If you are looking to truly connect with nature and experience your next destination in a way that leaves a positive impact, consider spending your next vacation as an ecotourist!
Ecotourism is responsible travel to destinations that are mindful of environmental impact, sustain the well-being of locals, and are educational for visitors. Aiming to explore the world with as little social, cultural or environmental impact as possible is a great way to give back to your planet and the locals where you are visiting. To learn more about ecotourism and its benefits, visit our blog, What is ecotourism? How sustainable travel benefits you and your next destination.
Where to begin? If you’ve never travelled to an ecotourism destination, it may be overwhelming to choose your first one! That’s where we come in, here are our top 10 favourite ecotourism destinations.
Mecana Ecohotel – Colombia
Best For: The Indecisive Traveler
Comfortability: ★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★
Not sure if you would rather a beach vacation or a jungle exploration? Why not both! Mecana Ecohotel is located inside of a wildlife sanctuary and botanical garden in Bahia Solano, Colombia. Guests can enjoy snorkelling, fishing, hiking guided by local experts, and many more activities before winding down for a delicious, locally sourced dinner (veggie options available!). All proceeds from the hotel go towards keeping the park going, supporting locals and sustainability initiatives. The jungle scenery and easy beach access isn’t too bad, either!
Feynan Ecolodge – Jordan
Best For: A Step Back In Time
Comfortability: ★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★ Educational: ★★★★
In the Dana Biosphere Reserve’s mountains lies an eco friendly, candle-lit, solar powered lodge that was named one of the best ecolodges in the world by National Geographic. Adventure across the desert landscape, explore local archaeological sites or relax in the courtyards and terraces. All staff are from local communities, creating an authentic atmosphere and generating income for surrounding areas. Food, supplies, decor and immersive experiences are from the area, directly benefiting over 400 locals.
Posada Amazonas – Peru
Best For: Bird Enthusiasts
Comfortability: ★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★
Posada Amazonas Lodge employs many members of the local indigenous community, and a large majority of the lodge’s profits are shared among the tribe’s households. Each room is open-air with elevated walkways connecting shared rooms such as lounges and bars. Learn from local guides, explore on unique excursions, enjoy delicious local food, relax at Canopy Tower, and look for toucans on Ox Bow Lake! At Posada, the adventure never stops!
La Loma Jungle Lodge – Panama
Best For: Non-profit Collaboration
Comfortability: ★★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★★
La Loma in Bastimento is dedicated to exploring, sustaining, celebrating, and protecting the environment and the lives of its inhabitants. They work to support the Bahia Honda community by collaborating closely with residents to establish community development projects and partnering with the non-profit organization, Education is Power. Sleep in stunning treetop bungalows and tour the jungle farm to learn about the permaculture process and taste the tropical fruits. Oh… and did we mention that this is a chocolate farm?
Jetwing Vil Uyana – Sri Lanka
Best For: Guilt-free Honeymooning
Comfortability: ★★★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★ Support Local: ★★★ Educational: ★
A pristine sanctuary located on 28 acres of fertile agricultural lands, Jetwing Vil Uyana is committed to preserving and promoting local communities and the environment. It’s cleverly crafted design lets guests experience luxury and comfort with minimal environmental impact. Enjoy locally sourced food and water (it doesn’t get more local than from the grounds!), on this luxury escape.
Chumbe Island – Zanzibar
Best For: True Environmentalists
Comfortability: ★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★★
Chumbe is a tropical island situated just west of Zanzibar. Explore the coral reef sanctuary rainforest, and traditional Zanzibari cuisine, while supporting their conservation and education efforts. The lodge is recognized for their eco friendly initiatives including green architecture, rainwater catching, composting toilets, and grey water filtration.
Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort – Indonesia
Best For: Diving and Exploring
Comfortability: ★★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★★
This resort firmly believes in hiring and thoroughly training inexperienced locals to increase their opportunities. Even dive guides are given courses in diving, English and conservation. In return, they tell island stories and teach lessons in local Indigenous languages. They strive to share their passion for diving, nature and responsible tourism with visitors. The cute cottages laid out along the beach and plentiful array of activities will have you surprised with Raja’s affordable prices!
The Giriama Tribe – Kenya
Best For: Community Immersion
Comfortability: ★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★★
Meet the Giriama people at their community-run camp and immerse yourself into their daily lives. Take a canoe trip through the forest, enjoy dinner with the village people, take a swim, go on a traditional fishing trip and much more. Their mud and straw huts house a double bed, mosquito net and a simple bathroom. All proceeds are diverted into further community projects in sectors as health and education. If you want to contribute further to the local villages, items such as school supplies and sanitary towels are accepted.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge – Malaysia
Best For: Eco-Friendly Rainforest Exploration
Comfortability: ★★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★★ Support Local: ★★★★★ Educational: ★★★
This lodge on the Kinabatangan River is certified with the Travelife Gold Certification for being a sustainable accommodation. This ecolodge strives to respect the environment wherever possible, using rainwater, reusing cooking oil, ensuring all boats have electric engines, and much more. Their rooms are comfortable and appealing, guests can book excursions to explore nearby wildlife (expect to see orangutangs, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and hornbills), and the lodge is dedicated to supporting it’s community through donations and local sourcing.
Kokohuia Lodge – New Zealand
Best For: Living Lux
Comfortability: ★★★★★ Ecofriendly: ★★★★ Support Local: ★★★ Educational: ★
This couple’s lodge in New Zealand is known for eco friendly luxury living. It is off-grid and produces its own solar electricity and hot water. The surrounding native bush, orchards and gardens are organically managed, and food is prepared using home-grown or local produce. While this may not be an immersive educational experience, it is a great place to start for aspiring ecotourists, or perhaps honeymooners looking to reduce their footprint.
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