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Top 7 Sustainable Travel Destinations and Ecotourism Activities

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Sailboat in a Costa Rica bay

Costa Rica

Revel in exotic destinations while contributing to the protection of flora, fauna, and heritage as you plan your trip to our top seven sustainable travel destinations.

The following list encompasses a number of destinations taking significant strides to protect a region, particular culture, or the entire country by working towards preserving natural resources, environmental wellness, humanitarian activities, and cultural riches.

Visiting our top sustainable travel destinations will result in responsible and authentic travel experiences for you.

  1. 1. New Zealand
  2. 2. Alonnisos, Greece
  3. 3. Stockholm, Sweden
  4. 4. Iceland
  5. 5. Portugal
  6. 6. Costa Rica
  7. 7. Rwanda
  8. Enjoy Ecotourism in Sustainable Travel Destinations

1. New Zealand

Couple under New Zealand glow worm sky in Waipu cave,

Glowworm Caves in Waitomo, New Zealand

The fascinating landscape and historic culture of New Zealand have long stood at the forefront of sustainable tourism, with the country’s leaders striving to achieve global efforts in economic, community, industry, and visitor sustainability by 2025.

The country’s immaculate scenery draws millions of visitors each year to drift through the peaceful waters of Milford Sound, spot avifauna on Stewart Island, stargaze in the Aoraki Mackenzie Reserve, and learn about the history of Maori culture in the Whakarewarewa geothermal valley.

Best ecotourism activities: Alpine crossing • Geothermal landscape tours • Glacier hiking • Fiord cruises

Learn more: New Zealand Tours & VacationsNew Zealand Travel Guide

2. Alonnisos, Greece

Alonissos Island, Greece

Alonissos Island, Greece

The Greek island of Alonnisos offers travelers a peaceful escape from the crowds to indulge in the azure water, stoic beauty of the sky, fragrant scent of pine trees, and delicious flavors of olive orchards.

The unassuming charm of the island has resulted in the rise of one of the most sustainable travel destinations in the world, with unspoiled fishing villages, remarkable snorkeling, and scuba-diving adventures in Alonnisos National Marine Park.

There is also a selection of environmentally friendly accommodations focusing on energy conservation that act harmoniously within the larger environment.

Best ecotourism activities: Cave exploring • Scuba diving • Island hopping • Forest trekking

Learn more: Greek Island Hopping ItinerariesGreece Travel Guide

3. Stockholm, Sweden

Beautiful winter night panorama of the old town pier in Stockholm, Sweden

Sweden's ecosystem consciousness extends into every realm, including tourism

Environmental sustainability has been a focus of the Swedish government for the last 25 years, with significant progress made through district heating and reducing greenhouse gasses, resulting in pristine cities.

One is Stockholm, which is nicknamed “beauty on the water’ and won the European Green Capitals Award in 2010. The city was built alongside the water and remains surrounded by woodlands, offering visitors dynamic experiences, from exploring its best sustainable practices to enjoying skiing, ice skating, cycling, or walking around the islets, islands, and eco-park.

Best ecotourism activities: Horseback riding • Fly fishing • Kayaking • Porpoise safari

Learn more: Sweden Tours

4. Iceland

Very large and beautiful chunk of ice at sunrise in winter., Iceland

Magical icescapes are in peril -- countries like Iceland are doing all they can to preserve them for future generations

Even as more and more tourists flock to Reykjavik and the popular Golden Circle, which consists of the Thingvellir National Park, Geysir geothermal area, and Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland is an exceptional place to visit, with locals maintaining steadfast loyalty to ecological goals.

Iceland’s main attraction is its scenery, which consists of cracked lava fields, glistening glaciers, dramatic fjords, active volcanoes, and erupting geysers.

The pristine nature provides plenty of opportunities to explore its diversity, from whitewater rafting to horseback riding, cave excursions, and hikes across the icy surfaces of giant glaciers.

Best ecotourism activities: Glacier hiking • Laugarfell hot springs • Whale watching • Cave exploring

Learn more: Iceland Tours & VacationsIceland Travel Guide

5. Portugal

Sailboat in bay with small beach and rocky outcroppings in the Algarve Region of Portugal

Immaculate coastlines require conscious conservation to maintain

Portugal’s dreamy whitewashed villages and lush vineyards unveil the country’s commitment to sustainable tourism and eco-friendly philosophies that seek to preserve marvelous scenery, breathtaking views, and fascinating culture for future generations.

Much solar energy is gathered and power is produced thanks to the country’s bounty of sunny days throughout the year.

Around Portugal, the wilderness is protected, with the Peneda-Gerês National Park, for example, demonstrating the nation’s eagerness to conserve and preserve its natural beauty through eco-friendly accommodations and ecotourism activities.

Best Ecotourism Activities: National park tours • Birdwatching • Iberian lynx spotting • Cycling tours

Learn more: Portugal Tours & VacationsPortugal Travel Guide

6. Costa Rica

Sea turtle swimming along coral reef in Costa Rica

Amazing wildlife and landscapes deserve the respect of eco-consciousness

Costa Rica is known and celebrated as one of the most eco-friendly nations in the world, with leaders focusing on protecting the country’s fascinating biodiversity that overtakes mountainous rainforest terrain from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans.

Exotic wildlife fills the jungle and you will search stunning national parks for endangered animals like squirrel monkeys and scarlet macaws, or observe turtles nesting along the gold-sand beaches.

In local communities, you will find lavish eco-friendly resorts and small organic farms utilizing the lush volcanic soils and naturally wet environment to grow delicious produce.

Best Ecotourism Activities: Eco lodging • Treetop tours • Farm-to-table dining • Snorkeling

Learn more: Costa Rica Tours & VacationsCosta Rica Travel Guide

7. Rwanda

Baby gorilla in Rwanda

Rwanda is setting the standard for environmental consciousness in Africa

Rwanda has integrated principles of sustainable development to reverse the loss of important environmental resources and biodiversity.

Visitors may admire the growing beauty of the Volcanoes National Park as they search for protected mountain gorillas. You can also partake in culturally immersive activities in the Iby’Iwacu Village, which preserves the region's heritage.

Others might scour the bush for chimpanzees and other wildlife in Nyungwe National Forest on sustainable safaris. The government has even introduced a rehab program to turn convicted poachers into conservation guides.

Best Ecotourism Activities: Forest safaris • Mountain Gorilla spotting • Birdwatching • Cultural tours

Learn more: Rwanda Safaris

Enjoy Ecotourism in Sustainable Travel Destinations

Race down the alpine slopes of Sweden around the corner from Stockholm or tour the preserved heritage villages along Portugal’s coast and the protected national park in its northern reaches.

Our top tips for traveling sustainably can help you find ways to explore your chosen destinations with a focus on ecotourism, community-based experiences, and low-impact travel.

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