Lots of people have a very mainstream view of ecotourism, imagining the same old destinations when the word ‘sustainable tourism’ comes to mind. But the real hardcore eco-warriors of the world, who are more informed on such issues, know that ecotourism can occur practically anywhere.
You can make a difference at all corners of the world, from the mountains of Peru and Galapagos Islands to tidying up the world’s cities and keeping the British countryside alive.
Here are five places you might not expect to find ecotourism.
Portugal is known as a typical seaside holiday destination, but it’s so much more than that. You may not know that there’s plenty of opportunities to make a difference and travel sustainably in Portugal. Go on an eco-adventure to Valada, a settlement near the river Tagus and take part in an important project to help clean up the riverside, reduce pollution, and take care of the local wildlife habitats.
And, if coastal projects are more your thing, book a spot on an eco-diving course where you can assist with removing waste from the ocean to try and improve the habitats of local marine creatures. Or perhaps you’d like to take part in some conservation work in Southern Portugal’s Guadiana Valley? Yup, Portugal really is a place where you can channel your inner eco-warrior.
Mongolia is actually an up and coming travel destination at the moment, so get in there before all the tourists do. This unspoilt wilderness is a wonder to behold. It will take you right back to a time where technology didn’t take over your life.
The locals live a pretty basic life here, living off the land, but boy is their life stress-free and peaceful. Spend some time with the Nomads of the Khangai and you’ll see. Camp under the stars for an authentic eco-friendly experience and get to know the local way of life.
Sweden is an absolute playground for those who are passionate about protecting wildlife, especially mammals. As well as helping local wildlife, you also get the added bonus of casting your eyes upon some rather magical animals such as wolves, reindeer, moose, and beavers.
The dense woodlands are home to a plethora of intriguing wildlife. Go on a conservation tour to help protect wolves and bears, stay in incredible eco lodges and help protect the national parks. Sweden is not to be missed if you’re after a sustainable break where you can make a difference.
Mexico is another surprising destination where you can find ecotourism. There are lots of projects to get involved with throughout the country, including going on an amazing butterfly tour, where you can witness one of nature’s most spectacular events, the migration of the Monarch butterflies.
Or if it’s a combination of action, adventure and nature you are after, head on an eco tour of Quintana Roo and the Yucatán Peninsula or explore the Mexican jungle whilst taking part in conservation projects.
5. The UK
It may not be an exciting tropical destination, and the weather’s often a tad disappointing, but when it comes to eco projects, the UK offers a lot of choices. Firstly, there’s the British countryside, where you can take part in lots of volunteering projects. Plus, you can also help to protect the UK’s beaches and cliffs in beautiful locations like Cornwall and Dorset. Go on walking tours and hikes and catch a glimpse of some charming British wildlife.