Ecotourism is the newest booming trend in the travel industry and for good reason. With so many travelers venturing deeper into the world’s most remote places, we humans are leaving quite the footprint. In an effort to preserve these beautiful and wild places, more tourists are turning to eco-friendly vacations that minimize their environmental footprint in these wild areas. If you’re dying to explore an exotic locale, but want to do so in an environmentally-responsible way, take a look at these three great eco-tours!
Trip #1: The Wild Side of China, A Nature Odyssey
Experience China in a way you never thought possible with this fabulous tour offered by Natural Habitat Adventures in conjunction with the WWF. This eco-tour takes you into the Minshan Mountains of the Sichuan province to get you up close and personal with one of the world’s most endangered species: the Giant Panda. Venturing out in small groups of only about a dozen people or so, the tour visits 3 panda research facilities where you can learn all about pandas and their habitats. You’re offered the opportunity to volunteer your time to help in a variety of ways from cleaning enclosures to preparing panda meals.
Thanks to special permits issued to NHA, tourists also gain access to one of the giant panda’s last wild sanctuaries. Here you can catch glimpses of pandas, moon bears, golden pheasant while taking in the wild with almost zero human intervention. During the week-long tour, you’ll also be able to dine with a Tibetan family to learn more about their culture and be treated to superb accommodations and delectable cuisine. The trip is also backed by a quality guarantee, so you can’t go wrong!
Trip #2: South Africa Snapshot
Spend 9 glorious days exploring the best of South Africa’s nature scene in the most environmentally conscious way with this tour hosted by Adventure Life. You’ll spend the first days leisurely enjoying a city tour of Cape Town and Robben Island where you can learn all about the Apartheid times and visit Nelson Mandela’s infamous prison cell. The next day will bring you to Cape Point where you can witness an African Penguin breeding colony up close and personal.
Next, you’ll head to the world-famous Kruger National Park where you’ll set up at two different campsites to take full advantage of the abundance of wildlife grazing, frolicking and hunting nearby. You’ll have the opportunity to spot cheetahs, lions, zebra, wild dogs, antelope, impala and possibly even white rhino, elephants, hippos & giraffes! With most meals included, you’ll get a variety of South African tastes to add to the authentic experience offered by this eco-tour.
Trip #3: Galapagos – West, Central & East Islands aboard the Estrella Del Mar
If you’re looking for a truly unique adventure, you need to visit the Galapagos Islands. With this eco-tour offered by G Adventures, you’ll cruise around the mysterious Galapagos Islands in comfort aboard the intimate Estrella Del Mar along with your personal certified Galapagos guide. In this small group of no more than 16 people, you’ll learn all about the unique, native species found only on these islands. On Isabela Island, you’ll explore a flightless cormorant nesting site and witness the largest colony of marine iguanas on Fernandina Island. You can catch glimpses of pelicans, flamingos, giant tortoises, penguins, hawks and possibly even sharks during your travels.
You’ll also have the opportunity to hike the Sierra Negro volcano where you can enjoy the massive caldera and spectacular views of the islands. You’ll also have the chance to snorkel in crystal blue waters and see fish you won’t see anywhere else in the world with the ship’s onboard, complimentary snorkeling equipment. When you’re done exploring, soak up the sun and splendid views on the sun deck aboard the Estrella. On the last day, you’ll head to Santa Cruz Island to visit the largest town in the Galapagos where you can meet the locals, do some shopping or enhance your understanding of evolution at the Charles Darwin Research Center.