top ecotourism destinations around the world

We've all got our bucket list vacation destinations - some of mine are Iceland, Santorini, French wine country, Amsterdam and Italy - but how many of those destinations are great ecotourism spots?

To be considered as an ecotourism destination, regions should minimize impact to the natural environment; build environmental and cultural awareness and respect; provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts; provide direct financial benefits for conservation; provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people; and raise sensitivity to the host country's political, environmental and social climate. Natural, outdoors and educational!

There's no one definitive list of the top ecotourism destinations in the world, but there are some that tend to find a spot on many lists! And ecotourism doesn't have to mean sacrificing a great vacation - they can be the best vacations!

Costa Rica is possibly the most well-known eco destination, and for good reason. They are working to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. Misty cloud forests, black sand beaches, thick rain forests and rushing river rapids provide many outdoor activities for active travelers and nature enthusiasts. A dazzling array of creatures, including monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, jaguars, sea turtles and poison dart frogs, live in Costa Rica's many national parks. Go surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, zip lining, biking, among many other things. Stay in eco-friendly hotels. Take tons of pictures and make your friends and family jealous!

In South America, the Peruvian Amazon Conservation Adventure puts travelers in direct contact with several nonprofit groups in the Tambopata Ecotourism Corridor in Peru. The Reserve was created in 1990 to help protect the forest and the wildlife living there from threats like deforestation and mining. Volunteers can work with wild animals at the Amazon Shelter, spend the night in a jungle platform eco-lodge and meet with local families who live and work in the Amazon. The journey ends with a trip to Machu Picchu and Cusco.

Heading to South Africa, you can take a walk on the wild side at the Siyafunda Bush experience in the Makalali Game Reserve! Participants in the Siyafunda experience spend a week or more in an eco-friendly tent camp in the wilderness, surrounded by lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants and rhinos. Part of the experience includes bush survival and navigation skills to biodiversity conservation. Volunteers also get to assist in alien vegetation control, road maintenance and habitat rehabilitation.

Closer to home in the United States, visit natural Alaska, Half Moon Bay in California or Hawaii for unique natural and sustainable experiences. 

Stay in a Green Seal-certified hotel or lodge in California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington DC, Washington state, Wisconsin or Wyoming. Green Seal is a nonprofit organization dedicated to evaluating products and services on their sustainability and attention to green practices.

Other renowned ecotourism destinations include:
Madagascar Ecotours
Australia's Blue Mountains
The Himalayas

If you're an uber-adventurer, check out Mother Nature Network's list of overlooked ecotourism destinations.

If you're a dreamer, take a mental vacation to these seven extremely eco-friendly hotels around the world.

No matter where you visit, be an an environmentally responsible tourist. Don't litter, reduce your trash and recycle as much as possible, don't endanger your surroundings, and support local shops or artisans over national or international chains. Immerse and educate yourself in the local culture instead of being an ignorant tourist.

1 comment

Faikka Aikka said...

Costa Rica is a central American country. I have visited there a couple of month ago before my canada tour bus with my family. During my tour I have visited that famous points of interests.
1-Arenal Volcano
2-Tortuguero National Park
3-Pre-Columbian Gold Museum
4-La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica
5-Chato Volcano Peak
I recomned to other visitors must visit there.

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