Ecotourism and responsible travel are rising nowadays and for good reasons. Most of the countries realised that they need to protect and preserve what they have, the natural environment. This is for the sake of everyone, local communities, visitors, wild inhabitants and for the greater good of our planet. Some countries even step up this and imposed rules of conservation and taxes. If you want to be part, to contribute for a better world here is a few eco-friendly destinations you must visit in 2019.
In recent year, Iceland seems to increase the number of tourists. The country is one of the most popular eco-friendly destinations among the travel community.
But, besides the fact, Iceland government takes serious precautions to make sure the conservation of the sites. This is very important to ensure sustainability, and every citizen contributes to this. The locals are very conscious about this issue, so they do the best to preserve the land, animals and the resources. The country has an active role when fighting against ocean pollution, they have sustainable fishing practices, and utilize its natural geothermal resources for heat and electricity production.
The accommodations usually are eco-friendly and activities are mostly outdoors to enjoy the surrounding environment. Iceland the land of the Northern Lights, natural hot springs, volcanoes, glaciers, and fjords are so breathtaking.
The island is for sure leading the way when you think in eco-friendly destinations.
Azores archipelago, part of Portugal, is composed of nine beautiful islands. The local population still have traditional methods for some works and an environmentally-conscious way of life.
First of all, don’t expect to see big resorts in the Azores. It isn’t part of the island culture, so the accommodation is made mostly from local guesthouses and small family business hotels. The food is so delicious and locally sourced. In São Miguel you can appreciate ‘Cozido daS Furnas’, a typical dish, that is prepared in little-steaming holes. Locals lowering the pot in a hot spring heated by volcanic steam, to cook the food.
The Azores is also known by birdwatching destination, where you can find two of Europe’s rarest birds, the Azores Bullfinch and the Monteiro's Storm Petrel. As for marine life, the opportunity is so diverse, it’s like entering in Jules Verne territory, you can see whales, dolphins, turtles, and various species of fishes.
The Azores islands are no short in ecotourism experiences, with so many activities, link to nature conservation. Despite o the small size of the islands, the land has a lot to offer, no wonder the Azores are one of the best eco-friendly destinations in Europe.
You certainly heard about the unbelievable Norwegian fjord. But, Norway is much more; with jaw-dropping landscaping and natural beauty.
The local people are very conscious about sustainability and do the best they can to be environmentally responsible.
The mindset of Norwegians are extraordinaire, everyone works together to protect their land. They are concern about the future generations, so they always try to make sure they will see what they have today.
Kids learn since young age the importance of things like recycling, reusing and reduction. The country has programs to combat food waste and also the environmental concern was extended to the car industry, electric cars selling have grown immensely.
Norway is always contributing to being one of the must-visit eco-friendly destinations, with tourism activities consistently focus on sustainable and responsible ways. The country is listed among one of the greenest countries on the world. They sure are leading the way when the issue involves nature; even the government have a role in this when they recently didn’t approve the proliferation of Norway’s sea.
Slovenia maybe isn't one of the most wanted countries in Europe but is a hidden gem. This small country has been pointing to green tourism a while. They are very proud of their green credentials and in 2107 they were leaders in sustainable tourism. The capital Ljubljana was elected Europe's Greenest Capital in 2016 by the European Union.
It is easy to understand why. Nearly 60 per cent of Slovenia is covered in lush forests. The 40 parks and reserves are home to 20,000 different plants and animals, with a network of diverse hiking trails. So, the country is attracting eco-tourists.
The Slovenian government agreed to protect the country pristine lands as they expand the tourism sector. The country is rich in a natural environment, with caves, glaciers, beaches, and lakes.
For someone who loves the outdoors and wants a chance to get close to nature, Slovenia is the perfect place. If you are looking for adventure sports but, with the best practices for sustainability, you are in the right place.
São Tomé e Princípe
Some of you may never have heard of this nation but, African São Tomé and Príncipe were been increasing in eco-friendly destinations to visit.
In São Tomé and Príncipe, 90% of the archipelago is covered by trees and the only way to get through is a new road that was constructed. The nation proximity to Equador makes them part of a volcano chain. Is common to see striking rock and coral formations, rainforests, and beaches.
The larger island is São Tomé, with an iconic place, the Lagoa Azul. An incredible blue lagoon. Here you can also find, Ôbo Natural Park, a biodiverse jungle preserve with the Pico Cão Grande volcanic rock formation.
The little island of Príncipe is a forgotten paradise, with greenery, wildlife, and desert beaches. The island is Unesco World Biosphere and it is almost like being in a movie, with birds, whales, and turtles everywhere. In fact, São Tomé and Príncipe is an important marine turtle nesting site, including for hawksbill turtles.
The archipelago has dozens of fishes, amphibians, snakes, and bats. Every year new species turn up regularly. In 2017 the São Tomé cobra appears and several unique fishes were spotted by National Geographic expedition in 2006 still wanting to be caught and categorized.
Everything is this tiny African nation revolved around the plantations. Once, they were the world’s largest producers of cacao. Today the coffee has still been produced and cacao still thrives.
São Tomé and Príncipe still an undiscovered paradise with a lot to see. It definitely a nation to visit if you are looking for ecotourism.
Costa Rica is a renowned country for its eco-friendly practices. The government has strict laws to protect biodiversity, making preservation and conservation of natural resources a huge priority.
The country is leading the way, with roughly 25% of its territory as national parks and biological reserves protected and also using 95% renewable energy sources. Costa Rica is an example of what every world nation should do, they are working to become the first carbon-neutral country by 2021.
Costa Rica is a true paradise for ecotourism and eco-conscious tourists. The diversity wilderness, with tropical off the beaten path places and always thinking in minimize the impact in nature makes the country one of the most eco-friendly destinations to visit.
If you are thinking about accommodations, they have a great selection of eco-lodges. The activities and guided tours are also available to reduce the environmental impact and with a positive income on the communities in the area. With all of this, you should be booking now a ticket to Costa Rica.
Tourism has been playing a crucial role in Peru economy. In recent year the country becomes an ecotourism paradise. When we speak of sustainable tourism this also means conscientious travel. Here you must take care of the environment, you are free to explore but, always respecting the communities, and contribute to the improvement of the places you visit.
The country has hundreds of mammals, including rare species like the puma or jaguar. The marine species are also diverse, with large quantities of tuna, anchovies, sea bass, shellfish, sharks, whales, and crustaceans.
The flora continues to be in various numbers. The cloud-forest slopes of the Andes, the Amazon rainforest, the coastal deserts, the river valleys, and the highlands have unique species of plants.
The Peruvian Rainforest in very important, with deforestation, proving to be the biggest threat to the fragile ecosystem. The Government of Peru has made some progress by setting aside tracts of rainforest in the form of National Park Reserves and regulating the entry of tour groups to these reserves. In 2008, to help in the promotion of the conservation of the environment they create Peru's first Ministry of Environment.
At one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites, Machu Picchu, tourism can also be sustainable. The government has imposed new rules to regulate and restrict the flow of tourists. Only 2,500 tourists a day is allowed, and only 500 permits a day are granted for the so popular Inca Trail. The trail will close in February every year for cleaning, and maintenance purposes.
Peru still has a lot to go before being at the leadership of eco-friendly destinations but, for now, is on the right path.
It is never been easy to keep the balance between tourism and conservation, but Belize is doing a good job. Tourism represents the country top sources of revenue and livelihood depends on nature.
The government has been encouraged all the citizens to build their own tourism industry. The main goal was also to support community-based projects and accentuated the interest of locals in protecting their own environment.
Belize has a rich variety of wildlife. This is due to the advantage position between North and South America. Is common to see sanctuaries where the mantra is, wildlife preservation. Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a unique place for jaguar protection. In Belize, 60% of land surface is covered by forest and the remaining is covered by cultivated land, agriculture, and human settlements.
When it comes to protecting biodiversity and natural resources, Belize is a leader. The country has low deforestation rate, and one of the most extensive systems of terrestrial protected areas in the Americas.
As for the waters, they are also protected. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest in the world, and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Home of a large diversity of plants and animals, and is one of the most diverse ecosystems of the world.
In 2010 the government had a revolutionary decision to completely ban bottom trawling or as is common say "dragging". In 2015 they banned offshore oil drilling within 1km of the Barrier Reef and all of its seven World Heritage Sites. Tourism in Belize has been a combination of natural factors. With so many things to do, from fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, diving, rafting, kayaking, hiking, bird watching the ecotourism industry is thriving
When you thinking in Rwanda it is sure you aren't thinking of eco-friendly. This may be a surprise but, this African nation is one of the cleanest in the world. It's actually been a while since Rwanda adapt strategies to integrating green growth and climate resilience plans.
For instance, they were one of the first countries to ban plastic bags. The country has also, a monthly nation-wide cleanup day. The Rwandan government is committed to nationwide landscape restoration every single year. To achieve this, they plant millions of trees to protect the country's forests, rivers, and wetlands.
Rwanda has a groundbreaking investment fund, the largest of its kind in Africa, the Green Fund. This serves to support the best projects who assist the country commitment to a green economy.
As for the tourists, Rwanda isn't looking for massification tourism but, the right tourists. If you are a nature lover, responsible travel and interested in protecting and improving all the environment, you must go to this Africa nation. They need tourists who are passionate about wildlife conservation and wilderness protection.
Rwanda is nowadays a fast-growing country but, gives an example to every country in the world. They took the opportunity to build an economy that can be sustainable and environmentally responsible and that provides prosperity for future generations.
An eco-friendly city? Is that possible? Many people ask the question...Well, after we been to Singapore, the answer is: yes! The country is on the tops of the list in most Asian eco-friendly destinations.
All in this place is committed to sustainability and environmental responsibility. The locals are the ones to give an example, and governmental have very serious restricted laws to protect nature. The green technology is everywhere in the nation. With people using public transportation or even using electric cars.
A limited amount of energy is used in residential and commercial properties, to cut down the release of greenhouse gases and ensure that urbanization does not conflict with the environment. The construction of green buildings is mandatory. Gardens by the Bay is a good example of that, with a design for sustainable cycles of energy and water.
The eleven Supertrees have environmental functions, with photovoltaic cells on their canopies to harvest solar energy for lighting and others, serving as air exhaust receptacles. The conservatories and lakes have also ecological processes and functions.
Singapore is light years ahead in environmental sustainability. They highlight 4 principles to achieve this: sustainable economy, sustainable living environment, sustainable development of the people and international collaboration.
The country knows how to keep the balance the planet need, with people and economy leading the way.
It’s not new that New Zealand is a country with beautiful landscaping. The country has it all, mountains, beaches, volcanoes, glaciers, basically everything you can imagine. The land is one of the last lands to be settled by humans because, of its remoteness.
New Zealand is very committed to reducing the environmental footprint. In fact, the country is on a quest to be completely free from fossil fuels by 2025. For that, they intend to better utilize its abundant geothermal energy sources.
New Zeland is synonymous of ecotourism, because of the number of experiences and unique jaw-dropping natural wonders of the two islands that compose the country. The diversity of ecosystems and wildlife makes such a huge difference.
Even tour agencies are quean on sustainable and eco-friendly principles. Here, it's also one of the only places in the world that is possible to see the Southern Lights.
The preoccupation with nature seems to go along and Air New Zeland announced that was ditching single-use plastic items including cups, lids, and bags from their flights. The measure will stop more than 24 millions pieces of plastic being used each year.
One tiny nation in the Micronesia region is always featuring lists of eco-tourism destinations visit, this is Palau. The Republic of Palau is a series of more than 200 volcanic and coral islands, located in the Pacific Ocean. A dreamy tropical paradise but, with a difficult to reach.
Palau has a serious problem because is directly being negatively affected by climate change. This and the fact that in the past the country environmental policies weren't the best, deteriorating local ecosystems, contributed to change mentalities. They completely revolutionize the way they approached development and tourism.
So, in the last decade, the country has committed to maintaining their coastlines and expanding the conservation areas that were already in place. As a result, Palau appears many times on the Ethical Traveller list. The practice of ecotourism in Palau is intensive, with organizations taking people on multi-day, eco-themed tours of the island that include conservation projects too.
The government is very keen to protect the land and marine life, setting aside 80% of the marine territory as a sanctuary. They are also trying their best in protecting coral reefs, creating no-fishing zones. The local population has encouraged to turn to aquaculture, with crab farming. One of the most popular experiences in the country is diving. This draws the attention of visitors, special to dive in the famous Jellyfish Lake.
To visit Palau, you must sign the Palau Pledge to act responsibly and protect the island natural and cultural heritage. The measure is to promote eco-friendly values above high-volume growth. The main goal is that tourists came to the country but, spend a considerable amount of capital there.
When we speak of Patagonia, people immediately think of out of this world landscape. Ecotourism in the word of order to visit and if you are looking to eco-friendly destinations you should definitely go there.
The region covers the southern places of Argentina and Chile. Being one of the most naturally diverse and amazing destinations in the world. Is home to breathtaking sceneries, with volcanoes, hot springs, mountain ranges, glaciers, desert, and lush rolling hills. The wildlife is another plus, here, with whale watching, penguins or even the rare guanacos.
Birdlife is often abundant in Patagonia. The Andean condor, one of the largest birds in the world, can be seen here. There are so many things you can experience in the region, glamping, embark on a road trip or even multi-day treks providing a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
This area of the world is so pristine and visitors frequented because of its natural beauty. So, Patagonia is breading of eco-friendly.
Raking many times as the happiest country in the world, Bhutan is a very restricted nation. If you want to go there, the only way is to book through an official tour company, meaning the prices will rise up quickly.
But, maybe it worth the effort, Bhutan has 70% of its land covered by forest. Making them, the world’s literal greenest countries. The country is a good example of how tourism can help in the promotion of a place but, without ruing cultural aspects, traditions, and natural resources.
Bhutanese tourism strategy is to control everything you want to do in the country. The tourist attractions are the traditional culture and way of life, its religious festivals, historic monuments, and its pristine environment. For those who want to visit Bhutan, the imposing of a 200USD fee per person, per day (this included royalty charge, food, accommodation, local transport, and guides) is mandatory.
This tariff help providing a source of government income for education, health and building tourism and transport infrastructure. Bhutan is definitely one of the eco-friendly destinations you must visit.
British Columbia, Canada
Canada is a country where nature plays an important role. Leading the way of the greenest province in Canada is British Columbia, with green jobs, buildings, energy efficiency, and organic food on the top charts.
British Columbia is a leader in sustainable environmental management. The water and air quality are always ranking among the highest in the world. Even waste solutions is a good example of a great deal to preserve the surrounding environment.
Part of policies of the country pass by reusing and rehabilitation of the historical buildings. Some of them are included in tourism attractions, consisting of a sustainable heritage.
If you are a nature lover British Columbia should be on your list of eco-tourism destinations to visit. From an immense and rugged coastline to dense forests, not forgetting the amazing national parks and marvellous lakes, this province of Canada is all about green. The adventurous travellers get their change here too. The hiking is one of the top-notch, but you can also rafting, canoeing, skiing or snowboarding.
The wildlife viewing opportunities are everywhere. Don't forget camping and go fishing, for more relaxing holidays.