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Top Trip Memories

  • Waking up to the sound of howler monkeys crashing through treetops by my balcony next to one of Costa Rica’s National Parks
  • Discovering the biodiversity of the Galapagos
  • Spotting Bengal Tigers roaming in India’s Bandhavgarh National Park
  • Studying Survival and Hunting at Huaorani Eco Lodge in Ecuador
  • Tracking silverback gorillas in Uganda
  • Reconnecting on a yoga retreat in Rishikesh, India
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Tour Tips

  • Destinations like Costa Rica, the Galapagos, and some of the Balkan countries in Eastern Europe make eco and sustainable tourism a priority - these can be some great places to start looking for inspiration!
  • When it comes to Eco tours, low impact is the goal. For accommodation, think tents or lodges built with sustainable materials vs large hotels and resorts. For transport, taking local transport as much as possible is best - taking trains and buses over private cars or short-haul/domestic flights. Check what type of accommodation and transport is included in your trip.
  • Read the sustainable or responsible travel commitment of your tour operator before booking. Many, like G Adventures or Intrepid Travel, have foundations that they have set up to support sustainable tourism and setup projects to support local communities in developing countries where they operate trips to, or to support endangered wildlife. 
  • Pick a tour that uses local country guides, who can show you the best of Eco or Sustainable Tourism in their destination(s). 
  • Eco friendly activities look to protect nature, wildlife, and the environment, so make sure any trips you pick do not include riding of wild animals (such as elephants) or (directly or indirectly) encourage the keeping of animals in captivity for tourism purposes.  
  • When going on safari, look for operators that prioritize the protection of animals and respect them in their natural habitats. 
  • While we often can’t avoid talking flights to reach our travel destination, there are carbon offset programs available which you can choose to contribute to - your tour operator may be able to advise further on the options available.
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Eco, Sustainable & Green Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

12 Reviews

  • Excellent 9
  • Great 3
  • Average 0
  • Disappointing 0
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

Bottom line is that we had a wonderful time, guides and accommodations were excellent and we were impressed that your local tour operator, had our backs.

A Taste of Myanmar

5.0
January 2017
Myths and Mountains
Recommend: Yes
All of our interactions with Toni and Jen were totally professional. Your rapid responses were appreciated, since we were working on a relatively abbreviated time line. We realize that we're pretty nit-picky and demanding in a way that differs from your usual cliental since we're much more comfortable handling things on our own. We were very satisfied with your flexibility and knowledge -- you pushed hard for things you felt important (i.e. the city tour and marionette show in Yangon -- both of which you were totally right) and let other things slide (i.e. Mt. Popa). The final product was a compromise that accommodated our style and your expertise -- it looked great on paper and translated into a fascinating trip.

Above all else -- our choice to go with local guides rather than a national guide was perhaps the most crucial decision in making our trip so spectacular. Each of our four guides was wonderful and their expertise in their local region shined through. We are so, so happy that we chose this option.

You planned a great trip for us -- accommodations, guide, and local travel agency back-up were all top-notch.
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We really enjoyed the kayaking and snorkeling off of Carrie Bow Caye!!

Paradise Islands

5.0
December 2016
Island Expeditions
Recommend: Yes
Our Paradise Islands tour was a superb opportunity to see Belize up close and personal. We were blessed with a small group (3 guests and 1 guide), great weather, easy waters for kayaking and snorkelling. We started in Tobacco Caye Paradise Lodge where Mr Ed and his staff took great care of us with fabulous local food, comfortable cabanas built over the reef so we could sit out on our back deck and watch the rays and fish hover about. Kimike, our guide, had us out kayaking the first afternoon along the barrier reef where we saw large eagle rays and an osprey flying off with a parrot fish in its talons. We paddled over to Tobacco Caye Range, a large mangrove forest, about 2.5 Km away where we encountered cormorants, pelicans by the score, southern rays and ospreys. After Tobacco Caye, we paddle/sailed our kayaks down to South Water Caye and stayed with International Zoological Expeditions where our cabana was situated adjacent to the eastern mangrove forest on the Caye. From our deck we could watch herons carefully hunting for small crabs and lizards. Once again, the staff cooked excellent local meals and are very friendly. We snorkelled off the beach using our kayaks and also paddled over to Carrie Bow Caye where the Smithsonian Institute has a research facility. The managers gave us a tour of the operations and were very informative. Kimike had us paddleboarding that afternoon, teaching us the basics as he demonstrated his skill at yoga on the water! Our last day involved a long paddle down to Billyhawk Caye, weaving in and out of a large mangrove range on the way down, disturbing huge southern rays as we glided over their hollows, listening to ospreys call from their perches and enjoying a great lunch of conch stew, salad and rice at Billyhawk Caye. We gathered our possessions and said goodbye to the kayaks. Our last snorkel was in the reefs near the Bread and Butter Islands, just south of the Caye. The size and variety of the soft coral was astounding along with a profusion of brightly colored fish of all types.
Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
We had a great time last year at Lighthouse Reef on Half Moon Caye and had no qualms about signing up again for a trip to Belize with Island Expeditions. This year we added extra time at Bocawina, Glover's Atoll and Pook's Hill with the IE staff arranging and booking rooms, transfers, local flights.

What was the highlight of your trip?:
We really enjoyed the kayaking and snorkelling off of Carrie Bow Caye where Joan had a chance to swim alongside a huge eagle ray. Night time snorkelling for the first time, where we saw an octopus, rays, channel crabs and conchs. Learning about coconut milk and Belizean rum in combination was delightful!

What would be your advice to potential travellers?:
Be prepared to travel light as all your baggage is going into dry bags and stowed in the kayaks. IE staff will look after your larger baggage in the office while you are out on the water. Bring long sleeved synthetic T shirts and tights for paddling and kayaking to protect against the sun and reduce your need for sunscreen. An infinity scarf can also cover your face and scalp while snorkelling.
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Well organized!!

Paradise Islands

4.0
December 2016
Island Expeditions
Recommend: Yes
We traveled to Belize in Dec to get away from the old north to feel the warm breezes and warm waters of the south. We enjoyed the fresh fruits .Loved the kayaking and snorkeling. It was great fun to watch the stingrays float by in the water from the cabanas. Loved stopping on the reef for lunch before paddling.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
Well organized

What was the highlight of your trip?:
SUP attempts was fun
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Loved the kayaking and snorkeling!!

Paradise Islands

4.0
December 2016
Island Expeditions
Recommend: Yes
We traveled to Belize in December to get away from the cold north , and to feel the warm breeze and warm water. Loved the kayaking and snorkeling The fresh melons and fruit were delicious as we do not get them fresh back home. We could watch the stingrays float by in the mornings from our cabanas. We stopped for lunch on the reef before paddling on.

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
Well organized

What was the highlight of your trip?:
Lunch on the reef in the water with our kayaks
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This was one of those trips of a lifetime!

Paradise Islands

5.0
December 2016
Island Expeditions
Recommend: Yes
This was one of those trips of a lifetime, filled with challenges as well as relaxation. The group provided lovely bonding and helping experiences in the blue waters. I would do this again and again and again!

Why did you choose to travel with Island Expeditions?:
I was looking for adventure and found it!

What was the highlight of your trip?:
The kayaking was invigorating and the snorkeling was blissfully serene. I loved the food and the exciting challenges of the life of adventure. Somewhere along the way, I lost the stress in my life. A blissful trip! I must return.

What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
Jump in! Get wet! Learn something new! Challenge yourself!
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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Eco, Sustainable & Green Travel Trips & Tour Advice

Through embracing this new and (fortunately) increasingly popular type of travel, we can make a real difference to tourism worldwide and its impact. As people that enjoy travel, we are the ideal ambassadors to promote the benefits that travel and tourism can bring: through education, understanding, bringing revenue to in-need parts of the world, and through personal growth too. Read more about how your travels can make a difference and how to book an Eco Tour or Sustainable trip.

What Does "Eco Tourism" Mean?

Eco Tourism is defined as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education" by the International Eco Tourism Society (2015). Nature is often at the centre of Eco Tourism, which for a long time was perhaps best summarized by the tag line “take only photos, leave only footprints”. Eco Tourism today is about a lot more than doing the least harm possible on our travels. Many tour operators are taking steps to actively and positively contribute towards offsetting carbon emissions through forestation and clean energy projects; protecting endangered wildlife species and setting up tourism projects that include local communities around the world and allow them to benefit from tourism.

Sustainable & Responsible Tourism

Sustainable and Responsible Tourism are often used interchangeably (along with Eco Tourism) and while there are some similarities, there are also some points that set them apart. Sustainable Tourism is the idea of visiting a place and creating only a positive impact on the environment, economy and local society.

Responsible Tourism on the other hand focuses more on making the best choices that we can in each travel moment, to help promote best practices while traveling, to always show respect for the places that we visit and people that we meet along the way, and to protect places so that future generations can still enjoy them too.

Creating a Positive Impact

However we choose to define or call it, there are many points in common between the definitions. The point is to not cause harm, but also to create a positive impact. Through embracing this new and (fortunately) increasingly popular type of travel, we can make a real difference to tourism worldwide and its impact. As people that enjoy travel, we are the ideal ambassadors to promote the benefits that travel and tourism can bring: through education, understanding, bringing revenue to in-need parts of the world, and through personal growth too.

Top Tips for Being a Responsible Traveler

Choose tours that take you off the beaten path. One of the challenges with tourism can be the impact caused by tourists concentrated in high volumes in specific hot spots only. It means that the benefits of impact are then only seen in those areas and not spread out further to those that perhaps could benefit more. By venturing further afield, you’ll be spreading the benefits of tourism to those who need it more.

Think Local. Locally owned accommodation, local (public) transport, locally owned restaurants. The more interaction you have with people living in the country you visit, the more memorable and ‘genuine’ your experience is likely to be, as opposed to being driven around in a minibus for 2 weeks. It can be harder to organize this, but some operators include high levels of public transportation and owned accommodation in their itineraries, thus reducing your research load!

Avoid Plastic. Take your own aluminum water bottle with you and refill it on the road. It’s amazing how the piles of used plastic water bottles stack up. Many islands and developing countries lack the infrastructure for proper recycling or waste disposal, and the plastic just ends up sitting there, or being washed into the ocean for marine life to ingest. With your own water bottle you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many places are happy to refill your water bottle with filtered water (where tap water is not suitable for drinking) at a discount of the price for normal bottled water, or even for free.

Check the dress code. Seek advice from your trip notes or tour information on what clothing to pack for your trip. Apart from weather, different countries have very different ideas about what is respectful and appropriate clothing to wear, and visiting religious sites in most parts of the world will require covering up to some degree. Although many people would not say anything, showing shoulders or legs may cause offense without us realizing.

Stay open. Asking questions and being curious to discover new cultures and countries is a life-enriching experience, and one of the advantages of having a guide at hand is that they can be your gateway to learning about a new part of the world.

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