Green Destinations Around the Globe

April 20th, 2018

A list of five alluring green destinations have been selected by Zicasso in honor of Earth Day.

Earth Day celebrates the beauty of the world and urges you to be the change to create a more environmentally friendly lifestyle for the global population. What started as a fight against smog in the United States in the 1970s has grown into a global event with more than 1 billion participants from over 192 countries taking part in the civic and political action. In honor of Earth Day and Zicasso’s commitment to sustainable tourism, we are highlighting the world’s top five green destinations. Whether celebrated for scenic views and incredible wildlife or protecting the social fabric representative of the traditional cultural ambiance, the following green destinations showcase a commitment to protecting their natural and cultural environments for the benefit of the local community and visitors from abroad.

1. Chobe-Makgadikgadi-Okavango, Botswana

Chobe National Park is home to over 50,000 elephants.

With more tourists searching for an environmentally friendly way to see the world, Botswana decided to focus on adaption, a national ecotourism strategy to conserve the natural resources, which includes their wildlife. The conservation efforts started in the Okavango Delta by locals eager to protect one of the world’s largest inland deltas. The water provides sustenance for migrating zebras, lazy hippos, thirsty impalas, tired lions, and elusive leopards.

Chobe National Park was the nation’s first national park and encompasses 4,500 square miles[1]. The four distinct ecosystems include a riverfront, marshlands, and a dry hinterland supporting elephants, wild dogs, wildebeest, and rhinoceroses. However, the national park is most celebrated for protecting its estimated population of 50,000 elephants. Many of the lodges along the northern border with Zambia have cut down their waste footprint by using solar panels, whether as a way to power the rooms or power the boats and vehicles. The absence of fossil fuels provides a quieter experience at the lodge while the emission-free game viewing experiences allow you to get closer to the animals without.

2. Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

The Osa Peninsula hosts five percent of the world’s plant and animal species.

Costa Ricans like to say the Osa Peninsula is the “most biologically intense” place on earth. The small but fascinating region along the country’s southwest coastline supports more than five percent of the world’s plant and animal species. Nearly 80 percent of the pristine wilderness landscape is protected. Jaguars roam through the jungle terrain, and scarlet macaws continue to fly freely through the lush canopy. The famous Corcovado National Park protects much of the scenery and wildlife of the delicate ecosystem, along with numerous private reserves offering spectacular activities and immersive trails.

The local community is dedicated to countering any adverse effects of human impact on the land. They have established recycling programs, supported local green businesses, and stand in fierce opposition to any proposed issues that may harm the unique coastal oasis. A new network of trails opened in 2017, known as the Caminos de Osa. The paths offer you a different view of Costa Rican life in the untamed terrain, from meeting with some of the region’s last gold panners to experiencing the artisanal crafts and accommodations of the villages helping to protect the Osa Peninsula’s environment and traditions.

3. Slovenia

Visit 40 protected parks and reserves that decorate Slovenia.

Eco-friendly destinations might conjure images of the blue-footed boobies on the Galapagos Islands or the breathtaking glaciers of New Zealand, however, the European country of Slovenia has recently been celebrated as the pinnacle of sustainable tourism and development. Its capital city Ljubljana was declared Europe’s Greenest Capital by the European Union in 2016. Beyond well-deserved accolades, Slovenia enchants visitors with more than 40 protected parks and reserves filled with lush forests and secluded caves home to a diverse network of hiking trails.

Farms utilize eco-friendly power, and recycling to protect the countryside and the capital city has a zero-waste initiative. The public transportation uses natural gas, and the urban train runs on electricity, in addition to the forests retaining 46 percent of their primary, indigenous woodland. The historic city protects its history with preserved architecture and a culture eager to pass on its heritage to the next generation by investing in ecological and cultural sustainability. When visiting Slovenia, you can have a green, clean, and authentic visit to Slovenia true to the indelible charms of the land and local culture.

4. Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan won the Sustainable Destination’s Earth Award in 2018.

This year Bhutan received the Sustainable Destination’s Earth Award for its commitment to responsible tourism dedicated to the preservation of nature. The small kingdom in the Himalayan Mountains has preserved 72 percent of its primary forests. The government promotes nature conservation at an individual level encouraging its population to plant trees receiving the Guinness World Record for the most trees planted in 60 minutes, during which 100 volunteers planted 49,672 trees.

The roads winding around the mountains and forests lead to impressive temples, secluded villages, and rows of crops found only in the mountainous region. The long distances between locations has inspired the government to develop more renewable energy projects supporting the rural population, as well as promoting electric cars to decrease the dependence of its citizens on fossil fuels. The kingdom’s commitment to ecofriendly tourism, as well as its determination in sustaining traditional dress and architecture, shows Bhutan as a champion for preserving its nature and heritage.

5. Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, a stunning city on Portugal's coast line is determined to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent in the next two years.

Cascais maintains the charm of a small fishing village. The local community has committed to a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by more than 20 percent by the year 2020. Cascais promotes soft mobility with access to bicycles in the different neighborhoods, as well as beautiful views to the water when walking. Local tours introduce visitors to the preserved local culture in addition to promoting the restoration of the rural landscape at Quinta do Pisão Nature Park focusing on sustainable farming and forestry practices.

Cascais also promotes the continued protection and promotion of the local culture inherent in the architecture, artwork, and values of the local population most notably in the Center of Pedra do Sal (CIAPS), Portugal’s first building producing “Zero Energy.” The structure was designed to incorporate the ecological and biophysical values of land and sea with exhibits studying the flora, fauna, archeological characteristics, and geology of the region in addition to its self-sufficient energy production. To view itineraries that visit the green-leading city Cascais, please visit Zicasso's Portugal page.