Part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the St. Louis Arch is located directly over the Museum of Westward Expansion in downtown St. Louis. Also called the Gateway Arch, it was built to commemorate...
5 Sustainable Travel Destinations worth Visiting
It can seem exciting to take a jet boat ride through the Amazon River or ride an elephant through the forests of Thailand. As travelers looking for an exciting experience is important but we also can cause a lot of environmental damage through traveling. Gas burned by planes, cars, boats motorbikes, and trains used contribute to pollution in the places we visit. Using too much water in countries that have water shortages can have a very serious trickle-down effect. When planning travel it’s important to take into consideration the impact our actions have on the environment that is playing host.
Here are five ideas for destinations that have taken care to make travel in the country eco-friendly.
Nepal is one of the world's greatest hidden gems. While electricity may only be on for a few hours a day and internet access is sporadic, when it comes to eco-travel, there are few more exciting destinations. Nearly all of the tourist attractions here involving taking advantage of the natural wonders this country possesses. Hiking, trekking, and camping are just a few of the major tourist draws to this country.
Morocco has been a tourist destination for decades and the effects of explosive growth in the sector have led to many building booms. However, the country also has water shortages in many areas, desertification problems, and a stagnant rural economy. Eco-friendly resorts and tour companies focused on giving back to the communities they share with visitors have led to many great initiatives and have seen money from visitors reaching those who can benefit the most. It’s very easy to find eco-friendly outfitters with just a little research.
Laos is a small country tucked between Cambodia and China. Many people have heard very little of this nation that was devastated by the Vietnam War. Today the country's economy is still recovering. Tourist dollars spent here are helping rebuild the economy and create jobs for thousands of Laotians who have been returning to the area after decades in refugee camps in neighboring Thailand and Cambodia. There are many amazing attractions in Laos, such as kayaking and the world famous “tubing” parties that the country is best known for on the tourist circuit.
For those who want to take a safari there is no better place than Botswana. You’ll be hard pressed to find budget options because the tourism authorities take care to make tours as sustainable as possible. Unlike the high traffic safari volume of Kenya, Botswana’s style is lower key. Small groups of people venture into the Kalahari Desert or the Chobe Forests to animals in their natural habitats. Resources are spent to keep poaching at bay and limit the environmental impact visitors have on the wildlife populations.
Belize has become a shining star in Central America. With one of the longest barrier reefs on the planet, second only to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s no surprise people come here to dive in the crystal clear waters. The country has almost 90 different groups of ecosystems and all kinds of eco-friendly activities. Although there has been a boom in cruise ship traffic, authorities have taken care to protect the reef system from damage caused by mega liners.
These are just a few of the many environmentally friendly places you can visit. Nearly everywhere on the globe has eco-friendly accommodations and attractions. Keep in mind general best practices like conserving water, reusing towels if possible, and avoiding activities that are inherently destructive. Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path and explore some relatively unknown spots!