Before you plan your next trip, consider going somewhere a little different. Maybe skip the wine region of France this time and opt for an exotic trip to Costa Rica, Iceland, or even the Galapagos Islands.
What do all these locations have in common? They are a few of the top ecotourism destinations.
Ecotourism is an exciting concept that helps promote sustainability and conservation efforts in fragile or undisturbed areas.
From remote rainforests to frozen fjords, the best ecotourism destinations allow you to experience and support these natural environments. You may also find adventure in some of these destinations.
If you want to plan the trip of a lifetime, you should learn more about this tourism trend and discover the most recommended travel destinations.
What Is Ecotourism and What are the Ecotourism Benefits?
Ecotourism was started to help protect environments that are in danger due to mass commercial tourism. It is also called green tourism as it promotes minimal impact on the environment.
There are many examples of how the tourism industry can negatively impact a region. Formerly white, pristine beaches around the world have been destroyed from over-commercialization. This includes the impact from both travelers and the various commercial land development projects created to support tourism.
Ecotourism is defined as a responsible way to travel to natural areas. With this movement, you are encouraged to help conserve the environment and support the well-being of the local community.
Some of the main principles of green tourism include:
- Minimizing your footprint while visiting exotic locations
- Helping to build more cultural awareness
- Providing positive experiences to locals and travelers
- Providing financial support to conservation efforts
- Respecting the beliefs and customs of the locals
The goal of green tourism is to help prevent natural areas from disappearing. Travelers can do their part by planning a trip that involves minimal impact on the environment. This typically means finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
However, there is more to green tourism. You also need to enrich your understanding of the environment and the people who live there. You should take the time to learn more about the culture and beliefs of the locals.
Basically, ecotourism is about sustainable travel and education. While it is not for everyone, it is a wonderful way to experience some of the most breathtaking sights and visit remote areas that are relatively untouched by mankind.
The Most-Recommended Luxury Ecotourism Destinations
Where should you go on your ecotourism vacation? Your destination may depend on your travel preferences.
While people typically picture grass huts and backpacking, ecotourism does not need to be a rustic experience. You can find luxury ecotourism destinations, including the following examples:
- Galapagos Islands
- Costa Rica
You can find many different luxury accommodations and travel packages for these destinations that support ecotourism efforts.
In Norway, the government already does its part to protect the local environment. They have strict regulations when it comes to hunting, fishing, and drilling for oil. They also have some of the most majestic sights in the world.
The Norwegian Fjords are remarkable environments that remain pristine and relatively untouched. There are many local tour groups that arrange eco-friendly travel packages in the area, providing you with a memorable luxury vacation.
Iceland offers a journey similar to Norway. If you do not mind frigid temperatures, you can view remote landscapes, go horseback riding, and camp at luxury retreats hosted by eco-friendly tourism groups. Iceland is also committed to environmentally friendly practices and relies mostly on clean energy sources.
If you prefer a warmer destination, consider booking a trip to Palau. It is an island nation situated in the Western Pacific Ocean. It is comprised of multiple islands and offers miles and miles of white sandy beaches. However, the land is equally beautiful with dense forests and beautiful landscapes.
The country has added no-fishing zones to help protect the coral reefs. There are also several local groups that support ecotourism.
The Galapagos Islands became the first Natural World Heritage Site in 1978. Over the year, the country has maintained the unique wildlife population by implementing a tourist management system. You can also find a couple of luxury villas that include features to help conserve electricity and limit waste.
Costa Rica is another destination to consider. It also offers white, pristine beaches. However, you will find a diverse landscape including volcanoes and rainforest.
Costa Rica has become one of the biggest supporters of ecotourism and has implemented many strategies to help sustain the local environment, including creating eco-friendly accommodations.
Adventure Tourism Suggestions for an Unforgettable Trip
If you prefer a little more adventure, the luxury ecotourism destinations discussed may not suit your travel tastes. Instead of relaxing in a cabin by the beach, adventure tourism may be the right option.
There are several destinations that provide more excitement compared to the remote landscapes found in Iceland and Norway.
The Amazon Rainforest is one of the best examples of adventure tourism destinations. It is also a region that desperately requires conservation efforts and the support of eco-friendly tourists.
Responsible travelers may help save the Amazon Rainforest. Deforestation is destroying large chunks of the rainforest. Eco-tourists can enjoy guided tours through the rainforest with local guides who practice sustainable tourism.
Besides the Amazon, there are other locations that offer unforgettable adventures. You can go zip lining in Costa Rica or swim in the great barrier reef of Australia.
Kenya is another destination to add to your adventure tourism bucket list. You can enjoy a real African safari while helping to protect and respect the local ecosystem. During your stay, you may get to see lions, giraffes, rhinos, and other wildlife in their natural habitats.
If you do not like the heat, you can take your adventure to Antarctica. It is the area that is least impacted by mankind. While the glaciers may be melting or shifting, there is hardly any human presence on the continent.
Antarctica is technically the largest desert on the planet even though it is covered in ice. It is also home to penguins and whales. While most of your trip is spent on boats, Antarctica remains one of the most exciting destinations due to its isolation from the rest of the world.
Before choosing any of the destinations discussed, you should research the region. Learn more about the environment, the people, and the wildlife.
You should also find out which conservation groups are active in the area so you know who to reach out to for advice on planning a sustainable trip.
What You Should Know About Ecotourism in Canada
You may not need to travel far to support the green tourism movement. In fact, there are many destinations in Canada that benefit from the principles of ecotourism.
Many of these destinations also provide plenty of adventure. For example, you can go whitewater rafting through the Yukon and British Columbia. Several groups offer single- and multi-day trips that include eco-friendly travel, ensuring that you do not leave any trace behind.
In Ontario, you can explore the Bonnechere Caves. As you work your way down into the caves, you will find a labyrinth of rock structures. The caves also house fossils of ancient sea life that likely existed before the massive dinosaurs walked the Earth.
If you have never seen the aurora in the sky, you may want to book an eco-vacation to the Northwest Territories. There you will find a tour company operated by several aboriginal owners. The company employs mostly native people from the area and provides guided tours to the best spots for watching the colorful polar lights.
There are also Canadian destinations that are not as remote. In Manawan, Quebec, you can take tours that are operated by the Manawan tribe. You get to experience their culture and learn how they respect the land through sustainable practices. You also get to fish, ride a canoe, and go snowmobiling.
Canada is an amazing country with endless opportunities for ecotourism. You can find a variety of eco-trips in every province. You can view polar bears in Manitoba and go kayaking around Nova Scotia.
These are just a few of the top suggestions for ecotourism destinations around the world and in Canada. If you have already visited most of these locations, consider searching for regions that need support and conservation efforts.
You may even want to think about supporting the area with fundraising efforts. People love to give when they know that their money has a lasting impact.
Ecotourism is about protecting areas that are at risk of over-commercialization. The need for protecting the remaining untouched regions of the world is becoming increasingly important.
Luckily, many governments are stepping up to protect their own lands. With the aid of various non-profit groups, there are also many eco-friendly tour groups and travel packages.
When planning an ecotourism trip, remember to search for natural sites and use renewable resources during your travels. You should also try to promote the local culture and support their businesses.
Instead of visiting the same old destinations, you should think about going on one of these ecotourism adventures.
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