Eco, Sustainable & Green Travel - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
- Kayaking through fields of luminescent blue icebergs
- Trekking along sinuous mountain ridges through Torres del Paine National Park
- Conquering Ascencio Valley and gazing up from the base of Las Torres
- Paddling Serrano River and Patagonian fjords, passing by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field
- Visit to the Inkaterra Hacienda Concepcion nature and wildlife area.
- Experience Private Tour of Ollantaytambo and Pisac
- Visit Sacsayhuaman, an Incan fortress overlooking the city, as well as the red fort of Pukapukara, and the fountains at Tambomachay
- Visit Incan Ruins and Indigenous Markets
- Enjoy travelling in train through the Cloud Forest and Machu Picchu
- Experience adventurous hike to steep Huayna Picchu sugarloaf peak
- Visit to Tanzania National Park
- Enjoy your Hike and pass the Maundi Crater and climb up to its rim for a spectacular view of the Kibo Crater
- Enjoy driving from Moshi to the Serengeti National Park crossing the Masaai Steppe
- See the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Visit Monteverde
- Enjoy the significant views of the towering
- Enjoy the sandy beach with majestic waves that make it a hot spot
- Awesome experience while kayaking and snorkelling in the ocean near Chora Island
- Explore San José
- Visit Spitsbergen and Longyearbyen
- We aim for four days of cleaning activities and four days with special focus on Polar Bears.
- Parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting
- Enjoy the cruise through m/v Ortelius and experience the nature.
- Thick-billed Murre (Brünnich’s Guillemot)
- Harlequin & Long-tailed Duck
- Barrow’s Goldeneye
- Red‐necked & Grey Phalarope
- Purple Sandpiper
- Gyr Falcon
- Great Norther Diver
- Whooper Swan
- Snow Bunting
- Black-legged Kittiwake
- Glaucous & Iceland Gull
- Rock Ptarmigan
- Pink-footed Goose
- European Golden Plover
- Red-breasted Merganser
- Horned (Slavonian) Grebe and Short-eared Owl.
- Leopard sightings at Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve
- Phinda Private Game Reserve
- Beaches in scenic Cape Town
- Experience the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg
- Lima - free time to explore the capital's vibrant markets and spanish colonial museums
- Amazon Jungle - guided tour of the rainforest, trekking and Monkey Island
- Cuzco - Sacred Valley of the Incas, Pisac ruins, the temple of Ollantaytambo and local markets
- Inca Trail trek and Machu Picchu
- Lake Titicaca & Puno - floating reed islands, Uros islanders and Amantani island, Taquile Island
- La Paz - a colonial city. Vist the Presidential Palace or the Witches Market
- Salar de Uyuni - salt flats and unusual geography and Fish Island
- The Atacama Desert
- Santiago - Chile's cosmopolitan capital
- Mendoza - Wine capital of Argentina and home of the Malbec
- Buenos Aires - The Paris of South America
- Iguazu Falls - viewed from both Brazil and Argentina and the Devil's Throat
- Rio de Janeiro - the party capital of the world
- Volunteering with a sea turtle conservation organization
- Getting up close and personal with howler monkeys, toucans and reptiles
- Visiting a center that rescues and rehabilitates ocelots and pumas
- Hiking through lush rainforest with a naturalist guide
- Live steps from pristine Costa Rican beaches
- Boating through unspoiled rainforest to view crocodiles and tropical birds
- Flying through the treetops on a zip line adventure
- Tubing down a jungle river surrounded by beautiful vegetation
- Enjoy a private guided city tour of Portugal’s capital, Lisbon
- Lisbon: Enjoy a demonstration and tasting of the famous ‘pastéis de Belém’
- Explore Porto and Douro Valley with a private guide
- Full day in Douro Valley with lunch and Port Wine tasting
- City tour in Nazare, Obidos, and Fatima
- With a private guide, visit the coastal gems of Portugal, including Sintra
- The ideal way to explore Portugal
- Creating Memories of a Lifetime
- Visit the parrot-clay lick at Yasuní National Park for a wonderful view of hundreds of parrots
- Experience the life on the tree tops from the 36 meter (108 ft.) observation tower
- Experience bird-watching
- Amazonia will be given by one of our bilingual guides, while enjoying Ecuadorian beers
- Prepare to be amazed by a unique tropical destination
- Swim with humpback whales, a truly unforgettable experience
- Snorkelling in pristine, amazing beaches
- Enjoy scuba diving options in reefs teeming with life
- Take local island tours & immerse yourselves in the local's history and rich culture
- Visit amazing blowholes & caves
- Have fun at a cultural show and feast
- Visit Tortuguero National Park and enjoy boating tours
- Arenal Volcano National Park and surrounding rainforests
- Zipline and relax in natural hot springs
- Hotels with a lot of amenities like private gardens, pools, spas, and bars
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Top Eco, Sustainable & Green Travel Experiences
Waking up to the sound of howler monkeys crashing through treetops of your balcony next to one of Costa Rica’s National Parks
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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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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