In the spirit of spring break, which unfortunately just ended, I thought I would look into environmentally conscious vacations. Most of us have probably never thought of this type of trip, but “ecotourism” is actually an increasingly popular vacation choice.
According to The International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism is defined as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Some of the more popular areas for this type of travel are Costa Rica, India, Africa, Patagonia (which hopefully everyone knows is an actual place), and many others across South and North America.
Furthermore, the website explains the principles of ecotourism which are: minimize impact, build environmental and cultural awareness and respect, provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts, provide direct financial benefits for conservation, provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people, and raise sensitivity to host countries’ political, environmental, and social climate.
Essentially this vacation would help travelers appreciate the environment as well as enjoy an exciting getaway to exotic locations. When choosing a sustainable vacation, there are numerous options, from active adventures, to community service projects, to relaxing escapes. However, any of these types of excursions will increase your knowledge and hopefully appreciation for the environment and our natural resources.
After reading about different locations that offer ecotourism, I would definitely suggest this vacation for a nature lover. The housing is much more natural and focused on having a minimal impact, as well as bringing people closer to nature. In fact, many ecotourism sites actually have “ecolodges” which focus on nature, sustainable practices and minimal impact. Some of the experiences you might have while on an ecotourism vacation in Costa Rica include eating natural and local food, hiking through the rainforest, horseback riding and viewing plant and animal species in their natural habitat. However, activities will vary based on your location.
If you are considering an ecotourism vacation for maybe this summer or your next spring break I definitely suggest you check out The International Ecotourism Society website, which provides information on locations and programs. Hopefully, more and more of us will start thinking about bringing sustainability not only to our everyday lives, but also to our international travel.