According to National Geographic Adventure, ecotourism and “green travel” were virtually non-existent as recently as 30 years ago. Today, nothing is further from the truth. Adventurers of all ages are taking advantage of this exciting travel option… everyone from singles to families to senior citizens.
Eco-tourism is defined as “tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments… especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.” Each destination offers its own exciting itinerary.
This travel choice is typically more expensive than other vacation options. But, if money is an issue, it's definitely worth it to take your time to save up for one of these once-in-a-lifetime trips. Here are three of the most popular destinations:
1. The Amazon
There are many reasons to plan a great trip to the Amazon. Also referred to as the “lungs of the planet,” this region produces an incredible 20 percent of all of the oxygen on Earth. Occupying 1.2 billion acres, it boasts the world's largest river system and incredible rain forests.
If you can't get enough of the great outdoors, the Amazon is definitely for you. Thanks to a 66-foot high suspension bridge, you can actually meander through the treetops of Bahia's Atlantic Forest. You can go on bird-watching excursions, paddle down the river and even fish for deadly piranha.
Ecotourism in this area is based across several South American countries. However, 60 percent of the densest areas of the Amazon are found in Brazil, where much of the tourism takes place.
2. Australia's Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountain area is located approximately 90 minutes from Sydney. It is comprised of over 550 square miles of canyons, valleys, rocky patches and swamps. There's almost nothing that tops the beautiful view from one of many vantage points, high above the ground.
There are several national parks in the area, each featuring their own special breed of hiking trails. Other popular activities include bushwalking among the wild animals, canoeing, horseback riding, mountain biking and rock climbing. You have your choice of comfortable, eco-friendly accommodations at one of many cabins and lodges.
3. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a well-known destination for nature lovers – so much so that many people will be the first to tell you that the country fits right in with the notion of ecotourism. When you visit Costa Rica, you won't want to miss at least one of four active volcanoes, 700 miles of beautiful beaches, rainforests and even thermal hot springs, which are very relaxing and therapeutic.
Tortuguero National Park is home to many species of wildlife – everything from sea tortoises to spider monkeys, to three-toed sloths, to colorful toucans, to creatures you may have never even heard of.
Some of the most popular outdoor activities include scuba diving, skydiving, horseback riding, fishing, white-water rafting and much more. Get ready to spend the day with Mother Nature when you visit Costa Rica.
These destinations are honestly just the tip of the iceberg. With so many people interested in conservation and environmental issues, the ecotourism industry is exploding.
If you don't want to break the bank, many destinations offer one-day, green travel tours that are just as educational as they are fun. So, there's no reason why you shouldn't take advantage of one of these exciting trips. More importantly, remember to take a lot of pictures!
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