There is nothing more awesome than traveling the world, but sometimes tourism can ruin it if it doesn't follow some small and basic rules.
It is not something new that the most famous places around the world often get overcrowded and this ends up with damages to the place itself or to its ecosystem.
That's when eco tourism can help. It is becoming more and more common, and maybe it will be the only way to save the world without stop traveling.
If all the places tried to be more sustainable and practice eco tourism, it wouldn't be necessary to close beaches or natural places to the public. That is quite a drastic choice, but sometimes they have to do it otherwise the place would be destroyed forever.
So, if we want a better world without stop exploring it, we have to pick eco tourism destinations, and there are plenty of them.tw
But first, let's see in details what eco tourism is.
What is eco tourism?
The idea of eco tourism is to promote sustainable travel options, to help the conservation of the places and their environment, and help local communities.
Unfortunately, it is not possible everywhere. Some places in the world still follow politics that are not so into eco tourism. That's why, when you can, you should choose eco tourism destinations or at least eco tourism experiences.
Eco tourism destinations help their places to be sustainable, help their communities, don't destroy the environment and keep the place clean and safe.
Some examples of eco tourism experiences involve helping the local communities, and you can do that buying local products or going to local business instead of going to international chains.
If you love to have experiences with animals while you are traveling, be careful about the things you are going to do, always wonder if they are eco tourism friendly or not. For example, a lot of people ride elephants in Thailand, it is so popular, but it's not eco tourism, it is very wrong for the animals.
Instead, an eco tourism experience with elephants is going to a sanctuary and see them free in their habitat, and there are plenty of those in Thailand.
12 best eco tourism destinations in the world
Now that you know what exactly is eco tourism, let's see some of the best eco tourism destinations around the world.
Plus, you will also discover how to visit them with a low budget, even getting free accomodation. It is very simple, all you have to do is volunteering in the places you visit in exchange of free accomodation.
You can easily do it thanks to Worldpackers, a platform that connects hosts all over the world with volunteers who want to travel and help the local communities of the places they visit.
Keep on reading and discover more!
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is one of the most famous and visited eco destinations. It is famous for being a very sustainable country in its lifestyle, so it is the perfect one to pick if you want to live an eco tourism experience.
Full of nature, with a lot of forests, this is the land of the national parks. There are many many things to explore, and an amazing thing of Costa Rica is that you don't even have to pay or go to some unethical zoo to see animals, they are everywhere.
For example the famous national animal, the sloth, is really easy to spot when you are walking into nature, as well as monkeys and birds. This is the perfect eco tourism destination and you will have an unforgettable time here.
And if you want to help the local community to keep Costa Rica such a sustainable place, try to volunteer there, there are lots of positions even including animal conservation, like this one in which you have to help preserving turtles.
Colombia is still an off the beaten path destination, but it's perfect if you are looking for eco tourism. It is full of local communities that need help preserving their heritage, it is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and don't forget it is the land of Amazon rainforest.
Colombia is full of eco farms and sustainable places, if you want to volunteer and learn something about permaculture projects, this is the place for you.
Norway is an amazing destination if you are looking for eco tourism experiences, and it is one of the most sustainable countries in Europe.
Norway has a really small population and it's covered for the most by forests and nature, it's the land of the fjords and the northern lights, so bring your jacket and visit this amazing place.
It could be very expensive so try to get free accommodation volunteering there, and get in touch with Norwegian sustainable lifestyle.
Let's go back to South America and talk about Ecuador, another great eco destination.
You can find Amazon rainforest here too, in the land of volcanos and the super high Andes mountains. And let's mention Galapagos islands too, one of the most amazing places in the world to see sea life in its natural habitat, like sea turtles, seahorses and sea lions.
In Ecuador there are lots of eco tourism experiences you can have, so you can just stop there for a while, volunteer and help a local community, and explore this small but amazing country.
And what about a trip to Africa, such an unspoiled continent. If we have to pick a place, that could be Kenya, for example.
In Kenya you can have a lot of eco tourism experiences, and you can also offer your help, because there is so much to do there to help the community and the country.
If you want to have a positive social impact on Kenya, you can volunteer there. You can choose between a lot of different positions, teaching languages to children in school, help the community, and so on.
Hawaii is one of the favourite eco tourism destinations for travelers. It is full of eco tourism activities you can do, you can hike in the beautiful forests and natural reserves, and see a lot of animals both in the sea and in the land.
It is not the cheapest one, but Worldpackers has a lot of volunteering positions in Hawaii, so you can choose the best for you and get free accommodation while you explore these wonderful islands.
More and more travelers are choosing Indonesia for their holidays, especially the eco travelers.
The island of Bali, for example, is really doing great in improving a sustainable lifestyle. Just to mention an example, Bali has a huge vegan community, and Indonesian food in general is mostly vegan, healthy and sustainable.
Of course there is a lot you can do to help Indonesia growing in its sustainability, and you can do it volunteering there.
Australia is a huge country, but everywhere you go, you will feel a great responsibility for the environment and the planet. It is a fantastic eco tourism destination to pick.
Imagine how many animals you can only see there, because you won't find them anywhere else, like koalas and kangaroos. And you can see them wild, without going to zoos or other unethical places.
A lot of travelers think that United States are full of big and polluted cities, but this is only one part of the country. Actually, most of the territory is covered by nature and amazing national parks.
The best eco tourism experience you can have in the US is renting a car or a van and travel all around its national parks, sleeping in your vehicle or in a tent. US is such a paradise for this kind of ecoroad trip.
Previously we have talked about some Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, but we should also include the Portuguese-speaking Latin American country that is Brazil on the list of eco tourism destinations.
After all, the majority of the Amazon rainforestis right here. If you want to live the best experiences in the jungle, see lots of unique animals and plants, and enjoy eco life, Brazil is a great destination to pick.
Sri Lanka is not the most visited country in Asia, but it's perfect if you are looking for eco tourism experiences.
Sri Lanka has amazing national parks in which you can see animals in the most sustainable way, in their natural habitat, like elephants and leopards.
Sri Lanka is very cheap, but you can make it cheaper by volunteering there, maybe choosing an eco project to learn new things and help the community.
12. New Zealand
Often forgotten by everybody, because it's an island far from everything else, New Zealand deserves to be on the list of the best eco tourism destinations. And the reason is really simple: New Zealand is heaven if you are looking for unspoiled nature, of every kind.
You can find everything in New Zealand: beaches, mountains, lakes, parks, vulcanos. Usually all the things you can visit are free of charge and kiwi's attention to the environment is unbeatable.
The only problem of New Zealand is the high cost of accommodation, but you have two ways to deal with it: you can experience van life, very common here, or you can volunteer with Worldpackers, getting free accomodation. Even an homestay like this one can teach you a lot of things about sustainability.
So, are you ready to pick one of these amazing eco tourism destinations, or maybe visit them all? You can save a lot of money if you volunteer with Worldpackers.
All you have to do is subscribe to one of our plans and then you can apply to all the positions you like and enjoy your time traveling the world.
Maybe you could be interested in some other articles from Worldpackers community:
an Italian full time traveler.
After years planning my full time travel, I finally quit my 9 to 5 job to start exploring the world with a one way ticket. My goal is to visit as many countries as I can and to work as a digital nomad while I am traveling, but also to challenge myself doing travel jobs in the places I visit.
I really want to live a lot of different experiences in a way only a real traveler can do.