For the traveler concerned about the environment, there are certain places to visit on your vacation that are simply…. incredible. You want to choose a place that is not only spectacular and fun (after all, it’s a holiday), but your stay should also have as little impact as possible on your destination, and should be educational and uplifting. However, ecotourism evokes the image of a hard life, but this is not always the case. It is possible to enjoy a green holiday and still enjoy a bit of luxury. Here’s a brief guide to some of the best eco-friendly destinations you should put on your agenda. Some may surprise you!
This small, peaceful Central American country is a favorite of travelers, expatriates and vacationers alike. It is a fantastic destination for those who want to experience multiple types of ecosystems and incredible biological diversity in a short period of time and lots of fun! Costa Rica has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in the world, especially in its nature reserves, which comprise about 25% of the territory of the whole country. Take canopy tours, horseback riding, learn how coffee and chocolate are made, walk through virgin jungle of various types, rafting, volcanoes, hot springs, it’s all there. In addition, there are some excellent ecological cabins where your stay will not put you in conflict with nature, such as the Lapa Rios Lodge on the Osa Peninsula, just outside the magnificent Corcovado Nature Reserve, or the Rainforest Lodge in Sarapiquí, near the sea turtle nesting areas of Tortuguero National Park. The food is good, the people are friendly, and you will enjoy adding “Pura Vida!”. (“Pure Life” in Spanish), which is Costa Rica’s informal motto of how life should be led (simply and pleasantly), to its vocabulary.
Covering several northern European countries, historically Sweden, Norway and Denmark, but also often Finland and even Holland are grouped together. Scandinavia is a more unusual option for many people when they think of eco-travel – for them, eco-travel is equivalent to walking and sweating, and sleeping in tents. Not so! You can enjoy the comforts that only Europeans know how to provide, all in ecologically healthy places, with an incredible amount of fun things to do. Alpine views, roaring fjords, pebble beaches, aurora borealis and fresh green forests provide a pleasant rest from mosquitoes in the southernmost latitudes, and the hospitality is impeccable. Try a “safari” with dog sledges, snowshoes, cross-country and mountain skiing, and much more. Stay in luxurious or humble accommodations in harmony with nature, such as the Treehotel in Sweden’s boreal forests or the Skandic Kna Hotel in Oslo, Norway. You will come with a new appreciation for the far north, and you will realise that ‘white’ (snow) can really be ‘green’.
You’ve never lived until you’ve taken a kayak or canoe trip down a jungle river, surrounded by nothing but the green jungle and the whisper of birds and animals. Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Malaysia, Thailand and Viet Nam have been intensifying their tourism activities, and special support has been given to Laos and Viet Nam to adopt ecotourism. Laos, in particular, has made green tourism its focus. Visit small villages and learn how people live their lives as they have for hundreds, even thousands of years. Visit ancient ruined temples that resonate with the singing of saffron-dressed monks, or those who remain quiet and silent in the middle of the jungle, long abandoned but still vibrating with tales to tell. Watch wildlife, do a zip-line, horseback or quad adventure, boat tours, surf and much more. Taste the intensely exotic culture, from the food to the styles of people’s clothes and homes, and come back feeling changed forever. Stay simply in a local family or guesthouse, or opt for more luxurious accommodations, such as the Maya Ubud Luxury Hotel in Bali, Indonesia, a four-star eco-resort with full-service spa, and more. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much money spreads in Southeast Asia, where the most expensive will be your plane tickets, and your days will be filled with interesting and fun things to do and see.
Apart from the war-torn and hungry nations of the Horn of Africa and East Africa, countries such as Gabon, Kenya and Tanzania have stable economies and governments, and are increasingly pursuing ecological objectives such as reforestation and species protection. You can enjoy an ecological photo safari in one of hundreds of hunting reserves and national parks. Trek the green mountain depths, where you can see endangered species. Interact with indigenous peoples, such as the Maasai and Samburu tribes, and see how they have lived in harmony with nature for centuries. Africa is a paradise for environmental treasures. Nor is it as expensive to travel in Africa as you might think – as in Asia, the most expensive part of the trip will definitely be the airfare. In all these countries you can find Eco-lodges, as most of them exist easily with nature, using minimal impact techniques. Take a safari trip where you’ll stay in a luxurious tent, with the sounds of bushes just outside the walls of your canvas, or enjoy a jungle lodge like the Maasai Mara Ecolodge in Kenya, where luxury and green life easily coexist side by side.