hard and set weekly, monthly and yearly goals to achieve that. What it comes down to for me is living life to its fullest and making everyday count.

What advice would you offer anyone interested in venturing into the freshly prepared meals industry?

Know your market and what they want and do lots of research before you start. Food wise, test, test, and test again. Freshly prepared food that is delivered to customers homes needs to be made to last a few days and still be great quality. It is a very different product to preparing food for a restaurant where it is eaten straight away; test all your recipes, leave them overnight and check the quality. Also get customer feedback and work on building positive relationships with suppliers and customers alike. I would say I’m an introvert and don’t like putting myself out there for praise or criticism. So this was a big hurdle for me to overcome. But if you don’t know what your customers think of the product you supply how will you grow?

Talk us through an average business day in your life…

I’m a real early bird, waking up around 5-5:30am. I like to get up and moving straight away but I can’t function without firstly having a cup of tea, no milk or sugar. I walk my dog around Temple Newsam Estate (in Leeds) which is a great way to start the day, I can clear my mind and focus on what I want to achieve that day. If it’s a kitchen day, I will have placed all my ingredients orders the day before so it arrives at the kitchen first thing in the morning, so I can get straight to work prepping food for that days orders. I have a small all female kitchen team, they make the days fly by as we are always laughing. Once all the food is prepared we can then start ‘bowling up’ the meals. We then quality control check every meal, collate orders, load vehicles and I then delivery to customers homes or offices. I also deliver to fitness studios, yoga studios and cafes that retail, or nourish and balance bowls as grab and go options. It’s a long day but I love the sense of achievement and talking to customers. When I get home I respond to emails and messages, Check my to do list and make a plan for the next day. I then chill out, sometimes with a glass of Prosecco

Business can be an upward struggle at times, what do you do to stay positive?

I try to plan nice things to do each week that may be seeing family and friends, a new fitness class, or my favourite thing to do is go out for dinner . When you work for yourself it can be very hard to switch off from work mode. I know lots of great women that are killing it with their businesses and I find it really helps to speak to them. We can give each other advice and support and sometimes we rant and joke. It frees up any tension I may have and puts things into perspective.

What is your go-to quote when lacking motivation?

Though she be but little, she is fierce

I’m not sure why I adopted this quote (maybe because I’m only 5:1) but it has followed me around since University, so much so I had a print made for my home and when I read it I get a boost of energy and determination. ‘Though she be but little, she is fierce.’ Its from a midsummer nights dream.

How much has social media played a role in the success of your brand?

I think for a food business social media is key. There is such an active food scene on social media becoming part of that at local and national level is very important. Most of my customers have come from social media word of mouth and viewing posts. Just The Fox social media is growing organically which I like. What I think is very important for a business on social media is to be honest and positive. All the images and content that is on @justthefoxkitchen is of the food that I made and the views that I believe in. When used in the right way social media can be a great way to build a business.

Just The Fox Kitchen

How do you want people to feel when they first order and try your meals?

I built Just The Fox Kitchen around the premiss that to eat delicious and nutritious food you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen every day. So when you order from me I want you to feel pleased that you have reclaimed your time and you don’t have to worry about that age old question ‘Whats for dinner?’

When eating my meals I want you to be happily surprised that nutritious food can look and taste delicious. I’m not a fan of diet culture, calorie counting and feeling guilty if you have a brownie. I believe in intuitive nutrition and listening to what your body needs. Food should be enjoyed and eating should be a pleasurable experience. So I want everyone that try’s my food to feel happy eating it and feel energised to carry on with their day.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

There are so many places I still want to visit, Iceland, Costa Rica and Scandinavia to name a few. But I think top of my bucket list is to travel down the west coast of America. This was my plan for my 30th but unfortunately Covid put a stop to that. I’m planning again for next summer, I want to hire a vintage mustang (my dream car) and just drive down the coast. Eating as much food as I can handle on the way. California, in particular San Francisco is at the forefront of new culinary trends so I can’t wait to try new ingredients and get inspiration for new Just The Fox Kitchen recipes.

What’s next for you and your brand?

This is Just The Fox Kitchen’s first summer season so we have a big summer of festivals and catering events planned which I’m super excited for. I love catering parties and celebrations as they are always happy events to be a part of. I also have my first ever chef demo at Harrogate food and drink festival coming up on August bank holiday weekend. I’m nervous/excited for that one. Aside from this, I’m working hard on building our subscription and meal delivery service. I have just launched our office and work lunches. So you can now order delicious and nutritious Just The Fox meals to your office or work place every week. As a new business my main goal for this year is to build the brand and let as many people as possible know about Just The Fox Kitchen and what we do.

Where can people find out more about Just The Fox Kitchen?

All the information you need about Just The Fox Kitchen is on our website Just The Fox Kitchen we also have an active social media account @justthefoxkitchen are weekly menus and new business news is on there. If you have questions about our food or for enquires you can message me via social media or email and I will respond as soon as I can.

There’s no secret that we love the Caribbean here at House of Coco magazine, it holds a special place in our heart. From Barbados to Nevis, we’ve explored most of the islands and Puerto Rico was a place that we fell in love with instantly. Puerto Rico is packed with hidden gems – music fills San Juan’s streets, rare endemic species await discovery in the El Yunque rainforest, thrill seekers can enjoy epic adventures surfing and ziplining, and luxury hotels line the stunning beach fronts. As an archipelago, Puerto Rico also offers a plethora of island escapes offshore for guests to visit tropical beaches and wildlife wonders. Below are the top experiences that make Puerto Rico the best kept secret in the Caribbean and highlight why it’s the ultimate Island destination to visit in 2021…

Adventure in El Yunque rainforest

Located on the east side of Puerto Rico, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service and is a rugged heart of adventure in Puerto Rico. The abundant natural area is extremely biodiverse with 240 species of lush trees and bushes, along with bountiful waterfalls, rivers, creeks, and streams. A multitude of hiking routes guide adventurers through the rainforest, with dips in cooling natural pools along the way. El Angelito is a popular action-packed route, with a 4km hike that rewards visitors with a lagoon rope-swing at the end. Ziplining amongst the green canopies and chirpy parrots is also highly recommended for nature loving, thrill seekers!

Blissful beaches to suit any taste

With nearly 300 beaches and 270 miles of Caribbean coastline, sunseekers are spoilt for choice in Puerto Rico. A world-renowned beach heralded as one of the best in the Caribbean, Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island extends for a mile and is framed by dramatic hills and tropical palm trees, with peaceful turquoise waters ideal for snorkelling. Domes Beach, on the northwest tip of Puerto Rico, is a surfer’s paradise and welcomes a number of international surf competitions throughout the year. Famed for its waves, Domes Beach offers thrilling surfs in winter when waves are at their biggest. For sheer beauty, Mar Chiquita, which translates to Little Sea, is unquestionably unmissable. The awe-inspiring spot is a natural pool with azure waters and intimate beach, protected from the Atlantic sea by two limestone outcroppings. A firm favourite on the Island, Mar Chiquita is an Instagrammer’s paradise.

A Caribbean hotbed of culture, art and history in San Juan

Puerto Rico’s charming capital, San Juan, is one of the Caribbean’s most exciting and historic cities, celebrating its 500th anniversary this year. Few landmarks represent Puerto Rico’s legacy within the Caribbean and the Americas quite as well as El Morro, an epic fortress built in 1533, that transports visitors back in time. Seamlessly balancing the old with the new, San Juan’s Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, is one of the largest art institutions in the Caribbean, housing contemporary art from Caribbean and Latin American and is a must-visit for culture vultures. Music lovers will also be drawn to the capital, where the streets come alive to the sounds of bomba, reggaeton, salsa, merengue, and Latin pop. La Placita is a local hotspot for dancing and socialising, with bars and restaurants that spill into a lively main square, creating a melting pot of live music beats.

Wildlife in abundance in Guanica Dry Forest and El Yunque

Although small in size, Puerto Rico’s wildlife offering is anything but! The tropical climate makes it a hive of activity for endemic birds, singing frogs and rare reptiles. In the remote Guanica Dry Forest, near-extinct plants thrive in the forest’s dry conditions and attract over 130 different species of birds. Nine of Puerto Rico’s endemic bird species can be found here, including the prehistoric Puerto Rican nightjar. With as little as 1,500 in existence, to spot a nightjar is the ultimate twitchers prize. The El Yunque rainforest is another wildlife hotspot, welcoming hundreds of species who prefer wetter environments. Thirteen different species of coquí frog, the characteristically vocal tree frog, can be seen clambering up trees or taking shelter on the forest floor, whilst fascinating reptiles such as worm lizards, skinks and galliwasps dart across the jungle.

Golf courses galore

Home to several award-winning courses each set against a stunning backdrop, Puerto Rico is the perfect place for golf aficionados. Golfers can take their pick from just shy of 30 golf courses across the Island including greens with cliffside ocean views on the west coast, or bunkers with the backdrop of El Yunque rainforest at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve’s Championship Course. Coco Beach, where the 2019 PGA TOUR Puerto Rico Open was hosted, is also an Island hotspot, and Bahia Beach Resort’s 18-hole fairway is renowned for its perfectly nuanced layout designed by expert architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. The variety of courses on offer cater to every type of player, from novice to pros, and a range of prince points. Combined with expert design and unparalleled picturesque views, it’s no surprise the Island is known as the golf capital of the Caribbean.

Luxury Caribbean coastal escapes

To unwind after a day on the golf course, travellers can head back to one of the island’s sumptuous hotels and relax in laidback luxury. Isla Verde is Puerto Rico’s premier beach destination, and with close proximity to the heart of San Juan and crystal clear Caribbean sea views, the palm tree lined haven is home to many luxury hotel hideaways. In particular, the Ritz-Carlton San Juan is one of the most incomparable luxury resorts on the Island. The hotel boasts a two-mile stretch of golden sand, pools aplenty, exquisite dining options and a soothing spa. Also in San Juan, the Caribe Hilton is another iconic hotel, famously known as the home of the Piña Colada, Puerto Rico’s national drink. In 1954 the hotel’s barman, Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero, created the cocktail to capture the essence of the Island in a glass, and the original recipe is still served at the property today.

Island hop to discover hidden gems

When most people think of Puerto Rico, they think of a singular tropical island. However, Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago, made up of many islands, cays and islets. While there is no shortage of adventure and discovery to be had on the eponymously named Island of Puerto Rico, by island hopping offshore, visitors will enjoy some of the country’s incredible hidden gems. Vieques is the peaceful, unexplored island, where wild horses roam and the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay can be found. Mosquito Bay’s neon blue waters glow in the dark as millions of microorganisms, called dinoflagellates, light up at night when motion is detected. Heading out on a glass-bottomed kayak once the sun has set is the best way to experience the natural phenomena. Alternatively, Culebra Island is surrounded by barrier reefs, and the exquisite Carlos Rosario and Tamarindo beaches are an idyll for swimmers and snorkelers.

Sustainable initiatives and cultural immersion for all

With such a diverse landscape, it’s only natural that Puerto Rican locals take care of the destination’s delicate ecosystems, which visitors can support through local sustainable initiatives whilst on their trip. In San Juan, where beaches nestle against a vibrant cityscape, travellers can help protect the habitats of endangered sea turtles by working to repair and preserve natural nesting areas on the city’s beaches. Of course, Puerto Rico’s local communities are also at the heart of the destination, and Loíza, a town just 20 minutes from San Juan, is a historic hub of Afro-Puerto Rican culture. Since Loíza is the birthplace of bomba, visitors can join locally-led dance workshops that not only provide fascinating insights into the area’s rich history, but provide locals with the income needed to preserve and protect the town’s cultural identity.

For more information, visit

For more information on visiting Puerto Rico go to or follow Discover Puerto Rico’s social channels on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Photos : DiscoverPuertoRico

#CocoTravel – Whether you wish a cosy staycation or aspire to venture a little further afield, a trip away to while away the winter blues is just the thing to refresh and revitalise before the long-awaited new season arrives. We all love a luxury break away, but travellers are being more mindful about their green credentials are looking to stay in luxurious but sustainable accommodations. Who says luxury and sustainability must be mutually exclusive? You can have an eco-friendly break without sacrificing the finer things in life.

We round up the best eco-friendly luxury breaks to take in 2018:

Lapa Rios, Costa Rica

Lapa Rios is a 930-acre private nature reserve located at the southern-most tip of the Osa Peninsula. It was the first ecolodge to gain the coveted 5 Leaf Rating of Costa Rica’s Sustainable Tourism Certification scheme. Stay in one of the luxurious 17 private bungalows which have all been designed in harmony with the surrounding forest and beaches. They have been built with locally harvested materials and are open-air with screens that allow you to experience the sounds, sights and smells of the rainforest and the ocean.

Guests can take a secluded shower on their outside deck which is open to the sights and sounds of the rainforest and can enjoy the beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean from your bed!

Zarafa Camp, Botswana

Zarafa Camp in Botswana’s Selinda Reserve is one of the ‘greenest’ safari camps on the planet. It is an intimate space with just four spacious, lavishly-appointed tents and a private villa, The Dhow Suites. Only recycled hardwoods and canvas were used in the construction and all the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm, while “bio gas” plants recycle waste into usable cooking gas. Zafara Camp in Botswana’s Selinda Reserve comes highly recommended by James on Safari.

Drinking water is treated through a UV filtration system to eliminate the use of disposable plastic water bottles.

Hix Island House, Puerto Rico

Located on the Spanish Virgin Island of Vieques, just off the southeast corner of mainland Puerto Rico, Hix Island House is an ideal place to ‘get away from it all’. The property has a ‘direct connection with climate and nature’. It has become renowned for its environmentally friendly practices; it uses solar panels to power both their electricity and hot water and they also use recycled water from the guests’ showers and basins to feed the guavas, bananas and papayas growing nearby.

LeFay Resort, Italy

If you’re seeking sheer indulgence, a secluded and peaceful environment and a holistic approach to your holiday you should look no further than the Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda. Situated in a 27-acre nature reserve, surrounded by olive groves and overlooking Lake Garda, this award-winning eco-spa, is dedicated to protecting the environment and is also fully carbon neutral. Take a relaxing dip in the innovatively-designed spa which is home to saunas, grottos and indoor and outdoor pools, including a saltwater pool and an infinity pool overlooking the lake.

Song Saa Private Island, Cambodia

Want to truly get away from it all? Song Saa Private Island is Cambodia’s first luxury private island resort and nestles in the warm sapphire waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Conservation is a key priority for Song Saa, they proactively work to improve local livelihoods as well as preserving marine life and rainforests.

This is an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil getaway safe in the knowledge that where they are staying are mindful of their impact on the environment. Experience the ultimate in eco-luxury escapes where all the villas have an ocean view, a private pool and have an effortlessly cool design with four-poster beds, Moroccan lanterns and carved statues which add flair to each eco-chic space.

White Pod Eco Resort, Switzerland

Situated in the stunning Swiss Alps, the Whitepod Eco Resort offers the ultimate alpine experience, where you can sleep in the most adorable pod. Choose from either the futuristic glamorous 007 pod which comes with your very own ‘Bond Girl’ bed, champagne bar and private sauna.

If you are looking for a more rustic aesthetic, the Forest Pod Suite brings the outside in and in the most luxurious way. Sleep in a cosy king size “nest bed” or opt to swing out in your very own hammock. This clever little pod also comes with its own sauna.

White Pod’s philosophy is very much about saving the environment whilst getting away from it all. The pods are minimal impact which means that they utilise minimal water and electricity and only use renewable resources wherever they can.

Green House Hotel, Bournemouth

Bournemouth is one of the UK’s most popular destinations and it is easy to see why! It is also home to the ‘Best Green Hotel in the UK 2017.’ The Green House Hotel is situated close to Bournemouth’s award-winning beaches and is ideal for a simple yet luxurious staycation. Think glam but green!

The hotel’s restaurant ‘Arbor’ has an oak sculpture reconstructed as a tree and the furniture is made from sustainable materials such as felled trees, even the Victorian roll-top baths are all reclaimed and even the paint and wallpaper are eco-friendly.

In keeping with their environmentally friendly ethos, each of the 22 rooms are named after trees and the eco-beds have been especially designed for the hotel after two years’ worth of research and development.

Campi ya Kanzi, Kenya

Campi ya Kanzi (Camp of the Hidden Treasure) is an award-winning, boutique eco-lodge in Kenya that sets a new standard for the experience of true luxury that is also truly ecologically low-impact. It demonstrates that you can have the comfort and service of a top hotel, the fine dining of an Italian palazzo without compromising on your green credentials.

Not only can you enjoy a luxury break, but you will be helping to support a meaningful conservation project. Campi ya Kanzi was built using only local materials that had fallen from trees naturally and their water is sourced from the rain using their special catchment system.

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania

If you love snorkelling and the underwater world, you can’t experience a more beautiful coral reef than at the world’s first private Marine Protected Area.

Chumbe Island Coral Park is a small island off the coast of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. The first privately established and managed Marine Protected Area in the world, and the only one fully-funded through ecotourism.

The resort has zero ecological impact and there is a maximum of 14 guests that can stay on the island. Choose from just one of seven beautifully designed ‘bandas’ which are sustainable bungalows which are idyllically set in the protected forest and are just 30 seconds to the beach where you can enjoy out-of-the world snorkelling.

Guests can dine in the former lighthouse keeper’s home which has been restored and remodelled into a giant-clam-shaped restaurant bungalow where they can enjoy typical Zanzibarian cuisine which is a delicious blend of Asian, Arabic, African and European traditions, made from local produce to minimise waste.