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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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Logans Pass Continental Divide Glacier National ParkThis past July, my husband and I biked through one of our nation’s most iconic parks, Glacier National Park. Just one year earlier, the park was ravaged by fire caused by persistent drought in the region. 

Yet, this summer, signs of recovery – in the form of lots of sightings of bears, cougars, bald eagles and wildflowers – were already showing Mother Nature’s determination.

Glacier National Park, which was formed prior to the establishment of our National Park Service in 1916, is filled with many plant and mammal species as well as prairie, forest, alpine and, of course, glacial features.  

Green River Whitewater RaftingLast month, I, along with my 11 year old son and some other family members, embarked on a multi-day whitewater rafting and camping adventure along the Green River that connects Colorado and Utah.  

We considered ourselves to be relatively experienced for this trip given that I had participated in two days of whitewater rafting on the Pacure River in Costa Rica (Class III-IV) and rafted in the state of Veracruz in Mexico (Class III), my son had enrolled in a couple of day rafting trips around the Washington, DC area (Class II), and another family member obtained her whitewater rafting certification, as a young adult.  

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  • Sarah Smith
    Sarah Smith says #
    Thanks
    My family wants to plan a rafting trip. Thanks for the advice about how you should make sure you know the signals and practice the

Rock Climbing Outside SkopjeWhen I was four years old, my family moved from Athens, Greece to Lausanne, Switzerland so that my father could pursue a career opportunity.  

Thinking that it would be a fun adventure, my parents decided to drive to Switzerland through Yugoslavia.

All I remember from that mid 1970s road trip was seeing lots of mountains. However, last month, I had another opportunity to explore more closely Macedonia (also known as the Republic of Macedonia or the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - FYROM) and what was most surprising to me was how many options there are for adventure travelers.

Ambassador for the EnvironmentA few months ago, for our Spring Break, our family traveled to the Hawaiian island of Maui.  We chose Maui for a few reasons including the chance to experience Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment program, which is affiliated with three of Ritz-Carlton's Resorts (Maui, Grand Cayman, and Puerto Rico), and to better understand how the programs were affecting local communities, ocean conservation efforts, and of course children's understanding (and interest) in environmental issues.

Although we signed up for the Whale Watch excursion as a family, it was cancelled due to rough seas. However, our son did have the chance to participate in the Survivor program.

Horse BlogWhile I know my son was having a wonderful time at his summer camp in New Hampshire, I was still so glad to be able to have this extended road trip with my daughter.

During part one of this two-part series, I talked about our adventures from Georgia up to New Hampshire. Now, at the half way point of the trip, appropriately spent riding a zip line over the Pemigewassett River and then taking a gondola up the White Mountains to explore some granite caves, we now had to continue back home.

After my son's visitation day, my daughter and I explored D Acres a bit more. We took a dip in the swimming hole, rode our bikes to some surrounding farms to visit some goats and a friendly horse, and hung out in the open-air "Summer Kitchen".

AirBnB Inspired Road TripAs my son was packing up for another season at his summer camp in New Hampshire, I realized I had to do something to make these weeks special for my daughter too. So what better than a grand road trip!

My daughter and I love animals and have been especially interested in raising chickens after our town passed legislation allowing them to be kept locally. My daughter even began lobbying school administrators to create a kind of 4-H club for some students to raise a few hatched chicks.

So, creating a trip to visit chickens along our route seemed like a natural theme for our adventure!

Fogo Island Edge of the WorldAs our plane landed at St. John’s Airport in Newfoundland, we could hear the sound of joyful clapping and exhilarated Yahoo’s throughout the plane. That was a surprise to me because other than taking overseas flights to Athens, Greece (where it’s common to clap and make the sign of the cross for just about every blessing and gratitude you feel you have) I hadn’t heard anyone clap the crew for a safe landing in decades.

What we quickly found out was that for some passengers during our middle of July flight, it had taken three days to get back home to St. John’s from Toronto. "Welcome to St. John’s" said our flight attendant, "and for those who are coming home, you knew what you were getting into when you moved here!

We can all play a part in improving our environment, whether we become more aware of recycling to educating our children about the importance of being environmentally conscious. Governments and city councils too have a responsibility and in this infographic, we can see that some cities have been more serious about energy efficiency than others.

For example, in Copenhagen, you can see for yourself just how much they have embraced environmental responsibility whereby over one-third of residents use their bicyles regularly.  In addition, there are manysafe cycle paths that allow you to see the city plus get some fresh air.  More closer to home, consider a visit to San Francisco where they encourage the use of electric cars, thereby helping to reduce smog.  

Check out these other green city destination options for some additional inspiration.

Car Free Island of Hydra GreeceOne of the easiest ways to support sustainable travel is to select a car-free island for your next family vacation.

Car-free islands, generally, have a healthier population due to less air pollution and a less sedentary population, improved conditions for culture and leisure facilities, more space set aside for gardens and parks, more energy-efficient and water-efficient buildings (due to necessity), higher real estate values, and lower rates of crime, among other benefits.

To provide some additional eco-inspiration, while I've written about our travel experiences in Hydra, Greece and more recently Mackinac Island, Michigan, here is a list of other U.S States and countries who have designated entire islands as car-free.

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  • Syida
    Syida says #
    water pollution
    Hye! Thank you for the information. However, i have few points that are related to your post. I was thinking if the island is car

Volunteer Africa 32 Fair Trade Certified Wild Coast Schools Program Does this sound familiar?  You are a person with sought-after technical, teaching, and/or artistic skills that would love to combine your passion for travel with your pay-it-forward attitude.  You have the drive, but are unsure about whether that volunteer program that looks good to you (and your family) will actually help the community. How do you know that it will be a rewarding experience socially and environmentally?

Eco-certification goes a long way toward providing that necessary transparency and accountability, but until recently, there weren't any volunteer programs that were certified.  Enter Volunteer Africa 32 South

Approach to Ferry Port on Car Free Mackinac IslandThe more I travel, the more I appreciate, downright relish, the unhurried feeling of a pedestrian zone, where locals and visitors alike can only traverse by foot or bicycle (or maybe by an old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage).

One can usually find a pedestrian zone within an historic center, such as we did in Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Krakow (Poland) or within a national park, such as Maria Island in Tasmania (Australia).

However, lately, I've started to gravitate toward car-free islands where it is downright acceptable to slow down, meander through roadways and scenic areas, think, and even strike up a conversation with a passer-by or two.

Jazz Safari in Gugulethu Township Cape Town South AfricaWhat is it that comes to mind when you find out that you are going on a Jazz Safari in Cape Town, South Africa? Sweet lyricism and melodies? Cultural viewing? Sharing a love of different Jazz styles?

Yes, yes, and yes with the added bonus of sharing a homemade meal along with some great conversation and laughs in a musician's home. While I am not a Jazz aficionado, I gained a greater appreciation for the struggles, stories, and triumphs that these musicians pour into their music.

Lumnishenca Wikipedia CommonsAfter what seemed to be an endless Washington DC winter filled with errant snow storms, sleet and frigid weather, our family realized that we desperately needed to experience the rejuvenating warmth of a sun, sand, and sea vacation.

So began the research to find a relatively uncrowded Caribbean island that would also fulfill our need for eco-adventure.

Eventually, we settled on St. Croix and although I was a little apprehensive about the traveler warnings for getting a mosquito-borne disease (Dengue and Chikungunya had been spreading for months), ultimately we were pleasantly surprised with St. Croix's vistas, quirky history, beautiful beaches, and hospitality – and I haven't yet even mentioned the great kayaking!

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  • Malha
    Malha says #
    Bioluminescent and Ecotourism ...
    Hello, i am student currently studying in Tourism and undergoing 'ecotourism' as a subject. I found the blog interesting as i come
Posted by on in Family Eco Travel

Service Travel through NicaraguaA few weeks ago, my husband and nine-year-old son took a long weekend getaway to Nicaragua. The purpose of the trip was to assist with a service project for Soccer Without Borders, which is a nonprofit organization that helps use soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the lives of young girls in Granada, Nicaragua (as well as other locations within the United States and Africa). The girls are provided after school tutoring, the opportunity to learn how to play soccer and chances to earn scholarships to pay for secondary schooling.

We thought it would be a good experience for our son to learn about the social, economic and educational challenges these girls face every day, practice his Spanish language skills, and, perhaps, make some personal connections via soccer play.

Highland Games CompetitorsIf you are the parent of a pre-teen, then most likely you have heard of the online game, Clash of Clans. For the uninitiated, the premise of this game is to build a village, join a clan and then smash another player's village for its resources so your village grows larger and stronger.

For our son, the village has the honor of being the first thing he checks in on the morning, right after school and again after he's done with his homework. If this scenario sounds familiar to you, I would recommend incorporating this theme with the unique history and fun of the Highland Games into your next family summer vacation.

ParenzanaViewTake the imagery of Tuscany (without the crowds) and combine it with a family-friendly biking and hiking trail that meanders through various villages offering comfortable accommodations and fantastic culinary delicacies, and you have Croatia's Parenzana Trail in a nutshell.

The 123 kilometer (approximately 77 mile) biking and hiking trail's history is quite comical. Originally built as a train rail line that transported goods and passengers throughout the region of Istria to and from the Italian port of Trieste, the slow train operated from 1902 to 1935.

Picking Vegetables and Fruits from Backyard Farm on Family VacationOver the years, I've come to realize that one factor that makes a family vacation a fantastic vacation is picking out the right accommodations.

For us, that means renting a locally-owned home, wherever possible, as it is more environmentally conscious and more fun.  We've rented apartments and villas in many countries including the United States, Italy, Canada, and Spain, and during this past summer, we rented a villa in Cyprus.

Rock Farm Slane Communal AreaI had just landed in Dublin, after an overnight flight from Washington DC, on a sunny morning a few weeks ago and found myself once again caught in those beautiful in-between hours when the adrenaline for starting another sustainable journey kicks in and the complete exhaustion that I knew was going to set in during the late afternoon.

Well, I certainly made the best of those beautiful hours thanks to the help of Carina Mount Charles at Rock Farm Slane!

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  • Mary Mulvey
    Mary Mulvey says #
    Glad you got to experience one our our Gold members , a really great natural experience and all aspects of sustainabilty covered f

View of Dubrovnik from FortressDubrovnik, Croatia is high on many people's travel bucket lists – and with good reason!

When our family traveled there this summer, I was awestruck by this beautiful coastal city from the moment we first walked through Pile Gate into the Old Town.  The sound of the birds, the lively chatter of families strolling along the Straden, and the lack of advertisements and restaurant hawking were apparent.

I also was immediately struck with the idea that Dubrovnik was completely different from any other southern European city we've visited because of its compact layout, focus on local products and provision of numerous family-friendly activities.

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  • Mike
    Mike says #
    Hydro Nano Gas could be the Answer for Neutralizing Carbon Fuel Emissions Hydro Infra Technologies (HIT), a Swedish clean tech co

Travel SkillsI'm of the belief that children need to start traveling while they are still young. The mere act of going to a place that is unfamiliar in terms of landscape, food, culture, history and maybe even language encourages children to develop organizational skills, a sense of independence and greater responsibility.

This was put to the test this summer when, armed with one rollaway bag and two backpacks, my 9-year-old son and I went on a seven week trip through four countries: Cyprus, Greece, Croatia and Scotland.

GreeceSwimmingWith almost 10,000 miles of coastline and 6,000 islands to swim, snorkel and sunbathe the days away, you may find it hard to narrow down your vacation options when traveling to Greece.  In my opinion, Athens is a must for the first-time visitor to Greece.  

Seeing the Acropolis, having a fresh fish meal beside the sea, visiting the Panathenaic Stadium (site of the first modern Olympic Games), learning about local turtle rescue center's conservation efforts, listening (and dancing) to bouzouki music, bargaining with the Plaka shopowners - it's all part of the fun of Athenian life!  

But, when the crowded city gets a bit too stifling and you want to take a break that's not far and car free, the island of Hydra is a great green getaway choice for the entire family.

Certified Sustainable TravelIt may seem like a new phenomenon, but the concept of ecotourism has been around for more than 200 years when Alexander von Humboldt and botanist Aimé Bonpland traveled across Central and South America.

Since then, eco-conscious explorers have endeavored to support ecotourism that incorporates the values of S.E.E. (namely social empowerment, economic viability and environmental responsibility) and positively impact communities.

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  • Rajmati sah
    Rajmati sah says #
    Thanks for the My India tourism blog spot... .... and very nice news . I have read complete blog My India tourism Visit Also Here
  • Environmental Education
    Environmental Education says #
    Interesting. I never knew ecotourism had such a long history. Though the voyage of the Beagle would have been more for scientifi

Finding Love While TravelingWhen my husband and I first met – almost 18 years ago – he didn't even have a passport. He had traveled to Canada and Mexico of course, but back then, one only needed a valid U.S. driver's license to cross the border back into the United States.

This may have sated him, but given my frequent inclination to travel overseas, I plainly declared a couple of months into the relationship, "If you want this to work, you're going to need to get a passport."

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  • Andy Townsend
    Andy Townsend says #
    Travelling has always been my one true love, does that count? Anyway, when you travel you expose yourself to different cultures, I

Posted by on in Eco Travel Tips

Turkey resizeNot sure when it happened, but somewhere along the way - maybe between the marketing of hemp clothing and natural cleaning products - the concept of a having green lifestyle became a bit, dare I say, boring. Fortunately, this is not the case with green travel.

While there are many meaningful and unique travel experiences to choose from that also happen to benefit communities socially, economically and environmentally, some of these voyages are downright extreme! Here's a few that will get your heart-pumping!

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  • Vanessa @ Green Global Travel
    Vanessa @ Green Global Travel says #
    When a green lifestyle becomes boring? I have to admit that's a little hilarious. Though, I'll keep these suggestions in mind for

It's amazing how travel can inspire that moment of clarity for a young child where s/he understands a bit more about their world! That's what happened to our son during a recent trip to Rome, Italy when he suddenly realized the technical contributions made by the Romans (and Greeks).

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