Eco adventures for a greener world

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Ecotourism Blog!

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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Recent blog posts

Quite often, I am asked to describe the typical Greenloons travel experience with respect to how our trips promote sustainability for communities, the environment and for travelers. It's always a pleasure for me to give examples, and the latest is no exception.

Posted by on in South America Ecotourism

Even though embarking on a multiday trek is the preferred way to arrive at Machu Picchu, I had just a couple of days in Cusco before heading to the Peruvian Amazon, so I opted instead to take the train/bus there. I am so glad I did because the Vistadome train ride was quite fun and entertaining – complete with views, educational information and, on the way back from Machu Picchu, a dance and fashion show that can only be described as unique.

It’s that time of year where thoughts turn to summer camps, festivals and vacations.

Summertime has always been a great occasion for families to relax, reconnect and (re)discover historical sites, cultural traditions and natural wonders. Fortunately, the United States has a wide variety of nature and wildlife focused activities that spotlight the country’s diversity of flora and fauna.

Have you ever visited a foreign country that immediately felt like 'home' to you? Of course, the scenery, cultural customs, accents and food are all different than what you know. But, instead you experience a strange stirring of familiarity and comfort. I felt that way when traveling through Scotland last month – with the added benefit of sensing that time had slowed down for just a few days.

So many of us are on the hunt for bargains - whether they be food, furnishings or travel bargains. For the extra money saved, some of us will drive an extra 30 minutes to get to the store, overlook the lack of quality, and in the case of sustainable travel even miss what makes a region unique. However, did you know that if every family in the United States spent an extra $10 a month at a locally-owned, independent store (or B&B accommodation) rather than a national chain, it would put back over $9.3 Billion to the economy?

After about 10 years of saying to each other 'I want to go there', my husband and I finally had a chance to visit Istanbul, Turkey a few weeks ago. While it's not a city that even claims to be sustainable or green-minded, the historical treasures of Istanbul are worth a visit perhaps in combination with a sailing or cycling trip along the coast.

I'm not sure any guidebook can fully prepare a person for the colors, sounds, tastes, smells and sheer diversity of collectibles offered while walking through the labyrinth (and archeological marvel) that is the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar of Istanbul, Turkey. For me, it was as I had imagined it to be and more.

One of our eco-certified partners, EcoCamp Patagonia, has just produced its first infographic about the famed W Trek through Torres del Paine and we wanted to share it with our readers to give you a better sense of 7 day trekking experience.

It is downright tough to plan an extraordinary family vacation these days. Assuming you find a convenient time on the busy family calendar, you have to be conscious about activity and meal preferences -- as well as your budget.

Tying in the aspiration that the vacation be educational or experiential may overwhelm the planning process altogether. However, that need not be the case with these four vacation planning tips.

When I first read this infographic on water usage from Loch Ness Water Gardens, I was amazed at how many gallons of water it took to produce one glass of orange juice (45 gallons) or just one egg (53 gallons). It got me thinking that from a sustainable travel point of view, as healthy and fresh water becomes more scarce in many parts of the world, it would be relatively easy for me to forgo certain foods while traveling. What do you think? What would you try giving up during your travels?

Tourism is the largest industry in the world and, as such, has the power to (positively or negatively) change lives and impact communities. Along with that, Greenloons has consistently advocated the values of authentic ecotourism, namely, sustainable or responsible tourism activities that uphold community:

Recently, I read an article on CNN entitled '3 undeniable reasons to explore Mexico' that discussed the notion that “the drug violence that grabs most of the headlines shouldn’t define a country so rich in world-class attractions”.

Having visited the states of Chiapas in 2011 and Veracruz in 2012, I completely agree with that sentiment.

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.

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.

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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