Top EcoTourism Destination Around the Globe

With ecotourism on the rise, more and more locations around the world are adopting the principles behind this environmental movement.

With ecotourism on the rise, I did a little research to find the top destinations around the world for an all-out eco-vacation. Each of these places offers visitors something uniquely different. So, consider these locales for your next environmentally friendly getaway.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has made a name for itself in the ecotourism world due to its well-protected natural beauty. It offers coastlines on both the Caribbean and Pacific, not to mention it is nearly one-fourth rainforest. One of the main draws of this incredible natural location is the chance to see volcanoes up close and personal, aside from the many low-impact hotels and resorts.

Norway

Norway is well known for its sustainable living practices, especially in the Fjords. Fjord, Norway is one of the four pilot destinations of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, possibly due to the government’s strict regulations on fishing, hunting, and even drilling for oil.

Kenya

Grasslands featuring exotic wildlife, coral reefs, and mountainous hikes all make this one of the most unique ecotourist destinations in the world. Where else can you see lions and rhinos up close? The varied landscapes of this African locale offer an incredible amount of biodiversity.

While the area is still plagued by illegal poaching, organizations have worked hard to deter and arrest those who would commit such a heinous atrocity. Aside from the unique wildlife, low-impact resorts can be found in abundance here.

Galapagos Islands

Home to some of the most diverse and distinct species of fauna in the world, the country’s Directorate of the Galapagos National Park implements a strict visitor management system to ensure the natural area remains protected. With a heavy focus on sustainable tourism, this eco-destination is easily one of the most awe-inspiring locations to travel to.

Palau

This island nation in the Western Pacific is part of Micronesia and offers more aquatic sights than it does ones on land. Coral reefs are home to hundreds of species of fish, which makes them perfect for snorkeling and diving. The Palau Project, a part of Blue Planet United, brings in university students to learn about the island and aspects of ecotourism.

Kenya

On land, the country does offer untouched shorelines and forests filled with diverse plants and animals. The country recognizes its natural beauty and strives to preserve it at all costs.

Portugal

Ecotourism in Portugal is beginning to take hold in this beautiful land. Many places are overbuilt, but some of Portugal’s coastal areas have been recognized as protected landscapes. Their areas include the resorts of Esposende, Sintra and Cascais and southeast Alentejo, near Cabo de São Vicente.

Other areas, especially in the interior are being preserved and set aside for future generations to enjoy.

If I were headed anywhere in the world, these ecotourism destinations would be the top spots on my list. What unique and environmentally friendly places have you visited in your travels? Did I miss any wonderful locations that should have been on this list?

The Best Ecotourism Destinations in the U.S.

Looking to take an eco-friendly vacation without wasting precious fossil fuels while saving money? There are more places in North America than you might think!

Countries like Africa, Australia, and South America offer a plethora of eco-lodges that offer low-impact tourism centered around the indigenous peoples of the area. In the United States, however, ecotourism seems to be a scarce and rarely heard of phenomenon. It isn’t impossible to find wonderful destinations in our country though.

If you are starting to plan your next eco-trip, consider some of these beautiful locations!

Eco-Tourism in the U.S.

I had to do a little digging to find eco-tourism locations in the country, or even its neighbors, which prompted me to find out why this wonderful way of traveling hasn’t taken off here like it has in other countries. The main reason stems from the fact that environmentally-responsible tourism has its roots in developing nations. A large part of the movement is giving back to local communities that are just beginning to blossom.

The U.S. does not have a national, government-run tourism board like many other nations have. This has led to smaller community-based organizations heading the movement. While North America might not have the same scale of eco-tourism that other countries do, you can still experience rapidly evolving eco-destinations in the country.

Most of them are far from perfect, but I picked out the top two locations based on the principles of eco-tourism.

El Monte Sagrado

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This resort made entirely of adobe-styled structures, constructed from fly ash, can be found in Taos, New Mexico. It runs on what they call the “Living Machine”, which consists of plants and sea life that treat water for reuse. That, and photovoltaic solar cells that power the electrical components of the Living Machine as well as heating and cooling.

The resort collects rainwater, composts, recycles, and even uses water from their Living Machine to irrigate crops. They transport treated water back to the city of Taos, and have even founded a local school.

Sadie Cove

Located in Homer, Alaska, this wilderness lodge features off-the-grid coastal cabins in Kachemak Bay State Park. Using hydroelectric power from a nearby stream, each cabin effectively runs on alternative energy. They offer meals from their organic vegetable garden, and focus heavily on their “leave no trace” philosophy.

I found their benefits to the local ecosystem interesting. They are actively working to have the area officially declared a mountain goat sanctuary, which means you can definitely observe the adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Have you ever been to either of these locations? Do you know of any other great eco-tourism locations in the U.S.?

Your Guide to Ecotourism

If you’ve ever wondered what this growing trend is, then these 5 steps can help you make the most of yur next vacation.

Ecotourism goes by many names, like green travel or ethical travel, but what exactly is it and how can you go about doing it? While though I understand the concept behind it, even I had a tough time figuring out how to leave nothing but my footprints behind when traveling.

I decided to take some advice and a well deserved trip to the Grand Canyon. These are the five sustainable steps I followed to keep things as green as possible.

1. Keep it Simple

Packing light is the first step to making your travels as eco-friendly as possible. A lighter load means better fuel efficiency for the plane you are flying on. While it was difficult to pick and choose only the necessities, I found that the money saved on baggage was well worth it.

2. Conserve Water

This is one you can do at home as well, but save water everywhere you can. I took shorter showers, turned off the faucet while brushing my teeth, and even re-used my towels for a few day instead of washing them.

Honestly, I didn’t find this part all that challenging. Sure, I didn’t get to take a luxuriously long shower but I did my part to not waste a precious resource. Plus, I didn’t even have to use the hotel’s laundry service.

3. Conserve Energy

These are things I do at home already, but they certainly help to keep things green. The easiest way to accomplish this step is by turning everything off (AC, TV, lights, everything) and putting the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That keeps housecleaning from using up energy to run the vacuum while keeping my room free from harsh cleaning chemicals.

4. Reuse and Recycle

While it might be common sense to not throw your trash wherever you’d like, I actually found it difficult to break a few old habits for this one. For instance, returning brochures and maps when I was done using them took some getting used to. Things like refilling the same water bottle all week and using only one bar of soap for both my shower and hand washing routines also took a little more conscious thought than I’d like to admit.

5. Leave Only Footprints

I’m a huge fan of adventure. but straying from hiking trails can harm the native flora, which can have negative consequences to the rest of the ecosystem. By not straying off on my own path, I was helping preserve local wildlife!

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The Hidden Final Step

I would like to add respecting the culture and the area to this list. While Arizona isn’t exactly exotic to us here in the states, it adds to the traveling experience when you immerse yourself in the ways of a people.

How do you stay green when travelling? I’d love to hear about your travels and experiences!