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Welcome to the Greenloons Blog, your go-to ecotourism / sustainable / responsible (or whatever term you feel comfortable with) travel resource. Here, you will find eco travel destination profiles, environmentally friendly travel tips, ecotourism certification information, eco trip reviews and much more! Read, share and let us know your thoughts about ecotourism!

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Irene Lane

Irene Lane

Irene is the founder & president of Greenloons. She is a dual EU citizen who has lived in 5 countries and visited 32 more in Asia, Oceania, Latin America and Europe. Drawing upon her professional and personal experiences to address authentic ecotourism from community, ecological and financial points of view, Irene is a frequent conference speaker, Huffington Post blogger and radio talk show guest. 

One of my travel bucket list destinations is Rio de Janeiro in Brazil during Carnival. This year, Carnival, a festival that is all about parties and fun (and dare I say lots of deadly sins), will run from February 9-12, 2013.

If you are one of the lucky ones who will be there and are wondering whether you can travel sustainably during Carnival, here are some responsible travel tips for cost-conscious accommodations, guides and restaurants in the Rio de Janeiro area:

Posted by on in South America Ecotourism

Brazil is hot, hot, hot right now and on top of many travel lists including most recently topping the grand-daddy of registers, namely The New York Times 46 Places to Visit in 2013.

For many reasons, Brazil is experiencing an upswing in eco travel choices. Whether it’s due to its friendly and welcoming people who will be playing host to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics or because the nature and wildlife in the Amazon Rainforest is synonymous with Brazil, the country is ready for the eco adventure spotlight.

While many journalists, philosophers, scientists and lay people debated the significance of the Mayan calendar finishing last December 21, one fact that was consistently overlooked was that the Mayans celebrated the end of their calendar as it was regarded as a new beginning.

For example, the last time the Mayan calendar started over, a little more than 5,100 years ago, it coincided with the creation of the written word as well as the development of the first cities and nations. Ideas flourished and, along with them, debate became more commonplace as well.

Last October, the Conservation Ecology Centre near Cape Otway in Victoria, Australia announced the birth of four Tiger Quoll joeys. The announcement was significant because even 10 years ago, Wild Tiger Quolls were thought to be extinct in Cape Otway and because this was the Centre's first attempt at creating a breeding program.

In the last few years, the Conservation Ecology Centre established the Great Ocean Ecolodge as an ecologically responsible social enterprise where all profits would be invested back into wildlife conservation. Not only are vital funds being raised, but the Ecolodge also provides opportunities for people all over the world to get involved in exciting, hands-on conservation.

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  • Lara @ Cheap Car Hire Australia
    Lara @ Cheap Car Hire Australia says #
    Great work, exploring the destination by saving the environment and people get aware of the status and work. Good going. Keep shar

Posted by on in Ecotourism Trip Reviews

It's always wonderful to visit family in Florida, but there is only so many theme parks one can explore before it becomes tiresome - for the adults and kids. That was why this Holiday Season, I decided to change things up and treat the entire family (ranging in ages from seven to 67 years young) to a kayaking trip through Everglades National Park. Throughout the entire four-hour experience, my seven-year-old son kept mouthing the word "sweet!", indicating that he was having a blast.

How do you know when eco-certified travel is going mainstream? It is when customers and hotel chains both extol the virtues of certification and eco-labels.

Earlier this year, a Canadian Travel Intentions Survey found that 25% of leisure travelers and 31% of business travelers said that a hotel with an environmental certification program was important to them. Overall, 42% of business travelers surveyed said that practices like recycling and energy efficiency matter to them when choosing where to stay (up five percent from 2011) and the same percentage of all travelers said they would pay $1 or more to offset their carbon footprint during a stay at a property.

Posted by on in Greenloons

If you are looking for a unique gift idea this season that extols the concepts of sustainability and pay-it-forward sentiments, we have some great suggestions for you. These gifts are quick and easy to organize, meaningful and will be well-received by anyone on your list.

Think you can’t afford to live a much more sustainable lifestyle? That's a popular misconception - as the demand of environmentally-friendly products has grown over the years, consumers have been conditioned to believe that green goods or eco products equate to more expensive merchandise. While this is not the case with most eco-vacations, as we pointed out last year in this Blog, this infographic alerts consumers to the fact that a lot of “green” choices cost little or nothing…and when you add them all together, you may actually be saving money.

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  • Smithe159
    Smithe159 says #
    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is

Posted by on in Sustainable Travel News

Patagonia is one of the world's greatest natural treasures—admired for both its ecological significance and its extraordinary beauty. However, in the last 100 years, forest fires and human intervention have destroyed more than 7.5 million acres of pristine wilderness.

One of the region's worst fires occurred in December 2011, destroying 42,500 acres in Torres del Paine National Park. This tragedy inspired Reforest Patagonia, the largest native-species reforestation campaign in Chile's history.

Over the years, I've had a couple of medical curveballs thrown at me – some even while I was traveling outside the United States. But, up until a few weeks ago, I never had to go further than the local pharmacy or clinic to fix the ailment.

That was not the case in Interlaken, Switzerland where I all of a sudden found myself at the E.R. wondering if I had broken my hand after an afternoon of canyoning. I had just spent the week in Luzern at the Adventure Travel World Summit and decided to take an early train to Interlaken (for a post-Summit conference) so that I could go paragliding – a calming, scenic, safe adventure excursion. What I didn't count on was the rain, which of course negated any possibility of paragliding that day. The other choice was canyoning.

Posted by on in Ecotourism Trip Reviews

It’s actually a really cool concept! A bike that is equipped with a re-chargeable battery connected to a small and silent bike motor that helps you to traverse the rolling hills and, sometimes, steep terrain of Switzerland.

Posted by on in Europe Sustainable Travel

After days of overcast and rain, the morning sun over Luzern was a very welcome sight! I was not reveling alone as (it seemed) many of Luzern’s residents, visitors and children came out in droves either for a stroll along the city’s main tourist attractions or a moment of contemplation in one of its many quiet, hidden corners.

Posted by on in Ecotourism Trip Reviews

Dear Veracruz,

It’s been almost one month since I came home from your amazing State that stretches along the Gulf Coast like “the graceful tentacle of a sea creature” – and I’m still smiling.

I loved how the strong Mexican sun cascaded all over your lovely beaches, mountainous peaks and formidable rivers, and the even friendlier hospitality that permeated through all your people. I loved learning about your indigenous cultures as well as the infusion of Afro-Cuban and Spanish artistry, music, foods, bright colors, and traditions. More huachinango a la veracruzana, (red snapper in a spicy tomato sauce) por favor!

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  • Gaby Vega
    Gaby Vega says #
    Very nice, Irene. I was wondering how to make a posting distinctive since all blogs seem to be constrained to a certain graphic st
  • Irene Lane
    Irene Lane says #
    I very much appreciate your comments Gaby! To readers, if you want inside knowledge about surf and adventure tours in El Salvador

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council recently spotlighted Norway's efforts toward ecotourism:

The Norwegian fjords have a tourism history dating back to 1850. The area is known for its pristine natural beauty and its stunning fjords and has won many accolades. In 2006, two of its fjords were named among the world’s best-cared-for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and in 2009 the region was rated the world’s most iconic travel destination by National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine.

This article was originally posted in Business Insider and was so telling and accurate, I thought it would be useful to re-post here.

How often do you check your LinkedIn and Facebook accounts when you travel? Perhaps you like to stay connected or maybe you prefer to unplug completely. Either way, your social media and tech habits say something about what type of traveler you are. Expedia has analyzed people's travel habits based on 40,000 trips booked through their site. Based on that information, they've created an infographic that shows how tech and social media habits affect travel.

While Costa Rica comprises only .01% of the earth’s landmass, it is home to five percent (5%) of the planet’s biodiversity. Breaking it down even more, within Costa Rica, the Osa Peninsula provides a pristine habitat to more than half of all the bird, butterfly, mammal and plant species found in the country.

In other words, if you want to see 2.5% of the planet’s flora and fauna species during one vacation, head to the Osa Peninsula!

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  • Costa Rica Eco Lodge
    Costa Rica Eco Lodge says #
    Thank God there are still entrepreneurs with a high environmental awareness. I'm very happy living in the osa peninsula, where tou

Some of my formative summer seasons were spent in Rhode Island and since Block Island and Newport were within close driving (or ferry) distance, it never occurred to our family to visit Kennebunkport too. Well, during all those summers, we were definitely missing out!

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  • Rhonda Cira
    Rhonda Cira says #
    Amazing pictures,it seems you had a great fun over there,Even I am planning for a vacation over there.

By now, you are probably experiencing the lazy days of August in the run up to September, where school starts, fall sports and cooler weather change the dynamic of weekend getaways. However, if you’ve got one more weekend getaway left in you and want to do something really different – check out these great festivals in the United States and around the world.

If you are looking for some eco travel inspiration, start by visiting the towns across the United States that host some of the greenest college campuses. Compiled by Online Colleges Guide, this infographic depicts how many colleges are leading the charge in building LEED certified buildings, growing their own crops in organic farms and gardens, and offering degrees in sustainability.

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  • Isaac Nicklaus Pek
    Isaac Nicklaus Pek says #
    Isaac
    Hi, I'm a student who's studying International Toursim Management, in Taylor's University Lakeside Campus, Malaysia. This blog ha
  • Nicole
    Nicole says #
    Nicole
    I am a degree student undergoing my studies in International Tourism Management (Travel and Recreation), The blog has very useful

Croatia has been receiving a lot of press lately as the “new” and relatively untouched area of Europe for wanderlusts to discover. The country offers pristine beaches, hiking trails and vineyards for adventures and culinary enthusiasts alike.

In addition, since 1993, Croatia has also instituted the Environmental Label, so that consumers could understand the “environmental friendliness of a product…and an indication of continuous efforts (toward) environmental protection”.

Rolling hills, castles, churches, potatoes, shamrocks and leprechauns – that’s what Ireland means to me! Since 2004, Ireland has also stood for a practical ecotourism standard. Developed by the organization, Ecotourism Ireland, and in association with Failte Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the (Ireland) Environmental Protection Agency, the National Standards Authority of Ireland and the (Ireland) National Parks & Wildlife Service, the eco-label aims to expand the concept of environmental sustainability and stewardship through extensive training and accreditation procedures.

This short video (shot entirely on June 8, 2012) encapsulates the festive nature of Warsaw during the opening day of the Euro 2012 football (soccer) championships. Co-hosting with Ukraine, Poland's capital city was well prepared for guests ensuring plenty of public transportation for fans to get to the big game, and open areas with large screens so revelers could watch Poland play Greece.

Our family visit to Poland earlier this month came about because we had the opportunity to attend the opening game of Euro 2012 (Poland versus Greece) in Warsaw. While it was a thrilling match (not just because I’m Greek and my husband is Polish) in a pretty city, I found Warsaw to be too austere for my taste and was happy to get on train south to Krakow for a different view of Polish life.

From the moment we stepped off the train in Krakow and within minutes, found ourselves walking down pedestrian-only Floriańska to the main market square (Rynek Główny), our family felt that we had just arrived in a very special place that not only had a long history - one look at the architecture alone tells this - but proud and deep cultural roots that were not going to succumb to commercialism anytime soon. That notion made my little ecotourism heart so happy!

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  • Matt
    Matt says #
    Matt
    I fully agree! Well, I had my stay in Krakow taken care of by an excellent and professional tour operator (DiscoverCracow: https:/
  • Anna
    Anna says #
    I found much cheaper company organizing all kind of tours, they have tickets point at Grodzka street and you can book also tours o

It’s just about time for the start of one of the most hallowed traditions in football (aka soccer for us Americans). It’s time for UEFA's Euro 2012 and the host countries of Poland and Ukraine are ready to showcase their stadiums, culture and sportsmanship to the world.

Posted by on in Ecotourism Trip Reviews

Last March, I had the pleasure of staying in three distinct green lodgings in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which emphasized the city’s culture, history, diversity, and ecological sensitivity. Quito Turismo, the tourism office for the capital, sponsored my stay at a lovely trio of accommodations that was affordable, centrally located and comfortable.

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  • Meropi Kolokotroni
    Meropi Kolokotroni says #
    We stayed at Patio Andaluz during our trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It is a lovely place with great people and very

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