Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eco-Tourism Exploring

Through the jungle, around the rushing brooks, guided by a native guide who’s lived near or in the same forest his whole life. Is it the standard vacation? No, but ecotourism destinations are the perfect way to stay green when on holiday. With options like rainforest exploring, trekking in the shadows of the Australian Blue Mountains, and staying in a sustainable camp in Africa, you're not going to be left without a plan for long.

Visiting the “Lungs of Our Planet”
The rainforest is disappearing, despite conservation efforts. Combining a trip that benefits local preservation groups is an informed and responsible choice in the ever-changing global climate!

Ecotourism Experts Comment: “Often called the 'Lungs of our Planet' the remarkable Amazon rainforest surrounds Earth's largest river system and supports thousands of plant and animal species in the 1.2 billion acres it occupies.”

Take Your Break in... Salvador. Located in the north of Brazil, Salvador was the stage for complex historical events, some of the first colonial settlements in Brazil, and the birth of a rich Afro-Brazilian culture. Try staying at Pestana Convento do Carmo Hotel, which is the first luxury historical hotel in Brazil. Colonial architecture blends with traditional Brazilian touches at this spot located in a neighborhood steeped in culture.

Diving in the Galapagos
Giant turtles and nationally-protected islands make the Galapagos a traveler's dream.

Ecotourism Experts Comment: “Visiting the Galapagos is the eco-traveler equivalent of making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Some 97 percent of the islands are protected by the Galapagos National Park Service.”

Take Your Break in... Peru. The Galapagos lie west of Ecuador, and that means you should definitely take the time to explore this pocket of South America. Peru's luxury hotels will surprise you, because they combine stunning settings with modern convenience, plus a fascinating blend of culture wherever you look. The Hotel Monasterio was built as a monastary in 1592 and happens to be a great spot for those planning on visiting Machu Picchu and Cuzco during their stay in Peru.

Viewing Wildlife in Botswana
African big game doesn't have to be seen solely on safari.

Ecotourism Experts Comment: “Elephant herds, leopards, lions, zebras, hippos, white rhinos, and chacma baboons are just some of the glorious creatures you will encounter in Botswana.”

Take Your Break in... the Khwai River Lodge. This particular lodge keeps the eco-friendly sentiment in mind by blending into the forested background, leaving you in Africa's true wilderness. The Khwai River floodplains stretch out below the luxury hotel by Orient-Express, and you'll be in a prime position to spot wild dogs, elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Lounge on a private deck with a hammock and easy chair, keeping your eyes trained at the expanse of forest and plains around you. Who knows what you might see?

Exploring the Riches of Costa Rica
Costa Rica's true wonders are a rich climate, stunning landscape, and miles of beach.

Ecotourism Experts Comment: “Costa Rica's renowned back-to-nature ethos has helped make the country virtually synonymous with the concept of ecotourism. It has more than held true to its name, which means 'Rich Coast.'"

Take Your Break In... “The Place Near the Ear Trees.” The hotel Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort is situated in one of Costa Rica's least-populated provinces, in an area called "The Place Near the Ear Trees" by native inhabitants. Boasting one of the last parts of tropical dry forest in Central America, this province is a must-explore for travel junkies. The resort is elegant and well-situated, with nearby lakes, beaches, and wildlife refuges.

For more inspiration, the International Ecotourism Society website is waiting. Read up on vacation options and then cross-reference with to plan a vacation that supports green efforts, but that still allows time for rest. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? You can hike all day, but do take some a break to bed down in a luxurious location, particularly in times between tours.

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