Do you want to experience the world’s flora and fauna firsthand? Would you like to play a role in its conservation? Are you interested in different cultures? Then consider being an ecotourist!
Ecotourism is more than an outdoor vacation. It is the responsible exploration of natural areas in a way that emphasizes understanding, appreciation, and conservation. Visiting these areas generate money for the local businesses and provide an economic incentive for the protection of biodiversity. Here are some popular ecotourism destinations:
Rainforst EcoLodge in North Queensland, Australia
Backpackers can stay in a simple hut in Mission Beach, located in North Queensland, Australia. The hut is located in a remote location set high in the rainforest and close to the Great Barrier Reef – an international tourism icon. The resort has its own beach and a mostly organic restaurant. Enjoy the symphony of the rainforest sounds at night. During the day, take walking tours of the rainforest or explore the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, boat excursions, and marine education. This is a perfect place for a
Peru Eco Lodge in the Amazon
This minimalist lodge contains 30 bedrooms with private bathrooms and a wall that is open to the forest (mosquito netting provided). Buffet style meals are served on an open porch three times a day, combining local, Creole and international cuisine. Management can arrange suggested tours. They include guided visits to a lake to search for giant river otters, a visit to a 35 meter canopy tower, visits to a parrot clay lick, an ethnobotanical tour, and a hike on rain forest trail.
Hike Maui, USA
Discover Hawaii with Hike Maui, the oldest and largest hiking company in Hawaii. Walk through the jungle, rainforest, sea cliffs, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Hike Maui has private trails to many lush waterfalls that are unavailable to the public. The guides share their knowledge of botany, ethno-botany, geology, history, and culture. You can customize your trip to include hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, and waterfalls.
Alaska Wilderness Tours, USA
Stay in lodges and ranches as you white water raft, climb and explore a glacier, hike, pan for gold, and admire the pristine Alaskan scenery. Alaska Wilderness Tours takes you through a whirlwind trip through Alaska’s most notable scenic locations like the Wrangell Mountains and Prince William Sound. Most days include optional fishing, wildlife spotting, or sightseeing tours so you can choose activities that interest you. Offers family and large group discounts..
Wildlife Watch in Thailand
Rather than the usual temple laden tours of Asia, this program takes you through three national parks in Thailand. At Khao Yai, you will look for gibbons, at Kaeng Krachan you will watch dusky langurs, and at Kui Buri you may find wild elephants (don’t worry, I’ve never heard of gibbons or langurs either – for the curious, a gibbon is a small ape and a langur is a type of monkey). Guides and park rangers provide information about wildlife and conservation. This tour includes accommodations at nature resorts and lodges, which have their own private showers.
A word of caution: Since the term “eco-tourism” is not well defined, please scrutinize any tour or accommodation that advertises itself as such to make sure that they practice environmentally friendly behavior. It would be an extra bonus if they invest a portion of their profits into the community.