A lot can happen in a month. Before the borders closed and the world stopped traveling due to the COVID-19 pandemic I visited Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Since then world has changed as we know it and travel will likely look a little different in the future. But one thing is certain, hotels that are making a difference in the world, reducing their carbon footprint and promoting sustainability are the way to go. Iberostar Selection Bávaro created a five star luxurious Coral Level experience that is a hotel within a hotel. It re-opened at the end of last year after extensive renovations and created new ways of approaching tourism.
This family owned Spanish hotel chain wants to set the standard for responsible tourism and launched Wave of Change, a movement to protect the oceans and improve coastal health. Their innovative ideas include eliminating single use plastic, teaching children about sustainability, health and wellness and a remarkable coral lab right on site. Located on Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, you will be welcomed with breathtaking views of turquoise water and white sandy beaches.
They also started offering more plant-based food options to guests. As a vegan traveller I would like to see this taken a step further with all hotels reducing the amount of animal products they serve to further reduce their carbon footprint and effects on our planet. While it’s too soon to predict what the future of travel is going to resemble in a post COVID-19 world, anything we can do that helps the earth and each other is a step in the right direction.
All hotel rooms are free of single use plastic, not just at Iberostar Selection Bávaro but at every Iberostar resort. This will avoid 607 tons of plastic moving forward. It’s truly shocking how much single use plastic we use daily, especially when traveling. Their plastic elimination includes straws, coffee lids, swapping pens for pencils in rooms, using environmentally conscious laundry bags, replacing plastic mini bar products, using multi-use recyclables in rooms to replace single use toiletries (Products are also cruelty-free), no more plastic take away trays, and using compostable coffee capsules. In addition to this they are no longer offering single use plastic water bottles. Iberostar installed 402 water-refilling stations so guests can avoid multiple plastic bottles of water. Wave of Change reusable water bottles are available upon arrival for you to refill throughout your stay and take home.
At SPA Sensations relaxation and well-being is the number one priority. There are a wide range of massages and treatments so you will be relaxed in no time. There is also a full workout room on site with multiple machines and weights for all fitness levels. Wake up early and join a yoga class on the beach with the sand beneath your feet. Other options include nature walks, running, cycling, hiking, swimming in the infinity pool or trying out a number of nearby water sports. Or relax and unwind in a different type of class such as a creative arts workshop, dancing or singing. Use your time in Punta Cana to unplug from the rest of the world and focus on the beauty all around you.
What is better than combining entertainment with moral values when on holiday? While on vacation your kids can participate in Star Camp where they will learn respect for the environment, the value of diversity, technological awareness and be encouraged to follow healthy eating habits. There are scientific experiments, art classes, culinary techniques and activities adapted to specific ages groups from four to 17. Kids of all ages can learn about the Coral Lab right on site at the resort and explore the many facets of what it means to protect our oceans firsthand and what they can do to help stop climate change on a global level. In addition to camps, Iberostar has educational programs in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Mexico that teach children about the importance of coastal health.
The Coral Lab
Iberostar created their first on-land Coral Lab on Playa Bávaro to help protect coral from bleaching, diseases, hurricanes and to improve overall coral health. The lab is being used to study the adaptability of these colonial organisms and how it affects climate change. This is crucial because a quarter of all marine species depend on coral reefs. Healthy coral reefs provide food, habitat and spawning grounds for over a million species. Over 80% of Iberostar resorts are located along the coastline and the Coral Lab is a refuge for coral species that are under threat in the Caribbean. The impressive lab located right along the shore is home to four 1,200-liter tanks, four 500-liter tanks and four control systems where future marine conditions are simulated. Having this type of lab at a resort where guests can see direct action in motion raises awareness and educational initiatives. It also helps to inspire and create environmental challenges for other resorts to think about sustainability moving forward.