Amidst growing concern over the effects of tourism on the earth's natural wonders, ecotourism is the latest travel trend. Intended to support conservation efforts and not have a detrimental effect on the environment, these are the best places to go to get your eco-adventurer on.
Costa Rica may be small but, when it comes to ecotourism, it sure is mighty. With spectacular cloud forests, incredible biodiversity, 800 miles of beautiful coastline and locals who live by the motto pura vida, it isn't difficult to see why it is one of the biggest destinations for sustainable travel on the planet. The country is home to the largest percentage of protected areas in the world and 5% of the earth's biodiversity.
Nicknamed 'The Underwater Serengeti', Palau is renowned for its crystal-clear waters which are teeming with colourful marine life and blossoming coral reefs. The Pacific archipelago is recognised as one of the world's foremost diving destinations; it was the first shark sanctuary in the world and has dedicated itself to preserving its 1,400 species of fish by making much of its reefs no fishing zones. Recently, the country has adopted a five-star-only policy, aiming for quality rather than quality, in the hope that mass tourism won't catch up and wreak havoc on Palau's natural wonders.
Known as 'The Lungs of the World', more than 20 percent of the world's oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rainforest. What better place to go, then, to lend your hand to conservation efforts. The Amazon has already suffered immense loss due to climate change and human activity, but areas around the rainforest are aiming to change that, with natives becoming guides and leading tourists in ways that are sustainable and educating them on the importance of conservation.
If your eco-travel goal is to experience the best-conserved wildernesses on the planet, look no further than Canada. The country's 46 National Parks and Reserves shelter an immense diversity of landscapes, from snow-covered glaciers to dense forest, and a vast array of wildlife, from wolves to polar bears.
Kenya's vast natural diversity, that encompasses wild savannahs, soaring mountains and pristine beaches, is protected by some 50 national parks which shelter some of Africa's best wildlife. Although the biggest battle facing the country's fauna is illegal poaching, organisations and conservationists are raising awareness so that travellers respect the ecosystem and the wilderness can continue to thrive.