Fight Urban Sprawl at Shore, Traveler Columnist Urges

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Says Philip Howard, who owns a craft shop in Ocracoke: "This is a place for simple pleasures—going to the beach, walking, renting a bike or a kayak. Don't look for go-cart tracks or miniature golf in Ocracoke. Just sit on the porch at the community store and talk with people. Learn about the history of the island."

He adds, "There are plenty of other places to play miniature golf."

Best Practices

Best of Both in Fiji: Inn for a dollar, inn for a dime

Turtle Island is a very nice, very expensive resort in Fiji's outlying Yasawa Islands. Unless the two of you can spare U.S. $10,000 or so for a week, you can't afford it. Luckily, you can enjoy the Yasawas at backpacker rates, staying in small locally owned inns, thanks to Turtle Island.

Famed as a luxury resort—The Blue Lagoon was filmed here—Turtle Island is known as well for its enlightened practices. To disrupt the irresponsible tourist trade in souvenir sea-turtle shells, for example, guests bid on endangered live turtles brought in by fishermen. The high bidder's name is indelibly painted on the turtle, which is then released, its shell now useless as merchandise.

Turtle Island also reasoned that an appealing geographical neighborhood is a winner for both guests and local people. To protect the quality of the Yasawa Islands—rich in beaches, bird life, coral reefs, and welcoming Fijians, but not in jobs—the resort has helped islanders set up and market their own budget hotel group, provided they adopt sustainable practices. "I want to try to be a leader in developing an economic base here so that the young people will have reason to stay," says Turtle Island's founder, Richard Evanson.

So now you can check into one of 15 mini-lodges, like Nabua Lodge on Nacula Island, or Otto and Fanny's on Tavewa, for U.S. $20 to $50 a night (Nacula Tikina Tourism Association: from U.S., 011-679-672-2780; e-mail nacula@hotmail.com). Or, if you cashed out before the tech bubble burst, you can join 13 other couples being pampered by a mostly Fijian staff of 156 at Turtle Island itself (877-288-7853; www.turtlefiji.com).

Traveler selects deserving enterprises for Best Practices in cooperation with the Conference Board's BEST program for sustainable travel.

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