For the environmentally-conscious traveler, there are certain places to visit for vacations that are just… awesome. You want to pick a place that is not only spectacular and fun (it IS a vacation, after all), but your stay should also impact your destination as little as possible, and it should be educational and edifying. Eco-tourism conjures up images of roughing it, however, but that isn’t always the case. It’s possible to enjoy a green vacation and still have a bit of luxury, too. Here is a brief guide to some of the best eco-destinations that you should put on your agenda. Some may surprise you!
This small, peaceful Central American country is a favorite for travelers, expats and vacationers alike. It is a fantastic destination for those who want to experience multiple kinds of ecosystems and amazing biological diversity in a short period of time-and a lot of fun! Costa Rica has some of the highest concentrations of biodiversity anywhere on earth, especially in its nature reserves, which comprise about 25% of the entire country’s territory. Take canopy tours, ride horses, learn how coffee and chocolate are made, hike through virgin rainforest of various types, white-water rafting, volcanoes, hot springs, it’s all there. Plus, there are some excellent eco-lodges where your stay will not put you at odds with nature, such as the Lapa Rios Lodge in the Osa Penisula, right outside the magnificent Corcovado Nature Reserve, or the Selva verde Rainforest Lodge in Sarapiqui, near the Tortuguero National Park’s sea turtle nesting grounds. The food is good, the people are friendly, and you’ll enjoy adding “Pura Vida!” (“Pure Life” in Spanish), which is the Costa Rican informal motto for how life should be led (Simply, enjoyably), to your vocabulary.
Encompassing several countries in the northern parts of Europe, historically Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, but also often Finland and even Holland are lumped in, too. Scandinavia is a more unusual choice for many people when they think of eco-travel-for them, eco-travel equates with hiking and sweating, and sleeping in tents. Not so! You can enjoy the creature comforts that only Europeans know how to provide, all in ecologically-sound venues, with an amazing amount of fun things to do. Alpine vistas, roaring fjords, pebbly beaches, Northern lights and cool green forests provide a welcome break from the mosquitoes in more southern latitudes, and the hospitality is impeccable. Try a dogsled “safari,” snowshoeing, cross-country and mountain skiing, and more. Stay in luxurious or humble accommodations that are in tune with nature, such as the Treehotel in Sweden’s Boreal forests or the Skandic Kna Hotel in Oslo, Norway. You will come away with a new appreciation for the far north, and realize that “white” (snow) can indeed be “green!”
You have never lived until you’ve taken a kayak or canoe trip down a jungle river, surrounded by nothing but the rustling green jungle and the calls of the birds and animals. Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Viet …Read more