Along with the global growth of the travel industry, the increasing demand for environmentally conscious and sustainable travel has also been soaring in popularity. The idea of exploring the world without having a negative impact on the ecosystems and cultures has become a widespread priority among eco-conscious travellers across the globe. With that in mind, we are dishing up some of the best, the most sought-after, and most sustainable eco-friendly experiences around the world just for you!
Destination: Colorado, USA
Zapata Ranch and Conservancy in Colorado, USA, provides landscape-scale conservation of a biologically significant area containing several rare animal and plant species – some found nowhere else in the world. The Conservancy manages the ranches for two reasons: to protect their significant natural values and to demonstrate how cattle and bison operations can co-exist with conservation efforts. At the Zapata Ranch, the bison herd is a conservation species allowed to roam freely across the 50,000 acres of land. Travellers at the ranch can get involved in experiencing life on a cattle ranch, working alongside the ranch staff and wranglers, all whilst not emitting any carbon footprint. In addition, travellers can experience a wide range of activities including horseback riding, moving and working the cattle, riding through the bison herd and exploring the beautiful San Luis Valley of the Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Destination: Thailand & Malaysia
South East Asia is known for the astonishing range of species living within its compact borders. However, the sea turtles that nest here are threatened by poaching, fishing and egg theft. Six out of the seven species of which are classified as vulnerable or endangered, having been threatened by both human interference and climate change. There are sea turtle conservation centres across Thailand and Malaysia that you can visit and even give a helping hand. For example, the Sea Turtle Conservation Center Royal Thai Navy in Sattahip, Thailand; sea turtle conservation programs in Perhentian Islands in Terengganu, Malaysia; or Talang-talang Island of Talang-Satang National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. Volunteers at a turtle conservation centre can live beside the beach and guard hatchlings, monitor nests and contribute to data collection that will be used to protect the turtles and create new regulations to save them, whilst soaking up the beautiful scenery and culture these amazing beaches have to offer.
Destination : Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Coral reefs are amongst the oldest living and most diverse ecosystems on the planet. However, as populations have expanded and economies have grown, people have impoverished the ocean, causes coral reefs to continue to degrade and decline worldwide. Passionate eco-tourism operators and researchers around the world have taken to develop a “Coral Gardens” in Punta Cana, with a goal of protecting the remaining wild coral colonies while increasing coral population by propagating them in underwater nurseries. Now, through Blue Vision Adventures, eco-travellers can head out into the Caribbean Sea where the custom-built metal and rope frames for growing coral fragments located, learn the fundamentals of reef restoration through the Coral First Aid Distinctive Specialty Course offered here, and get hands-on experience in a coral nursery.
Destination: Whistler, Canada
Flying is an indispensable part of travelling, however, it also leaves a gigantic carbon footprint. Many travellers are looking into ways to neutralize the carbon emissions from their flights in order to go “carbon neutral”. The concept of “carbon offsetting” is fairly simple: for every mile, you travel, or rather every tonne of carbon dioxide your mode of travel causes to be released into the atmosphere, you pay a small fee to enable carbon management company to work on solutions to mitigate the damaging ecological effect of your travel. Therefore, fly over Canadian mountains to experience the Black Tusk, the incredible glacial blues of Garibaldi Lake, the magnificent beauty of the Cheakamus Glacier, and the famous Garibaldi Provincial Park in a carbon neutral helicopter by Blackcomb Helicopters can be an eco-conscious experience. Blackcomb Helicopters offers only carbon neutral tourism flights, which measure the greenhouse gases that they emit during each hour of flight and mitigate the emissions from tourism flights by purchasing the equivalent amount of carbon offsets for the Quadra Island Forestland Conservation Project. This project sequesters the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases that they emit and ensures that 418 hectares of forest along the coastline – previously designated to be logged or converted to vacation homes – is now protected parkland.
Destination: Husavik, Iceland
Iceland is well known for being the greenest country in the world, there are many reasons to experience whale watching in Iceland; including the number of whales species, accessibility, the success rates of the tours and their responsible whale watching operators. The whale watching experience conducted by these operators not only aim to reduce the impact on whales but also to make sure that these gargantuan ocean mammals are watched in a carbon-neutral manner by using vessel powered by electricity. The pioneer of whale watching in Iceland – North Sailing, even partners with Húsavík Research Center and Húsavík Whale Museum, conducting research on whales. Scientists can often be observed on board the boats, taking samples and collecting data for conservation research. With an eco-friendly and sustainable approach towards cetaceans and the marine environment, the whale-watching experience is an unforgettable ecotourism experience not to be missed by any eco-conscious traveller.