At select Ritz-Carlton properties, reset your focus and leave a lighter footprint on our planet
If you want to sink deeply into your environment on an upcoming trip, your best partner is Ambassadors of the Environment, a global effort with the aim to connect travelers with their surrounding natural habitats. The organization was the brainchild of French explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, evolving over the past fifteen years to provide action-oriented, family-friendly environmental experiences for vacationers in six stunning destinations around the world.
Partnering with select Ritz-Carlton properties, the enduring mission is to promote universal ecological principles through activities guests can easily tap into, learn from, and carry forward.
Though focus areas vary by location, all unite around the goal of fostering new stewards of the environment among guests. With an infectious enthusiasm for the natural world, revered naturalists in their respective fields serve as guides and instructors.
According to Jean-Michel Cousteau and his team at Ambassadors of the Environment, these programs at Ritz-Carlton properties stand out uniquely.
The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua
From the native plant garden at the Ambassadors Hale (house) to the celebration of traditional Hawaiian culture, the Ambassadors program at Kapalua encapsulates the concept of treating nature as one’s own ‘ohana (family).
Naturalists lead guests on shoreside whale-watching strolls along the picturesque Kapalua coast bordering the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. These protected, shallow waters provide the perfect nursery for one of the largest humpback whale populations in the world. Ambassador naturalists provide in-depth details about their migration, their recovery from centuries of whaling, and how we can be whale protectors to ensure their future.
The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is known for some of the most beautiful coral reef snorkeling in the Caribbean, but its hidden gem is the mangrove forest that is accessible from this property by golf cart, something no other resort on the island offers.
Exploring Grand Cayman’s North Sound from clear bottom kayaks, Ambassador naturalists guide guests on a journey through a protected mangrove forest, weaving in and out of this quiet ecosystem teeming with wildlife. Among the roots and seagrass beds, search for sea stars, upside-down jellyfish, colorful sea slugs, sea horses, and a variety of fish reliant on this labyrinth habitat for their survival.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Puerto Rico’s Dorado Beach has a rich conservation legacy inherited from its original inhabitants, the indigenous Taino people. Endangered sea turtles make the occasional appearance on the golden stretch of beach, and the Ambassador naturalist team educates guests as well as the local community on how to protect sacred natural resources.
Enjoy a tour through the endangered Pterocarpus Forest by bicycle, hopping off to follow a trail into one of only four remaining swamp forests of its kind. Step into this wetland ecosystem and encounter endemic species of birds, tree frogs, and plants that are only found in Puerto Rico. Guests are invited to join the naturalist team for tree plantings in the forest along with local nonprofit Para La Naturaleza.
Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
From birdwatching in the desert to incredible stargazing, this program blends cultural immersion with natural discovery at every turn. In the process, site naturalists extol one of the best success stories in ocean conservation.
Dubbed the “Aquarium of the World” by his father, legendary oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Jean-Michel is thrilled to share the celebrated marine sanctuary of Cabo Pulmo with guests. This protected area provides the perfect setting for a guided snorkel on the pristine reefs and amongst enormous schools of fish. Big-eyed jacks, mobula rays, sea turtles, and dolphins thrive in this biodiverse haven for marine life.
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
The colorful coral reefs around the Maldives are home to rare and unique species of sea life. The Maldives Ambassadors program is the only one that uses drone research to aid in the removal of ghost nets that drift in from afar.
Certified scuba divers can explore the incredible coral reefs alongside expert Ambassador naturalists who explain the connections between the reef, its inhabitants, and humans.
Ambassadors document guest journeys with photos that can be sent right after the dive. During your surface interval, they’ll share the amazing drone research they conduct to aid in sea turtle rescues.
The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara
The Pacific coast views of this resort provide the backdrop, but naturalists guide guests of all ages through the local chaparral ecosystem comprising shrubs, bushes, and small trees.
Along the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in Southern California, guests can experience the stunning cliff edges on a guided hike that leads down to tide pools. Explore the intertidal area where the sea meets the shore and learn about how the indigenous Chumash people thrived along with the bounty of resources from both land and sea.