Mass tourism has caused damage to the environment of many popular destinations, but you can visit ecotourism destinations to help conserve our planet!
With a greater awareness on environmental issues, demand for ecotourism has been on the rise. But what exactly is ecotourism?
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), ecotourism is tourism that involves nature and conservation that seeks to educate and provides economic benefits for the local community. So here are 5 ecotourism destinations that you can visit to get in touch with the natural world!
You don’t need to break the bank to admire exotic animals in their habitat! Borneo, located in Southeast Asia, offers incredible wildlife experiences with one of the oldest rainforests in the world .
The rich biodiversity is home to many endemic species such as the Proboscis Monkey and Borneo Pygmy Elephant. To observe the amazing wildlife that Borneo has to offer, we recommend taking a tour down the Kinabatangan River!
Being an eco-traveller also means ensuring that the accommodations you stay in adopt sustainable practices. The Sakau Rainforest Lodge, located near the Kinabatangan River for river safari activities, is an environmentally-friendly lodge that complies with ecotourism standards. From there, you can head to Malaysia’s highest mountain, Mount Kinabalu, for a hike too!
2. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has been touted as the only place where you can see both the largest land and marine mammal (elephants AND whales!). You might be extremely keen to go whale watching in the name of science, or maybe just for leisure, but many tourists have shared that overcrowding occurs frequently during peak seasons, disturbing the whales in their natural habitat.
While it’s highly discouraged to add this into your itinerary, you should do proper research if you really want to do whale watching. Book from a local tour operator, like Raja & the Whales, who comply with international whale watching regulations by observing whales from a distance without causing distress.
For accommodations, consider eco-friendly hotel Saraii Village for beautiful tree top rooms!
3. Bohol, Philippines
Apart from the usual tourist destinations of Cebu, Palawan, and Boracay, one place where you can experience the true wonders of nature in Philippines is none other than Bohol. A haven for nature lovers, Bohol is surrounded by lush forests and hills, and information about ecotourism activities are easily found on The Bohol Tourism Office.
While researching on activities to do in Bohol, you may come across the Philippine Tarsier. Like several tourist hotspots, they claim to be sanctuaries that help conserve these threatened species. However, the tarsiers are often enclosed in poor living conditions.
Instead of visiting these tarsier zoos, trek along the many routes to explore the untouched nature around you. You can also join the Tree Planting for Legacy Experience Tour conducted within the Bohol Biodiversity Complex (BBC) in the 1.2-hectare rainforest. BBC also provides camping tents for its visitors, allowing you to experience the great outdoors throughout your entire stay!
4. New Zealand
With cool weather all year round, New Zealand is the perfect place to get away from the heat in Singapore and you don’t even have to worry about getting sweaty on a hike!
With 14 national parks in New Zealand, the forests and wildlife are generally well-protected and relatively untouched. Most parks are open to public, so you can have a picnic while enjoying the sounds of nature. But remember to throw your trash away when you are done!
New Zealand is divided into 2 islands, North and South, but both offer the same amazing natural experiences – South for a landscape filled with snow-capped mountains and North for a view of vibrant green hills.
Either way, you can visit the famous Glowworm caves that are found all around New Zealand. As a responsible eco-tourist, it’s always important to ensure that your tour operator manages the caves in a sustainable manner.
The caves are extremely sensitive, and guides should always follow the necessary rules and precautions such as small groups for each tour to reduce noise levels, ensuring tourists do not touch cave walls or shine light in the caves. Real Journeys does tours in Te Anau and their knowledgeable guides will help you to learn more about glowworms while you take in the phenomenal sight displayed by the glowworms!
5. Costa Rica
As one of the earliest adopters of ecotourism, how can anyone leave out Costa Rica? With its own certification, the Certificate for Sutainable Tourism, it’s extremely easy to search for hotels and tour operators that are eco-friendly.
With more than 50 national parks and reserves, nature on this island has been kept pristine. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the many popular destinations to go on hikes and bird-watching. The country also boasts an incredible number of eco-lodges that are not only of high standards but also operate sustainably.
While being an eco-tourist might not be the most convenient, our impact goes a long way. Here’s 8 tips to become a sustainable traveller for you to keep in mind for your next holiday!
Enjoy a worldwide fees-less travel experience!