7 Best Ecotourism Locations for 2019

Ecotourism and responsible travel is a new sector that is booming and for good reasons. Many countries are realizing the importance of protecting and preserving the natural environment. Kick-start your 2019 ecotourism travel with some suggestions from our list of great ecotourism destinations.

Slovenia: An Ecotourism Hidden Gem

This small country is proud of its green credentials. The capital Ljubljana was recognized as Europe’s Greenest Capital in 2016 and Slovenia was a leader in sustainable ecotourism in 2017.

It’s easy to understand why as it is covered in lush forests. The national parks and reserves are full of a huge variety of plants and animals and hikers can enjoy a network of diverse trails. If you want to do adventure sports using sustainability practices, Slovenia is the place to go.

Exploring Slovenia by bicycle is very popular and the Ribno Hotel close to Lake Bled is a good point to start a cycling tour. This is a zero-waste hotel and the owner lives and breathes cycling.

You can go on a wide range of expertly guided bike tours on the scenic trails in the region. May to September is the best time to visit for hiking, climbing, cycling and adventure sports.

Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has strict conservation laws that protect biodiversity and preserve natural resources. It uses 95% renewable energy sources and is working to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. A number of Costa Rica’s eco-lodges provide great accommodation. Guided tours and activities are designed to have a positive impact on communities in the area.

Located on the northeastern coast of Costa Rica, Tortuguero National Park’s beaches are famous nesting grounds for turtles, including the endangered green sea turtle. Getting there is an adventure – you have to take a boat or a plane.

Explore the jungle waterways by day in kayaks, canoes or boats and see monkeys, parrots, sloths, crocodiles, the spectacled caiman and other exotic animals. Hire a local guide to go on to the beach at night and watch the sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand. The best time to visit for green sea and hawksbill turtle nesting is July to October.

Eco-friendly Sites at Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

On a visit to the Galapagos Islands, you can follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, see the animals he saw and explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The archipelago is both geographically remote and geologically unique, offering a surreal experience to visitors. This is a year-round destination but the best time to go is in the warm season from December to May.

Stay at Pikaia Lodge on Santa Cruz Island if you want to experience the natural wonders of Galapagos and enjoy a high level of comfort and service. This innovative carbon-neutral hotel is made of steel with walls covered in lava stone.

It has its own reforestation program and water comes from rooftop raining harvesting systems. Tour operators with environmentally-conscious credentials will take you on quality land and marine day programs in small groups.

Ecological Sukau Rainforest Lodge in Sabah, Malaysia

The Sukau Rainforest Lodge shows just how well an eco-lodge can work. The award-winning lodge is situated on the bank of the Kinabatangan River, the second longest river in Malaysia. It is built on stilts in the traditional “longhouse” style.

A long, covered boardwalk at the back of the lodge includes two elephant passes. Some of the lodge’s conservation practices include using rainwater and meeting energy needs with renewable resources.

The lodge provides a great wildlife experience to tourists while preserving the Kinabatangan flood-plain. Go up the Kinabatangan River by speedboat and view orangutan, proboscis monkey and hornbills.

Try to spot a rare Borneo Pygmy elephant on the riverbank. In the evening you can enjoy delicious fusion cuisine by candlelight at a restaurant overlooking the river. The dry season from the end of March to the beginning of October is the best time to visit.

Underwater exploration in Palau

The tiny Republic of Palau is a series of coral and volcanic islands, located in the Pacific Ocean. In Palau, the practice of ecotourism is taken seriously. To visit you have to sign a pledge to protect its natural and cultural heritage.

Palau is the best ecotourism destination for those who love marine life, underwater explorations and waterfalls. It is home to more than 500 coral species and numerous fish species which thrive due to established no-fishing zones.  

One popular destination is Jellyfish Lake, a marine lake in Eil Malk Island. You can’t go scuba diving in Jellyfish Lake but you can swim with the golden jellyfish that migrate across the lake.

You don’t have to worry about being stung as these jellyfish do not have stingers. Swimming with the jellyfish was forbidden for a while but as of 2019, this activity is possible once again.

If you don’t want to go diving and explore underwater, you can always lounge on the island’s gorgeous beaches. The best time to visit Palau for diving is from December to March when the water is warmer.

The Dana Eco-Biosphere in Jordon

Jordan is a world leader in ecotourism, helping to preserve its natural wonders and offering programs that benefit the local community. November is a good month to visit as the scorching days of summer are turning to fall.  

 Eco-adventurers will enjoy Fenyan Eco-lodge which is accessible by vehicle or by hiking 16 km through the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The Dana reserve is the largest in Jordon and includes a variety of terrain.

In the diverse ecosystem, about 600 plant species and 180 bird species thrive. Local guides are available to take you through it and will keep you entertained with stories about the Bedouins.

The lodge uses sustainable energy in the form of solar power and candlelit bedrooms. At night you can enjoy the incredible vegetarian cuisine and then visit the rooftop to gaze at the stars through a high definition telescope. In the local village, you can experience the hospitality of the Bedouins, listen to their tales and taste traditional Arabic coffee.

St John in the Caribbean

St. John is the site of Maho Bay, the very first eco-resort in the world. This resort has proven that there can be sustainable alternatives to a typical beach resort.

St. John, more than any other Caribbean island, works to ensure the preservation of its ecosystems and natural resources. The bay and beaches are among the most pristine anywhere in the Caribbean and offer world-class snorkeling.

Today St. John is home to a number of small-scale eco-friendly lodgings. At the southeastern tip of the island, Concordia Eco-Resort is a cluster of “eco tents” and studios set on the hillside among bushes, cacti and fruit trees.

The tents overlook the ocean or garden and each one has a deck. A cistern collects water and the shower has a solar-heated water tank. A small solar array with battery powered fans and small lights. The hybrid composting toilet has a flush system and each unit has a propane stove.

St. John doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of nearby St. Thomas. It has no high rise buildings and no airport so you arrive there by boat. November is the ideal month to visit to enjoy the soft white sands of the beaches and the crystal clear blue waters.

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